Back to Basics: The Little Things That Will WOW Parents During a Tour

You have spaces to fill in your center. You’ve marketed like crazy to get your phone to ring and trained your staff to use your phone script when discussing the specific benefits and unique aspects of your school. And it’s worked! You’ve booked a tour with an amazing prospect. Now that you’ve gotten this far, you want to see hopeful tour numbers turning into high enrollment. What can you do to make prospects more likely to enroll with you? What makes a great tour that stands out from the rest and offers a “wow” experience?

Confirm Your Appointment with Your Prospect

Many times no-shows are just the result of forgetfulness. We all have busy schedules, especially parents, and sometimes appointments just slip through the cracks. A great way to protect against this is with reminders. Call the prospect the day before the tour, then send them an email reminder 24 hours prior, and then a text reminder 2 hours prior to their appointment. Let them know that you anticipate and look forward to their arrival. Make them feel like this appointment is a big deal and you are excited about meeting them. Help them feel welcome before they ever set foot in your doors! This will help the prospect feel valued as a person rather than just another number on your list. Email and messaging (SMS) reminders can be automated through drip campaigns that won’t cause you to expend any extra effort at all!

As an added benefit, setting a system in place for various types of reminders means that the staff member taking the initial phone call will have to get the prospect’s phone number and email address in order to put them in the campaign system, which is important for consistent communication going forward. This is just another way to make sure this vital step isn’t left out of the phone script.

Prep for Their Arrival

Convey the subconscious message to your prospect that they and their business are important to you by being prepared. No one wants to walk into a center that feels cluttered, rushed, and disorganized. If everyone is running around looking tired and stressed, a prospect isn’t likely to see your school as a secure and healthy environment for their child. Here are some ways to make sure you and your staff look as professional and prepared as possible:

  • Have your enrollment packet ready. Nothing looks more unprofessional than having to scurry around to piece together your enrollment packet, or worse yet, PRINT IT, for an appointment that has already been scheduled. This makes it seem like tours and new enrollments are an afterthought for you, when in fact they should be a driving force in your business and marketing.


  • Mark the appointment on your calendar and block out time for the tour. Don’t appear frazzled or surprised at their arrival. This is something you’ve planned for!


  • Inform your teachers ahead of time about this tour so they can be prepped and ready too. We recommend that parents be allowed to look in on an in-progress classroom setting to get an idea of how the day goes and how your staff teach. If teachers are prepared for this, there’s less likely to be a crisis happening right at the moment your prospect walks in.


  • Walk through the building and playground to look for any cleanliness or safety issues that you can correct before your prospect’s arrival. Keep the five senses in mind: What will my prospect see, smell, hear, touch, taste?Having an air freshener or diffuser running can be a great way to give your center a fresh, clean scent. It’s a good idea to have soft, calming music playing as well. These tips are as useful in creating a calming, healthy atmosphere for children as they are for impressing prospects.
  • Give your teachers a heads up that they may have an extra special visitor joining their classroom for a bit when you are conducting tours because you will be inviting the child on the tour to join in the fun that’s happening and experience it for themselves.

Make a Connection

Finding common ground with your prospect increases the “Know, Like, Trust Factor.” When someone feels like they know you, like you, and trust you, they are more likely to do business with you! 

  • Tell the family that they are encouraged to bring their child along for the tour! Use the prospect’s name and their child’s name often during the tour. Address the child directly as well as addressing the parent.
  • Ask a lot of questions about the child, the family, and what is important to them. This will also help both you and the prospect understand how their family fits into your core values.
  • Cater your talking points to what is of interest or concern to the parents, rather than 15 minutes of mindless drivel about your curriculum and policies. Remember, when talking to a prospect it’s important to turn the features of your center into benefits for the family. They may not understand why having a 24-hour webcam system in place is great until you explain that this lets them keep an eye on their child and engage in the activities of the day 24/7 from wherever they are, just by opening an app on their smartphone. Safety is a benefit that connects with many parents.Turn your unique features into benefits by considering, “what problem does this solve for families, or how can it spur growth in their child?”
  • Find common ground and highlight commonalities during your conversation. For example, you might find out you are from the same area, use the same gym, name your daughter the same name as hers, or have the same favorite restaurant. 

Add Special Touches

Go out of your way to make the prospect feel truly welcome at your center. Wow them and make them REMEMBER their experience with you! 

    • Hang a white board or a bulletin board in the hallway and write a welcome message on it that the prospect will see when they walk into your center. “We are so excited to welcome Sarah and her mom, Jennifer, who are touring our center today! May today be the first of many!” 
    • Have a snack ready for them. Cookies, cheese & crackers, coffee, or juice boxes are all great ideas. Make sure there’s something for the child as well! Get creative. Nothing says “welcome” like sharing a treat together. 
    • Give a tour goodie bag or parting gift at the end of the tour. This adds some “wow” to your tour and enacts the law of reciprocity, which is when you do a kindness for someone else, they want to return the favor. Besides, a goodie bag filled with useful branded items such as onesies, coffee mugs, pencils, thermometers, sippy cups, or lip balm will most likely make its way into everyday use in the prospect’s household, causing them to remember you every time they use something with your logo on it.
    • Prep your teachers with the names of the parent and child and ask them to use their names when they meet the family. Have the teacher say something like “It’s so nice to meet you, Sally. I cannot wait to have little Justin in my class! He’s going to love it here.” Presuming that the family will enroll plants an idea in the parent’s head and makes them feel like they’re really wanted at the center.

Ask for the Enrollment

Many times, parents will enroll when you simply ASK them to do so! They are looking for child care. They have already indicated that you are at the top of their list by touring your school. Sometimes they just don’t know the next step. Lead the way for them! Ideally you would have a special offer with a deadline running that you can use when asking for the enrollment. 

    • Tell them you want their business. No more hemming and hawing and saying things like, “Thanks for coming in. Give me a call if you want to enroll.” No! No! No! You may have just lost that enrollment. Instead try: “Susan, I am so glad you came in. I feel like we’ve really connected during our time here today and I think that you would fit right into the Munchkin Manor family. We’d love to have you enroll. Actually, we have a special running right now that can save you $X when you enroll by Friday. Can I help you get the paperwork started to get Jackson enrolled today?” 

    • If they say they are touring other centers, congratulate them on their diligence as a parent, and restate how much you’d like to get a call with the good news that Suzie will be enrolling with you! Set a time to follow up, and then follow through on your follow up. Forgetting follow-ups is a great way to lose enrollments, so make sure your center is using a CRM system to keep track of tours, prospects, and follow-ups. No more sticky notes plastered around the office!

Keep these things in mind for all your tours, and soon you will become a pro at enrolling more children than ever before. It will become so second nature to you that even families that drop in for a tour will feel extremely welcome and ready to fill out that enrollment packet on the spot! And if they choose not to enroll that day, make sure to follow up with them to check in and see if you can be of service and answer any questions or concerns they may still have that are holding them back. 

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