September 1, 2020 – In 2018, Solutions Advisors Group (SAG) partnered with OneDay to introduce a video technology platform for Solvere sales team members and SAG consulting clients to communicate with prospects and their families. Once COVID-19 struck, it became a priority for everyone to learn and use the technology and now it’s become the communication of choice to engage with prospects. Many sales team members say it’s an essential tool to stay engaged and is being used over traditional communications like email and phone. Video has given sales team members a competitive edge, helps them develop better personal connections and the ability to be more creative.
What most impressed Mike Brindley, SVP of Solutions Advisors, was how OneDay aligned with the company culture. “Instead of focusing on a community’s lifestyle features like apartment sizes and what the dining and fitness areas look like, it’s about the relationships with prospects and learning their stories,” said Brindley.
SAG trained and coached team members on how to best use the technology. As expected, the learning curve was steep, and many were uncomfortable with using the technology and videotaping themselves. Initially, there was a tendency to overthink and the temptation to overproduce videos that were perfect and formal. Team members quickly realized it was important to be simple, nimble and not overdo it. Be yourself, your personality comes through and it’s genuine, not canned. Several lessons and best practices were learned along the way and now team members are using it in new ways never imagined before and learning from each other.
Mark Monaghan and Anthony Ferro, sales team members from The Sterling Aventura in Florida realized immediately it gave them a competitive advantage over their competitors. “It’s completely different and we’ve had better success getting in touch with people who historically we haven’t been able to reach via phone call or email,” said Monaghan. One of the first things they do with a new prospect is to email a customized video, introducing themselves and encouraging prospects to use them as a resource. The video is authentic, and more people are responding because they want to see more videos and stay in touch.
Most people are staying home more than they ever did before the pandemic. “Picking up the phone to call prospects like the other nine competitors is not a way to stand out and do things differently. Video technology puts a face to a name and prospects and their families can get a better understanding of what the lifestyle will be like at the community,” said Brindley.
The other unforeseen boon is the positive interaction with family members. Before the pandemic, getting in touch with prospects’ families and asking them to come in for a tour was a challenge. Now, baby boomers are busy raising children, possibly homeschooling or virtual learning with their children and taking care of their parents, in some instances from afar. But with video technology, it’s been much easier to reach them and to stay in contact.
One potential depositor didn’t want to decide until her children could see the community and that was impossible because the children were in New York and the community, Hearts Venice, a new development, is in Florida. Melissa Speciale, the general manager, sent the children videos showcasing the construction, the views and an apartment layout so they could decide without physically coming to the community. The children liked what they saw, and their mom deposited.
Engagement & Connection
Video technology changes the relationship immediately. “No matter how personal you can get on the phone, it’s still transactional. There’s a wall between the salesperson and the prospect or family member on the other side. You can’t see body language or a change in engagement,” says Brindley. “That all changes when you use video. People feel like they can relate better to video and it’s so much more real and authentic, especially now during COVID.”
Brian Abraham, the sales & marketing associate from Canvas Valley Forge in King of Prussia, PA recalls the first time he tried the technology. It took him two hours of videotaping before he was comfortable with his two- minute clip, but now using video has become a hobby for him. “Video technology does two things: it builds trust and engagement. We’re in the business of service; you’re guiding people through a very stressful transition and we want to transform this into a positive experience from day one. I’m getting that head start on the positive energy and it sets the tone for what life will be like here,” says Abraham.
Abraham sent a video about his Mother’s Day family trip and how his mother accidentally ate one of the stale pretzels, which were really dog biscuits. Many people responded and thanked him for sending something so light-hearted. The video had nothing to do with senior living but everything to do with learning about each other’s families and sharing who he is.
Speciale, general manager at Heartis Venice and her sales director were worried about a couple they had not heard from. The couple had not responded to several voice mails. Speciale sent a couple of videos on the progress of the community and they not only responded by email but called her to schedule a tour. They thanked Melissa for the heartfelt video and how it touched them. Now they’re in contact with the couple every week and they are close to depositing.
“Things changed so quickly after COVID; we knew we had to be creative in the way we kept in touch with people,” says Speciale. “I initially used the technology to introduce myself if I was not able to be in the office at the time of the tour.” Now they’re producing different types of creative videos on a regular basis, like customized Mother’s Day videos for prospects featuring the daughter or singing the Star Bangled Banner for Memorial Day.
Brian Abraham has interviewed a resident who moved in during COVID and she feels safe, welcomed and happy she made the move. Sales team members will send prospects videos overcoming objections they may have like meeting the lifestyle enrichment director or interviewing the chef who describes his specialties. Videos can also demonstrate the safety measures team members are taking during the pandemic.
Adopting video technology in the sales process has changed the way sales team members interact with prospects – and team members have said they are never going back to only using traditional methods of follow up.