The article is based on an interview that took place during a virtual panel discussion with Jen Lovely, executive vice president of sales at Conversion Logix and John Greaves, owner, and president of DEI Sales Management Central. The panel took place virtually on January 19, 2022. This is an excerpt from the Senior Housing News Sales and Marketing Summit session, which has been edited for length and clarity.
SHN: Today we’re going to be talking about capturing and unlocking lead data to maximize return on investment. I think if you know anything about senior living sales, it is no secret that residents and their families are using the internet more than probably ever before to search for senior living communities, especially at the start of their journey.
I think one challenge for operators is capturing that anonymous web traffic and turning it into pre-qualified leads. Today we’re going to go over some of the ways that senior living companies can maximize marketing their investment and filling their community again by capturing and unlocking that lead data. I want to introduce our panelists. Joining us we have Jen Lovely of Conversion Logix, where she has built a senior living group that delivers qualified traffic to clients’ websites to accelerate their leads, tours, and move-ins.
A little bit about Jen before joining the company, she spent about 20 years in the hospitality sector as an executive in sales and marketing. Welcome, Jen. We also have John Greaves of DEI Sales Management Central. John is a seasoned senior living sales and marketing coach. He’s also an advocate for integrating operations with sales, and he’s got experience working with companies in multiple industries to optimize performance in I think what you would consider a difficult selling environment.
SHN: Before we begin, I want to thank our thought leadership sponsors: Sherpa, Conversion Logix, and PointClickCare. Our awareness sponsors: caring.com, the Vector, and Gemini: Advanced Marketing Solutions. I guess to start with, Jen, what sparked the idea for Conversion Logix to develop a lead generation software in the first place?
Jen Lovely: Well, probably about seven years ago, we were kind of fumbling around a little bit and clients were saying, “Hey, gosh, we’ve got lots of people coming to the website, but people just aren’t converting.” Nine years ago, we started a live chat, which captured some of those prospects but there were still folks out there who weren’t filling out those long-winded forms. If you think about it, there can be upwards of close to 50% of website traffic that’s coming from digital devices or from mobile devices, like your phone and your iPad.
If you go to websites, a lot of those forms are really long. People want that one-click experience. We needed something that was easy, quick, and accessible. For all the adult children, as well, they don’t have time to enter information and then have somebody call them back, it’s just a long process of even getting in touch with someone in the first place.
I enter my information and I wait for a phone call to confirm a tour. We knew that we needed to come up with something that was quick, easy, that one-touch process, and it would confirm an appointment or confirm some sort of information immediately. That’s what spurred it.
SHN: Tell us more about how senior living companies have difficulty identifying anonymous website visitors and why they have difficulty converting those into customers?
Lovely: When people come to the website, we give them several different options: they can chat live, schedule an appointment, take advantage of a concession, look at a live video, attend an event. What happens is in order to convert through any of these modules or apps, we then receive their name, their phone number, or their email address, even if they’re just requesting a brochure.
Something else that’s kind of neat, is that by identifying these people when they actually complete one of these forms, we’re able to look at their journey visualizer as well.
If all these people are coming to your website, you wouldn’t leave your front desk unattended or your phones unattended, why would you leave your website unattended?
SHN: Great. I’m also curious, do you have any examples of maybe where there was a problem and the Conversion Cloud helped with that?
Lovely: Yes. We had a community, and it was in a very established neighborhood. A lot of people take a lot of time making decisions and they weren’t ready to schedule a tour. For example, they weren’t ready to pick up the phone. They were just doing a lot of investigative work, just doing their homework.
By using the cloud and by using things like events, or just request a brochure, or join this speaker series group, or listen to this speaker series. We were able to convert people who were just slowly going through the process or just tiptoeing into the process. It took them a long time. Prior to that, this particular community had a really tough time. People just were not converting until they were absolutely ready to take a tour or to talk to somebody.
They felt like if they scheduled the tour, that it would be a hard sell, somebody would want them to move in tomorrow. Again, these people were established. They stay in their homes for years on end and they’re not ready to convert right away. That was a huge success being able to use that.
SHN: Great. Do you have any stats about how many leads the Conversion Cloud has generated or just, generally, what impacts this has all had?
Lovely: After three years, Conversion Cloud has generated almost 600,000 leads across 800 companies, which is a lot. The thing to know about these types of leads, is people are offering up their information themselves. They’re intentional. Somebody isn’t pulling this information out of them. The clients have really good success. These are good, hot, solid leads, and very intentional.
In fact, I talked to one owner the other day, and his conversion was 27.1% of these folks coming from the Conversion Cloud were depositing or moving in, which is huge. Also, in the first few months after TCC or the Conversion Cloud software launch, we saw clients converting 65% more leads than when they weren’t using it. Just quick, and it’s easy and helpful.
