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Tough Questions Real Answers: Admissions Panel Discussion

We got special guests to talk with our CEO Chris Linford about common questions admissions team members are asked and how to handle those questions. Our three guests are:

Check out what they have to say about some tough questions they answer and how to encourage potential students to enroll.

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Read the Transcript

Note: This is a direct transcript of the recorded webinar.

Chris Linford:

Okay, everybody, we’re getting started right now. Welcome to another Oozle Media webinar. We’re happy to bring you the latest in online marketing for our for-profit schools. Or should I say tax-paying institutions? We always try to bring helpful information, stuff that you can listen and take back to your schools, implement right away, and have success.

We not only talk about online marketing, social media, but our last webinar, we had Lightheart, Sanders and Associates, a CPA firm who specializes in helping with for-profit schools.

And today, we have an admissions panel webinar that I’m super excited about. We have three awesome, awesome guests. I want to thank them for joining us. We’re going to have a lot of fun. We’re going to ask some tough questions. We’re going to see how they perform, and then we’re going to get some questions for you after we’re all done. We’ll open it up to all the attendees to ask questions to these three fine individuals.

Before I get started, just as a reminder, these webinars are recorded, and we send them out within a week after for everybody to replay if you didn’t get a chance to view it or you want to laugh at some jokes again.

So, here we go. I’m going to introduce our admissions panelists. My name is Chris Linford, CEO of Oozle Media. Today we have with us, Linda Huynh. Say hi, Linda. Wave, so everybody knows who you are.

Linda Huynh:

Hi guys! Hello.

Chris Linford:

Okay, Linda has worked in admissions for a lot of years. She started with a nonprofit school and moving to cosmetology schools, including Avalon and Collectiv Academy. Linda came from a sales and customer service background managing MAC Cosmetics for almost eight years, which took her to San Francisco, where she lived for a few years, so we’re all jealous of that.

So, thanks for being with us, Linda.

Linda Huynh:

Thank you.

Chris Linford:

Yeah. Next, I’m going to introduce Stacey Peters. Stacey, you want to wave?

Stacey Peters:

Hello.

Chris Linford:

There we go. Stacey is from the filet of Wyoming, which is the town of Laramie.

Stacey Peters:

Yes.

Chris Linford:

She’s lived in-

Linda Huynh:

You’re not too far from me.

Stacey Peters:

No, not at all.

Chris Linford:

Yeah.

Stacey Peters:

I miss the mountains. Tell them hi for me.

Chris Linford:

Yes. She lived in Laramie, but she’s also lived in South Dakota, Nebraska, and now she lives in Kansas.

Stacey Peters:

Yes.

Rob Thatcher:

Oh.

Linda Huynh:

Wow!

Chris Linford:

She is a licensed cosmetologist in all four states. She graduated from a cosmetology school in Wyoming with her associate’s degree. She then proceeded with her education at Xenon International Academy in 2004 for the educator’s program. Stacey has previous experience as a salon manager and stylist, and she was an educator for Matrix.

Stacey Peters:

Yes.

Linda Huynh:

Nice.

Chris Linford:

One of Stacey’s main passions is education. Stacey has had the privilege to work with many industry mentors over the years, including Geno Stampora and Douglas.

Stacey Peters:

Douglas Cox, Doug Cox.

Chris Linford:

Doug Cox.

Stacey Peters:

He’s a motivational speaker, mm-hmm.

Chris Linford:

Okay, awesome. And Stacey, this is a shout-out to AACS, which I currently serve on the board of. She’s attended AACS annually now for over 15+ years. She’s been in countless training sessions focused on admissions and school prosperity. And Stacey, right now, is the senior campus director at Crave Beauty Academy.

Stacey Peters:

Yes.

Linda Huynh:

That’s amazing.

Chris Linford:

Yep.

Rob Thatcher:

Yay.

Chris Linford:

Yep. And check this out. She is celebrating her 18th year with the academy.

Stacey Peters:

In November.

Chris Linford:

In November of 2020.

Stacey Peters:

Yes.

Rob Thatcher:

Awesome.

Linda Huynh:

Congrats!

Stacey Peters:

Thank you, guys. I started when I was 12.

Rob Thatcher:

I was 6, but okay.

Chris Linford:

Now, Stacey has pursued a career in the beauty industry through education. She has found that her passion is working with others and watching students grow and achieve success in the industry. Stacey, thank you for being here.

Stacey Peters:

No, my pleasure. Thank you.

Chris Linford:

Now. We’re going to move on. Last but not least-

Rob Thatcher:

I’m waiting for this. I have no idea what he’s going to say.

Chris Linford:

A personal friend of mine, one of the best dudes I know, Rob Thatcher.

[Applause noise]

Rob Thatcher:

Oh. You can’t keep them quiet. You can’t keep them quiet. I don’t know. It’s all I know.

Chris Linford:

Go get one of your six children and put them on the chair back there, and just have them nod the whole time.

Rob Thatcher:

I’m just thinking about it. They’ll work for free too. The least they could do.

Linda Huynh:

No labor laws here.

Rob Thatcher:

Nope.

Chris Linford:

Nope, not in Utah, not in Utah, where Rob resides.

Rob Thatcher:

Yeah, yeah.

Chris Linford:

Lots of kids, only one wife, though. Correct?

Rob Thatcher:

One wife, one wife, mm-hmm. The Utah reference right there.

