To Follow-up or Not?

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A parent looking for child care calls you and it seems like she will be a good fit for your program. She ends the conversation saying that she will call you back.

But the days pass and the parent doesn’t call you back.

The same thing can happen after a visit by a parent to your home.

What do you do?

I think it’s always a good idea to follow up with parents who have contacted you. (This assumes you think the family will be a good fit for your program.) Call and say, “I’m calling to find out if you’ve found care yet for your child Elana.” If the parent says that they haven’t found care yet, say, “Is there anything else I can do to help you with your search.”

Then talk about a benefit of your program – “Elana will enjoy our field trip next week to the zoo.” Sometimes parents start their child care search and then stop without finding a provider. They get tired. They can’t make up their mind. Calling back can be an opportunity to close the deal.

If the parent says she has found care, you say “I’m glad to here that. Can you tell me what was it about the program you chose that made a difference to you?” You’re trying to find out what was an important benefit to the parent to give you ideas about how you can promote your program to the next parent who calls.

Regardless of whether the parent has found care or not, end your call by saying, “Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. If you know of any other parent needing child care, I would appreciate it if you would give them my name.”

In my trainings around the country I find that the vast majority of providers don’t conduct follow-up calls. The best way to promote your program is through word of mouth. Parents with young children know other parents with young children. Making follow-up calls costs nothing and neither does asking for a referral.

What do you do if a parent doesn’t follow up? If you do a follow up call, what has been your experience?

Tom Copeland – www.tomcopelandblog.com

Image credit:http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn82/tigerseyepro/blackwomanstandingonphone.jpg.html

For more information about how to promote your program, see my Family Child Care Marketing Guide.



Categories: Marketing

5 replies

  1. I always followup with prospective parents but find that they don’t take my calls. It either goes to voice mail and is not returned or they just don’t answer the phone. I guess they just can’t tell me “no” or are afraid to hurt my feelings by saying they are not interested after all. After a few years of this, I just stopped following up.

    • Yes, it’s a shame parents are reluctant to answer your calls. I still think it’s a good business practice to leave a message, thank them for contacting you and asking for them to refer other parents to you. It can’t hurt.

  2. I don’t usually follow up with parents. The one time that I did turned out to be beneficial to me. The mom didn’t show up for an interview. I fumed for a couple of days and decided to call. It turned out that the day of the interview the 9 mo. old had a severe reaction to peanut butter and was in the hospital. The mom ended up sending her little guy to me after all. The downside was that I now had a child with a peanut allergy and I provided meals. It was a nerve wracking couple of years with him.

  3. I follow up all my parent interviews with a card in the mail the next day thanking them for taking the time to visit my day care and telling them that I look forward to the possibility of their child joining my day care family. The majority of them become clients. 🙂

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