Do you sometimes get so busy, you simply forget to pay attention to those little things that can really impact a parent’s perception – and enrollment decision – about your center? Some matter more than others. Here are five enrollment-building blunders you want to avoid.

  1. Not responding quickly to a prospect inquiry. Today’s young parents expect an immediate response to their inquiry. In the email or text sent automatically by your CRM, make sure you indicate when a member of your team will be personally contacting the prospect, preferably by the end of the same business day. Then, to assure your credibility in the prospect’s perspective, be sure that outreach happens as you said it would. Late response to an inquiry – or worse, none – means you are allowing the lifetime value of a customer to go elsewhere.


  1. Describing your program to potential enrollees in nothing but features. Though it is very important for you to understand the unique features of your school, speaking only in terms of what you have to offer is a conversion mistake. People do not buy features, they buy benefits – or what those features will do for their child and family. They need your word pictures to help them understand what your unique features will mean to them. Saying, “Miss Susie has been the teacher in the three-year-old room for four years” is merely a feature. Saying, “Because Miss Susie has been the teacher in the three-year-old room for four years, Logan will have the advantage of a teacher who knows this age really well and can help him meet significant milestones in his development” is a benefit statement.


  1. Talking too much. When you continue to describe your program without checking in with your prospect with good questions, you can talk yourself right out of the enrollment! Parents can only take in so much information on an initial visit. If you started by asking good questions about what they are looking for, be sure to address those features in benefit statements. STOP talking every now and then and ask a trial closing question to determine if their perception of your description is meeting their needs. Use questions such as, “Is this what you had in mind for Sophia?” “Do you think Adrian would enjoy the art center?” “Is our real-time communication important to you?” Here’s a tip – If your prospect has a glazed look or is just saying, “Uh huh”, it’s time for you to stop talking and ask a question!


  1. Not visibly documenting your differences. Prospects need to be able to see at-a-glance those differences that can impact their decision. Make branded one-sheets of your individual basic competitive advantages indicating the key feature, and a few bullets of the benefits that difference gives the child and family. Then use them on bulletin boards, in prospect packet information, in parent communications, etc. For example, if you run better ratios than licensing requires, make a table showing the comparison. At the bottom of the page, put a few brief bullets indicating what that means to the child, such as more attention, etc. Most people have a better visual memory than auditory, so document your differences visually.


  1. Not asking for the school visit or enrollment. When you have done a good job of explaining your school to a prospective family, it is a huge mistake not to ask them to visit or enroll. You MUST ask, or you are not closing. Even if they might not be ready to decide, your asking will let them know you feel the child and their family would be a good fit for your center’s community. When parents are visiting their short list of schools, and you send them off without asking then to join yours, there is a strong chance they will enroll at a school they feel is similar where they were asked to enroll. For help with the easiest way to ask a closing question, visit:

Be conscious of these enrollment-building blunders and avoid them. Then watch your inquiry-to-registration conversion ratio climb!

Julie Wassom
The Child Care Marketing Expert and Coach
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author