The “Wait and See” Follow-up Strategy
A couple of years ago I met with an admissions director of a large private school to assess their enrollment process and strategy. During my meeting I asked the director what she did with the names and addresses of the parents that call asking for information on the school. She said she wrote their information down on a yellow legal pad, typed a mailing label and sent a large package of all of their materials. And then what? She said that she waits to see who will apply.
Effective follow-up is not taking a “wait and see” approach.
While this example may be extreme, this is the approach that I most often observe in admissions offices. Admissions staff members usually do a great job of answering the first call and talking with the prospective parent about their school. However, it’s what happens after this initial call that often breaks down in admissions process.
It is critical to develop an effective follow-up system for all parents that inquire about your school. Several critical components should be implemented in your follow-up strategy:
- Immediate follow-up response within 24 hours (usually a personal letter and information packet about the school).
- 30-day intensive follow-up plan with multiple and varied contacts (phone calls, emails, letters, postcards, etc.).
- Monthly contact with inquiries after the 30-day period to continue reminding the prospective parent of your school.
- Personalization. Need I say more?
- Parent-to-parent contact from parent ambassadors.
The bottom-line is that you can’t afford to take a “wait and see” approach to follow-up with your prospects. In today’s competitive educational market, those schools that snooze will lose.
Rather, you must have a “go and get-’em” strategy that is intentional and proactive. Remember, when the prospective parent has called your office or completed a website form, they have initiated the contact with you and are saying that they are interested in finding out more about your school.
Now, it’s your turn to implement an effective follow-up strategy.