Any Senior Living CRM system has a task labeled “Tour,” but not everyone is fully aware of what it means to complete one successfully. I’ve had questions about that lately, so here is my take on what it means to tour a prospect successfully:

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Unscheduled tours can actually be even more valuable to you, so consider how “tour ready” your building is every day, and how ready your team is to greet visitors. I advise leaders and sales counselors to walk their building and grounds with “fresh eyes” every morning and offer specific suggestions for improvement at the morning meeting. Your apartments are essentially always on the market, so treat your building the same way you would treat a house on the market–straightened up and ready to show at a moment’s notice.

When your touring group arrives, sit down and discuss the situation. If time is short, sit down and discuss anyway! It’s faster to find out their priorities and abbreviate the tour to what’s important than to speed-walk the entire property. This sit-down discussion can take place somewhere private and quiet, but it doesn’t have to be an office. Many properties have a small room adjoining the sales office precisely for this purpose. Always offer refreshments–these are your guests.

Uncover the needs and potential objections BEFORE showing off anything the building has to offer. Open-ended questions about the situation, problems, objections, interests, and current living style can all lead to important points to make during the tour. A good rule of thumb is to never offer a feature without first establishing the need.

Tailor the tour to match the needs you have established in your initial discussion. Tours should not necessarily follow the same route, and certainly shouldn’t include a memorized script. Do you really want to show off your chapel to a confirmed atheist?

Avoid marathon tours through every open apartment. Your discussion should reveal the apartment you think will fit them best. Take them there and gauge their reaction–you may discover that’s as far as you need to take it!

Greet your team members along the way by name, and give them a little time to say hello. These are the people your families are entrusting their loved ones to–they are your most valuable product, not the apartment you’re about to show. A well-led team member will understand the importance of talking about what they do to make life great for residents, and what they enjoy most about their role.

Wrap it up before exhaustion sets in–it’s okay to leave a few things for the next time as long as you covered all of the bases you committed to. Always finish with a shared understanding of the next step (deposit, assessment, home visit, etc.) and make some sort of commitment that keeps the ball in your court (a specific question, an introduction to an old friend, or delivery of a particular book–anything tailored to their experience that demonstrates you were listening).

This tour was a gift…an opportunity to demonstrate your value and your ability to solve some difficult problems. Be sure to show your appreciation with timely and creative follow up, along with a personal call from the Executive Director within 24 hours to see whether they can offer additional assistance.