If you’ve worked in senior living for any span of time, you may be familiar with the story behind The Clare. Developed in 2008 by the Franciscan Sisters, the 53-story high rise in the heart of Chicago’s famed Gold Coast district defaulted on their loan and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At the time of the bankruptcy, occupancy was stuck at 35%. In 2012, the distressed community was acquired by an affiliate of Senior Care Development and its financial partners and was financially restructured. Fast forward to July 2014 when the Solutions Advisors team was brought in to partner with the on-site team to drive sales and marketing. The first order of business was to strengthen the sales team, implement 7-day a week sales coverage and deploy a “team selling” model along with creative messaging and strategic event planning targeting educated, affluent retirees in downtown Chicago and surrounding neighborhoods. Quarterly marketing planning was initiated to evaluate past strategies and to plan for future initiatives. Continual coaching in “prospect centered selling” kept the sales team motivated while other innovative sales tools like creative follow up techniques and prospect case studies helped move the team closer to their goals.
Members of the Solutions Advisors team, Marilyn Hoffman, Lauren Messmer, Jeff Felton and Courtney Sweasy, in close partnership with the Clare sales team, focused on improving key indicators. Move-ins increased to just over 4 per month in 2017 and new inquiries increased to over 80 per month. The Solutions Advisors creative team dug deep in order to gain a full understanding of the Clare’s prospect audience and develop targeted messaging and to capture the upscale and energetic feel of The Clare. Strategic events kept prospects engaged by demonstrating the unique lifestyle and location of The Clare. Engaging digital strategies were deployed to capture web traffic and to drive lead generation. At the same time, ownership committed over $11 million dollars in capital improvements to the lobby, dining areas and resident common spaces which, in turn, helped increase sales even more as word got out about the “new” Clare. At the end of 2017, occupancy was over 95%.
As for Solutions Advisors, our engagement with The Clare continues, but will focus less on sales in 2018 and instead will hone in on lead generation, marketing strategy and digital initiatives to keep The Clare brand front and center. We feel privileged to continue to work side by side with such a remarkable team. Truly, our work with The Clare has helped us live our mission of creating value-driven, innovating solutions for our senior living partners.