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Fanocracy, Turning FANS into CUSTOMERS

Bild & Co Executive Book Club Selection #4, Fanocracy, Turning FANS into CUSTOMERS and CUSTOMERS into FANS by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott

I fell into seniors housing by accident. Over 18 years ago an executive with four continuum care retirement communities picked up my first book, 7 Steps to Successful Selling in an airport bookstore. Shortly thereafter, she asked if I could teach their organization, The Fountains Retirement Communities, how to get better sales results. Six months later we had grown sales by over $4 million. I guess you could say the rest is history!

Since then my team has worked with hundreds of operators, investors and developers to effectively market their communities. Those I remember most and that hold a special place in my heart are the ones I forged a personal bond with over shared passions.

When my daughter Paris was born this same client sent Dave and I a giftbox containing a doll named Madeline who is based on a children’s book series that take place in a Catholic boarding school in Paris. Every book starts with, “In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…” It gives me goosebumps just writing that because Paris is now sixteen years old and she devoured those books as a child! We still have Madeline, all her clothes and books tucked safely away for Paris’s own children to play with one day.

It was the intimacy of this gift that meant so much to me. My daughter who was named after what I felt was the most beautiful city in the world, Paris, now had her own doll with stories she could escape into all set in the city of lights. My client could have sent a baby blanket, a gift card or something from the baby registry; all which would have been appreciated, yet she took the time to put extra thought into this gift and it forever changed the dynamic of our relationship.

As time progressed we shared many conversations around our passions outside of work- like her wedding in Vegas where she and her finance dressed in costumes and were married by Elvis! We had a shared passion for seniors housing and all things sales and marketing, yet the bond deepened over things outside of work. This type of connection is what makes my work meaningful and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s also created something I’m incredibly proud of, a raving fan culture and business that is 100% referral based and that allows us to select who we wish to work with.


As I dive into chapter one of Fanocracy, I can’t help but want to race ahead to the next chapter. I’m an advocate of creating personal connections, making people feel special, paying attention to details and surprising people with the unexpected. In fact, the entire Bild Sales System is built on the art of human connection, a skill long lost to the digital age. That’s how we made such an impact in just six months of working with that first portfolio of continuum care retirement communities. I’m excited about this book because we get to dive into a fun, meaningful topic that will not only make a difference in organizational performance but in your personal life too!

Think back to your own professional connections the last decade, I bet you have some of your own memories that will forever stick in your mind. Passion, as the author says, isn’t a distraction in work, it’s a way of connecting people on a deeper level, just as it connected my client and I for life. She’s now retired but we have remained in touch. I have many such stories like this that have enriched my life in ways I never imagined, some from those of you reading this blog right now.


In this month’s book club selection, we will discover how companies like yours can channel the marketing power of fans, turning it into gold. We will dive into specific practices that separate those that flourish from those that remain stuck in stagnation and lay out a roadmap for converting passion for your company into buying power.

Die-hard fans are created by companies that go out of their way to unify customers with a shared mission, they talk about their origin story constantly, and make people feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves; they make it personal. What I can’t help wonder is why executives would want to build a business any other way. Yet most operate with one thing in mind, hitting budgetary goals. In fact, there is so much pressure in today’s work environment that it’s having the opposite effect.

Executive Directors have little time to get to know their employees before they churn and burn, only to be replaced by new people who are mere acquaintances on a workplace journey for three, six, or maybe eight months. New hires don’t know the company’s mission nor feel part of it. If they did, turnover wouldn’t be so high in senior living. Residents as a result are confronted with new faces, names and the difficulty of trying to keep their caregivers, waiters, or housekeeping staff straight only to finally learn those names and watch those people move on too!

It sounds maddening but this is the complex dynamic created by a digital world that was designed to unite people, only to divide them more than ever. There is a deep cultural shift all over the world; people crave intimacy, they want to establish a personal connection with one another. Understanding the relevancy of intimacy, particularly in seniors housing is an absolute game changer. While we are in the business of real estate, we are also in the business of people and our customer is one who feels invisible and craves connection more than most due to the isolation aging brings.


A recent study titled Intimacy in America found that a staggering number of Americans lack intimate relationships, yet no one talks about it. Other key findings include that:

  • Many Americans are experiencing the same cravings as prisoners in solitary confinement – the similarities are shocking;
  • Almost 1 in 4 Americans have no one in their life that they feel they can be 100% themselves with;
  • Without reliable sources of intimacy, Americans are secretly turning to unexpected sources for comfort.

The study validates the feelings of loneliness and disconnectedness that so many individuals privately grapple with.


In the chapters that follow we will take deep dives into major elements of developing fans and harnessing the power of transparency in business. I’m going to translate the material in this book into action you can execute on to ignite a spark in your employees, prospects, referral sources and residents that create unbreakable bonds that translate into what the authors call Fanocracy!

Fanocracy; an organization that honors fans and consciously fosters meaningful connections among them

As we move into an era that prizes people over products, this book club selection will teach you how to shift the way your company relates to its customers; to include employees, prospective buyers, residents and valuable referral sources. People want to be part of something bigger than themselves, they want to connect in ways that are meaningful and that bring purpose to their lives. There is no better vehicle than seniors housing! The impact of such an effort can have transforming results, leading to reduced employee turnover, increased referrals, happier residents, improved sales conversions and overall revenue growth; a win-win for everyone.


Tired of poor sales and marketing performance results, behind on new development lease up projections or 1Q20 revenue goals? The Bild & Co team can equip your executive directors to lead the sales department to results and your sales directors with the sales system needed to work smart, not hard and hit the goals and expectations established within the community budget. Email Revenue@BildandCo.com or call 1.800.640.0688 to learn about our six-week Sales Academy live web classroom series.

Closing Your Senior Living Revenue Gap Is A Phone Call Away.

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occupancy now at (800) 640-0688