Start Selling…The Sales Process for your Child Care Business

“I can get them in the door, but I can’t seem to get them to sign with me.  What am I doing wrong?”

As child care business owners, we like to talk a lot about marketing and advertising.  I want to talk about sales.  Some might think, what does sales have to do with child care.  Well, you are selling a service, we like to use marketing and advertising  in lieu of  the word “Sales.”  This is just because “Sales” is often considered such a bad word.  But, marketing and advertising are part of the sales process you must do them to make the sale.  In child care, entrusting you with the care of their child is the sale. The sales process helps you to market and advertise more effectively.  I applaud you if your marketing and advertising efforts are bring them to your door, but now comes the hard part.  Getting the sale.

I have been in countless trainings that give you ideas for marketing and advertising your child care business.  In another time and another world, I have been in countless trainings that help with the sales process and how to make and close a sale.  I have yet to be in a training that teaches how to include the sales process, into your child care business.  Lets talk about the five steps of the sales process: preparation, meeting and qualifying, benefits (demonstration), negotiate and close the sale, payment and when are they starting  and how these steps can be applied to your child care business.

Preparation:  This starts with answering the phone.  What do you say when you answer the phone? Do you have a specific speech for when you are talking to potential clients.  If you don’t, you should.  Write out the questions you would like to ask, and information that you want to pass the parent on this first contact. Practice it, and have it handy for reference, until you have it by heart. Also, being ready for the interview is so important.  What do you say? How does this go for you?  Envision it, practice it until it feels comfortable and natural.  Interviews are often very stressful, this is not something that is done weekly or even monthly. Attitude is everything you need motivation, confidence, and enthusiasm.

Meeting and Qualifying:  This is often done simultaneously with the interview.  Here you need to find out as much about the family as possible.  Prior history with child care,  more about the child, issues or concerns that the family might have.  Here again, I am going to ask you to make a list of questions that you find important, memorize them so you can recall them easily when you are talking with the potential clients.

Benefits of your service: This is probably the hardest part of the sales process.  Many mix-up benefits with features.  Just remember this features tell and benefits sell.  For example a feature is the type of preschool program and activities you do, nutritional meals,  and the family like atmosphere you have in your home.  A benefit, is not about you, it is about the child or family, it is emotional not factual.  How will your program help the child and family solve their problem? Some of the information that you gathered in meeting and qualifying will be used here.  They told you, now you just have to show them that you meet their needs.

Negotiate and close the sale: “How and when, do I need to do this?” is a great question.  Most of the time this comes at the end of your interview process.  Here I ask right up front “do you have any concerns or questions about bring your child here?” This might seem like a pretty bold statement, but the parent will tell you, and this saves you from wondering “why?”  Plus, you can ease any concerns or doubts right then and there, when you have them in front of you. Do yourself a favor, and ask to work with the family.  Say something like “I have really enjoyed talking with you this afternoon, I would so love to work with your family.”

Payment and when are they starting:  If the sales process has worked smoothly, you could do this before they even leave.  If the family leaves, and you have done the sales process, you will know why they did not choose you and can make the necessary adjustments for the next interview.

Many times we do not think about the sales process.  We just get out there and hope to fill our empty spots.  If you use the sales process, you will have a way to see and not guess why you got them to the door and they did not sign up with you.  It could be as simple as where you are choosing to market and advertise, and had nothing to do with the program you are offering.  But, you won’t know and will just be wondering “why?” until you start using a sales process.

More Recommended Reading:

Monday’s Review: Kid Approved Meals

Do you interview parents or do they just interview you?

How do you support parents that work long hours?

Advertisements

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Michelle says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, it has some great ideas, which, you’re correct, don’t get touched on in many “marketing child care” workshops.

    The one place I veer off from the method you describe is this: After the phone conversation, the in-person tour, and the overall “demonstration”…I hand over paperwork and references. MOST of the time, if the family has made it that far, they are ready to sign up. But because our business deals with TRUST more than just about any other business I can think of, I then tell the parents to GO HOME, talk it over, and call my references. I want them to be sure about their choice. I want them to hear from other families. I do not want to be the only provider they interview. I don’t mind if I’m the first or the last, or the tenth. I want them to be sure.

    I don’t feel that a high-pressure “sign now” or “what can I do to get you to sign up today” approach fits family child care. In a way, I also want time to think about whether or they are a fit. And I also do not want any family to get the impression that I NEED them more than they need me. I don’t need to sign up just any family. That always backfires!

    Like

    1. Misti Hight says:

      When I was writing the article I had a little debate with myself on how the signing and last portion of the sales process should go. I very much send, my potential clients home with materials and information. Tell them to look around and give me a call back when they are sure, which is considered more of a “soft sell.” But, I see and hear so many other providers that choose to do more of a “hard sell” so, I decided to give information to maybe help that process along. But, for peace of mind and staying power of the clients sell yourself the way Michelle does! She knows her stuff! 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s