If you climb a flight of stairs, but do not take the last step up, you have spent a lot of effort to get to the next level, but you don’t actually get there. Closing the sale – asking your qualified prospects to visit your center or to enroll – is like the top step on a flight of stairs. If you do not take the final step in the inquiry call or visit, chances are good you will not reach your enrollment goals.
Closing is one of the most neglected or mistreated techniques in enrollment building. Yet those directors who close well consistently convert more calls to visits and visits to enrollments than those who educate their prospects well, but who do not ASK them to take action. YOU MUST ASK OR YOU ARE NOT CLOSING.
Some directors don’t ask closing questions because they feel it’s too pushy. Others are not confident in just how to ask. Some expect the prospect to take the initiative. Others just feel uncomfortable with that part of the enrollment building process.
One of the best ways to gain comfort and confidence in asking prospects to visit, and then to enroll, is to think of what “selling” really means in the early care and education industry. First toss away the image in your mind of you as the door-to-door salesman selling your prospects something they do not really want or need. Instead, recognize that your prospects have already contacted you with an interest in your center and services. They have called or emailed you, seen you at an event, or dropped by your center for a visit because they want to.
With these prospects, your sales role is two-fold. First, you need to help them make a good buying decision. Second is to get them to act on your recommendation. When your other marketing efforts have positioned you as a knowledgeable, professional resource with a quality program, it is only natural for your prospects to expect you to help them buy the best early care and education services for them. And believe it or not, they like you to ask them if they are ready to commit to a visit or enrollment.
A good closing question asks your prospect for a decision that is based upon all the educational information you have given them, the exposure to your center and staff, and the benefits to them of enrolling there. You want a singular response to your closing question, that being “Yes”. Here are five different ways to comfortably ASK your prospects to act on your recommendation.
Alternate Choice Method
This is the easiest kind of closing question to ask and the most comfortable for your prospect to answer. Your question offers a choice about the visit or enrollment, and either answer means you have just scheduled a center visit, or secured the enrollment.
Sample: “Would you like to schedule a center visit on Tuesday at 10:30 or would Wednesday be better for you?”
The prospect who is very forthright and direct in his or her communication with you will not cower at your asking a direct closing question. Neither should you. This type of question is brief and to the point. Once answered, the decision is clear.
Sample: “Do you want to go ahead and get Eric enrolled now?”
When your prospect gives you buying signals that indicate he or she is really ready to make a decision, you can easily use what is called an assumptive closing question. This method assumes the prospect is ready to make the choice you want, and merely asks them a question that deals with the details of that positive assumption.
Sample: “Would you like some privacy here in my office to fill out the registration papers?”
Impending Doom Method
This closing method uses a series of statements to remind your prospects of their expressed desires and plays upon their fear of loss. Your statements must be honest. You cannot say this is the last toddler space you have when there are really four more openings.
Sample: “We have only one infant space left in this room. With the high demand we have for infant care, I doubt it will be available for long. I’d hate for you to lose it. Would you like to go ahead and pay the registration fee today to hold that place for Emma?”
The last sentence of this and the next sample dialogue are the actual closing questions. Remember, for your prospects to make a buying decision, you must end your recommendation comments with a question. You must ask, or you are not closing.
This type of closing question allows the prospect’s response to be contingent upon another factor, and is very reassuring to those parents who need a little extra time and the confidence that they can trust you. If the result of contingency is positive, you have just secured the visit or enrollment. If not, the conversion is not necessarily lost. You can still take the initiative to get permission to follow up with that prospect at a later date, thus giving you another opportunity to help the prospect make a good buying decision and act on your recommendation in the future.
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
See me: www.juliewassom.com