Chris Linford:

Yeah, got to make that distinction. We’ve got to be clear about that. Okay, the cosmetology industry is the main focus for SalesComm. SalesComm is the company Rob owns. Rob has spoken in almost every major city in the country with almost every major brand in the industry, helping to improve their show rates, ladies and gentlemen. He does as many as 30 trainings a week over the phone, and two to three 13-hour, in-person trainings a month.

Rob Thatcher:

A lot.

Chris Linford:

He’s helped hundreds of admissions and service employees over the years, increasing sales and decreasing their no-show rates as much as 60%.

Linda Huynh:

Including me.

Rob Thatcher:

Yeah, I like that.

Rob Thatcher:

Yes.

Chris Linford:

I didn’t write this.

Rob Thatcher:

Should’ve.

Chris Linford:

I think Robby either wrote this or his assistant. Here’s the big kicker. Schools that work with SalesComm often see show rates of up to 95% on a regular basis. He continually works on new ways to help each school. This is his life and his passion. Everybody, give it up for Rob Thatcher.

Rob Thatcher:

Yay! Quality. That’s for everybody, this last one. That’s for everybody.

[Applause Noise]

Linda Huynh:

He’s got all the little knick-knacks over there.

Rob Thatcher:

Oh, I do, I do, and I’m going to use more. There’s more coming. There’s more coming.

Stacey Peters:

There’s more.

Chris Linford:

I haven’t heard the boom, chi for your jokes. I mean, you typically need those.

Rob Thatcher:

I know. Yeah, you’ve got to have one. You’ve got to place it right. Don’t make me ruin it.

Chris Linford:

Okay. Alright, well, let’s get into it. Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to ask some questions, and then when I’m done asking the questions, we’ll open it up to all the attendees. The first question, I’m going to throw it out, and Linda, it’s coming your way.

Linda Huynh:

Oh, alright.

Chris Linford:

Okay. I think people in admissions, they’re always looking for ways to connect with a lead, especially if you’re getting no response. What do you do?

Linda Huynh:

And it happens. Right? We come across, whether it’s a phone call, which I personally love connecting on a phone call because you’re able to create more of a relationship with them. But there’s tons out there that don’t want to, and they just want to text. If you’re not getting a response at all, even through text, some ways that I’ve tried as well is I search social media for their social media page and also email.

Recently, especially during COVID, I’ve been successful with getting in some sort of contact through email where they start to feel comfortable, and then I’m able to get them on the phone. But it really is trying to be versatile and figuring out what’s going to be best for them even though you don’t know who they are.

Try different outlets. They might respond back on social media, but I’ve had a lot of success, even with email, trying to get ahold of them and then getting them on the phone.

Chris Linford:

Okay, so it sounds like your main goal is to get them on the phone to create that relationship.

Linda Huynh:

Yes. Absolutely because I think you’re able to ask the right questions and create more of a relationship when you get on the phone. It’s really hard to depict through text messages, through social media messaging, and even through email, personality, tone-wise, so absolutely.

I think it’s always wise to try to get them on the phone to create that relationship and that trust.

Chris Linford:

Right, cool. Stacey or Rob, anything to add to that, or should we move on to the next question?

Rob Thatcher:

I agree 100%. I love that. Yep, totally.

Stacey Peters:

The only thing that I would add to that is if you’re having a hard time getting a hold of them, try an alternate phone number. If you’re utilizing a point of sale that has the same standard number, you know, we have, I call it our burner school phone. It’s a cellphone that has a different number, and we’ll just text and just say, “What’s up.”

And they’ll reply back, and then you can start the conversation like, “Hey, this is so and so, and I’ve been having a hard time getting a hold of you. How have you been?” And not come at it as a sales approach at first, but then just trying to get their attention. That’s worked well.

Linda Huynh:

That’s great.

Chris Linford:

Cool.

Rob Thatcher:

I agree.

Chris Linford:

Yeah, that’s great. Okay, Stacey, here we go. How long should we be working leads, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 100 days? What do you think?

Stacey Peters:

I know it seems frustrating, and I tell the admissions team, “Work them until they hang up on you and they tell you not to call.” Because when you plant that seed, you can continue to move them 30, 60, 90 days out. But 90 days from now, something in my life may change where I’ve found myself dislocated from my job, or maybe life is happening and it’s going to work for me to go to school. Don’t forget about me, don’t give up on me. Keep me in your circle and follow back.

I don’t ever give up on a lead until they physically say, “Stop calling.” Constantly keep that connection because you never know when you’re going to catch them, and then you’ve got them, and you didn’t just write them off because they didn’t sign up in the first 30 days or when they came in and toured.

Everybody is different as far as when it’s going to be right for them to be at school.

Chris Linford:

Yeah, you just never know. We see that in marketing too. Somebody can fill out a form and want information, and then you can’t get a hold of them. And then 90 days later, they’ll fill out another form, and then they’re ready. And I like your language there, how you said, “I’m not going to bug them until they tell me not to bug them anymore.” You say, “I’m not going to give up on them.”

Stacey Peters:

Right.

Chris Linford:

Yeah, I like that. Anything to add?

Rob Thatcher:

Yeah, let me throw something out at that. One of the things you’ve got to be really careful of too because I agree 100% with Stacey. Here’s the thing. You’ve got to be really careful about not getting butt-hurt when they are maybe a little cold to you. Don’t burn a bridge because, to Stacey’s point, the reality is that sometimes people aren’t ready in that moment.

