Communication is a critical component to any successful business, and this concept also rings true in the residential assisted living industry.
Unlike manufacturing and retail industries, assisted living is quite different because there are no goods and products involved.
The kind of quality care required amongst residential assisted living businesses is a unique service.
Owners and operators of assisted living homes directly impact the health and well-being of seniors in their care.
Quality care in this industry demands communication skills.
Communication in assisted living is not merely a key strategy for potential leads, it is a critical aspect of running a successful business by putting seniors and their families first.
As a result, communication in your residential assisted living home is about being genuine and showing compassion to the senior population.
If you plan on being the hands-on manager of your assisted living business then this communication guide will be incredibly helpful.
Additionally, if you plan on being a hands-off operator, then it is key that you hire the right people with these communication skills to ensure that your business reaches its full potential.
15 COMMUNICATION SKILLS CRUCIAL TO LOCKING ON LEADS
Without good communication skills, your business will lack one of the most important components that is crucial to success – locking in leads.
Sounds obvious, right?
How do you lock in leads to fill every bed in your residential assisted living home? This starts with understanding the art of communication and the strategy of engaging solutions.
Caregivers can’t solve problems if they are unable to get seniors to communicate.
So, communication is key.
Let’s unpack 15 helpful skills to cultivate across your assisted living business.
15. Communication Skills for Generating Leads
- Pay full attention.
- Practice active listening.
- Read body language.
- Master the nuance of voice tones.
- Be empathetic.
- Understand what’s not being said.
- Speak in specifics.
- Be a subject matter expert.
- Be genuinely curious.
- Don’t act like you know everything.
- Assume good intent.
- Always be honest.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Be persistent, not pestering.
- Be comfortable with silence.
THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION IN RESIDENTIAL ASSISTED LIVING
The ability to gather and provide information effectively and efficiently aligns prospective residents with your assisted living business. Propositions, pricing, and placement does not matter unless you’re able to get your prospects to communicate with you – this means you must listen to what others have to say.
Listening is a critical part of communicating.
4 Tips You Must Understand About Prospective Residents
- How Your Prospects Learn,
- What They Care About,
- What Communication Style They Prefer, And
- Adapt Your Strategy Accordingly.
Verbal and non-verbal communication are equally important. Listen to what prospects are saying audibly and read between the lines.
What seniors don’t tell you is sometimes their way of communicating difficult subject matter.
Be tuned in with seniors and their family members when providing tours or just talking on the phone.
Prior to immersing yourself into aspects of the senior transitional process, work on your communication skills to ensure that you always send the right message.
Let’s explore these 15 professional communication tips to make sure you are in sync with your prospective residents and their family members.
15 COMMUNICATION TIPS TO BUILD YOUR ASSISTED LIVING BUSINESS
1. Give Your Undivided Attention
Life gets busy and business gets even busier, and it’s no surprise that your mind might be wandering as you try to keep up with the day. With pressure-filled careers, it’s important to give prospective residents your undivided attention. You have to dedicate 100% of your attention to each call, visit, and tour. Remember, it’s obvious when you’re not paying attention, even when you’re on the phone.
2. Actively Listen
Listening is not enough. You have to actively listen. Conversations that lack an active listener often spin in circles. Not only do you have to listen, you have to listen actively, otherwise your conversation won’t really go anywhere. Instead of thinking about what you are going to say next, start actively listening by processing the information you are hearing. Do not listen to respond, listen to understand.
Four-Step Process to Actively Listening:
- Actively listen to the prospect.
- Offer feedback.
- Confirm what you heard.
- Use questions for clarification and understanding.
3. Pay Close Attention to Body Language
When the person speaking is looking away, scrolling through their phone, slouching, or physically engaged in other activities, bad body language can alter a conversation. Even if you are listening, depending on what you are doing, your words can be heard very differently. Our body language often reveals our true intentions or meaning. Great communicators know how to read others’ body language. Body language is a great way to anticipate the direction of a conversation. Make sure your body language isn’t sending mixed signals.
- Master the Nuances of Voice Tone
Voice tone impacts how your voice pitch, volume, speed, and even your word choice affects how your words are interpreted. This is especially important if you are contacting leads on the phone – your tones can set the first impression. Aim to be understood.
5. Be Empathetic
Seek to understand other people’s point of view, even when you don’t agree. Showing people that you understand their challenges and struggles goes a long way. Being empathic makes you far more likable. As a result, it increases the chances of closing a deal with another senior moving into your residential assisted living home.
