SALES & MARKETING Company: Heritage Communities Program: “In a Good Place”

Navigating the journey toward placing a parent in senior living can be an emotion- ally challenging experience for adult chil- dren. When Heritage Communities decid- ed to create a book to guide adult children through the decision-making process, the leadership team took a unique approach. Instead of writing an advice manual, they chose to craft a novel that follows a relatable character as she realizes that her mother would be safer and happier living in a senior living community. “In a Good Place” is a fictional story

based on the experiences of real-life families served by Heritage Communities. The story follows a middle-aged woman as she strug- gles to care for her aging mother while man- aging her own growing children, marriage, and career. As the book progresses, the main character realizes that it’s time to find a se- nior living community for her mother. The heroine is purposely left nameless so readers can imagine themselves in her place. Heritage Communities president Nate

Underwood and corporate director of sales and marketing Lacy Jungman spent 18 months creating the book. They consulted with sales leaders at each community for input. The book debuted during National Assisted Living Week in 2018. “Nate has always said that our business is a combination of mission and margin,” Jungman said. “‘In a Good Place’ fell into the mission portion of our organization. Writing this book was a way for us to reach out to families who are on this journey and let them know they’re not alone.” The book is meant to support the adult

child’s emotional journey through the de- cision-making process. Readers learn that there is hope in this challenging time and that other people are facing the same issues. The storyline emphasizes the positive out- comes of moving a parent into senior living and acknowledges that the decision to do so can be difficult. Adult children and family members who

express an interest in Heritage Commu- nities receive copies of the book from the organization’s sales counselors. The coun-

44 SENIOR LIVING EXECUTIVE MARCH/APRIL 2019 Heritage Communities president Nate Underwood and corporate director of sales and marketing Lacy Jungman.

selors highlight or bookmark sections that will be of particular help to an individual they are advising. Counselors can then offer a next step to help the prospect along their journey. Presenting the book in this way positions the counselor as a knowledgeable advisor and helps deepen the relationship between the potential customer and the community. Distributing the book one-on-one with

each adult child or in physician’s offices builds trust and credibility for Heritage Communities and its representatives. The book also positions the provider as a thought leader in the industry. Each of the company’s communities throughout Iowa, Nebraska, and Arizona received a supply of books to offer free to the general public. The success of “In a Good Place” has

fostered a sense of pride within the Heritage Communities organization. The book re-

ceived positive feedback since it was distrib- uted in the communities in October 2018. Associates at all levels have asked for copies of the book to read, share, or keep for them- selves. Sales teams reported that prospects were often deeply moved by the story and could relate to the character’s emotions in their own lives. The book was also endorsed by the Nebraska Health Care Association and Nebraska Assisted Living Association. Plans are underway to host book signings

in the communities and at offsite referral lo- cations. These events are expected to gener- ate new leads and nurture existing prospects. The events will also help maintain good re- lationships with the families of current resi- dents, who can relate to the messages in the book. The success of “In a Good Place” has prompted plans to create additional books in a series about senior living.

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