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Sherpa Insights: Referral Streams Are Improving Across Care Types

May 03, 2021 by Sherpa

Recent Sherpa data illustrates how leads from professional influencers and other referral sources have started to improve. You can see some of these findings featured in the Senior Housing News article “Senior Living Referral Streams Thaw, But Some Return Faster Than Others”

It’s been a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rates of vaccinations are increasing and restrictions have begun to ease. We looked at data from Sherpa communities across the US, encompassing independent and assisted living as well as memory care.

We compared two six-month periods: October 2019 – March 2020, prior to pandemic conditions, and October 2020 – March 2021, a period heavily impacted by the pandemic. 

We also compared trends in March 2021 to the previous two months, January and February 2021.  


Breakdown of Lead
Sources for March 2021

Key takeaways 

  • In March 2021, general lead volume was up compared to the beginning of the year. General lead volume was 22% higher in March compared to January and February. It also increased by 27% in March compared to October 2020. Overall sales leads were still down 22% between October 2020 and March 2021, compared to the same months in 2019 and 2020.  
  • There’s an increase in professional referrals from health care settings. In March, leads from professional referral sources – such as hospitals and physicians’ offices – were up 16% over January and February, and 22% over October 2020. Professional referral volume between October 2020 and March 2021 is now within about 1% of the volume seen during the same months in 2019 and 2020.  
  • Residents are beginning to refer friends again. Resident referrals are up in March compared to the previous two months but overall are still down 35% behind where they were between October 2019 and March 2020.
  • Lead/sales conversions ratios trend: Average lead-to-move conversions from all combined sources was 11% during October 2020 to March 2021, up from 10% compared to the period of October 2019 through March 2020. The individual conversion rates from the most recent period were 6% for digital and lead aggregators (roughly 70% of all inquiries), 25% for professional referrals, family and residents, and roughly 14% for all other inquiries.

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges, we still see opportunities for sales teams to engage with and invest more time in working leads. Best Performers data shows that in order to increase conversion, more sales time needs to be invested on working leads to avoid dilution of sales time, producing improved conversion ratios and leading to better sales results.  

Read the article on Senior Housing News 

Download the Sherpa 2020 Best Sales Performers Report 

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