You have converted an enrollment inquiry into a tour, given a great tour, asked good questions, arranged to stay in touch with the prospect who would not commit right away, only to find that when you reach out, they tell you they have chosen another school. “It was just minor differences that made them a better fit for us,” they say. What do you do with this lost lead?
- First, get past your disappointment. Very often, this prospect decision is about them, not you. If you know they liked you and your center, it is likely a few little factors that made them choose a competitor. These may be issues like price or location, but many times, it’s based on small perceived differences or merely a feeling in the consideration stage, or in the final moments of decision.
- Reach out soon by email or phone (Phone would be better, even if you have to leave a voice mail message). Your message might be something like this:
Thank you for letting me know about your decision on a school for (child’s name). I understand this is a big decision for families, and am glad you feel you made the best one for you. You mentioned that it was some minor points that drove your decision between our school and the one you chose. It would help us serve other families like yours even better if you would be willing to share with us what those decision-influencers were. Would you mind telling me what made the final difference?
Do not be afraid to ask this, because most people already positive about you will willingly tell you. It’s REALLY valuable information for you, and lets you know if it is something you can change or not. If the prospect answers with, “I’d rather not,” simply say, “I understand. We wish you and your family the very best, and should we ever be able to serve you in the future, we would love to welcome you to our school’s family (Use your center name here.).” This is caring, professional, sincere – just the positioning you want to have to retain this family as a referral source or even a future customer.
- Task in your CRM – In about 60 days – no more than 90 days- to contact this family, just to check-in, see how (child’s name) is doing, and let them know you and (your school name) always welcome them to attend events open to the public, even if they are not currently enrolled. This time period is a “probationary time” when parents are deciding if they made the right choice. If they are not happy with their choice, and you were the second choice, it’s very important that your center remains top-of-mind. It also reinforces that you care and can be trusted.
The magic in this kind of follow-up will surprise you with “lost leads” who become either eventual customers or valuable referral sources. And it’s as easy as pulling a rabbit out of a hat!