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May 24, 2023Four Proven Ways to Win More Home Care Clients, Earn More Hours, and Retain Clients Longer
As a home care agency professional, you know that in-home assessments enable you to ensure that the care plan meets the client's specific needs. But, did you know that in-home assessments can create the type of relationship that contributes to more hours per client and better client retention? There’s a sales term for a series of techniques to build trust, establish rapport, and gauge the client's interest in services. It’s called the trial close.
Trial closes involve asking questions or making statements designed to elicit a response from the client. These questions or statements gauge interest and gather feedback. They are customer-centric ways to guide conversations and learn how to serve seniors and their families more effectively.
Assume the Partnership: This approach assumes that the client will choose your agency. You ask questions that assume the senior is ready to begin services. For example, you might say, "So, when would you like to get started?" If the client responds positively, you can discuss the next steps. If the client responds negatively, you can ask why. Either way, you’ve learned something important and moved the conversation forward.
Provide Alternatives: This involves presenting the client with two options and asking the client to choose one. For example, you might say, "We offer both hourly and live-in care options. Which one would work best for you?" Not only does this approach enable you to assess the client's needs and preferences but also affirms the senior controls the decision-making process. It’s a respectful way to determine how the client would like to proceed.
Summarize and Verify: With this approach, you summarize the key points of the conversation and ask the client to agree or disagree. For example, you might say, "Based on what you've told me, it sounds like you could use assistance with bathing and getting dressed. Is that correct?" This approach helps you ensure you have accurately assessed the client's needs. It also allows you to uncover any concerns or objections before moving forward with the care plan.
Confirm and Connect: Listen carefully to the client’s expressed needs and wants, then repeat back what the client said to you. This shows that you are engaged and interested in the senior and empowers the senior to choose you and your agency’s services. For example, you might say, "You mentioned that you're having difficulty with daily activities like bathing and dressing. Our caregivers are trained to help with those tasks. Would you like us to schedule a caregiver to come by and help you?" This approach helps you build trust and establish a commitment from the client.
These powerful communication tools allow you to address any concerns and ensure the care plan meets all client's specific needs, which helps you get the most billable hours. And, these techniques enable you to provide the highest quality of care, while also building strong relationships that lead to long-term success.
Apr 27, 2023Sure-Fire Ways to Increase Responses to Your Emails, Part 2
In home care, people sometimes express interest in your agency but fail to respond to your emails. While this can be frustrating, it is a common situation. According to research conducted by InsideSales.com, it takes an average of 8 attempts to reach a prospect, and only 2% of sales are made on the first contact. Luckily, there are strategies to re-engage these prospects.
Plan to follow up in the short-term. Some prospects only invite you into their home after you establish a relationship with them. These prospects need time to feel comfortable with you and your services. When planning your follow up, be consistent and caring. Remember every interaction with the prospect should be about the prospect’s needs and wants.
Know your audience. More than 70% of marketers say personalization increases customer engagement, with an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences. Identifying your audience is an easy way to personalize your emails. When establishing contact with a new prospect, it’s vital to understand if your audience is the care recipient or loved one. For example, people searching for a parent make up the largest portion of Caring.com users. These searchers have minimal time and often choose a home care agency more quickly than those searching for themselves. Customizing your emails to these searches can lead to increased engagement, which in the home care industry can equal more new clients who take more hours.
Build a relationship. Home care is a very personal service. So, establish a personal relationship. Plan a follow up email that asks how the care recipient is doing. This second email should be more empathic with a more personal tone. “Hi – I reached out a few days ago in response to your request for care for your father, John. I haven’t heard back from you and I’m a little concerned. Is everything okay? Please let me know if you’ve made arrangements or would like to schedule a call to talk about your father’s needs.”
Plan to follow up in the long-term. During the first few days after receiving the referral, reach out often. As time goes on, connect on a regular cadence of one month, three months, and six months, then annually. Share valuable information that's not directly tied to the sale but demonstrates your expertise and interest in the care recipient’s well-being, such as "how to prevent falls in the home" or "the top 10 foods for heart health.” This enables you to maintain a connection with prospects who might postpone plans to start care, or those who initially choose another agency.
Re-engaging with prospects who have shown interest in your home care agency but have failed to respond to your emails requires patience, consistency, personalization, and relationship building. Following these tips can lead to increased engagement, trust, and ultimately, more new clients for your home care agency.
Mar 30, 2023Sure-Fire Ways to Increase Responses to Your Emails, Part 1
You’re in the home care business to help people. So, it can be frustrating to send emails to prospective clients and get no response. Fortunately, there are some simple, proven techniques to increase your response rate.
