Did you get the deposit? Did they sign? Did you get the check? Questions we hear everyday in Senior Living. Some days our work is narrowed down to how many move ins will we have, how many hot leads are we working, who can we "close"? If we imagined we got up every morning with the sole aim of collecting checks from would-be residents, none of us would still be in this rewarding, but challenging, business of changing people's lives.
There aren't many things you can sell where you can go home at the end of the day and think, "I just saved the life of a exhausted spouse caring for her frail and failing husband."
When our work is reduced to metrics, deposits and tasks, it is easy to lose sight of what we are actually selling. It's not about the money. Yes, we need capital to operate and there is great value in what we offer. But as soon as the need for the money becomes more important than delivering a superior product or improving the quality of life for our residents, we are doomed to an empty building.
I recently worked on a "turn-around" that, in the decades before we arrived, spent years not investing in their building or the future of the people who lived in it. Almost all the furniture was acquired from vacating residents and thrift shops, the original flowered wallpaper was still hanging, and none of the silverware matched. They managed to come through the millennium without a computer for the residents, no library and no break room for the staff.
It came as no surprise to anyone, except maybe them, that due to the lack of investment in their product they found it difficult to attract new residents. They would rent an apartment to anyone who promised to pay for it. Many did not, would not, or were unable to pay and so the cycle continued. The building remained half full and in constant debt and disrepair.
When we come from a place of service (that is, what are we actually doing for those we serve?) instead of a place of scarcity (what can we leave out to save money?) we always attract more and better clients. Our product improves, our rates can increase and our customers are happier. They in turn refer more customers and our business thrives. It seems so simple. And this formula never fails to work when we are generous with our mission as well as our investments.