5 Steps You Can Take Tomorrow to Implement New Processes to Bring Stability to Your Seniors Housing Operation, Improve Communication and Keep the Sales and Marketing Pipeline Intact
Independent and assisted living operators are in uncharted territory; while all eyes are on operations, someone has to keep a focus on sales, building a strong pipeline and protecting future cash flow and revenue.
While Bild & Co is known as a sales and marketing strategic consulting firm, at our core we are a training company. Most importantly, we conduct 95% of our corporate training programs remotely, leveraging technology, communication and accountability to systems and processes put in place to ensure company-wide execution.
We are in the business of change and in speaking with our clients all over the U.S., we understand there is a lot of confusion and uncertainty around how best to keep people performing at their peak during the Coronavirus epidemic. In this blog I lay out 5 simple steps you can take tomorrow to implement new processes that will help bring stability to your operation, improve communication and keep the sales and marketing pipeline intact.
Odds are your executive and regional teams are now working exclusively from home and in uncharted territory. While this comes easy to us, being remote for two decades and working globally, we realize to others, it may present a real challenge.
The goal of this blog is to help you better navigate working remotely while keeping communication, employee engagement and performance at its peak. While I can suggest lots of different technology solutions, the last thing people want to do is learn how to use new technology right now; so I’m going to keep this simple and focus on 5 steps you can take this week to improve work from home communication and employee performance particularly as it relates to sales and marketing.
First Things First, Provide the Basics- Mobile Phone, Laptop, Conferencing Lines
Any person working remotely must have access to a cell phone and computer or iPad. Basic tools of the trade, that often are not provided by senior living operators, are vital right now. Don’t forget, if people are using their own laptops, get a virus protection plan and offer a stipend for them to use their own devices. This will allow you to hit the ground running.
Streamline Communication with Slack
Our go to communication tool is Slack. Implementing this application several years ago, we saw email cut in half and communication among our team dramatically improved with real-time, collaborative communication.
Channels can be set up for specific groups like Regional Ops or Regional Sales channel, Executive Director channel, Sales and Marketing channel, and so on. Only those who need to be included in specific channel communication are invited, streamlining conversations and keeping them relevant to those who need to be included.
Slack is incredibly affordable and easy to implement with both computer and mobile platforms. This can be set up in one day.
The Daily Huddle
The Bild & Co team starts every morning with a company-wide daily huddle. We implemented this strategy over two years ago and it transformed our company. Being remote, it allows each team member to feel connected and to understand how the pieces of the puzzle fit together to serve the better good of our clients. Each person gets one minute to share their priority for the day, any barriers or constraints they may need help with and that may impede their ability to be successful.
While it was awkward at first, it was a game changer for our organization and dramatically enhanced our communication. If your corporate, regional or sales team members are working remotely, institute a daily huddle. The rules are critical to follow to ensure success. Each person on the huddle gets one minute, that’s it (meaning no one person dominates the call). Anything that is presented as a barrier or constraint can be addressed off-line and handled within 24 hours by the appropriate people.
Start the huddle at an odd time so people are on their toes and on time. Ours starts at 9:19 am Monday-Friday. We are off by 9:30 as we have it down to a science and oftentimes people only need thirty seconds. Each Bild team member starts their day with focus and accountability as well as an understanding of what each division’s priorities are for the day. This is a tactic you can set up immediately with your internal conferencing line and as early as tomorrow morning.
Sales presentations to families, seniors or referral sources can and should continue on behalf of your community. It is critical to build a strong pipeline that will produce move ins post Coronavirus. Tours can still be conducted via facetime or a presentation can be created and delivered via the Zoom or Join.me platform. Utilizing any of these options is the next best thing to being in the same room with a prospective buyer.
When doing remote presentations, it is important to have a company branded Power Point deck that assists with pricing, care plans and other relevant information. Keep it simple, use lots of high-quality visuals and don’t worry about it being perfect; just ensure it’s professional. I would also ensure all your collaterals are in pdf format and easily shared via email or even better via a landing page download.
Screen sharing will allow the presentation to be shared with the individual participating on the call and in many cases, those calls can be recorded for family members who can’t participate live. All attendees need to do is click on a link to join the zoom meeting and download the app if they don’t yet have it which is very simple to do. Alternatively, a simple conference line can be used as well if there is more than one attendee.
The most important thing you must do as an executive is protect your salesperson’s ability to stay in the sales zone as much as possible and at minimum two hours per day. While staffing shortages are very real, vacant apartments will soon be as well. As an operator you must be proactive and focused on both taking care of the operation and protecting your cash flow.
INCOME PRODUCING ACTIVITY
That leads me to sales. It’s hard to focus on sales when the world seems to be shutting down all around you, but the reality is you are in business and to remain viable you must put your emotions aside and lead. It is the job of operations to protect residents and the job of sales to bring in new ones. Never have seniors needed you more. With shortages across store shelves, people told to stay indoors and many seniors who are isolated and unable to drive, consider what you can do to help right now.
- Temporary/Respite Stay: If your state allows, can you offer temporary housing on a month by month basis to those seniors who are concerned about staying home during the Coronavirus pandemic? Perhaps this would bring relief to adult care givers who are concerned for their loved ones but dealing with their own challenges. Consider a monthly rate with basic services that will provide peace of mind to families, services to seniors and provide revenue on what would otherwise be vacant units.
- Wellness Checks: Is there a caregiver or nurse who can provide wellness checks to those seniors within a ten-mile radius via home visits or drive through services set up on-site as we are seeing in the news? Cleary precautionary procedures must be closely followed, but there is great opportunity to showcase your response to this crisis and be part of the solution as it relates to seniors in your market service area.
- Supply Drop: Again, just looking at a ten mile radius of your community, can you put together three items that seniors are in need of such as a roll of toilet paper, a hand sanitizer and food item such as a jar of soup, to show you care and are available to help? Use local media to help get the word out and provide a specific line people can text for a drop off to create awareness around your community?
Having such a campaign will give people in sales and marketing purpose and a specific reason to call and follow up with seniors, adult children and valuable referral sources. Now more than ever your salespeople should be on the phones, emailing, texting, and making that critical human contact needed to build relationships with those people your community serves.
Need help implementing systems and processes right now to protect your sales pipeline? We can implement immediate sales and marketing tools from direct mail and sales funnels to specific outreach campaigns to support your referral sources. Text 813.390.3349 or email Revenue@BildandCo.com to set up time to connect and determine next steps for your organization’s response to the Coronavirus.