“We really care” and “we have a great staff.” Those searching for senior care hear these words (and read them) over and over… and tend to doubt them. First of all, many people are skeptical to begin with about others caring for their loved one. Secondly, if everyone is saying these things, the words lose value.
Of course, if it’s the truth, you should say these things. However, if your words are to be believed and valued, you should back them up with proof. That’s where many care providers fail.
In senior care marketing, supporting your messages with reality builds trust. And having trust is a critical part of both a care decision and a large financial transaction.
Can Work For Or Against You
When you introduce a bubbly staff member on a tour who is helping a senior client/resident and oozes compassion, trust increases and everything you say takes on a higher value.
On the other side of the coin, when a caring staff member does not give eye contact or struggles to show confidence around visitors, “we care” is doubted… lessening the credibility of everything else said afterward. Trust is not built, it is eroded.
Reality Matters Just As Much On Websites
Senior care websites have a similar problem. Electronic visitors often see highlighted “we have a great staff” or something similar. This is often accompanied by stock photos with perfectly lit models, or real photos with no people in them. Either way, no reality. Why should someone trust your staff if you don’t have the confidence to show them.
On the other side of the coin, when internet visitors see real photos and videos, hear staff members talk about their passion for caring, and read actual testimonial cards and letters, not only does trust go up, but so does gratitude. They are thankful that you are taking some of the difficulty out of their researching and decision-making.
I had a client who told me a story before she retired. She had a Swedish accent and was talking a staff member behind the front desk. A prospect came in the front door and heard her speaking. This person walked right up to her and said “you must be Liz.” Liz was stunned. “Do I know you?” The visitor had seen and listened to her on the company website, and was looking forward to meeting her. Defenses down, trust up. What a fabulous way to proceed through the buying/selling process.
Strategies For Turning Reality Into Trust
How do you use everyday reality to support your marketing messages and build trust in your senior care? Here are some suggestions:
- Practice with staff members on how they greet visitors and join in on a tour. Include eye contact, smiling, what to say, energy and hand shaking. (Yes, I have done handshake training.) On your side, make staff introductions that build confidence, elicit pride, lead to a great response and bring on a smile.
- Combine common phrases such as “we have a great staff” with stories, videos, photos and testimonial cards/letters. Even in face-to-face meetings, photos can play a pivotal role. Many times I have been in an empty activity room and told how fabulous the activity director and program are. Doubt. A bulletin board full of photos and a listing of Wii bowling league leaders can offer proof of a great staff and residents having fun while the seniors are taking an afternoon nap. (That list of bowling leaders also works on your website, and gives family members a reason to return to your site, improving SEO.)
- Use real photos and videos on websites and social network pages. (Must have a model release to use images.) They don’t have to be perfect as long as the website and framing are professional. In many instances, the fact that they are not perfect will increase trust.
- Use the concept we call preconditioning. Address common assumptions ahead of time. And tell visitors what you want them to notice. For example, many people expect senior care facilities to smell antiseptic, or worse. So show photos on your website of your staff baking homemade cookies and tell visitors on phone calls to smell the roses in the garden on their way up the walk.
- Share your expertise. Caregiver Tips prove you have knowledge and experience.
- On the phone and on your website, you can mention a staff member that you really want visitors to meet, and tell a story that increases their anticipation.
Think What Would Build Your Trust
Hopefully you do really care and have a great staff. If so, don’t let those or any other marketing advantages ring hollow. Support them with reality whenever you can. Trust will naturally grow and sales will increase.
And keep it simple. You don’t have to be a marketing guru or a braggart. Think more like a newsperson or a storyteller. I tell clients to reflect upon what makes them proud of their facility. Then bring those strengths to light and prove it.