The prospect’s journey: A story in data

Prospects take a journey with your community. Each transition in this journey—from lead to tour and from tour to move-in—requires information, guidance and support from your sales team. How do you make sure your community is at its best throughout this journey?

Let the data guide your strategy.

Based on industrywide insights gathered from our 2015 Senior Living Sales & Benchmarking Report, here is how you can optimize your sales process at every step of the prospect’s journey.

First Contact

At the beginning, your prospect is in the awareness stage of their journey. They know that they or their family member may need living assistance, and they are searching for where to turn for more information.

Numbers You Need

To understand how to bring these searchers into your community, take a good look at the numbers.

Leads by Inquiry Method: This metric tells you how leads are getting in touch with your community. It gives you insight into what marketing efforts are most effective and what type of inquiries need the most attention.

  • Despite the power of the Internet, calls-ins continue to be the strongest inquiry method for leads across all levels of care.

Inquiry-to-Move-In Conversion Rate by Referral Source: This metric tells you what kinds of referrals are most successful in driving market-ready contacts your way.  

  • For assisted living and memory care, referrals from healthcare professionals, friends, and family are the most influential.

Strategies for Success

  • Ensure your internet leads are always contacted within 15 minutes
  • Train your phone staff to put their best foot forward on the phone.
  • Reach out to local healthcare professionals to inform them about your services.
  • Encourage your residents to talk to their friends about the merits of your community.

The Visit

Your prospect has made first contact! They called, emailed, or signed up for your newsletter. They have identified you as a source of information and a possible new home.

Numbers You Need

What numbers will guide you and your team in moving them onto a tour?

Appointment Ratio: This metric tells you how many of your contacts become visitors. With a strong CRM, you can segment this data to learn, for example, how many people who make first contact by phone go on to schedule visits.

  • Assisted living and memory care communities with call centers see higher appointment ratios than those without, by 22% and 24% respectively.

Appointment Cycle: This provides you with the average number of days from inquiry to tour. You can examine if your appointment cycle differs depending on time of year, sales counselor, and more.

  • Industrywide, assisted living has the shortest appointment cycle across care levels, with an average of 8 days between inquiry and tour.

Strategies for Success

  • Hire a call center to boost your appointment ratio.
  • Invest in a website redesign to drive in more sales-ready prospects.
  • Measure trends and set sales goals for your counselors.
  • Provide more training to sales counselors with comparatively low appointment ratios.


After their first tour, your prospects are in a crucial state. They are on the cusp of making a powerful decision for their family’s future. Your sales team must make sure the prospect feels your community’s interest and support.

Numbers You Need

Dig into the data and make sure your team is as responsive as possible.

Average Contacts for a Sale: This metric reveals how many times your community contacts a prospect before they become a resident. Take a close look at what factors influence this number, from the prospect’s urgency level to who makes first contact with your community.

  • Assisted living and memory care communities need about half as many contacts to drive a move-in as independent living communities.

Average Weekly Contact Activities: This measures the number of activities, from calls to booking tours, each of your sales counselors makes per week.

  • Per sales counselor, the average number of tours or visits booked each week is three. The top 20% book six tours per week.

Strategies for Success

  • Realistically scale and time your sales cycle.
  • Set community standards for number of touches per lead.
  • Reward your most driven sales counselors.

The Move-in

You’re almost there! Your prospect has toured, and your sales team is in regular contact to nurture a move-in. What’s going to make this sale?

Numbers You Need

Take a good look at your close ratios.

Inquiry-to-Move-in Ratio: Know your odds of getting a new lead to move in. This data underpins realistic sales goals.

  • A new memory care lead is more than twice as likely to move in than a new independent living lead.

Tour-to-Move-in Ratio: How many of your community’s tours lead to a move-in? You can gain further insight into this data if you segment it: by tour leader, tour day, referral source, level of care needed, and more.

  • Memory care has the highest tour-to-move-in ratio, at 31%—one new resident for every three tours.

Sales Cycle: How long does it take for a new lead to become a new resident?

  • The sales cycle is half as long for memory care communities as it is for independent living communities. This means that, for higher levels of care, quick follow-up is essential in closing a sale.

Strategies for Success

  • Set community standards for follow-up time.
  • Staff more employees on your most popular tour days.
  • Determine realistic stretch goals for improving close rates.

The Celebration

Success! Welcome your newest resident. Now you have more data to inform future efforts. Spend some time analyzing what went right and wrong along the way so you can optimize your sales process.

Erin Hayes is founder and Chief Information Officer at Enquire Solutions, Greenwood Village, Colo., the fastest-growing CRM and call center solution for the senior living industry. She can be reached at 855.212.7262.

Topics: Articles , Executive Leadership