If you’re rude to them, or cold to them, or indifferent, you burned a bridge. So, you try to call them back in a month or two, and you’re in a little better mood, and they’re in a little better mood, but they still don’t like you because you were rude to them last time you talked to them.

Be very careful. Think about every time as the first time, right, when you reach out to them. Reset your opinion of them because if you don’t, again, why burn a bridge? You’ve already put all this effort into it. At the end of the day, we may as well get an enrollment out of it if indeed they turned out to be a good fit for the school. Yeah, don’t get butt-hurt.

Stacey Peters:

That’s perfect, Rob.

Rob Thatcher:

Thank you.

Stacey Peters:

Yep.

Chris Linford:

And I love Rob’s language too, butt-hurt.

Rob Thatcher:

That’s a term. Look it up, Chris.

Linda Huynh:

Butt-hurt.

Rob Thatcher:

First time I’ve ever used that term, to be fair.

Chris Linford:

Okay. Well, now we’re going to go to butt-hurt for a question.

Rob Thatcher:

Okay.

Chris Linford:

How do you control the conversation while still making the potential student feel like their questions were answered, right? Because I feel like the admissions calls that I’ve listened to, they want to fire away questions, but as the admissions rep on the phone, you need to control that conversation.

How do you help them feel like they’re being listened to, their questions are being answered? How do you control that conversation?

Rob Thatcher:

Well, first of all, I think we’ve got to establish how important it is to make the other person feel valued and loved and respected. Right? That’s why that’s a great question. Right? Because we don’t realize the majority of the people that we’re working with every day are blues. Right? We call them blues. They make decisions based on emotion. They do not make decisions based on logic, most of them. Some do, most don’t. They’re artists. Artists make decisions based on emotion.

The importance of creating a specific emotion on the phone is really important, because again, if they feel negative, then the outcome is going to be negative. And so, what we want to do is make them feel valued the entire time.

And I’ve got to separate something, I’ve got to make something really clear here too. This isn’t to manipulate them. I’m not saying to do these things to manipulate them into coming in. If you’re doing it for those reasons, you’re just a jerk, and you’re a bad person, and you should go work on a computer where you don’t deal with people all day. Right? Just go away from the humans because you should love and care about them. Right?

You should respect them. You should be interested in them.

And so, how do you make them feel like that? Well, how do you make them feel like that? Well, everything that they say needs to be validated. Right? And some of the training that we do have five different validation types, the least of which is to say something like, “Oh, that’s awesome, or perfect, or cool.” Right? Great. Right? On a positive. On a negative, “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that,” with more sincerity than that because no one is actually saying anything to me right now negative.

But if they were saying a sad story, the least you could do is say, “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that.” That’s the least that you could do. The most you could do is what we call empathic listening or empathetic listening, heard it both ways. And that is just to reflect the feeling. Right?

To extract the feeling, figure out what it is they’re trying to say to you, and label the feeling and push it back at them. So, if they’re saying something like, “Gosh, I always wanted to go to school, but I just have never taken that next step.” “Okay, so it sounds like maybe…” seems like, sounds like, feels like,” It sounds like maybe it’s just always been intimidating. Intimidating is the feeling, that’s the label, and I’m pushing and reflecting back at them.

That makes them feel loved and respected while keeping you in control of the conversation. Right? You get to ask the questions. He or she who’s asking the questions controls the conversation. If you’re just answering questions on the phone, you’re not doing your job. You can get a robot to do that, and they’re a lot cheaper than you are.

You’ve got to make sure to remember, take a step back and be a person over the phone, but be in control over the call. And show the other person that you care.

Chris Linford:

Alright, great. Stacey, Linda, anything to add to that?

Linda Huynh:

No, he said it right on the money.

Stacey Peters:

I think I was going to say-

Rob Thatcher:

That was a lot of words.

Stacey Peters:

A man of many words. I think he got it right.

Rob Thatcher:

I’ll say less words next time, I swear. I’ll limit it. I’ll limit it.

Stacey Peters:

No, no, it was perfect.

Stacey Peters:

And I agree 100%. If they wanted an automated response, we’d have automated options on the phone. Press one for tuition costs, press two for start dates, so on and so forth. They’re calling to make a connection with people, and they’re wanting to connect with you. You just have to figure out what that niche is to get in and connect with them.

The better that connection, the better you’re going to have that relationship and at least have them come in and show up for their tour because they have that connection. They’re going to feel more guilty about not showing up by making that connection just like you would with your own stylist or even a doctor or whatever.

You feel like, “oh, I can’t not show up because they’re going to be a little upset.” And then you call and explain or whatever.

But they’ll have that mutual respect, and then you start to build that relationship, which I do believe, also, not only in the admission aspect but the completion of the program. If you have that solid foundation from the very beginning and you work on it throughout, I mean, it’s a good thing.

Rob Thatcher:

Start right, finish right. Right?

Stacey Peters:

Mm-hmm, definitely.

Rob Thatcher:

By the way, Linda, I don’t know if you had something to say. I wanted to throw in one thing to Stacey. Sorry. Go ahead. Did you have something?

Linda Huynh:

No, no, you’re good.

Rob Thatcher:

Okay. I was going to say something. Here’s the little secret too. It’s not just about them, right? We look at it and say, “Well, they should enroll,” and that’s why we’re doing this. But if you’re not connecting with people all day, you hate your job. And that’s when your job starts to become redundant, and you become feeling like, “Man, this is a dead-end, I hate this.” It’s not the job. It’s you. You’re not connecting with people.

