It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen nearly called Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions. You can understand why she did this because the story really centres around two pupils not liking each other much because of their first impression of one another. Thankfully, in matters of the heart in this story, persistence won.
This is not absolutely the case when it comes to customers in the modern day.
Prospects want a great experience when looking for schools. If they are going to spend their hard-earned cash on your school. So, here are seven tips to ensure that…
Make sure you handle their enquiry efficiently and respond to emails as quickly as possible and within 24 hours. If you send a holding email, make sure you get back to them when you say you will.
Follow up with your prospects and follow up again. It’s better to ensure a sale than lose it to the competition for not following up; and at all stages in the process too.
When organising a visit, ensure it is bespoke. Ensure a tour guide of the same age as the child in question and that the guide share some of the same interests.
Welcome the family at the beginning of the tour, and spend some time talking with them and getting to know them face to face, put them at ease. Don’t forget, many families may never have set foot in an independent school, so you need to help them to relax. Listening is key to creating rapport, so they feel that they belong.
It’s always nice to create a personal experience: a welcome sign with the child or family’s name on, a car park sign, and don’t forget to use their name at all times.
Thank them for taking the time to come and visit your school and ensure the information you send them away with is bespoke and personal.
Follow up, and when they do sign up, keep the lines of communication open. Just because a family has signed up, it doesn’t end until they join. Make a note to contact them every so often, invite them to school events; help them integrate during the months before they join your school family.
Don’t forget… it takes seven seconds to create a first impression.
Do remember that you and the customer are human though. Mistakes happen, I know all too well.
I believe it’s not the mistake you should focus on, it’s how you rectify the situation and, in many cases, a great first impression can still be made even if it wasn’t smooth the first time round.
After all, it happened for Darcy and Elizabeth!
Thank you to Lucy Barnwell from Rossall School for contributing to the Ambleglow blog.