SHN: John, I know you’ve got some thoughts about lead generation and how you do that online. I guess tell us more about that and I guess open the floor for us.
Greaves: It’s interesting because I’m coming from the sales and the sales management side. The idea of getting traffic is certainly valuable when it comes to lead generation, but it’s the ratio that matters most. How many of the clicks into your site, and then how many of the engagement opportunities that you’re presenting actually yield someone who activates as a prospect. It’s that activation that I’m paying a lot of attention to just driving raw traffic or just driving click-throughs is not sufficient to determine whether it’s a good use of your time and money.
What I like about the Conversion Cloud tools is that you’re seeing more of those visitors to the site. You’re not going to get all of them. Certainly, you’re not going to get a sale for each one of them immediately, but you’re getting some engagement, you’re getting a little more information than you might have otherwise. Sometimes that helps you understand what you’re doing well. Sometimes it helps you understand what you’re not doing as well as you could. It’s the opportunities that it drives to that I think it’s just so important.
SHN: Great. I want to talk about some of the strategies that companies are using to actually generate leads. Across the companies that are using the Conversion Cloud, and maybe, Jen, we’ll go back to you to start with, what strategies are they using right now to generate leads? Tell us more about that.
Lovely: There are tons of strategies. Something I wanted to mention too is keep in mind everybody’s in a whole new mindset, a whole new frame of mind. For example, personally, I shopped online a lot prior to the pandemic. I noticed myself saying “I’m being lazy. I’m not going to go pick that up. I’m just going to go online and do it.” There are so many people that are online, the multitude of people shopping online and looking at senior living communities has escalated.
It’s even more than usual. Again, we want to have as many opportunities as possible for as many people in different phases of the selection process or decision-making process. Some really great ideas, for example, just scheduling a tour, that’s great. Or maybe they don’t want to schedule a tour, they just want to schedule a conversation with someone. They just want to schedule an initial conversation. Another thing that’s worked out is doing some fun-themed ideas like taco Tuesdays.
If somebody wants to come in for a tour personally, they can come in for a tour. The chef can make tacos, or they purchase them ahead of time however they want to go about that. They can come in for a tour, or take that home as a dinner or lunch, or even if they do a Zoom tour or a FaceTime tour, the great thing is they can do that if they don’t feel comfortable coming in, but then they can drive up and someone from the community can hand them the meal and they get to have that interaction and say, hi, and see people in person.
It’s so interesting the perception that people have. We actually created an income calculator. It’s like a mini complimentary class analysis about four years ago. Literally, this evolved from sitting around having lunch with a client. We were literally just outside of her office in Napa sitting out on a patio, and she said, “I can’t get people to fill out this complimentary cost analysis. There’s so many questions. That’s a lot of information to fill out on a form online.”
I said, “Why don’t we do a mini version of it?” Just enough to give you something to chew on before you call them, you can’t ask them everything, but what are some of those key questions you want to ask? For example, do you own a home or rent a home? How much do you spend on activities and maybe care outside the home every month? Do you work with an investment broker? Just knowing if they have investments. Maybe just a few top-line questions and you’ll know right away. Even if you assume incorrectly, at least you’ve got something to go off of when you call them. People really are willing to give a shortened version of that.
Live chat is amazing. It just befuddles me, really, how many people like to chat live. They’ll give us their whole life story and it builds trust. There’s maybe a lot of adult children who are sitting in an office or they could be on a call, but they just think of something, and they want to ask a quick question. It’s nice because they can ask a question to get an answer without having to call, and then someone’s looping them into a long-winded conversation.
SHN: I know that some of this software can be used for other departments as well. Can you tell us more about that, and how that works, and what you can also use the Conversion Cloud for?
Lovely: Obviously, we’ve all identified a huge problem in staffing over the last year and a half. We started working with a lot of our clients on recruiting campaigns. Again, you’re bringing people to your website, you’ve got that careers page. What does that career page look like? Are they able to easily access what they need to access? Do they fill out an application form? What do they do?
We’ve used those Conversion Cloud modules for either scheduling an interview, finding out more about current job openings, and viewing our current job openings now. For example, some people have a video showing their property, maybe they have a video of just some of their employees saying, “Hey, we love working here. Hi, I’m Jen and I love working for Senior Housing News.”
It’s neat to be able to do that. Yes, we’ve used those for recruiting purposes. It has worked. I was actually really surprised one of my clients said, for an ED position, they had a $25,000 signing bonus and they were putting it out there with different venues. Got absolutely no traction. Started doing some recruiting advertising with the modules. Literally, within three days, they had four solid recruits and they hired somebody.
Again, people just want to be able to request something immediately, one-click, one-touch, it’s very visible. It’s worked tremendously. You can use it in so many ways and we’ll work with people to do that as well.