You’re built to connect with people. Your brain is built, you’re a social animal, and so if you’re not out there connecting with people, don’t be surprised when you hate your job. And so it works both ways. What Chris always says, “You get what you give.” Right? And that’s the same thing.

If you give that relationship, you’re going to get it back, and you’re going to feel better about yourself and your job and what you accomplished at the end of the day. And that is important because that translates into the next phone call. Relationships is a big thing.

Stacey Peters:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), definitely.

Linda Huynh:

Agreed.

Chris Linford:

Okay. Well, I’m going to ask a question to the three of you, and any one of you can answer if you’d like. So, Stacey, you mentioned-

Linda Huynh:

Sorry, I’m freezing.

Chris Linford

… What was that?

Rob Thatcher:

Somebody is cold.

Chris Linford:

I think Linda’s screen is freezing. She may be cold too.

Rob Thatcher:

Okay, it could go either way.

Chris Linford:

Okay. So I’m going to ask the group.

Stacey Peters:

There she is.

Chris Linford:

Stacey, you mentioned tuition.

Linda Huynh:

Sorry, I’m freezing the thing.

Chris Linford:

That’s okay.

Stacey Peters:

That’s okay.

Chris Linford:

We can hear you a little bit. Let’s talk about tuition. If somebody brings up tuition costs on the phone, how do you handle it? What’s the best way to handle it?

Stacey Peters:

I’m going to smile as I say this, only because I’m going to glance over at Rob. No. Honestly, the way to answer that for a program, it’s going to depend on their familiarity with FAFSA®. Their out-of-pocket expense is going to depend on what financial aid will cover and not cover. And then you ask, “Are you familiar with the FAFSA®? Are you familiar with that process?”

I don’t want to hear over the phone that something is going to cost $16,000.00. When I’ve had things break at my house and I call a repairman, and they’re like, “Oh, you’re looking at about four grand,” or whatever. And you have to put it into life simulations. You’re hearing that, and you’re going, “Oh my gosh, how am I going to pay for that? Where am I going to get the money?” And you start to have that freakout moment.

And then we all know that freakout moments cause all the blood to leave our head. We forget what we’re even talking about, and that’s the one thing that we’re focused on is how we’re going to pay for it. So if you can just calm them down and say, “Hey, you know what? We have a great business officer. She can help you with your FAFSA®. We’ll get that going. And then let’s discuss that.”

And then, try and flip the conversation to get them talking about why they want to be in the industry again, and they may cycle back around to it. You don’t want to seem shady like you’re not wanting to tell them, but just let them know, “Hey, we can figure out what you’re going to qualify for and everything, and then we’ll move forward.” We go at it that way.

Rob Thatcher:

Oh, go ahead. See, I keep trying to … Linda, are you unfrozen? Yeah, she looks unfrozen.

Stacey Peters:

She looks unfrozen.

Linda Huynh:

It’s half-half right now, so I can catch bits and pieces. I’m hoping it just keeps going.

Chris Linford:

We can hear you. Is there anything you wanted to add to that, Linda, as far as when somebody brings up tuition on the phone? How do you handle that?

Linda Huynh:

No, I think Stacey hit it right on the spot. It’s redirecting it and asking how familiar they are with that process because the amount does scare people. Hearing that large amount there, it terrifies them. So why put that fear into them? We know that it’s going to cost money, but we can help them with that.

So, by deterring that and asking about the financial aid process and walking them through that this is possible without giving that amount, I think, is a great way to approach it, for sure.

Rob Thatcher:

Yeah. I got to tell you guys just a quick story because I know that there’s somebody out there right now … Let me see how many people we have. We have 54 people. Okay. Out of 54 people, there’s probably 10, maybe 15 right now that are listening to this that are not convinced that you shouldn’t give price.

In other words, they’re sitting there going, “Yeah, it’s probably okay. It’s not going to hurt. We should never hide that.” You’re right. You shouldn’t hide it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to give it. Right?

I’ve got to tell you just a quick story, Chris. Can I have one and a half minutes to tell a story?

Chris Linford:

Yes.

Rob Thatcher:

Alright, here we go. If you said no, I was going to do it anyway, but I just wanted to make it feel more proper. Alright, here’s what happened.

I was sitting at lunch with a group of people, there were three or four of us. One of the ladies that I was sitting at lunch with ran a factory. It was for one of my other businesses, and a long story short, she ran this factory. Right? We were looking at buying some things from this factory.

And we were talking, and I told her I did trainings for cosmetology schools. And she says to me, she goes, “Oh, cosmetology schools. You mean like …” And she named this school that was in her area. And I said, “Oh, yeah, yeah, just like that.” And she goes, “Oh, my daughter was going to go to that school.” And I said, “That’s a great school. Why didn’t she go?”

And she goes, “Oh, she called up. I convinced her, and I got her to get the courage up.” She was like 19 at the time, her daughter. And she goes, “I convinced her, and I got her courage up, and she called in, and she asked how much it was. And they told her $22,000.00, and she said, ‘Okay, thanks. Bye.'”

And I said, “Well, what do you mean she said, ‘Okay, thanks. Bye'”?

She goes, “Well, that was it. She just asked the price and it scared her so much that she never called back.” And I go, “Well, wait a minute. Was that just recently?” She goes, “No, that was two years ago.” And I said, “Okay, wait, wait. Let me get this straight. They gave her the price, and it scared her so much that she just never called again.” And I laughed at her. She and I were friends at this point.

