Margaret Wylde, President and founder of Promatura group, a research and advisory firm for aging customers, knows a thing or two about the demographic, and she wants you to stop selling “senior” housing.
“We have great, great communities, but we have to stop selling that it’s for seniors,” Wylde tells Senior Housing News. “It’s for people who want a great time in life, for people who enjoy lifestyle.”
From the first call, sales counselors should keep in mind that they are interacting with a person and not a list of age-related problems or difficulties that they can match against their community’s services. What we instead suggest, through Prospect-Centered Selling techniques used by Sherpa, is to get a better picture of your prospect. Learn about their lifestyles now, what they want to keep doing and they want to have once they’ve moved. Services and square-footages can wait.
The age of people who move into a retirement community is going up, Wylde says, from 75 to 82. But despite an older resident base, the draw to senior housing appeals to those who want more active and fulfilling lives rather than to slow down and be cared for.
“Instead of saying ‘Let us take care of you,’ it’s, ‘This is a great place to live,'” she says.
At the heart of this shift in marketing is the philosophy that a move to senior (or whatever you may call it) housing should empower people to make more choices rather than to lose the control or comforts they would find at home. This is especially important as the baby boomer generation reaches an age where they may think, “I don’t need to move to a community yet, so why should I?”
The reasons, Wylde says, are in how the place makes you feel rather than what it offers.
“They don’t need the indoor swimming pool. They don’t need a lot of stuff. They need a great place to live, good people around, a sense of belonging and some support in their life, particularly if it could be more engaged with the life that they have.”