Picking up right where we left off last time;

Sample: “I know finding the best early education and care for Hannah is important for you and your family. Let me give you our center folder that includes information on our center, an explanation of the room he will be in, and a list of what to look for in quality early care and education. The folder also includes information on our website, where you can learn more about us. How about if you go ahead and give me the registration fee for Hannah’s enrollment to hold a place for her here, and I’ll just hang on to it while you and your husband have a chance to look all this over and give this decision some additional thought? Before you go, let’s schedule a time next week when you can come back to the center, and we can then confirm your enrollment. How would that be?”

The contingency close usually requires several recommendation statements, so it’s important to remember to follow those recommendations with a final question that asks for action toward the achievement of your goal.

Because you know closing is a critical skill for converting more prospects to enrollees, it is very tempting to dance around actually asking the right questions and still call it closing. For instance, making a recommendation without asking for a commitment is NOT closing.

As nice as it may sound, a statement such as, “It looks as though Mike really does not want to leave the activities going on here in the classroom. I think he would really enjoy our center. We would love to have you join our center’s family. Why don’t you give it some thought and let me know,” is NOT closing. It’s a great recommendation, but you had an enrollment bird in hand that you let fly away to another center where a director who asks may get the enrollment you could have had.

You can turn this recommendation into a valid closing by asking a question like this…

“…I think he would really enjoy our center. Since he seems so comfortable, you could leave him for a free day today and on your way out, we can go back to my office and complete the enrollment paperwork. Would you like to do that?” (This of course assumes you have the room and the policy of free days in your company.) When your prospect answers, “Yes,” you can then take her to your office to fill out necessary paperwork, and arrange a time to call her to tell her how Mike is doing.

This “soft sell” approach is tied to the customer’s current satisfaction, but is still not closing for a commitment to enroll unless and until you add a final question such as, “Would you like to do that?”

Extending an invitation to an upcoming event at the center is also NOT closing for a scheduled center visit or the enrollment. Is it a good idea to invite prospects to center events? Absolutely! Is this the question that asks for the visit or enrollment? No! An example of a question that invites but does not close for the privately scheduled center visit is this:

“We are having an open house next Thursday to give our parents a glimpse of what our summer program will be like. You are certainly invited to attend. Would you like to come and bring Samantha?”

Granted, prospects might enroll after they attend such an event, but this dialogue is not closing for the center visit while on the phone. Nor would it pass for closing if you extended this invitation during a center visit, but did not also ASK for the enrollment.

It would be a closing question if you said it this way…

“… You are certainly invited to attend. When you come in for a center visit, I will give you all the details for this upcoming event. Would it be better for you to stop by for your personal visit on Wednesday morning or is Thursday better for your schedule?”

During a center visit, this invitation could lead to an actual closing question by saying…

“…our summer program will be like. It would be an ideal first parent event for you and Samantha to attend once you have enrolled. Would you like to go ahead and give me your registration fee today, and then I’ll make sure you are on the list for those who receive a special invitation to this open house, alright?”

Closing is asking a question the answer to which is a commitment for your goal achievement, which is either a center visit or an enrollment commitment. If you have not asked for this specifically, you are not yet really closing, and your conversion ratios will reflect it.

Here’s a little trick to help you remember to ask a closing question, not just to invite or recommend. Put five pennies in one pocket at the beginning of the day. Every time you talk to a parent or give a tour of your center and you REALLY ASK A CLOSING QUESTION, move one penny from that pocket to the pocket on the other side of your skirt or slacks. Be honest about this. Don’t move the penny unless you asked a question that will give you an answer directed at your goals of center visit or enrollment. When you have all five pennies moved over, give yourself a point on a chart. Then move the pennies to the other side the same way, always giving yourself a point for every five closing questions you ask correctly. Even if the prospect’s answer is not yet “Yes,” you still ASKED a closing question, so you get the point. Once you have ten points (for 50 closing questions), reward yourself! You deserve it.

No matter what your personal reward, the reward that will really make your center shine is that you will see your conversion ratios gradually getting better, your follow up calls reducing, and your enrollments climbing like a rocket!

Closing well is a skill that can significantly increase your child care enrollment, building performance and help you achieve your capacity goals for your center. Using these methods of closing can help you become more successful at converting prospect inquiries to center visits and visits to enrollments. They also work when asking for permission to follow up with those prospects who are not yet ready to visit or enroll.

Closing questions will be easy and comfortable for you to use if you practice them. Try them on your spouse, your children, your colleagues and friends. Imagine every answer you could possibly get from your prospects, and realize that your enrollment goals will be met ONLY if you ask a closing question in each and every qualified inquiry conversation or center visit.

As my colleague speaker and Chicken Soup for the Soul series co-author, Mark Victor Hansen, says, “You’ve gotta A-S-K to G-E-T!” To reach your enrollment conversion and center capacity goals, take that last step, and ask a closing question. When you do, you’ll find that getting to “Yes,” is easier than you think.

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com