And I said, “Well, you’re a bad mom. You should have convinced her.” And she laughed, and she goes, “How dare you call me a bad mom.” We laughed about it, and I said, “No, why didn’t you convince her.” She goes, “I tried.” She goes, “I begged her.” She said, “I even told her I would help her with some of it and that she may be able to get some financial aid.” And she goes, “But it just felt so overwhelming that she ran from it.”

And she goes, “And I’ve been convincing her ever since.” She said, “She’s in this job,” and I don’t remember what she was doing, but she hated it. She hated this job, and she felt stuck in it because some ding-dong over the phone goes, “Yeah, it’s $22,000.00,” and scared her off and smashed her dream.

Linda Huynh:

Ding-dong.

Rob Thatcher:

Ding-dong. Do I have one of those? I don’t know if I have [sound effect] no, that’s not the right.

Stacey Peters:

But that works too.

Rob Thatcher:

No, that’s close. Yeah, that’ll work.

Linda Huynh:

That’s good.

Rob Thatcher:

You guys have to realize that it’s not just hiding the football. There’s a purpose. There’s a reason why they need to come in, see the school, meet you, and love you, and love the school before you start throwing out big old huge numbers that they feel like they can’t afford.

The value to them is not $16,000.00 or $22,000.00 when they haven’t seen the school and really seen what you teach, and really understand what they’re getting out of that investment.

For heaven sakes, it’s a disservice to throw out a big old price and go, “Well, I hope they like this.” You’ve got to stop. Take a deep breath, realize that the relationship is more important, the experience is more important. Alright, I took two minutes. Sorry, Chris, that’s done. I’m done. That’s it.

Chris Linford:

Thank you.

Rob Thatcher:

You’re welcome.

Chris Linford:

No, this is good. This is a great discussion. Linda, you’re not freezing, so I’m going to go to you with a question.

Linda Huynh:

Nope. Yeah.

Chris Linford:

It seems like things are going well. Let’s see. Okay, somebody is coming in for a tour. How do we get the lead to commit to an enrollment on the spot?

Linda Huynh:

Well, I think this goes back to what Rob was saying about having more empathetic listening. Right? You’re listening to what their dreams are, what has stopped them before from completing this, and what could stop them from completing this. Making sure that you’re having a good dialogue with them and creating that relationship, making sure that you’re listening and reassuring them that this is a great idea, this is something that they wanted to do.

And by repeating what they’re saying, what they want to do out of this, how they’re going to get themselves there, is going to help get them to enroll into the school. I do not let my student leave without giving me a commitment into enrolling because they’re here for a reason. They’re finding out more information for a reason.

So, by making sure that you’re just having that dialogue with them, having that empathetic listening where you’re hearing their concerns, and you’re saying it back to them, saying back what their goals are and that they can do this. They can, and we’re just here to help them with that.

Rob Thatcher:

Love it.

Chris Linford:

Cool. Anything to add, Rob or Stacey? I mean, we can add to or take from. Disagreements?

Rob Thatcher:

It’s perfect.

Stacey Peters:

I agree.

Rob Thatcher:

It’s exactly right, exactly right.

Chris Linford:

Okay. Okay, Stacey, let’s say you’re in, not a small town, but maybe some would consider to be a small town, and there’s a lot of schools there, a lot of competition. Some great schools, right, like-

Rob Thatcher:

Wait a minute. This sounds like … Wait because it’s perfect. Stacey, how many schools … I mean, you could … I’m sorry. Keep going. I’m interrupting and everybody is laughing. So true.

Chris Linford:

And this is perfect for Stacey, right? I feel like Kansas probably has more beauty schools than any other state in the union.

Rob Thatcher:

Per capita, yeah.

Chris Linford:

Yeah.

Stacey Peters:

Yeah.

Chris Linford:

You’re in a competitive market space.

Stacey Peters:

Definitely.

Chris Linford:

And you know other schools, and you’re friends with these people, and they’re good people, and they know you, but everybody wants the enrollment. Maybe you’re looking for specific enrollments. How do you promote your academy? What do you say? What’s your strategy with so much competition?

Stacey Peters:

Sure. Yeah, and just to touch on that real quick. I mean, Wichita is 500,000, and we have four or five cosmetology schools here. We have to be the best version of us. That’s our focal point. We are all in this for the common sake of enrolling students and producing professionals and having them be successful.

But, when it all comes down to it, you have to be 100% vested in your own academy and focus 100% on what your core values are and that they’re present when the applicant comes in because you have to …

And then when they’re talking about it, each unit … It’s kinda like restaurants. So, each restaurant has a different vibe to it, and some vibes are going to be better for other patrons than it’s going to be for another. And so, when you’re connecting with that person coming in, it’s not what we do better, it’s this is how we do this, and this is good for you because of this. Or what are your goals because we have X, Y, and Z?

I am huge. We never speak ill of any other school. We always focus on what we do right and what our core values are for you as a professional. And I think that’s true with all of us to have that professional respect because they’ll reflect on that. They will.

If you are dogging on another school, they’re going to come back and think, “Oh, well, they were talking about it that way. You know?” Just focusing on yourself and what you do right and talking to the student about that.

Chris Linford:

Yeah, I like that. I mean, obviously, what makes you unique. And then you also touched on making it about the student too and what their goals are and how they reflect your own, and how you can help them be successful. I like that. Anything to add, Rob or Linda? Thank you, Stacey.

