One of the most powerful marketing tools you have for your childcare business is your daycare tour. When prospective parents express interest in coming in for a tour of your daycare program, you have a golden opportunity to give a great impression and turn that interest into a new enrollment. In the following guide, we offer tips for conducting a successful daycare tour.
What outcome do you hope to achieve from your daycare tours? If the family is a good fit for your program, you want the parents to register their child in your daycare program as quickly as possible. If you have a waitlist, you want the parents to add the child?s name to the list. And if parents have a little one on the way, you want them to confidently secure a spot in your infant program for their new son or daughter. It may be stating the obvious, but it is important to keep in mind that your daycare tour serves as a sales opportunity for you. You want to take advantage of the daycare tour because it could be the single most important factor in a potential client?s decision to enroll their child in your program.
Let?s explore practical ways you can maximize the effectiveness of your daycare tours.
Make the Most of First Impressions
You only get one chance to make a great first impression with prospective parents. From the moment they agree to come in to your facility for a daycare tour, you want to help them envision their child finding the right fit at your childcare program. Consider the following ways to make a great first impression with parents:
- Take advantage of curb appeal. What do parents see when they arrive at your daycare center? Before they even walk through the doors, does the outside of the building look inviting and attractive? Basic landscaping, including a mowed lawn and several potted plants or flowers at your entrance in the summer months will give the impression of care and thoughtfulness from the first. Sidewalks and a parking lot cleared of snow and salted for ice in the winter months communicate safety and concern for all who arrive. Do your best to ensure your daycare facility exudes care and upkeep to prospective clients.
- Make a clean sweep before giving tours. Before prospective clients arrive, do a ?clean sweep? of your facility, preferably at the end of the day before the scheduled tour. You don?t need to pretend your facility is spotless, but you do want parents to see that your childcare spaces are clean, organized, safe, and welcoming. This is the time to make sure classrooms are in order and everything is tidy.
- Extend a warm, personalized greeting. When you or one of your staff members greets prospective parents who have arrived for a tour, be warm, friendly, and engaging. Address visitors by name and introduce yourself, including your role at the daycare. If parents have brought along their child, greet the child by name and make him or her feel welcomed.
Choose the Right Tour Guide
You don?t have to assume the role of daycare tour guide if another member of your team is better suited to the job! Whether you conduct tours yourself, or appoint your assistant director or lead teacher to walk parents through your program, here are several things you will want to consider for your daycare tour guide:
- Choose a confident and enthusiastic tour guide. The person you choose to give daycare tours should exhibit confidence in his or her role at your daycare and enthusiasm for your program. You want someone who really believes in the mission of your daycare program, who can speak with excitement about all the program has to offer, and who is definitely a people-person. If you struggle with any of these skills, appoint the team member who is the best fit. You still need to make yourself available to speak with parents, answer their questions, and initiate enrollment, but let your extroverted team member shine in the role of tour guide.
- Be consistent. Once you decide who will give daycare tours, be consistent and have them give all or most of the daycare tours going forward. Not only will consistency help you or one of your team members to grow more confident and improve the tour and sales pitch with experience, but it also allows one person to gain insight on frequently asked questions and reoccurring comments and concerns that parents may bring up on the tours. You can use this valuable information to improve different aspects of your daycare program, making it more attractive to parents.
Other Helpful Tour Considerations
Here are some other ways you can make the most of your daycare tours:
- Schedule daycare tours at the right time of day. Many childcare programs will offer tours in the mid-morning once the chaos of drop-off time has passed and children are well-settled in their classrooms. Attention spans and behavior may be better in the first half of the day, when children are still well-rested and fresh for the day.
- Make yourself available for parents to stop in for observation at any time of day. Even if you will not be conducting a formal scheduled tour, it is important to communicate to parents that they can drop by to observe the program at any time. If you don?t do this, it can look suspicious to prospective clients, as if you are trying to hide something by only offering availability during a very small window of time.
- Remind prospective parents about their scheduled tour the day before with a phone call, text message, or email reminder. This will decrease the chances for a no-show.
- Tailor the tour toward the interests of the parents. Are you giving a tour to a couple who is awaiting the birth of their child? Customize your daycare tour to highlight the features of your infant program, taking great care to discuss the points that set your program apart from others. Discuss infant safety practices and staff qualifications. Ask parents what questions they have and what is most important to them and respond appropriately.
- If parents bring their child with them for the daycare tour, be sure to make the child feel welcomed. Refer to and introduce the child to your teachers and staff by name. End the tour with a small gift for the child to leave a great impression, and as a way to say ?Thank you? for coming.
- End the tour with an offer. You may hesitate to make an offer for fear of sounding pushy, but this is your greatest chance of getting the child enrolled in your program and you don?t want to pass up this opportunity. After ending the tour and answering all of the parents? questions, kindly express how you feel the child would be a great fit for your program (only if it?s true!) and how you would love to get the enrollment paperwork started for them. If you do not have any openings at the time, you could offer to put the child on your waitlist.
- Follow up! A day or two after the tour, follow up with a phone call to thank the parents for coming in, asking if they have any additional questions, and whether they would be interested in enrolling their child. You don?t get what you don?t ask for, so be sure to include an invitation to enroll?which is what you?re really after.
Learning how to conduct great daycare tours takes time and practice. When you present your personal best, as a childcare program and as a professional, you will increase the likelihood that more of your daycare tours will result in new enrollments.
The Honest Buck Accounting team is here to help you make the financial decisions that will grow your business and increase your profits. Schedule a call with us to learn how we can take the stress out of the financial side of your business and free you up to get back to what you love most about your childcare program!