According to the think-tank Policy Exchange, 1 in 5 people over 55 want to downsize over the next 5 years. So persuading people to downsize from larger, partly empty homes to a purpose built, high quality retirement community should be a straight forward process, right?

Making a life changing decision

In the UK (unlike other countries) downsizing is too often seen as down-trading and down-grading. This is a massive problem because it implies moving to an inferior home. Add to that the sentimental and emotional value that people have vested in their homes and it’s easy to understand why many older people delay downsizing until as late as possible.

Yet for many people, moving to a retirement property can have a hugely positive impact on their quality of life and many people often say they wish they had done it earlier.

So how can operators and developers address this issue?

People aren’t just buying bricks and mortar

Developers, often driven by their natural property instincts, tend to focus on the ‘bricks and mortar’ part of the offer and forget what people are actually buying – peace of mind, security, better access to services, friendship etc. It is the classic features v benefits argument – companies tend to sell on features but consumers actually buy benefits.

Understanding what customers really want from retirement living is key. Some people may be attracted to the social environment, others to the convenience of the property or some the peace of mind and security that living in a retirement property can bring.

It’s all about trust

To help people make the decision to downsize, operators and developers need to show how much better life can be in a retirement community.  They need to show that downsizing isn’t down-trading but can open new horizons and opportunities.

To do that they need to develop customer relationships at the earliest opportunity and start to develop trust. To gain trust people need to know you, like you and understand you, and that should be the focus for early marketing activity, not direct sales.

For advice on how to generate and convert leads for your retirement development, contact the experts.

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