Stacey Peters:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Linda Huynh:

That was great, and I completely agree, especially working at multiple different schools. I think that’s the biggest thing is just making sure that you’re talking about the elevation of where you’re currently at and what stands out from different education standpoints.

Stacey Peters:

Yes, definitely.

Rob Thatcher:

You never know who you’re talking to, right? So if you think you’re going to dog another school, what a fool you are. What a fool you are to sit and say, “Oh, yeah, yeah. That school down the road sucks.” “Oh, okay.” In fact, I learned that the hard way. One day I was selling yellow pages and I said that about the competitor. And after the lady had sat and ripped on the competitor for like 20 minutes, I sat and listened to her say all of these negative things, and I was like, “Oh, yeah, they’re awful. Yeah, they’re ripping people off.” This was my competitor, this yellow pages sales book at the time.

And she goes, “How dare you? My husband has worked for them for 20 years. Get out of my office.” And that really happened. I was like, “Are you kidding? You just said for 20 minutes that they were awful. What are you talk …” I couldn’t believe it. I have since, to this day, have never ripped on a competitor because you don’t know who you’re talking to, so you just don’t do it. You just say positive things.

I love the comparison of restaurants. It’s a great thing. What’s the vibe? What kind of vibe are you looking for? Everybody has their ups and their positives and negatives. That’s perfect.

Chris Linford:

Okay, Robert, I’m coming to you. Let’s talk about validation and how important it is in our discussion strategies. Go for it.

Rob Thatcher:

Okay, so validations, I talked earlier … I gave you the first one, the least effective, right? Number one, least effective. We call it the exclamation point validation. And then the most effective is empathetic or empathic listening. Right? There are a couple in between because, remember, there’s five, so we did the first and the last.

Number two is to do nothing more than just mirror. Right? They say to you, “Gosh, I’ve always, ever since I was little and I was cutting Barbie’s hair …” “Oh, okay. So it sounds like ever since you were little, you were cutting Barbie’s hair.” Right? That’s called mirroring. You’re just mirroring back in order to validate. And actually, it’s very effective, to be honest with you. Especially inside of negotiations, mirroring is very effective.

It doesn’t seem effective in the moment. When you’re doing it, you feel like, “How can this possibly be working?” But the other person is so interested with themselves that they’re like, “Oh, yeah, let me tell you more,” and so they just keep talking. Right? Again, it’s not to manipulate, it is to say that it just feels weird when you’re doing it. And then as you do it more, you get more comfortable.

The next one is rephrasing. You just rephrase. You just put in your own words what they’ve said to you. Right? So they say, “Ever since I was little, I always cut Barbie’s hair.” “Okay, so it sounds like when you were a little kid, you used to cut all your dolls’ hair. Right? So you’re just replacing words for your own words. Right? So that’s number three.

And number four is the self-share. Okay? Self-share is when they say, “Ever since I was little, I loved to cut Barbie’s hair.” You go, “Oh, my gosh! Me too. I used to love to cut Barbie’s hair.” Now make sure that when you say this, you do not lie about it. That’s stupid. It’s ridiculous to go, “Well, I’m going to tell them I used to cut Barbie’s hair when I really didn’t.”

Again, let’s not be bad people. Let’s not manipulate. If you didn’t cut Barbie’s hair, if it wasn’t something that you did, you can’t actually say, “Oh, my mom would have killed me. I never did that because my mom would have just killed me.” Right? And you can connect over something that you didn’t do, but they did, and that’s okay.

You would never want to use a why question, right? You’re like, “Well, why did you do that?” That’s accusatory. Right? So instead, you go, “Oh my gosh, wait, wait. Tell me more. So ever since you were little, you used to cut Barbie’s hair?” “Yes.” Right? And I know, by the way, you hear that all the time, but they haven’t explained that to everybody.

It may be their first time verbalizing that, and so you need to make sure that you act like it’s the first time for them and treasure that memory with them.

And so as you’re doing that, and you validate, you’re going to find that it’s a lot easier to create and build that relationship. Right? And by the way, when I do trainings, I don’t call you stupid or dumb. I only do it right now because you’re not actually a person. You’re 54 people listening to me, and all of you are offended. And you’ll sleep better tonight now that you’ve been offended. That’s what I do.

Chris Linford:

Well, I’d love to restate everything you just said, but I want to ask Stacey and Linda if they want to add anything to that.

Stacey Peters:

Not a thing.

Linda Huynh:

No, I think that’s very valuable what Rob is saying because that’s how I end up closing and enrolling my students as well, is reiterating in my own words and repeating what they had said, what their goals are, and what their passion is going to bring them. I think it’s very valid through the entire conversation to have that flow with them to keep that relationship going.

Stacey Peters:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rob Thatcher:

Yep.

Chris Linford:

Okay, very good. Great stuff. Okay, Linda, we’re coming back to you.

Linda Huynh:

Yes.

Chris Linford:

How do you deal with leads that are concerned about COVID, and it deters them from starting?

Linda Huynh:

That’s actually great. Someone just posted a comment. Yeah, someone just posted a comment about COVID as well. It’s Nicki in Tacoma. But this is great because I’ve had these challenges for a couple of students that have decided to push off their start date or whatnot because of COVID.

And just making sure that we’re reiterating with what our safety precautions and procedures are between not only the clients but our students and staff, letting them know those procedures are protocol and having them see that as well.

I actually FaceTimed one of the students that actually ended up pushing her start date two months later because of COVID. Her family was really reluctant. And by all means, validate that. Do not shut them down. It’s their own feelings.

