You don’t need a CRM to sell senior housing.
Sherpa founders David Smith and Alexandra Fisher know this from experience. Even as they filled their own senior living communities and implemented successful turnaround campaigns at dozens more across the U.S. and Canada, they couldn’t find a customer relationship management software that supported their sales process. They relied instead on a two-box index card system, grease boards and Excel spreadsheets.
In 2012, after years of keeping track by hand, David and Alex started building a unique sales conversion tool specifically for the senior housing industry based on Prospect-Centered Sellingsm (PCS). Today, Sherpa delivers the sales effectiveness of PCS to more than 3,000 senior housing professionals who use the system to increase conversion rates and occupancy along the way.
The Theory Behind the Tool
David and Alex’s innovative Prospect-Centered Sales process encouraged relationship building, flexibility and workflows to guide proactive planning. By contrast, typical CRMs were designed as inefficient data warehouses with built-in filing and retrieval systems. “Forcing the organic, personal relationship-oriented PCS into a typical industry CRM seemed like driving a Porsche into the back of a Mack Truck” David says.
Sherpa supports a sales process that values quality over quantity when it comes to prospect interactions. This is consistent with the people-first direction that even transactional, product-based sales are headed. In 2015, Harvard Business Review surveyed B2B companies and found those that mastered a buyer-centric sales process (regardless of the product or service) saw 28 percent higher revenue growth:
Our research has shown that, as sales process maturity goes up…win rates increase from 44% to 57%. Essential is that the sales process is customer-focused and maps to the buying process, as well as flexible and applicable to various buyers’ roles and situations.
Turning Theory Into Action
After decades of experience as hands-on senior housing sales professionals, owner-operators and consultants, David and Alex know that a “more is better” approach to call-outs and tours does nothing to improve conversion rates or sales effectiveness. That’s why they based their field-tested sales process and patent-pending Sherpa workflows on the psychology of change. “We discovered that we can help reluctant, higher-functioning prospects ‘get ready’ to move, but only after we build trust through empathic connections and authentically address the emotional obstacles that prevent decision-making,” David says.
But what does “building trust” actually look like? How do you measure empathy? Who keeps track of a prospect’s emotional obstacles? That’s where Sherpa comes in.
Sherpa’s intuitive CRM helps leasing counselors understand the (entirely predictable) emotional obstacles older adults experience and empowers them to guide their prospects step-by-step through the stages of readiness for change. While most database tools reduce a person’s entire life down to a data point, Sherpa measures, compiles and encourages behaviors that drive higher conversions and more move-ins, including:
- Time spent in The Selling Zonesm.
- Proactive next-step planning and meaningful follow-up for individual prospects.
- Relationship advances, including trust breakthroughs.
- Personalized, creative follow-up campaigns.
“We’ve proven that investing in relevant sales behaviors results in faster fills, higher occupancies, higher-functioning residents and reduced sales team turnover,” David says. “We consistently outperform our competitors and typically reach 50 percent or higher visit-to-close ratios. Our increase in effectiveness means we can get more move-ins with fewer leads and lower marketing expenditures.”
Like we said, you don’t need a CRM to sell senior housing. But if you’re going to use one, it helps to choose the tool designed by the experts.
For more on the differences between a typical CRM and the Sherpa CRM, watch our video below: