With many areas experiencing issues of over supply and providers struggling to fill vacancies, now, more than ever, it's important to make a great first impression on families and to run a professional and informative tour, which leads to touring families converting to enrolments.
Tours are your opportunity to connect with families and to demonstrate your service's approach to the education and care of children as well as your facilities and the programs on offer.
When planning and running tours of your service it's important to think about which of your staff members are best placed to showcase your service in its best possible light, answer questions and provide a warm and welcoming tone to the tour.
Child care marketing expert Kris Murray says that many early childhood directors are rightly employed for their experience as an educator, their staff management skills and their ability to keep the service running smoothly, but that these skills aren't necessarily what is required for running an effective tour.
Ms Murray says it's very important for directors to identify the staff member who is best placed to 'sell' the service and then seal the deal by offering families the opportunity to enrol.
"Tour leaders need to be able to identify a parent's unique needs, emotionally connect with a family and demonstrate above and beyond that their service is the most well equipped to accommodate those needs. They also need to be comfortable asking for the business," she says.
Sealing the deal isn't necessarily easy, especially with high vacancy rates and parents enjoying the luxury of being able to choose between a number of high quality early childhood services.
To this end, here are eight tips from child care marketing expert Kris Murray on how to convert tour participants into enrolled families in your early childhood service:
- Before the tour begins, take a look at any information you know about the family coming in and see if there are any commonalities so you can better relate to them during the tour. If you don't have anything to work with beforehand, look for ways to build rapport throughout the tour. At minimum, make sure to address them by their names and reference their child's name.
- Consider your mindset when giving a tour: Are you just hoping to seal the deal or are you actually taking the time to demonstrate how your school can provide solutions to the needs that that family is expressing?
- Learn to be transparent during tours. You might fear not being able to check off all the boxes of a parent's checklist by doing this, but they will appreciate your open communication and transparency more than anything else. Whether or not that family is a fit for your school, they won't hesitate to share their pleasant experience when touring your school with their friends that are looking for care.
- Rather than trying to sell families into your program, take a more authentic approach and "invite" them to enrol and register. You should be "inviting" them to join your community.
- The language you use around closing a tour will greatly influence your closing rate. You should be using language that sounds warm, genuine, and elegant.
- If you don't invite a family to enrol with you as you wrap up a tour, you are doing them a disservice. If you have created a high-quality program, you should be doing whatever you can to convince that family that their child will significantly benefit from being enrolled at your school.
- Every step within your enrolment process needs to have a call to action attached to it, including your tour. Sometimes clients need their hand held along the way and require some encouragement to take action.
- If a family isn't ready to enrol right then, offer to follow up with them and make sure you follow through on that offer. You will amaze them with your professionalism and courtesy.
For more expert tips from Kris Murray visit the Child Care Success Company.