Everyone is going to be different on a different spectrum at this point with COVID, so validating that and making sure that they’re understanding and they are aware of the procedures that you guys are holding within the school.

And also, it doesn’t hurt either to let them know the numbers of cases, whether it’s within the school, within the surroundings, any clients. And we’ve been very lucky and very fortunate because of our safety procedures that we haven’t had any cases in this school.

Rob Thatcher:

Yeah, very good.

Linda Huynh:

Such a weird time.

Chris Linford:

Well, we’re living in it, though. You know?

Linda Huynh:

I know.

Chris Linford:

And I think we’re doing our best to adapt and to help people feel safe. I think the numbers are showing that it’s not spreading around in schools, and it’s a safe place to be. And we need to make sure that it’s safe and people feel comfortable. But I like what you said as far as if people have real concerns, those are real concerns, and we need to validate those. Right? And make sure we aren’t offending anybody and keeping everybody safe.

Stacey, anything to add to that? What are you guys doing in your school?

Stacey Peters:

We’re doing, I mean, the same things. As far as if they are leery about coming in or doing a tour, we’ll do a virtual tour. And it’s really important to have your admissions advisor walk through with you and mimic that tour before you go live with those and really practice them. But also showing them what precautions we are taking, again, to a degree with Linda, we have zero cases. I mean, we’ve been great.

We are overly cautious, we’re still taking temperatures, we all wear our masks, we sanitize the school literally every 20 minutes. We walk around with disinfectant and sanitize. But on the aspect of the student, during distance education, because it’s so new to us as schools, this is something that we have never done.

We’ve set up our classroom, obviously with our educators, in doing their distance education through … We used Zoom as our platform. We would show our tours what that classroom looks like so that they would understand and appreciate what they would be enrolling into if they so chose to do so, so having that additional comfort level as well. They were seeing what they were going to be engaging in and how it’s going to be.

Thankfully, we were only on distance education for two months, and then we were able to come back to the academy, so we’ve been very fortunate.

Chris Linford:

Yeah, yeah. I mean, some states are totally different. I mean, yeah. Anything to add, Rob, Linda?

Rob Thatcher:

No, I’m definitely not the expert on that. I’m going to keep my mouth shut.

Linda Huynh:

I think we were fortunate as well to be just over and done with for two months or so and be back into schooling. But I think it’s nice to know too that schools are set up for it, so that way you can continue to keep your hours and do education. That way you’re not falling behind and graduating on time.

Stacey Peters:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), definitely.

Linda Huynh:

Just know it’s for a little bit of time.

Stacey Peters:

Definitely.

Chris Linford:

Yeah. Okay, Stacey, we’re going to go to you with the next question. There’s always this thing between marketing and admissions, and marketing says, “We’re bringing you awesome leads.” And you say, “No, they suck. They’re not enrolling. I can’t even get ahold of them.”

There’s always that clash, and sometimes for us, one month we’re working with a school and they have an admissions rep who says one thing, and then the next month, they have a new person in there.

Or some schools, they have the same rep and we have a relationship with them, and they ask the right questions. They’ve been there for years. So it seems like there can be some turnover in the admissions world. As a director, owner, or even as an admissions person, how do we avoid burnout? How do we avoid turnover, transition?

Stacey Peters:

Yeah, it’s so true. I’ve had admissions advisors that three to five years, and they’re like, “I’m done. I just can’t be told no anymore.” Being with the school for a long period of time, I’ve had others that have stayed for many years and just maybe decided to either go back behind the chair or different life path or whatnot.

Burnout in admissions, you have to first recognize when it’s starting to happen. And I want to go back to what you had said, Chris, about … or maybe it was Rob, with connecting with people, and if you’re not doing that, then you are burnt out and you’re not doing your job. This has just become a 9:00 to 5:00 get my check. You have to remember why you’re here, what the end goal is.

But as a mentor, because that’s the role of directors and owners, is to first notice that, and two, step in right away. But also, with admissions, I think it’s really important for them to also wear different hats to keep that … because we are creative people. So, a very regimented 9, 10, 11, 12 is going to become very mundane for us because we like to switch it up and feel like something is different taking place.

Either being part of your town hall, you’re going to go be part of a commission, or advise, or work with … What am I trying to say? Your community, or otherwise, join a Toastmaster group. Toastmasters is huge. And actually, in the most recent … I don’t know if you guys get … It’s the career review publication, and it has different articles and whatnot. If you don’t, it’s a great resource.

Actually, in this month, they talked about how Toastmaster actually will help your admissions advisor with skills, and I’ll just name a few. In Toastmasters, and I did that for many years when I was in Omaha, but you have icebreakers. You’re required to do that in Toastmaster, but also, that’s a skill set that you’ll need when you’re talking to your future graduate.

Or, you have your getting to the point, which is your presentation features and things like that.

There’s this little graph in there that breaks it down on how that would correlate to the work environment, but I think it’s super important to mix things up to where it doesn’t become mundane. And constantly, they’re your heartbeat, your pulse.

We have our educational team, and if you have a lead educator, an associate director, that can be their wheelhouse and to nurture that in that classroom environment and keep that going. But, my primary function is my admissions team and making sure that they’re staying motivated, on track, and that they feel loved because everybody needs to be wanted at work. Right? We all need our friends to keep us going. It’s just important to keep that relationship going too.

Chris Linford:

Yeah. Linda, you’re in admissions. Do you want to add to that?

