P1050031Wassom’s Child Care Marketing Wisdom #423

My husband and I recently realized the time had come for us to look for a new refrigerator and oven. So, after researching online, reading reviews, and talking with friends (sound familiar?), I headed out to visit appliance stores.

I went to our local area Sears and Lowes stores to see first-hand the models we thought we wanted. Armed with brochures and information, I headed home to “talk to my husband” about this investment. On the way, I drove by a new Appliance Factory, so decided to drop in. What happened there made all the difference.

Upon opening the door at this Appliance Factory, a salesman in his company-labeled shirt, greeted me with a smile, said his name was Robert, and began to ask me several questions about our specific needs and interests before he ever took me out to the showroom floor. Once we began to look at different models, instead of reviewing all the features of each piece, he began to speak to me in benefit statements. “Notice the side vent coming into this drawer, so you will get air circulation and never need to put baking soda in your refrigerator again.” “Because this wall unit has convection in the bottom oven, you have the choice…” This smudge-proof stainless steel finish means you will save time cleaning…”

Did I buy then? No. I went home and talked to my husband. And I waited to see who, if any of these associates would follow up with me in a timely manner with information of value to me in making this purchase. Robert did! However, so did the woman from Sears. The difference was that Robert had asked me enough questions to be able to personalize his follow up to what I really needed to make this decision, versus the other person – cordial as she was – obviously just trying to convert the sale whether it fit my needs or not.

Did I buy then? No. However, this kind of personalized follow up caused me to take the action to send my husband to Robert’s store (You notice how by now, in my mind, it was “Robert’s store”, not the company). Robert treated him like an honored guest, gave him the time and information he needed, and scheduled the follow up he would initiate. He called me back, just as he said he would, and asked where we were in our decision and how he could help. (Has he been in one of my seminars??? )

Did I buy then? Yes! I stopped the next day and bought both appliances, and Robert gave me a “preferred customer” thank you gift.
Since then, to my utter surprise and delight, Robert has continued to follow up, to check on our satisfaction, to assure delivery went smoothly, and to send me an application for a rebate for which he discovered our purchase qualified. By now, of course, I welcome a contact from Robert, because he has proven with his follow up action that he has our best interest in mind.

Does this take Robert’s time away from his duties at a very busy store? Absolutely. Has it been worth it for him? Absolutely. Not only did he get a significant sale, I have since referred him to a friend looking for appliances and written a glowing online review (which, no surprise, he thanked me for doing in a follow up call).

Why share this long story with you? Because it is such a good illustration of how personalizing a visit and following up can create both a sales conversion and a positive referral ambassador.

These techniques apply to enrollment conversions as much as they apply to appliances. Not only are they good practice, they set you apart from your competitors who offer, in your prospects’ minds, a similar product and service. How can you practice “the Robert Effect”?

Personalize your inquiry responses – online and on the phone. Doing so will get you beyond the basic information you need, to the relationship that so many of you tell me you are good at building. Ask every parent a good personal needs assessment question, such as, “What specific needs and desires do you have for your child’s care?” “What would you like this early education experience to give your child and family?” “What would like us to know about your child?”

Then use your prospect’s response to guide your inquiry, center visit, and follow up efforts to the enrollment.

Initiate follow up on a timely basis, with information of value to your prospects. Go beyond the standard emails you might send to every prospect and customer, to a system of timely personal contacts specifically focused on the prospect’s needs and how you can meet them. When they know you want to help them make the best buying decision for their family, you have won a referral ambassador, as well as the enrollment.

Will this take time? Yes. Is it something to make a priority? Only if you want more enrollment, and enthusiastic referral ambassadors sending interested, eligible prospects to your center without spending a penny of your marketing budget.

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