Write a compelling subject line. People are more inclined to open emails that are specific, relevant, and personal. In fact, emails with a personal subject line are 22% more likely to be opened. To make your subject lines more personal, include the care recipient’s name. To make your email subject line more relevant and specific, add a phrase stating that your email is in response to a referral. Here’s a subject line to try: A Response to Your Caring.com Inquiry: Home Care for John Smith”. There are also free online tools that you can use to help you determine if it’s a good subject line for increasing the chance of the email being opened, such as this one.
Express empathy and understanding. As the saying goes, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care." So, ensure the first sentences of your email reference the name of the care recipient or the contact. Then talk about the details provided by your referral source. This establishes that you know the situation and care about the outcome. For example: “Good morning Mr. Smith – You contacted Caring.com about home care for your father, John Smith. Sorry to learn he had a fall recently.”
Position your agency as a great match. Provide a brief intro to your agency. If you’re part of a franchise, say that. If you’re a local boutique agency, let the prospect know. If you’re an award-winning agency, have the associated badge or a “Read our Reviews” link in your email signature. Briefly explain who you are and how you can assist. You could say something like: “While John recovers, I can get a caregiver to help him with bathing and dressing. Because my agency has provided care in this area for more than 20 years, I have several excellent caregivers in your neighborhood. They would love to help John.”
Ask the prospect to choose between two options and respond to your email. All too often, agencies send emails to introduce their services and forget to end the email with a call to action – a request for the prospect to do something. In this case, ask the prospect to reply to the email and set up a home assessment. Whenever possible, give two options. This is called a closed choice, a respectful way to encourage decision-making. Also, make sure the contact knows that your assessment is free. For many people, home care is their first experience with senior care. These people don’t know that you’re willing to meet with them at no charge. And the word “free” often compels decision making. You might say: “I can stop by your house tomorrow to talk about John’s needs. Would you be home at 10:00 am, or would 2:00 pm be more convenient for a free assessment?”
Following these tips will encourage more responses to your emails -- especially if you reach out as soon as possible, keep the email short, and customize your email to each prospect. In part two, we’ll talk about how to follow up with prospects who need more prompts to respond.
Feb 28, 2023How (and When!) to Talk About Home Care Rates
When seniors and their loved ones begin to research home care options, there is often a precipitating event, like a fall, that highlights the need for care. This urgency can lead to lots of questions about available services, hours needed – and of course, price.
It’s easy to answer these questions on the phone during the initial call, but at times this approach can be a disservice to the senior or loved one. To much information at once may be overwhelming, and early discussion of pricing can lead to sticker shock. On the other hand, they might not realize exactly how much help they need and underestimate the hours needed per week. In both scenarios, you can lose the opportunity to earn a new client for what may have been a great fit. Instead, be intentional with what information you cover in the initial call and what you choose to discuss during an at-home assessment.
During the initial call, prospects often want to know the cost per hour, and you often want to know how many hours the client needs. Both of you are asking the same question, “How valuable is this potential relationship?” So, ask questions to show your value first! Be kind, be empathetic, be curious, and avoid the temptation to talk about price.
When a prospect inquires about your rates during the initial call, redirect the conversation. You can say something very simple and empathic, such as, "Before we go into that, I'd really like to understand how we can help you. What have you been experiencing lately?" Listen carefully and ask clarifying questions, then schedule an in-home assessment.
Before you begin the assessment, recap the reason why you're there and verify the prospect’s basic information - but don’t talk about price right away. Instead, ask questions to uncover the prospect’s needs. Learn about ADLs and chronic conditions. Ask who cooks the meals, does the laundry, cleans the home. Find out about hobbies and interests that the potential client loves to do but cannot anymore.
As you discover ways your agency can assist, make a note with an estimate of the hours needed to meet each need. Once you uncover all the pain points, focus on the solutions you can provide and present your care plan.
Resist the temptation to talk about money and hours just yet! Ask for the prospect’s opinion of the care plan and refine it as needed. Seek to understand the prospect’s point of view and demonstrate the value of your agency. Once you and the prospect agree on the care needed, then talk about hours, cost, and payment.
Follow this process and you will experience two benefits to your agency:
You will complete more at-home assessments, which means you will convert more leads into new clients.
By starting with the need, you'll uncover more opportunities for your agency to help, and those clients will often take more hours.
Not only will this process help you grow your client base and weekly revenue, seeking to understand and create a care plan matched specifically to their needs will lead to happier, longer-lasting client relationships.
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