Word of mouth about your business is growing, and your online presence is attracting young, tech-savvy families to your door. It’s time for the tour, but how can you make sure your school or child care business stands out?
- Remember that you are selling your school and that the key to a successful sale is asking questions. If you are like most school administrators, you are both business-minded and deeply empathetic. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, when you are trying to close a sale, focus on empathy. Remain friendly and open, and ask often for their impressions and questions.
- Demonstrate transparency. Point out your current licenses and affiliations, and share with them any additional licensing or specializations you have pending. Share the daily schedule for their child’s age group, and give them an overview of your educational philosophy and curriculum with quick, visual examples.
- It should go without saying, but maintaining a clean, safe, and visually appealing facility makes an impact! Little things can make a difference. For example, if most of your walls are beige, repaint them in easy-to-clean, glossy white. Fix that sink that constantly drips in the kindergarten room, and make sure the floor gets a quick mopping each night after the last child goes home.
If you run a preschool or daycare, choose an easy, child-friendly, gender-neutral decorating theme - preferably not one based on popular, copyrighted characters. Imagine your school as a friendly forest, a charming castle, or a book of nursery rhymes. You don’t need to go overboard with props and decorations, but keep the theme consistent throughout the building.
- Each of your teachers has strengths and weaknesses, but now is the time to let your warmest and most welcoming teachers shine, especially if this will be the prospective child’s teacher! Let your star staff member and the prospective parents spend a few one-on-one minutes together. You can offer to watch their classroom for a few minutes while your teacher shows the parents the playground, or gets them a cup of coffee. Not only does this give the parents an opportunity to bond with a teacher, it demonstrates that you trust your staff to speak about your school out of your earshot, and it shows that you are engaged with the children yourself.
- Make sure your up-to-date business persona doesn’t stop cold at the end of your Yelp entry. It is vital for today’s child care providers to meet the wants and needs of today’s young parents. This generation has grown up with tech. They want to be able to pay for services at the click of a button - ask them to write a check or pay in cash, and you could lose their business regardless of the quality of care you provide. Briefly share your easy online invoicing and payment systems, digital attendance, and online enrollment to parents as you pass the check-in tablet or office, and you’ll jump to the front of the line in parents’ minds. Remember, many of your competitors still only accept cash and checks, and run their entire operation on paper.
Above all else, relax and demonstrate pride in your school! You have worked hard to build something wonderful. And remember, not every school or preschool is the right fit for every family. Whether or not a family chooses you, send a friendly follow-up asking them what their biggest deciding factor was. This will help you strengthen your business and your proposition to the next family through your door.