Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter what type of market you’re in—everyone wants more listing leads. 

We all know the saying, “List to last.” With everything going on in the real estate community, including the potential shakeup of buyer agent commission, and in most markets, extremely low inventory, this saying has never been more true. 

We’ve also all heard different strategies on how to get more listings. Calling expired listings. Calling FSBOs. Door-knocking. Creating a geographical farm, etc.

While I’m a fan of all of these, my favorite listing leads come from relationships that I have established with people throughout the years. Whether that’s past clients, sphere of influence, or inbound social media leads, it always feels more satisfying when you get the call, text, or DM asking you to come and list a property.

There’s a strategy I have established over the last few years has really worked well for me when it comes to getting inbound listing leads. Now to be fair, there is some groundwork to be done in the beginning. However, if implemented correctly, the strategy will generate a good amount of motivated listings throughout the year with relatively minimal effort and expense on your part.

I think it’s fair to say we’ve all heard about establishing relationships with probate attorneys, divorce attorneys, family law attorneys, and the like.

But one strategy I don’t really hear anyone talk about is developing relationships with marketing directors at assisted living communities.

Why assisted living communities?

Almost every incoming resident in an assisted living community has a property that they own and need to sell prior to moving. Not only do they normally need to sell just because they will no longer be living at the property, but a lot of times they have to sell these properties in order to pay for their room and board fees at their new community. 

Many times the home was their nest egg, and like many people, they use that money to live off of once they can no longer take care of the home themselves and require assistance.

Establish a Marketing Route

Now,  I’m not saying no one’s ever done the strategy before. But it’s not often talked about,  and I’ve never known anyone who’s really fine-tuned a “marketing route” when it comes to assisted living communities. So that’s what I’m sharing today. 

A “marketing route” is really how I like to look at this strategy. If you’ve ever been in any type of other sales job outside of real estate, a lot of times, salespeople will have a route of businesses or offices that they visit regularly to establish relationships with people or companies that need the product that they’re selling.

This is very much how I’ve approached, generating listing business from assisted living communities—all on an estimated budget of $100-$300. I break it all down below.

#1—Map out Assisted Living Communities

The first thing you’re going to want to do is sit down and establish where all the nursing homes and assisted living communities are located within your marketplace. Where I sell property in Southern California, there are about 50 different, assisted living communities within a 30 to 45-minute drive. Take the time to map them all out.

#2—Meet the Marketing Directors 

Next, set a day to go out in person and introduce yourself to the marketing director at each facility. It’s important to show value when introducing yourself. Let’s face it, most people don’t like sales calls or visits. So what I’ve done when marketing to these companies is work to figure out what their pain points are and how I can help. Assisted living communities are a business, and just like any other business that relies on monthly payments from tenants, they need to keep a high occupancy rate in order to keep money coming in. 

#3—Show Your Value

The marketing director’s job at senior care facilities is to make sure that new residents are coming in frequently. But one of the hurdles that I found by talking to them is that older people are sometimes overwhelmed and don’t know where to get started when it comes to selling their property. Many times they don’t have anyone in the area to assist them. So one of the things I did was put together a piece of marketing material that is essentially a pre-listing guide. It lays out an easy checklist of things someone would need to do to get their home ready to put on the market. I also included a list of “trusted services” in the area. I include the contact information for these services. These typically include moving company, Handyman, estate sale company, Junk Hauler, etc.

When I meet with the marketing director, I hand them a Starbucks gift card ( everyone loves Starbucks) and I say something along the lines of—

“Hi, my name is James Shelby, and I work with a lot of assisted living communities in our area. I found through the years that one of the challenges marketing directors face is that a lot of elderly people have to sell their property prior to moving into an assisted living community and a lot of them don’t know where to start. What I’ve done is put together this guide/checklist that makes it easier for them to get started on the process of selling their property. I also assist further by helping them with the scheduling of these services in coordination with listing and selling their property.”

If you notice, I don’t show up and just say Hey I’m a local Realtor in the area can you please let me know if you have anyone that needs my help?

If you just show up and ask for business, it might work, but more than likely these people are going to get tired of seeing you. However, if you show up with something of value, that can help solve their problem, make their job easier, AND  fuel their local Starbucks addiction, you’re going to have a much better shot at earning their referrals.

#4—Follow Up

Once you establish your route of assisted living communities, it’s important to visit his marketing directors on either a monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly basis. I would recommend monthly or bi-monthly to really stay top of mind.

Now keep in mind, this marketing route can sometimes take a little while before it becomes fruitful. You might get someone that refers you business the very first time that you speak with them, although the likelihood of that happening is pretty low. I have found that once you’ve established your route, and you touch bases with these marketing directors on either a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis, you’re going to start to generate listing leads. 

Pro tip: Be sure to add all of the contacts you meet (marketing directors, assisted, living community managers, etc.) to your database. You will usually see a bunch of business cards at the front desk. 

Also, when you do end up generating and closing a lead given to you by one of the marketing directors, it’s not a bad idea to bump up the value of the gift card you give them. As long as you’re staying within all the rules and guidelines for your local state RESPA guidelines. 

#5—Host Information Sessions

A lot of times, assisted living communities will find that a bulk of their incoming residents are moving from a certain 55+ community within the area. With some of the assisted living communities that I’ve established a good relationship with, I’ve offered to host a lunch at the assisted living community where I will provide a market update for the 55+ community where residents are coming from. I send out postcards to the 55+ community advertising the event and handle the upcoming lunch and presentation. 

This does increase the budget needed, but it gives you an opportunity to get in front of numerous potential listing leads. 

The establishment of strategic partnerships with assisted living communities proves to be an innovative and effective approach for real estate professionals seeking motivated listing leads. Embracing this untapped avenue not only addresses the needs of the elderly transitioning to assisted living but also positions real estate agents as valuable resources, fostering long-term relationships and generating a steady stream of listing opportunities.