Game Changing Tips to Sell Senior Living Virtually
by Kyna Garrett, on Jun 25, 2019 9:00:00 AM
There are many challenges facing seniors today.
Considering that 15% of adult children caregivers in the U.S. live one or more hours away from their parent, it can be incredibly difficult for them to get the assistance they need. And when it’s time to transition to senior housing, long-distance causes some hardships. Additionally, mobility remains one of the top disabilities among seniors.
Thanks to advancements in technology, senior living sales can adapt to the needs of seniors and their families by offering virtual experiences.
Selling senior living virtually can seem like a daunting task. After all, how can you connect with your prospects emotionally and personally if you’re selling to them... virtually? If we take a step back and think about the challenges facing seniors today, virtual senior living sales can do wonders for your bottom line and give your prospects just the relief they’re looking for.
What follows is a break down of some game changing tips to help you sell senior living virtually.
1. Embed a 360 virtual tour on your website
Not be confused with video, a virtual tour is a self-guided walk-through of your community. Here is an example of a senior living virtual tour:
A virtual tour is much more than a simple walk-through on your website though. If embedded properly in an accessible place, a virtual tour can accomplish some pretty incredible results:
- A virtual tour engages seniors and their families: virtual tours are useful from both a mobility and long-distance standpoint. If a prospect can’t get to your community easily, they can take a virtual tour from any device, from any location. Additionally, considering that adult children don’t always live with a senior parent, a virtual tour is something they can easily share amongst each other during the senior living search.
- It will help refine their search: a virtual tour is a powerful research tool for prospects and their families. They can view the space prior to visiting in person to decide if it’s what they’re looking for. It ultimately helps them narrow down their search so they aren’t visiting communities they don’t want.
- It keeps visitors on your website longer: we all know the goal is to keep families and prospects engaged as long as possible, and a virtual tour can help. It’s a naturally engaging tool that will keep your visitors on your site longer. In fact, our own studies have concluded that virtual tours reduce bounce rate by 5% and viewers spend an average of three minutes on a tour. As a result, you could even see Google rankings climb as people spend more time on your website.
- Lastly, it’s a valuable tool to capture out-of-state website leads: while virtual tours are a valuable engagement tool, they're also incredible conversion engines for those that can’t make it to your community. Also, many adult children don’t have time to help their parents with their senior housing search during the day - so when are they most active online? Of course during the evening hours. With calls to actions built right in, prospects can request more information, apply or book an appointment when a sales team isn’t always around to answer the phone.
2. Host virtual meetings with families
Virtual tours don’t just have to sit on your website. Seek out a virtual tour solution that does much more than gather dust.
Virtual tours with built in with meeting functionality allow an agent to host a virtual meeting with a select group of individuals.
Hosting a virtual meeting is perfect on multiple levels: prospects can ask their questions on the spot, a sales team can take notes on what prospects are most receptive to, and that emotional connection isn’t lost.
And most importantly, prospects and their families can join the meeting at the same time, even if they’re miles away.
3. Publish high-quality photos to Google
You need to use your Google business listing to its full advantage. Given that seniors are quite active online and turning to Google during their senior housing search, you want to make sure you appear in the Local Pack and high above competitors.
To do that, your Google My Business listing has to be fully optimized. What many people tend to overlook is the benefits of photos (and virtual tours) on their listings.
Photography not only leads to a 42% increase in click-through rate, it also gives your audience a great first impression of your community - with minimal work. You publish high-quality, professional photos of your community to your listing, and let the magic of visuals do the rest.
What’s even more important to consider is that Google controls these images, meaning the highest quality photos will appear first on your listing. Because Google is an open forum, anyone can post pictures of your community to the listing. But you can take back that control by uploading 360 images and professional grade photos.
Read more about how to take control of your Google listing with photography.
4. Create urgency with real-time availability tools on your website
Ever wanted to show all your floors and floor plans at once to interested prospects? What if we told you could leverage something like that generate leads and shorten your sales cycle?
With a stacking plan, you can show off your entire community layout and all of its available floor plans. A stacking plan is a visual representation (or an actual photo) of your community with selectable floors that allow users to view your available floor plans in real-time.
Here are just a few key benefits of an interactive stacking plan:
- Capture leads faster: Floor plan lists can become messy and confusing, which leads to frustration and lost leads. Having everything in one space mapped out in a visual layout, however, gives seniors a bit of breathing room. They can easily navigate on their own or with a family member to see which units are available and when. The process is smooth and painless, so you’re able to see an uptick in more inquiries and applications.
- CRM integration: Most stacking plans are integrated with a customer management system, so there’s no worry about missing out on tracking leads that happen to come in through a stacking plan.
- It’s a one-of-a-kind tool: Every senior living website has a list of floor plans and square footage available. But that’s just it. They’re plain lists. Stacking plans are interactive, visual and fun for seniors to poke around in. It makes the senior housing search fun and inviting.
- Create a sense of urgency: Lastly, because a stacking plan displays real-time availability, it really creates that sense of urgency that sales teams need to close a sale. It shortens the sales cycle and gets people feeling like they need to inquire or apply as soon as possible to not miss out on a wonderful community.
5. Sell a lifestyle with a 3D fly-through
If you have a new development, then you may be feeling pretty limited - but that’s okay. There are plenty of virtual and 3D tools that you can leverage to show off your new community.
Thankfully, 3D technology has come a long way over the past decade and can be used in a number of ways to make noise in the senior living space during construction.
In this case - we’re talking 3D fly-through renderings. That’s because this kind of video can really help the prospect envision themselves at your new community.
Below is an example of a 3D fly-through rendering.
If you’re considering a 3D fly-through of your new community, make sure to find photorealistic services that really bring the space to life and aren’t just cookie cutter renderings. The goal is to ultimately put prospects in that space to help them see what a great community you’re creating. Most important, you want them to feel comfortable and confident with their decision to choose your new development.
Making These Virtual Tools Work for You
Selling your community virtually offers plenty of opportunity. Not only does it cater to the needs of seniors today, it’s also valuable to your marketing efforts for lead generation.
Above all else, selling virtually means you must find photorealistic and high-quality products that showcase your community honestly. If you can achieve that, you will do wonders for your senior housing sales and marketing efforts.