Marketing Your Cohousing Community — LESSONS FROM #COHOCON2019

The recent CohoCon (National Cohousing Conference) brought together cohousing residents, architects, builders, and consultants to talk about the present and future states of the industry. We were so inspired by all of the different people we met throughout the event, that we wanted to bring back some of their insights. Over the next few weeks, look out for videos from the conference both here and on our social media pages.

Today, we share an interview with Shelly Parks, a consultant whose interest in cohousing started from her passion for aging issues. From her website:

Time and time again, she saw the importance of planning for the inevitable challenges of getting older, and became committed to provided older adults better options.

In her search to answer the question, “How can we do this better?” Shelly discovered the cohousing movement. It was a moment of epiphany: cohousing, more than any other conventional option for aging, offered people the opportunity to proactively live their best lives. With private homes, the ability to meaningfully connect, and all the benefits of living in a tight-knit community planned and managed by the community members themselves, cohousing felt like the answer to Shelly’s question.

Shelly began seeking ways to use her experience and skills to be a part of the cohousing movement. She was invited into the 500 Communities program offered by Katie McCamant, a national leader and one of the co-founders of cohousing in the United States. Shelly is now a Certified Cohousing Consultant and an affiliate of Cohousing Solutions. After years of delving deeper into the cohousing movement, Shelly left her management position for a Seattle-area retirement community in early 2017 to focus on CoVision Consulting full-time.

What’s One Lesson You’ve Learned About Sales & Marketing of Cohousing?

The following is a transcript of our interview with Shelly, lightly edited for clarity.

I'm Shelly Parks and I have a business called CoVision Consulting. I'm also a member of Skagit Cohousing. I live in the Seattle area. Skagit Cohousing is being built up in Anacortes, Washington.

With my business, I focus on helping cohousers that started finding their members and I help them, really, with the marketing and sales part of that.

Passion Translates in Sales & Marketing

What I have found that is just really exciting to me is that most cohousers do a really good job of marketing their communities because they're so passionate about what they're doing. And we're all passionate about cohousing. So what happens when they actually have someone who's interested in their community?

How do they move them along the process for them to commit to become a member? So it's been really rewarding for me to be able to work with groups and help them do that.

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For more on the benefits of cohousing for seniors, click here to read another blog post.