Wouldn’t it be great if prospects saw your product, fell in love with it and signed the contract on the spot? Or at the very least followed some kind of linear formula from tour to sale? Unfortunately, we know that just like life, the journey from prospect to homeowner isn’t so straightforward. That’s why it’s important for you to understand the customer buying journey your 55+ active adult prospects will take from the time they start considering a move to the day you hand them the keys to their new home.
Is It Still a Funnel?
Many of you may be familiar with a purchase funnel. The idea that you push a lot of leads in at one end and they come out the other as happy homeowners.
But the truth is that the process is messy and far more complex than this — there will be starts, stops, ups and downs. At Creating Results, we think of it as a journey — not a funnel — and our responsibility is to support leads, motivate them to action and guide them along the way.
By taking time to understand the buying cycle through the prospect’s eyes, communities can tailor sales and marketing to the individual and provide more useful, relevant information along the way. Then we can influence their journey and hopefully speed up the time to sale.
According to the Aberdeen Group, on average, companies who manage their customer buying journey experience have:
- 54% greater return on marketing investment
- 5 times greater revenue from referrals
- 18 times faster sales cycles
Customer Buying Journey: How Do They Arrive at the Destination?
While your goal is to sell homes to your prospects and welcome them to your community, you have to remember that this is their journey, not yours. What routes are you offering to help them get to their destination? A 55+ active adult lead has different motivations than a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) prospect, resulting in a unique set of values and priorities.
Everyone’s journey starts with awareness, but while a CCRC prospect may also be motivated by need, active adults are more motivated by desire. So as you craft your awareness messaging, position your community so that it appeals to what matters most to your prospects. Make it hard for them to ignore you (but not because you are bombarding them!). Showcase the best aspects of your community. Is it maintenance-free so they can travel and not have to worry about home upkeep? Will they have access to features and amenities that encourage them to be active and explore? Is the community near a city that has a thriving arts and culture scene? Make them want to schedule a tour to see it for themselves!
So, the prospect is interested and plans to see the goods in-person. Now what? Give them the information and tools they need to see why your community is the best fit for them. That means it’s imperative for the sales discovery process to be a meaningful one, identifying likes and dislikes, etc. Do they love to travel? Highlight the safety and security of your community where they can lock and leave without worry. Are they oenophiles? Maybe you’re conveniently located near local vineyards or have an active wine appreciation club — let them know about these features. Keep nurturing and guiding them as they evaluate their options and ultimately make a purchase decision.
The Never-Ending Journey
You may think that once the prospect has signed on the dotted line and become a homeowner that their customer journey is over. Don’t fall into that trap! You’re still responsible for their opinion of your brand; ensure it remains positive. If you continue to nurture the relationship after the sale, they can become your secret marketing weapon by advocating and evangelizing your community to their friends, family and even prospects you introduce them to, helping guide them along their own customer buying journey.
Join Us at SMASH!
Evolution is taking place within the senior living and 55+ industries. Be inspired by this change and appeal to the prospects of tomorrow. On Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 11:45 a.m., Creating Results is teaming up with Wendy Kroll from Clark Retirement Community to discuss how you can leverage the latest trends of both the 55+ and senior living industries. We hope to see you there!