Childcare Center Tour Secrets and Strategies

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As a childcare business owner, tours are your single greatest opportunity to persuade parents that your center is the right choice for their child.

Make a lasting, positive first impression by following our helpful guide to a successful center tour.

Initial Interaction
Whether via the phone, email, Facebook messenger or face-to-face, your first contact with a parent needs to be timely, confident and warm. Always answer the phone within the first three rings and reply to messages within the same day. Another great tip: Make sure to find out the name and age of the child during your initial interaction. This will help you personalize their tour—you don’t want to highlight your infant room to the parent of a 4-year-old!

Timely Tours
Mid-morning is the best time for childcare center tours—teachers and kids have settled in for the day but aren’t yet suffering from early afternoon crankiness. Visitors will see your center, staff and students at their very best. Additionally, while aiming to keep the tour informative try and also keep it quick. Parents have busy schedules, and they’ll know what questions they want answered.

First Impressions
As soon as the parents arrive, they will judge each and every aspect of your facility (see our Five Ways to Improve Your Childcare Center’s Curb Appeal blog for insight on improving the outside of your center). The foyer will be their first inside look. It should be clean, organized and seamlessly secure. Speaking of which…

Security
Parents want to know that their child is safe within your care. Doors to your facility should be shut and locked, and you should have a logbook for all visitors to fill out. Additional tip: Ask for a photocopy of licenses. Parents will appreciate this added level of security.

Hit the Highlights
What are your center’s core values? Know them. Name them. Boast them. You don’t have to cover every feature of your center, but you have to sell your best ones. Nevertheless, don’t go into auto-pilot during your tours. Each parent will have a different set of wants/needs for their child. It is important to find out what these are beforehand and address them during the tour.

Tour Stops
Create tour stops that highlight your center’s core values. Make them easy to remember and visually recognizable to prospective parents during the tour as well as to current families who are in your building twice a day. For example, if parental involvement is at the center of your mission, create a parent board that provides opportunities for parents to engage in activities with the children. Or if encouraging children to adopt a healthy lifestyle is one of your basic principles, create a professionally designed menu board to highlight the healthy meals you provide each day.

Close the Deal
“Thanks for stopping by!” isn’t going to cut it at the end of the tour. You need a call to action to make things happen. Something along the lines of, “Can I get your enrollment application started for you?” or “Can I add you to our waiting list?” Even if you don’t have a waiting list, it provides a heightened sense of urgency. It also gives you an out if you feel the family isn’t the right fit for your center.

Follow Up
Be proactive. It’s your job to follow up, not the parent’s. A simple phone call a few days after their tour will help them feel wanted. Want to impress them even more? Send a handwritten thank-you note.

Ideally, half of your inquiries will lead to center tours and half of those tours will lead to enrollments. Keep track of your numbers month to month and see how much they improve as you implement the above tips.

Meredith Martin