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Don't Miss It: How to Tell If A Prospective Parent is Ready to Enroll NOW

Posted by Sue Carback on Sep 5, 2017 4:16:27 PM

Those working in school admissions know that the buying cycle for school enrollment is incredibly long. The typical parent begins checking out school options 9-12 months in advance of the school year. This means that marketing and admissions professionals need to be prepared with content that continues to nurture prospects for several months while they come to a decision.

are prospects ready to enrollHowever, the opposite can happen, and a parent could show up in your office one morning and want to enroll their child on the spot. Sometimes trigger events such as a sudden move to a new community or dissatisfaction with the current school calls for an immediate desire to enroll.

No matter the extreme, admission directors have to accurately read the cards and be prepared to respond to various scenarios.

Understand the Buyer’s Journey

Admissions directors can miss out on opportunities to enroll prospective students because they fail to accurately assess the family’s progress through the journey of selecting a school and enrolling their child.

hubspot buyers journey.jpg

Do you see yourself in either of these common mistakes?

  1. You rush the prospect to complete an application before taking the time to build trust and properly inform them about the school. You may even end up with applicants who are not mission appropriate for your private school.
  2. You miss important buying signals the parent is giving and fail to close the deal.

Admissions team members must recognize the difference between parents who are eager to enroll and those who need more time. Take the posture of being a guide for prospects by showing them the benefits of enrolling their children at your school and lay out each step that will get them to the end goal.

Embrace Sales

If you work in admissions, you need to own the fact that you are in the sales business. Understand that parents are standing there in your lobby or office because they really want to find out if your school is the right place to enroll their child. They are looking to you to solve their problems.

Be careful that you aren’t sending the message that you’re too busy to answer a prospective parent’s question or that their concerns are a hassle for you to address.

If they are requesting to review standardized test scores of the 5th grade class, it’s your job to track down the information and pleasantly present it to the prospect.

As an admissions professional, this requires an amount of emotional intelligence.

You must be able to discern when a prospect is mildly interested  vs. when they are comparing a short list of options and need clarification of programs and benefits.

Let’s take a look at some of the common things parents could be saying when the are kicking the tires:

  • “That’s interesting.”
  • “My friend told me about your school’s _____ .” Fill in the blank with athletic, drama, or after school program.
  • “I’ll need to talk to my spouse about it.”
  • “Can you send me the application information?”

On the other hand, when parents are in the decision stage of the journey they are more inclined to ask questions which are more concrete, specific, and action-oriented.

These are the types of comments and questions that come from parents who are giving signals that they are ready to take action:

  • “Do you allow for monthly tuition payments?” (questions about purchasing)
  • “Johnny will love playing on your middle school basketball team.” (they are talking like they already own it)
  • “Our morning routine will be easier because this school is near my office. I can drop off on my way to work.” (they are dreaming of the future)
  • “So If we decide to apply, what happens next?”

An empathetic admissions worker who can understand the prospect’s mindset and read the spoken and unspoken clues they drop as they move through the buying process and will identify where they are in the journey and guide, not pressure them, towards enrollment.

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Topics: Admissions