Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Creating Beautiful Pictures to Aid Admission Sales

One possible member of the buying committee is often not given enough attention. This is certainly true in one of the growing segments of the adult admission market, adults who are parents. It is even truer in a sub-section of that market – single parents considering enrolling. That member of the buying committee is the child that often accompanies the parent on a college or school visit or interview.

Children often come with a parent simply because it may not have been possible to arrange for child care. Normally, the child is left to squirm and interrupt the discussion about college as well as the sales pitch of an admission’s representative. (Yes, let’s be honest. Admissions is sales. Call it what you will but it does boil down to a sales relationship with one person trying to get the customer to “buy” enrolling no matter whether it is with a soft consultative let them talk themselves into it approach to a hard sell, at its core admissions is sales. The goal of the admission’s representative is to get a potential student to sign an application and meet his or her numbers. And don’t simply say we don’t have quotas for people to hit. They may not have a set or written number goal but if they do not recruit and enroll students, or the right kind of students, the college will either help them find a better more suitable position elsewhere or fire them. And that is all colleges and universities, for or not for-profit. This is not a judgment of admission either. Just like colleges and universities. There are good ones and not so good; ethical ones and ones that will take any student to fill a freshman class. But no matter what euphemisms we us, admissions is sales.

And it is harder to sell a client distracted by a squirmy child. The children are often simply bored sitting there on a parent’s lap or in one of those adult sized chairs. As a result, the child becomes an impediment to the parent and the admissions representative.

The potential student needs to have questions answered, concerns addressed, and just be able to pay attention to make the right decision about attending, major and other related issues that will certainly affect his or her choice to go to college or not. Can’t always do it with a squirming, bored child also demanding attention. The admission’s representative cannot be sure the parent’s questions are fully answered, concerns addressed and that he or she has helped the parent make the right decisions. Does not get accomplished if the parent has to attend to the child more than his or her needs.

There is a simple answer we discovered and implemented when helping Briarcliffe College (NY) improve its enrollment conversion rate from interest to more adult students successfully pursuing a career and new future. It is in the picture in the upper right hand of this article.

We designed and printed a coloring book that was specific to the college that could be given to kids while they were at the college with a parent. The coloring book had pages of students going to college at Briarcliffe; teachers teaching; students learning and finally cap and gown graduation. The idea was to not merely get something to keep the kids busy but to educate them about what Mom or Dad would be doing. The coloring book also was the college’s first marketing piece to the kids about college and perhaps Briarcliffe quite a few years down the road.

Each child also received his or her personal box of crayons which has been imprinted with a label with the child’s name. The label also declared I’m going to go to Briarcliffe College some day just like my Mom/Dad! The kids, and this the parents go to take the coloring book and crayons home. What a great buttress when that possible buyer’s remorse hit once home. If the parent wavered a bit as a result of the enormity of the decision and commitment to go to college, there was a child holding up a newly colored page and a box of crayons to remind the parent why college and a career was the right thing to do.

The coloring book was a wonderful way to help Mom and/or Dad spend time getting the right questions answered about going to college while his or her child was getting put on the right future path as well. And a great way for the admission’s person to be able to concentrate on the potential client. Want more details or information on creating your coloring book to increase enrollment now and later. Just get in touch. Be glad to help.

AcademicMAPS has been providing customer service, retention, enrollment and research training and solutions to colleges, universities and career colleges in the US, Canada, and Europe as well as to businesses that seek to work with them since 1999. Clients range from small rural schools to major urban universities and corporations. Its services range from campus customer service audits, workshops, training, presentations, institutional studies and surveys to research on customer service and retention. AcademicMAPS prides itself on its record of success for its clients and students who are aided through the firm’s 413.219.6939

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