We have all heard that, within the first 7 seconds of meeting someone, they will have developed 11 impressions about us. This is true on both personal and professional levels. Being aware of this, we must make sure that we successfully create positive impressions. In senior living, is a great first impression enough to: 1) close the sale, 2) get our future residents moved in, and 3) keep them happy so that they stay for the duration? To meet all three expectations, we must be successful in creating three types of positive impressions: First, Move-In and Lasting.

First Impressions — Regardless of whether we are selling assisted living, memory support or skilled nursing; we must do everything in our power to make a good first impression. Invite prospective residents to dinner, serve the best on the menu, take them gifts, meet their families and listen to their stories. All of this begins the process of building trusting relationships. Ultimately, we want our future residents to know they are valued.

If we are successful, we have made the sale and moved them in. We have accomplished our task and increased our occupancy. Great job! The next step is honoring our promises and keeping our residents happy. In today’s market, our current and future residents have an abundance of choices. There is no guarantee that they will stay. We see assisted living and memory support communities popping up in every market. Consequently, the opportunity to impress is crucial. Our health care residents are important revenue drivers, and we must continue impressing them.

Move-In Impressions — So, how do you “impress” your residents after the residency agreement is signed? The impression that sold them is only the first part of the equation. Now you must focus on the move-in experience.

When is the last time you reviewed your move-in process? All factors should be evaluated, including how we complete assessments, gain physician orders and accommodate the moving-day experience for residents and their families. Remember that the decision to move out of a home and into our community has been a long and difficult one for the family. Emotions are typically high, the move-in process typically stressful; this is a hard transition for everyone involved. Take the time to speak to your residents and their families after the move-in. Gain their feedback on how the process can be improved or simplified. The more we learn from those who have experienced it, the better we can serve future residents.

Lasting Impressions — One of the many reasons residents move in is that they have become unsafe in their own homes. That doesn’t preclude them from enjoying a high level of independence. Your community should promote independence for each of your residents. If we listened to our residents during the discovery process, we should know their wants, needs, likes and dislikes. We sold them on our ability to meet their expectations, and we should make sure that we are following through.

Whether you are selling assisted living, memory support or skilled nursing, all potential residents want to feel important. The sales process doesn’t stop after the residency agreement is signed. Every empty apartment represents lost revenue. The cost of qualified leads is high. We must focus on keeping apartments occupied and increasing average length of stay. We can achieve this by honoring lasting impressions.

Successful Formula — Follow this simple formula to create powerful impressions:
First Impressions drive move-ins.
Move-In Impressions drive satisfaction
Lasting Impressions drive revenue.
Revenue drives the community.

— Mindy Cheek, Senior Manager, Marketing Services