6. Aim to Understand Words That Are Not Being Spoken
Sometimes, prospective residents and their loved ones don’t tell the whole truth. They have their reasons. Even still, it can be helpful to recognize when this happens. It’s crucial that you are able to sense the vibe of each prospect – learn to read between the lines.
7. Be Specific When Speaking
Great communicators are not persuasive because they speak in dramatic, sweeping rhetoric. They’re able to convince people because they can point to specific anecdotes. Be as specific as you can. Do not rely on catchy phrases – it is important that you are understood.
8. Be A Subject Matter Expert
It’s important to be a well-versed expert and know as much as you can about assisted living. This allows you to be specific. Seniors and their family members will never trust business representatives that don’t seem like they understand the process, so become an expert in senior assisted living.
9. Accept What You Don’t Know
Remember, being an expert doesn’t mean you have to know everything. Every senior comes with a different background, unique family makeup, and distinct needs for certain activities of daily living. So, don’t act like you know everything about them. Give them space in the conversation to be heard as an individual. You should know enough to sketch out the outlines of their situation, but always rely on your prospects to fill in the little details. Be aware of the gaps in your knowledge, accept what you don’t know and then ask questions to fill in the empty spaces. Seniors and their loved ones will appreciate your honesty, and you’ll avoid turning away prospective residents because of false assumptions.
10. Be Genuinely Curious
Always be prepared to ask good questions. Seniors respect when you ask the kinds of questions that help make their transition easier. It’s easy to slip into your elevator pitch, but always establish a personal relationship in order to keep the conversation relevant during each phone call, email and tour. Always ask questions first, before you start offering answers that do not suit the circumstances.
11. Assume That Others Have Good Intentions
One of the most important decisions you can make when communicating with anyone is to assume that they have good intentions. Some people make a commitment before they’ve gotten all the information and financial resources in order. Unfortunately, sometimes, they lie on purpose. While these situations can be frustrating, it is because people usually make genuine errors. Don’t jump to conclusions about misunderstandings. Jumping to conclusions about your prospect’s intent will color the rest of your interactions in a negative light. It will cause you to subconsciously treat potential residents unfairly – this is no way to fill the beds in your residential assisted living home. Always assume good intent.
12. Always Be Honest
Be upfront. This is important because you will not always be given the same “good intention” courtesy that you extend to your prospects. This means you have to be honest about the questions they ask and the ones they do not. They will expect you to tell them everything they need to know, even without making you aware. This means always be upfront when you don’t know something, so they believe what you’re saying when you do know the answer.
13. Avoid Making Assumptions
It’s so easy to fall into a routine and make assumptions. Avoid doing so. Even if the majority of prospects fit into a specific profile, that doesn’t mean everyone does. So, treat each prospect as an individual. Unless you have independently verified a piece of information or the potential resident has said the words to you, never make an assumption about their situation. Do not make prospects feel ignored or forced to interrupt you with corrections to assumptions. This kind of communication is sure to cause a negative ripple effect. Remember, it only takes a few minutes to ask follow-up questions in order to avoid assumptions.
14. Be Persistent Without Being A Pest
Be persistent, but don’t be a pest. When taking potential residents on tours it’s crucial that managers and caregivers understand this. Excessively calling and emailing prospects when you get no response is counterproductive. Avoid annoying and alienating potential residents while being persistent at the same time. When you do not receive a response to follow-up messages, try a different approach. Do not send repeat messages. Once you re-engage them, steer the conversation back to business.
15. Be Comfortable with Silence
Most people are strangely uncomfortable with silence. When they ask a question and the prospect gets quiet, most intake managers and caregivers immediately try to fill that silence by asking clarifying questions. It’s okay for pauses to occur before speaking. Silence helps to avoid interruptions and the loss of important thoughts. Set the precedent that silence is welcome in your conversations.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY TO THE SUCCESS OF YOUR RESIDENTIAL ASSISTED LIVING BUSINESS
Communication skills are by far the most important weapon intake managers and caregivers can keep in their arsenal.
Make sure to keep yours sharp and ready to use.
Get in touch with the Residential Assisted Living Academy today to learn how to keep your senior living home filled.
So often, you only get one chance to do this right.
Register for the next 3-day course to learn everything you need to know to own and operate a cutting edge residential assisted living home.