Enrollment & Admissions Training 102
Okay, so you should have Admissions Training 101 under your belt. Congrats! (If you haven’t read our previous article, click on the link above, as the “five keys ” discussed in the 101 article is vital.) With that out of the way, we’re going to dive even deeper into the nuances of enrollment and admissions. By following the five details below, you should be able to supercharge your enrollment efforts.
That being said, it’s worth repeating something we talked about in the last article. Your potential student’s personal well-being should come first and foremost. If you don’t believe that the student is a good fit for your program, or that they won’t benefit from it, then you should be frank when discussing the consequences of signing up. Remember, students are investing a lot of time and money into your program.
The five details below will help you convince students to sign up, but with great skill comes great responsibility! Now, for the dirty details!
#6. Set the Right Tone
You’ve probably heard the term, it’s not what you say but instead how you say it. When it comes to enrollment and admissions, this is certainly true. In fact, a study showed that the makeup of a sale is less about the words you say and more about your body language and tonality.
Tone has a huge influence on prospective students. We already hinted at this in our last article by noting that you have to have complete faith in your programs. However, it goes deeper than that. You have to set the tone during the conversation, and that tone should be confident, upbeat, and authoritative
One of our clients asked our CEO, Kyle Kotecha, to come in and observe how their enrollment team was currently handling conversations. The client wanted to increase the number of enrollments they yielded from leads. Let’s hear his story:
The first day that I showed up to the center, I hopped on a desk along with the team and started listening to their conversations. Some couldn’t get past the intro and were hung up on as soon as they mentioned their name.
After taking everything in, I went back the next day and went into the CRM and started making calls. I had the team listen to me as I called the leads that had hung upon them the day prior. As I made my first call, you could see the team mentally placing bets on if I could get the prospects to give me a moment of their time. Most looked liked they were betting against me.
I opened the call up with a question. “Hi, this is Kyle Kotecha? With ACME training (not the real name)? You have submitted your information online with interest in the IT and cybersecurity program?” Did I catch you with a quick second?
The seemingly impossible and dead lead agreed to give me a few minutes. While the team thought I might have gotten lucky, I continued to pound the phones and proved to them that it could be done.
The John Doe from the first call, by the way, ended up enrolling and later graduated second in his class.
Want to know Kyle’s secret? Setting the right tone. You might have noticed a seemingly odd little detail at the start of Kyle’s call. He asked the student if he was, in fact, Kyle Kotecha. And he even asked where Kyle works. Seem odd? Now play this conversation out in your head. The potential enrollee knows that Kyle knows who he is. But by posing it as a question and using inflection, it makes the prospect question where he knows Kyle from.
Before the student had a chance to hang up, Kyle was able to remind the student that he had submitted information online. Thus, Kyle wasn’t making a cold call but instead making a good faith effort to follow up and provide the potential student with the information they desire.
After that, we trained the enrollment officers on how to set the right tone when making calls. The results were instant, with enrollments increasing dramatically.
#7 Have a Script and Test It
It’s tempting to freestyle the call. You’ve got this, right? There’s no need for a script if anything it’ll sound too canned, right? Wrong! By having a script and following it, you’ll be able to focus on improving other parts of the enrollment call. You’ll also be able to pay closer attention to the client because you’ll have the basics of what you’re going to say down.
Just because you have a script, however, doesn’t mean you have to act like a robot, only reading from it. Not every call is going to go according to the script. And instead of treating the script like gospel, think of it as a foundation. As the call unfolds, you can modify the script as needed. You might leave out parts that are irrelevant, for example. And you should be improvising, providing information that appeals to each particular enrollee.
You also need to own your script. It’s great to take inspiration from your fellow enrollment officers and experts like Kyle. However, you need to customize your script to your personality and strengths. Once you get your basic script down, memorize it. You should be able to recite in the shower, over dinner, practically while you sleep! People can often tell when you’re reading words off a page or screen. So don’t read, recite and do so with enthusiasm. Remember, it’s your script, so you should be enthusiastic about it. Not feeling the script? Rewrite it.
Test the script. Ask coworkers to listen. Bug your friends. Read it in front of the mirror. Then take notes. What sounds natural, authoritative, and convincing? What sounds awkward or over the top and salesy?
