Sales and Marketing: How to Stand Out From Your Competition

May 1, 2024 | Blogs

Prospective residents and families care about what you know about them. In the world of senior living, care is in the very fabric of our industry; therefore, it only makes sense that our prospects must feel cared for and understood before they ever become residents. This is why 12 Oaks Senior Living understands that sales and marketing must become something more than a simple transaction. We do this through our prospect-centered selling. We’ve created a short guide on how your community can stand out from your competition by understanding your prospects.

Prospect-Centered Selling

During a conversation on The Roots Podcast, Aaron Catoe, Sr. Vice President of Operations, and David Ensor, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, discussed the 12 Oaks approach to sales and marketing. They highlight that their approach put the emphasis in the sales process on the prospect and their needs. This means that how the prospect is feeling and what they are experiencing takes priority in the sales journey.

What Is Prospect-Centered Selling

Prospect-Centered Selling stands in contrast to traditional sales approaches by prioritizing the prospect’s individual needs, preferences, and emotions. Unlike impersonal and transactional methods, Prospect-Centered Selling focuses on building trust, establishing rapport, and genuinely understanding the prospect’s concerns. In senior living, this is non-negotiable. Our industry is centered around people; therefore, our sales and marketing needs to center around people.

With a traditional sales approach, you are focused on the product. In a senior living context, this would be a focus on selling the amenities of your community. However, Prospect-Centered Selling looks beyond what we can offer and identifies what the prospect needs – even at an emotional level. There are often complex scenarios that bring families to the point of moving a loved one into senior living. Being able to interact with a prospect and display understanding is worth more than any amenity in your community. The personal touch of caring for prospects can ultimately drive conversions because you have established trust and rapport. 

Identify Their Problem

A key part of caring for the prospect is helping them discover the real problem. The late sales thought leader, Chet Holmes, created what is known as the Buyers Pyramid. At the top of the pyramid are the 10% who are either sold on what you are offering or are considering it. At the bottom are the 30% who know that they are not interested. Sandwiched between these two are the 60% who are either not thinking about your solution or do not think they are interested. According to Holmes’ model, the majority of prospects are simply not problem-aware. This could look like a potential resident who just hasn’t started to think about retirement or the overwhelmed caregiver who doesn’t realize their need for help. Regardless, when we center our process around the prospect, then we have to start with awareness.

Buyers Pyramid developed by Chet Holmes.

Our job is to offer solutions, but our prospects and their families must be aware of the problem before they can solve it. This means that if we are going to win the majority of prospects, we have to present the problems and solutions instead of waiting for prospects to notice the problems for themselves. For marketing, this can look like producing a blog or podcast episode titled “Recognizing Caregiver Burnout: Signs it’s Time to Seek Assistance,” where you present a real problem that will resonate with a potential prospect while offering solutions that will bring them through the doors of your community. Another example would be a sales rep who knows the right questions to ask about the prospect. When strengthening your sales and marketing, you will stand out if you are able to make your prospects feel understood by identifying their problems. This is critical to appealing to their personality and emotions, retaining them as a prospect, and converting them into a resident.

Answer Their Questions 

As a potential prospect becomes problem-aware, they will naturally begin to ask questions. This is understood as the consideration phase of their journey. This means the prospect will begin researching solutions and who provides them. At this point, you want to ensure you have the answers. A key part of being discovered by prospects is your ability to answer their questions. A simple tool like Answer the Public can give you insights into what your potential prospects are searching for, providing you with key insights into what keywords to include in your content as well as on your websites. Having the answers to their questions readily available suggests that you are at least one step ahead, and this can help build prospect trust by establishing authority.

Offer a Unique Solution  

Another factor that will cause you to stand out from your competition is your ability to offer a unique solution to your prospects’ problems. Our responses to prospects need to match their needs. What makes your solution unique is how you choose to enter and accommodate the unique situation of each prospect. It is true that the ultimate solution is bringing the prospect into your community to receive care. However, Prospect-Centered Selling takes the initiative to see the nuance of the situation. Your prospects are entering a new season of life, which can be difficult for them and their loved ones. Offering the solution of care in your community can be made more effective and personal when we choose to read the emotional state of our prospects. This feeling of understanding can make your solution stand out as unique from your competitors.

Establishing Your Brand  

As you build trust and rapport with your prospects, it is important to find ways to communicate your brand identity. In senior living, every community is different, which is why you have to be intentional about establishing your individual brand. This identity will have to be consistent in every step of the process, from promotional materials to sales. This is your way of showing the prospect how you fit into their overall journey.

Determine Your Archetype

Taken from the ideas of psychologist Carl Jung, your brand should fit into one of the 12 archetypes. In marketing, your archetype will determine the tone and angle of your message to your prospects. For example:

The Rebel: Your message is about breaking the status quo in Senior Living.
The Creator: Your message is about innovation and improving Senior Living.
The Caregiver: Your message is about the resident and their care options.
The Innocent: Your message will be all about peace of mind. 

Jungian archetypes

Knowing who you are in the senior living industry is important. There are plenty of senior living communities, so choosing a unique personality for your brand will be essential to standing out from your competitors. This will affect your tone, verbiage, mission, values, etc. However, a strong brand identity with a distinct personality helps you resonate with your prospects. Their personality is unique, and you want to present yourself as a brand that gets them and their problems. This only matters when your sales and marketing starts with your prospect.

Create A Seamless Experience 

In your sales and marketing, it is crucial that your prospect experience is seamless. From the time a prospect loads your website to when they speak to a sales representative, there should be complete consistency of brand messaging and experience. A common breakdown within sales and marketing is that the two somehow become pitted against each other. Your marketing should be designed to set your sales representatives up for success, and your sales representatives should be trained to follow through with the established message. When either one deviates, you are now creating a fractured experience for your prospect. This requires collaboration, but a seamless experience builds trust with your prospect as you assist them through the buyer’s journey.

Ready to elevate your senior living community’s sales and marketing strategy? Start implementing these techniques today to stand out from your competition, resonate with your prospects, and drive success. Take the first step towards building stronger connections and achieving your business goals. To learn more about how 12 Oaks can elevate your community, contact us today!