Should admissions staff sell?

 

As competition between schools in the independent and private sector mounts, front line admission staff feel a certain pressure to pull out all the stops to convert a prospective customer. You might have even received a direct order from the big boss to submit a report on the number of families seen that month and the enrolments from those enquiries.

Under such undeniable pressure, it is not surprising that admissions staff start googling for ways of improving conversions. We start looking at how to win and influence the prospective families that have made an enquiry. We often start attending “sales training” courses to improve our chances of enrolling that student.

Improving conversion
After nearly 10 years in admissions and marketing, as well as observing an overwhelming number of successful (and the not-so-successful) schools, I’m about to let you in on a little secret of improving  your conversion rate: don’t sell.

“The art of selling is not to sell at all”
In my early 20s, I had the pleasure of meeting the top guy of a world renowned luxury cosmetic brand, who told me something I would never forget. He said: “The art of selling is not to sell at all!”. I couldn’t quite grasp the logic at the time being in a role that demanded high sales targets, but I made a mental note of it because I thought someone like him – with several decades of sales success – should know what he was talking about.

Converting enquiries into enrolment
Now, in the business of “selling” premium education, I couldn’t agree with him more. The art of converting enquiries into enrolment is not to focus on selling the product or service. The art rests on building connections and establishing trust with your customer. In this day and age, the majority of your customers have done ample research on your school/ college before making contact with you. They have already been “sold” to through your website, brochure, open days, and hundreds of flyers that you might have produced… You don’t need to do anymore selling.

Spend time building rapport
Instead, focus on the human elements. Spend time building rapport. Let them enjoy talking to you. ( Everyone likes talking about themselves, or their children.) The positive experience that they have had with you goes a long way in shaping their decision of choosing a school. Yours will certainly be up there amongst their top picks- that’s IF they haven’t already chosen you by this point.

‘Walk the walk’
All the parents who have made an enquiry to your school have one thing in common: they want the very best for their child(ren).  They believe that their child is unique and special. They want a school that will appreciate and accept him/ her as an individual and be able to nurture their son/ daughter so that they can achieve the absolute best. In that hour or less that you have them, show that YOU appreciate, accept and support him/her and you would have won their trust. Since you are the face of the school and the embodiment of the school’s ethos and values, whether you like it or not, their likelihood of enrolling with your school is based on how well you represent these values. So don’t just “talk the talk, walk the walk”.

For more tips on how to “sell” less and convert more, drop me a line!

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