A script might seem like a pain but in the long run, it’s a blessing. It’ll help you stay focused and if anything will make it easier to improvise. Overwhelming enrollment calls will start to feel natural and relaxed.
#8 Stop and Listen to Your Students
Now, you might think that having a script means you’ll be doing all of the talking. Wrong! There’s a saying we like to toss around at Leadspeed: “If you’re telling, you’re selling, if you’re asking, you’re helping.” An enrollment call should ultimately be about the student, not you, not Leadspeed, not even the school or program.
Your script and conversation should get to the “why”. Why did the potential enrollee express interest in your program? What do they want to accomplish in their career and life in general? You need to listen to the prospective students and their pains, needs, and desires. If a student wants to enroll in a program, it’s because they are looking for specific outcomes, such as a better job. Once you understand the “why”, you can tailor your messaging to how the program can help them achieve their goals.
Now, you might not want to sit silently on the other end of the phone. That’s perfectly fine. In fact, you should be active in the conversation but instead of talking over the prospective student, respond with “uh hmm”, “makes sense,” “I see where you’re coming from” and other things that indicate you are paying close attention. A prospective student doesn’t want to talk to a sales agent. He or she wants to talk to an enrollment officer who is paying attention and who has their best interests at heart.
Remember, people love to talk about themselves. This isn’t a bad thing, really. By paying attention and asking the right questions that help you further understand the prospective student and their ambitions, you can steer the conversation.
After the student has finished telling you the “why”, tie everything back to the initial points of the conversation. When explaining the opportunities at your school, make sure every opportunity is put in the light of the students’ needs and desires. Not only is this a more effective sales pitch, but it also demonstrates that you listened and cared.
Don’t waste your time pretending to listen. Many would-be enrollees will pick up and will immediately be wary of you and your pitch. If you pick up the phone and realize that you’re not going to be able to pay attention, put it back on the receiver.
#9 Stay Consistent With Your Marketing Efforts
Did you roll your eyes? “Stay consistent” might sound cliche but it is a fact. Consistency is often the key to success. You have to plug away each day, putting in solid, consistent effort. Sure, some days you’ll be off your game, but other days you’ll be super productive. What’s important is putting in the best effort you can each day.
First, markdown your tasked quote and personal goals. Let’s say you’re tasked with 15 enrollments per month, you need to figure out how many phone calls, appointments, emails, and overall activity it will take for you to reach that number. If it takes you 30 appointments to get 15 students, and if it takes you 300 calls to get those thirty appointments, then you know how many calls you need to make each day. Now let’s say your personal goal is to secure 30 enrollments. Go ahead and double those numbers.
Always focus on the outcomes, not what you’re putting in. Fact is, some enrollment officers will hit their quota making twenty phone calls a day. Others will need to make 50 phone calls. If you are underperforming, revisit your script and reread the points above. Quite likely, there’s room for improvement. Until you improve your performance, however, stay consistent based on your current data.
#10 Keep the Funnel Fed and Full
Okay, we’re in the final stretch! If you’ve made it this far, then you have learned a lot of stuff about improving the enrollment process. Congratulations! That being said, you’re almost certainly going to hear “no” more often than yes. Even with the best pitch, the greatest script, and the most in-tune tone, rejections will continue to be a fact of life.
So what do you do about that? You keep your sales funnel fed and full. You need to have plenty of numbers to call and prospective students to chat with. This means having strong marketing. You need to reach out to people and get your programs in front of their eyeballs.
Wondering exactly how you can use marketing to drive in leads? We’ve got a talk to talk about regarding that, but it’s a different subject for another day.
As for the big “no”, remember, no is one step closer to yes. Seem counterintuitive? Think of it this way, the uninterested students are culling themselves from your list. This will allow you to focus on higher quality leads and eventual enrollees that are a better fit for your program.
You’re Just Getting Started
If you absorbed the information in are Marketing 101 and Marketing 102 tutorials, you’ll have taken a huge step towards becoming a more effective enrollment/admissions officer. All of the tactics we went over are tried and true. The above strategies will work if applied properly.
That last line does raise an important caveat. It’s true, knowledge is power, but execution is what ultimately produces results. Practice makes perfect. You know what you have to do, so now you have to do it.
If you have any questions, please contact the Leadspeed team. If you would like help increasing your student enrollments or would like our team to work with you to implement any of these steps, be sure to schedule a time to speak with an enrollment expert.