Things in the world today seem to be as uncertain as ever. Stay at home orders, social distancing, and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 have people scrambling to figure out the new normal.
Many child care businesses have been forced to modify they way you are operating, if they are allowed to operate at all. This is a cause for great concern for many child care business owners.
If your school has been closed, or is running at a reduced capacity due to COVID-19, you might be anxious to ramp up your enrollments!
Here are 16 quick ideas to jumpstart that inquiry-tour-enrollment cycle. Please leave additional ideas in the comments!
Generate More Leads
People are on social media now more than ever – some people are laid off or working from home so they have more time to scroll. But even if some people ARE working, EVERYBODY misses real, live, in-person socializing, so they are more active than ever on social. Ads, Posts, Lives – Do it all! Be seen. Tell your story. Share your message. Put goodwill out into your community. Be as active as possible. Visit Bruce Spurr’s article detailing the concept of Asymmetric Risk to find out why this is so important!
Update your e-packet with COVID related measures – Your e-packet is a marketing tool to share with prospective families and should be used to highlight all the unique selling points, answer FAQs, and share parent testimonials. However, in the midst of this COVID crisis, parents have some additional concerns. Create a special insert or section in your e-packet to share what you are doing to sanitize, limit contact, slow the spread, etc. Being proactive about easing parent’s concerns will go a long way toward increasing the parent’s comfort level with enrolling their child in your school
Make it easy for people to find & request info – Even if your state is “OPEN,” much of the world is still social distancing right now – or at least minimizing their outings. Be sure your website is up-to-date, and parents can find all the information they need to make the best decision to enroll in your school. Also, be sure to set parent’s minds at ease by adding some information to your website on how your center is responding to COVID and keeping the students and staff safe. Maybe add a special “COVID FAQs” page, or an “eyebrow” with a clickable link “COVID and ABC Child Care: How we are keeping kids safe.”
Adjust your messaging – Normally your messaging should always highlight your core values, USPs, & client testimonials. But as stated previously, the world is in a new, weird, and unchartered place right now. Be sure to adjust your messaging to speak to current events. Set parent’s minds at ease by sharing what you are doing to ease every concern they might have before they ever ask you about it. Your messaging should be adjusted EVERYWHERE you market or have contact with clients & prospects – social media, printed newsletters, e-packets, websites, brochures, phone scripts, tours, etc.
Wow Your Prospects on the Phone
Make sure an actual person answers the phone – If a parent is CALLING your school, you’ve made the cut into their top 3-5 choices. They ARE interested in your program. Don’t throw the enrollment away by not being available to make a connection with a prospective family on the phone. Even if you are closed right now, forward that number to a home or cell number. Have a dedicated person that is trained on your phone process answer and talk them through enrollment for when you are ready to reopen. Being able to make that personal connection and build rapport with a prospective client is often *the* thing that makes a difference in the parent’s enrollment decision.
Use a phone script – This is the #1 way to make sure you give and receive all the necessary information on the phone, build trust & rapport, and of course, book the tour! If you’ve never thought about using a phone script, you should consider taking our Enrollment Boot Camp Course for a full training session on the topic and how it works in a child care setting.
Build connections – You are more likely to win the enrollment if the parent feels like they know, like, and trust you. Find ways during the conversation to point out things in common to build connections with them. Building rapport is so important in the sales/enrollment process.
ASK the parent about their biggest concerns – When you ask parents about their previous child care experiences, concerns, likes/dislikes, etc – you will be able to build connections with them by eliminating their concerns. It is a powerful advantage to be able to modify your tour to highlight how you will be able to put those concerns to rest. If you don’t ask, you run the risk of talking about things that aren’t important to the family.
Win Families Over on Tours
Virtual tour options – If you don’t already have an option to book/schedule a tour on your website, get that set up now! Parents LOVE the convenience of being able to schedule online. In addition, it’s time to create a virtual tour for your website. It can be done in a variety of ways such as a professional 360-view, a video with a walkthrough of each room, or an extremely detailed set of photos for each room showing close-ups and whole room shots. Get creative and show off your school so parents are SOLD before they show up in person.
Use the 5 senses checklist – It’s always a great idea to go through the five senses checklist when prepping for a tour. What will my prospect see/ hear/ smell/ feel/ taste when they are in my school? Take this a step further and consider what they will see/ hear/ smell/ feel/ taste as it relates to COVID and plan to showcase how you are responding to it.
Tour stops with added COVID measures – You’ve likely changed some things about the way you do business in order to keep your staff and children safe from COVID. Highlight these to prospective families as you tour them. Explain your check-in procedures, your sanitizing process, your health check protocol – all of it! Set parent’s minds at ease by demonstrating you’ve got it all covered before they ask.
Ask for the enrollment – Don’t be wishy-washy at the end of your tour! Let the parent know you WANT them to enroll by asking them to so. Take control of the conversation by leading them to the next step. They are interested in your school. They need child care. Make it simple for them to say YES to your school, by walking them through the process. If you need more pointers on this one, you should check out our Enrollment Boot Camp Course.
Don't Forget to Follow-up
Email – The fortune is in the follow-up. If a family doesn’t make it clear at the end of the tour that they will be enrolling, make sure you have a clear and consistent follow-up process. Create an email drip campaign to thank them for touring, to share important information about your school, and to ask them again for their enrollment. Email is free and so easy to automate!!
Phone call – Follow-up with a phone call. Thank them for touring, offer to answer questions that may have come up, share the next enrollment special offer, get a feel for their timeline, etc. The act of a real person reaching out to them may be the personal connection that causes them to enroll in YOUR program.
Mail a Thank You note – If a parent leaves without enrolling, be sure to follow up with a handwritten thank you card. To add an extra touch of pizzazz, you could include a small gift for the child. An age-appropriate children’s book is one idea that is easy to mail that is fairly inexpensive.
Keep them on your house list – If a family tours but doesn’t enroll right away, make sure to keep them on your house list. Send them your regular school newsletters, invite them to events, share when you have openings, etc. Stay in front of them. They might not be ready to enroll YET, but they will remember you when they are if you keep in touch. They might even refer their friends to you in the meantime.