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.