How to Create a Longterm Pipeline Serving Seniors
Growing a successful senior real estate specialty doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a strategy, commitment, focus, and a bit of time. When Chris and I set out to grow our senior real estate business with senior homeowners as our focus, I set a 5 year goal. The goal was that in five years time we would have a pipeline that would sustain our real estate goals (80 or more transactions).
Our original strategy: seminars.
The Senior Living Truth Series© was birthed in January of 2016 and so we are now in our 4th year of hosting monthly senior-centered seminars. Since the beginning we have grown from 45 in attendance monthly to 250-300 regularly. We have outgrown 3 venues, collaborated with over 30 sponsors, and developed personal relationships with over 1400 unique households equating to nearly approximately 3000 Oklahoma City senior adults (that we know about).
People want guidance.
What we realized as we embarked on this journey is that hundreds of older adults are seeking truthful and trustworthy information about a whole host of topics ranging from real estate to healthcare, estate liquidation to finance and legal support, and housing options to hospice. So we offered it.
And they came.
The next thing we experienced is as we encouraged people to plan ahead, they started doing it. We shared how important it is to plan for future housing needs and gave them strategies for checking out their options. Before we knew it, they were seeking us out to report back with their progress.
Everyone likes gold stars.
Lastly, and most importantly (for purposes of this blog anyway), people were scheduling appointments with our real estate and senior move management teams to get information about when, where, and how to move. They wanted to know the approximate value of their home, how they would manage the logistics of moving, and our opinions about the local senior living options. We became the authority (in their eyes) about senior living issues in our market.
Well, it’s not really a dilemma for us now, but it was early on. Many of the appointments that we made were with people in the planning phase of downsizing or relocating. They weren’t really ready to make a move. As real estate agents, we were taught to find ready, willing, and able home buyers and sellers to fill our pipeline. These homeowners weren’t ready, willing, or able.
So, what now?
It wasn’t until a couple of years into this process of holding seminars and going on appointments that the magic began to happen. People with whom we had met two years prior started calling us to list and sell their homes. Many had continued to attend seminars in the interim, however, some had not spoken to us since our initial visit. They had done their homework, thought about it, and were now READY. But not just ready, they were ready AND willing. The only obstacle was the “able” part of the equation.
The good news for us is that by this time we had developed a strong move management component to our real estate sales organization. Not only were we equipped to help people sell their homes, we also had a system in place to facilitate sorting, packing, moving, unpacking, resettling, and liquidating the excess. It was the complete solution that enabled and empowered them to make the move.
The result …. Ready, willing, AND able.
Fast forward a little over four years and approximately 200 consultations later. Most of our business is the result of people attending our seminars, working with our sponsors, and the promotions we carry out focused on our seminar series.
Right now, as I write this blog, we have 30 homes in our active pipeline (either listed and active, listed and in-process, committed w/ paperwork pending, or consults scheduled). Of these 30, at least 20 can be attributed to two sources: seminar attendance and referrals from sponsors connected to the seminar series. Oh, and it’s only July!
Each year since we started, we have doubled the number of new consults completed year after year. By year 5 we will have achieved our goal – our seminars (strengthened by powerful downsizing consultations and comprehensive move management services) will fuel our business without any additional lead generation strategies.
What’s the point?
I write this blog today because I know that a number of people are watching from the sidelines as we participate in this grand experiment of specialization in the mature market. You know who you are!
I simply want to offer encouragement and share a few lessons learned along the way just in case you are thinking about diving in!
- You have to start somewhere. Regardless of how small the first one is, it’s at least a start!
- People will invest in your vision and mission if you are passionate about it. The right people will show up but ONLY if you put it out there.
- Consistency and commitment matter. You have to show up, do what you say you will do, and be committed to the long haul for people will take you seriously.
- There will always be doubters, copy-cats, naysayers, and critics. They simply don’t matter when you know in your heart that it will work.
- It’s not all about real estate. It’s ALL about seniors. Caring about others and adding value to them is where it starts – real estate transactions are simply the by-product.
- Failing is not optional. Not every event will be great, not every sponsor will collaborate, and not every attendee will appreciate what you do. Just keep going.
- Move management services are the key to helping get people from ready and willing to “able.” If you don’t have one, you are one.
- Being a skilled downsizing coach is the key to moving people from “maybe in a year or two” to “ready and willing” today. Learn how to consult and coach before trying to sell.
- Others will do it better than you! We have agents across the country using the Ultimate Senior Living Seminar Solution and Managing Mature Moves tools and resources, and they are surpassing even our team’s results!
- Thinking longterm matters. When only thinking about today, you may get business for today, but in order to create a longterm pipeline, you have to think and plan strategically.
In closing, let me say this. Our team at SREI is committed to helping educate, empower, and equip senior homeowners to make informed decisions about their housing and lifestyles goals. It is our intention to ensure that every older adult across the country (and later globally) has a real estate sales professional who can serve their needs before, during, and after the sale.
If this hit any of your hot buttons and you are ready to take specializing to the next level, check out the products and coaching that SREI has to offer. We have listed a few below to make it easy.
It’s our intention to shorten your learning curve and help you achieve even better results that we do by having a bit of a “head start!” If you are already doing it and seeing massive results…ROCK ON! Stay the course!
Yours in Serving Seniors,
(Fundamentals – now on clearance as we prepare for the new course rewrites coming out in August. Required for earning the Certified Senior Housing Professional designation)
(Advanced – only for CSHPs and grads of Success in Seniors Real Estate)
(Everything you need to create success seminars)