With appointment conversions low amongst school groups today, it’s causing many to ask the million-dollar question, “Why are prospective students not attending their admissions appointments?” I can assure you the issue of inquiry quality is not to blame for a poor show rate. I’m not only going to illustrate why an outdated phone guide (script) and approach might be the reason your team is not yielding the desired results, I will share a template which has helped many of our partner schools improve this key metric.
It’s widely agreed that the initial phone call is THE opportunity for the Admissions Representative to make that all important “first impression.” Unfortunately, using an outdated approach to the first phone call can make the wrong first impression with today’s student, and can also be the very reason why many do not set committed appointments.
Over the years, we’ve found admissions teams typically struggle with appointment conversions for two reasons: First, the representative’s style and tone does not differentiate the school from competitors. Second, the existing structure of the call might be backwards, or in an improper order, and does not have the best objectives that connect well with prospective students.
An initial admissions phone call has three key components: How, What and Why. The effectiveness of these three elements can be found in the order and purpose in which they are used.
Here’s an example of the outdated order, and improper objectives, that we typically see being used by Admissions Reps who are struggling to set appointments.
#1 The Outdated WHAT:
• Focus on WHAT programs and services the school offers
• Determine WHAT the program of interest is
#2 The Outdated HOW:
• Discuss HOW the school provides the education and services
#3 The Outdated WHY:
• Emphasize WHY the school is the best choice
• The importance of WHY the prospective student should set an appointment
There was a time when this order and approach was extremely effective. However, the characteristics of today’s students are not the same as they were even five years ago, and neither is the environment in which we promote our schools.
Today’s student demands a different method that connects and ensures a great first impression is be made during the initial phone call. There are five variables driving this demand:
- Prospective students are extremely skeptical and pessimistic.
- Far more consumer information exists than ever before, with more post-secondary options available to students.
- Immeasurable narcissism.
- The need for immediate gratification and being understood.
- Students hate being “sold” to.
With these variables driving the demand for a new structure and approach to the phone call, and on-campus admissions appointments for that matter, it’s just as critical for the tone and style of the call to adapt as well. As such, it’s important to remember:
- Challenging the student to create visions of success builds value.
- Building value increases commitment.
- It’s all about the student, not the school.
- To promote the campus experience, not “selling” the school.
- Students don’t “buy” what you offer, they invest in WHY they believe they need it.
To improve appointment conversion rates, and better relate with today’s students, consider a modern, more proactive structure, with a repurposed series of objectives. This can simply be done by flipping the order and taking the following approaches:
#1 The Modern WHY:
• Uncover WHY going to school now is important by discovering the student’s:
• Discover HOW life will be better for the student when they graduate.
#2 The Modern HOW:• Uncover HOW going to school will fulfill the prospective student’s:
#3 The Modern WHAT:
• Provide WHAT the compelling benefits are to attending an appointment/career planning session.
• Preview WHAT the campus visit experience is going to be like during the appointment.
Our partner schools that have adopted this modern template, have not only seen a significant increase in appointments set - up to 24% more - but are also experiencing an increase in show-rates as much as 31% more. Additionally, these schools are reporting higher levels of receptiveness and engagement from those students attending their admissions appointments. When the correct style and approach is established during the initial phone call – a.k.a the first impression - the prospective student holds a level of expectation that the admissions appointment will also carry a similar tone. This builds greater value in the appointment and gains more commitment from the prospective student.
Now, it will be even more important for the inside admissions format to exceed the prospective students’ expectations, as you’ll be seeing even more students when your team is setting more appointments that WILL show.
To learn more about Legacy Solutions and the amazing improvements our school partners are experiencing using our systems, please feel free to visit us at:www.LegacySolutions.co
If we can be of any service in supporting you and your team, it would be my pleasure to connect with you.
To your success!