One super important strategy to grow your enrollment long-term is to hire the ideal person for conducting tours of your facility. Persuading prospective new parents is a role that is often filled by the childcare center director or assistant director. But what if the strengths of these two top administrators do not lie in that arena? How can you still have amazing tours that create the rates of enrollment that you need to grow your program? There is a simple and strategically crucial answer:
Identify who in your program is the best to conduct tours and enroll new prospects into your program.
Many directors and assistant directors are nervous, dreading the end of the tour because they hate selling and the possibility of rejection. They have neither the innate DNA nor the skill set to perform this valuable routine. Sometimes you can provide incentives for them to build those skillsets. But there may be someone else on your team who already has the skill set – the innate DNA – that is ideal to sell your program. And that is the key.
Enrollment is sales.
Who is the ‘enrollment building’ machine within your staff? Who loves to sell? The same exact skill set is required for selling and enrolling. The person who is best at conducting tours in your facility is good at these skills:
• Identifying the parents’ and the moms’ unique needs and hot buttons
• Emotionally identifying with the touring parent
• Winning over and charming that person, injecting personality and making the winning connection with the touring parent
• Charming the child and making a ‘felt’ connection
• Showing that your facility cares above and beyond all programs
• Asking for the enrollment business at the end of the tour by giving reasons to take action with you
These naturally persuasive talents often go untapped because they are not identified.
Now there is a surefire way you can select the ideal tour guide from your team.
A book and program called Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (also available at www.strengthsfinder.com) is a tool I highly recommend to identify your employees’ strengths and find the best person to be your tour guide and ‘new prospect enrollment specialist’. The book’s assessment is an intensely accurate tool. I recommend that you take the assessment, along with each center director, assistant director and all lead teachers who might be excellent at the tour process. Think: Who is really great at promoting their classroom? It’s likely that you already have teachers who are talented at selling your program. Give the assessment to any whom you think may have this skill set.
According to this assessment tool, the great salesperson you seek has the innate DNA of an ‘influencer’, one whose skill set combines certain themes, such as:
• Winning others over (WOO)
• Being a ‘maximizer ‘, a person who looks for individual and unique strengths in others
Your ideal tour conductor can uniquely identify with the mom or dad on the tour, take them to the next level of success and sell them on your program. With the Strengthsfinder 2.0 assessment, you identify the ‘enrollment building’ machine whose talents might otherwise go untapped.
The book then shows you how to lead most effectively with the team’s strengths in mind. Once you know which team member shines at the tour and enrollment process – the one who loves sales – use the title of Enrollment Specialist, Director of First Impressions, Director of Parent Communication and Enrollment, or any other creative title, while he or she conducts tours. This ideal person will naturally and joyfully sell the most enrollment spots in your program.
Identify your ideal salespersons and give them some responsibility for your enrollment – the opportunity to do what they do best – and you will be rewarded with soaring enrollment.
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