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Spotlight on: Eric Avery, Senior Living Consultant

Eric Avery, Senior Living Consultant at Capital Oaks, is known at RLC as the salesperson who, with the help of his managers and colleagues, filled every apartment in less than two years. We asked him about his job, and what it took to reach this wonderful goal. 

Banner photo: Eric with Resident Hank. Above photo: Eric, with Resident Anna. 

How long have you been with RLC?

Over three and a half years. I’ve had three different titles: Community Relations Manager, Community Relations Coordinator and Senior Living Consultant.

What’s the secret to your success in filling Capital Oaks in less than two years?

There are four strategies my team and I used before the community was open that we still use today with those interested in learning about Capital Oaks: caring, listening, asking, and team work.

  • You have to care about people, and that’s not something you can teach.  
  • We listen to all the magnificent stories seniors tell us about their lives and what they’re looking for in their transition or downsizing. Then, whatever their needs are, whether that may be safety or nutrition, for example, we offer them a solution.  
  • The third strategy is asking seniors for their business--asking them to join the community. That’s a key part of what my team does here. When we were opening Capital Oaks, that’s what enabled us to fill the building in less than two years.  
  • Teamwork. It takes the entire team, especially the managers, to make this work. The chef and his team, concierges, lifestyle director, dining room supervisor and her team, maintenance and even the residents contribute to our success. 

What’s your background?

I have a Masters’ Degree in education and a Doctorate in psychology. I worked for years in developing and implementing drug reduction strategies for mayors of local municipalities. During the Reagan administration, as Deputy Director, I co-developed and implemented a national media campaign to reduce drug abuse. Eight years ago, my wife and I had what I call a “Skype Christmas moment”: watching our grandchildren in Raleigh open our gifts. That’s when we decided to move from Chicago to Raleigh to be close to our children and new grandkids. We applied to be managers of a senior living community here in Raleigh and did that for three and a half years. It was a real career change! From there, I was hired at RLC.

What’s the biggest hurdle in helping a senior choose the right living situation?

The biggest hurdle is when they say, “I’m not ready yet” or “I’m just looking.” We don’t pressure people when we hear that, but that is when we share with them what RLC lifestyle is about. When they see our happy residents and our beautiful community, selling our community happens! The RLC community goals are: Happy residents, a full building, and staying on budget. The number-one is always happy residents. When people see that, it enables us to be successful. Our opportunity in sales is to find out what ‘I’m not ready yet’ means. When is ready? We’re not just renting apartments; we’re sharing a lifestyle. So when is someone ready for a change in their lifestyle?

What is your favorite part of the job?

I like talking to people. My favorite part is touring with potential residents and learning what they want to do. I love sharing our community. We have a fantastic staff and certainly happy residents.

What do you do when you are not helping seniors?

I love camping, fishing, hunting, and driving my sports car. But most of all, I love running away to the beach with my wife.       #

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