Skilled telephone contact, following a simple method practiced in advance, will greatly enhance your childcare enrollment success. Consider, what happens to your carefully crafted marketing plan when your phone rings? It is all for naught if your staff is so poorly trained or overwhelmed that the most vital things are not being said when the phone rings.
Our CCMS Gold Done-for-You members receive monthly phone skills training with a live review of recorded mystery calls, during which everyone in the group gives feedback and critique about what they heard on the call. At any given moment, if you are in that program, a mystery caller could be calling your center director. This provides incredible value, because it keeps directors accountable to follow the Kris Murray Phone Script, which we provide to them.
Now I want to give you a taste of that valuable process, in case you are not in the Gold Done-for-You program. The phone contact process, implemented properly, hinges on some vital parts.
3 questions will help to successfully start each phone call.
1. Immediately ask each prospect: May I have your name, please? Almost nobody does this when they haven’t been properly trained. People love to hear the sound of their own name; it’s human nature. Even when the caller jumps in and asks you questions, it is possible to get this key piece of information. Here’s an example:
ABC (Director): Thanks for calling ABC Childcare Center, this is Kris. Let me be the first to welcome you to ABC! (With warm enthusiasm!)
Prospect: I just want to know your rates for toddlers.
ABC: I can help you with that. May I have your name, please?
Prospect: My name is Sophie.
Defer the rate question until you get the name. You are in control. From that point forward, you should be using the name interspersed in each of your questions or answers. This builds trust and rapport.
2. Immediately after she (or he) gives you the name, ask for her phone number. Here’s how that works:
ABC: Thanks for calling us, (Sophie). What’s your phone number in case we get disconnected?
You are extending customer service by requesting it, and now you have the name and the phone number. 99% of the time you will obtain the number if you approach this question with confidence.
3. Now, right away, you ask the next question: “May I ask you, [Sophie], what prompted you to call us today?” Using this open-ended question, you can get a feeling for what is going on with the client. Did they just have a family status change? Are congratulations in order because she’s newly pregnant or she got a promotion/job change? Is she new in town, just moving into the area? Is she switching from a competitor?
These possible scenarios are all very pertinent pieces to the puzzle of why your client is interested in your services, and by giving the opening of “…what prompted you to call us today?” you can respond appropriately. You will be having a very different conversation if she is switching from a competitor than if she is moving to town. You want to be a trusted advisor. Knowing what prompted her to call is the best place to start to glean what her story is.
If she’s not giving you what you need, you can say, “Could you tell me a little bit more about that?” You are probing with friendly customer service-oriented questions. You are not being nosy; you are doing your best to build rapport.
Our recorded mystery calls demonstrate that most centers are not answering the phone with this simple 3-question sequence that will give you the key information and the opportunity to build rapport and book a tour. 99% of centers give their rates right away, no tour is booked and the client is off the line without leaving contact information; OR they launch into a spiel about the curriculum, giving information that the prospect is not interested in at the moment. Neither of these conversations builds rapport or secures enrollments.
Far more tours get scheduled, leading to enrollment success, when this sequence of questions is followed. Train your staff to follow this valuable 1-2-3 script and see your own centers book more tours.
Your “Success Assignment”: Practice this 3-step opening for every prospect phone call. Role-play with your staff. Practice “sprinkling” the prospect’s and child’s name into the conversation to build rapport and trust. Gain confidence asking for the phone number, as if it were completely natural and routine. WATCH your level of tours grow!
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