Linda Huynh:

No, I completely agree. What’s great about where I’m at with Collectiv Academy is the energy and the vibes between not only the students but the staff and the owner really make a difference. I can tell you that I absolutely love my job where I’m at. It also leads me into doing a good job, creating those relationships with these students. And seeing them graduate too, I think, knowing from my aspect, at least, I’m like, “Hey, I enrolled that person. That person succeeded. She’s graduating. He’s graduating.”

So I think you’re right, Stacey. You hit it on the head with that, for sure.

Chris Linford:

Okay, great. Rob, do you want to add, or do you want me to get to your final question?

Rob Thatcher:

I want to answer one of these questions that have been typed. Can I do that instead of mine?

Chris Linford:

We’re going to get to them.

Rob Thatcher:

Alright, fine.

Chris Linford:

Okay. Well, because of that, I’m not asking you the question. Let’s just get to questions from the attendees.

Rob Thatcher:

Well, I don’t want to bully you, but that’s a good idea.

Chris Linford:

Okay, let’s do it. Yeah, there have been some questions in the chat. Let’s open it up to everybody to chat in your questions. It could be just we haven’t talked about it yet, or you wanted a follow-up from something that somebody said. Rob, do you want to pick one and answer it? Read it and answer it?

Rob Thatcher:

Yeah. Yeah, I was looking at that. I actually love this one. I love when people ask it, and I love to experience it when I go on tours with schools. Let me find it here again. I had it set up. Thank you. I completely agree with the competitive discussion. However, people love asking the question. This is from Terin. And Terin, I have no idea how to say your last name. I’m sure I’m the only person to ever not know how to say your last name, but it’s beautiful. Should I try? Really? Nope.

Linda Huynh:

I was going to try it too.

Rob Thatcher:

Do you want to try it? Try because you yourself, Linda, have a name that is unpronounceable at the end there that I would mess up every time.

Linda Huynh:

I would say Terin, your name is Shoutner.

Rob Thatcher:

Shoutner.

Chris Linford:

[Soughtner 00:47:21], Soughtner.

Rob Thatcher:

It’s German for sure, though. It sounds cool. It sounds like oh, I am in your face. I’m going to get this right. Okay, sorry. Alright, I got distracted, but I couldn’t help it. Okay?

Chris Linford:

Yachtner

Linda Huynh:

Oh, pretend there’s no S.
Rob Thatcher:
Oh, Zoutner, Zoutner, oh, I like it.

Chris Linford:

Got it.

Linda Huynh:

I like it.

Rob Thatcher:

Dang it. I was right. Alright, so the question is: people live asking the question, what makes your school better. Right? And you said, “We do try to talk about what sets our school apart and our advantage in our school without talking about other schools. But many times, people want to hear specific differences between your school and other schools. Do you recommend engaging in that? What’s the best way to answer this?

Rob Thatcher:

Oh, okay, okay, I got the answer, and it’s the perfect answer.

Linda Huynh:

Bread and butter right here.

Rob Thatcher:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is perfect. This is perfect. Okay, so here’s the answer. The biggest mistake that you can make in responding to this is listing off the things that you do well because here’s the reality: you have no clue what they want to hear. Right? So, that’s stupid. So you say things like, well, we’ve been around for 50 years. Oh, okay, and they can spin that. They go, “Well, so you’re old. You teach things old school.”

“No, that’s not what I mean.” And then you go, “But we have the best equipment.” “Oh. Well, that sounds expensive.” “No, no, no, that’s not what I meant.” Right? And so you really have no idea what they want to hear. So instead of listing off the wonderful things that make you different, say, “You know, there’s actually a lot of things that separate us or set us apart. What kind of things are you looking for in a school?”

You’ve got to control it and turn it back to them. Once you ask that question, then they list off things. They say, “Well, I mean, I want someone that’s been around for a while. I don’t want them to go out of business halfway through my education.” Great. Right? So boom, check. And then you go, “Okay, cool. What else?” But don’t answer that.

The second biggest mistake that you can make is when they’re listing things off, you’ve got this momentum, they’re answering the question. They start listing things off, and you cut them off. You’re like, “Oh, yeah. That’s all us, all of it. Let me tell you why.” That’s stupid. That’s amateur hour. Right? So instead, listen to each one, validate each thing as they say them, and then talk about each one.

So, you’d say, “Earlier you mentioned, for example, that it was really important for you to have a school that’s going to be around for you.” Right? “So that’s great to hear because we’ve been around for 50 years and we’re not going anywhere.” Right? Boom, and then you go to the next one. But you can tailor the flavors that they like by asking, “What flavors do you like?” And then not serving them a bunch that they don’t like.

That’s, again, amateur hour. Don’t ever do that, and don’t just start spewing off things that you think they like when it actually may be working against you. And by the way, they’re not listening to you. When you list off all of these things, and you’re like, “Oh, let me tell you why we’re great.” They don’t hear you. Just like when you go to a mechanic shop, and they’re like, “Well, we’ve been doing brakes for 30 years. We have the best brakes in the business.” You’re like, “Shut up. I don’t care. Can you fix my brakes or not?” Right? It doesn’t really matter. I’m not interested. Right?

Anyway, I love that question because it comes back to conversational control and listening to what they want. Good question.

Stacey Peters:

Everybody say hi to Ms. [Asley 00:50:29].

Chris Linford:

There she is.

Rob Thatcher:

Hi, Ms. Asley. She was trying to sneak, and then she’s going to sneak back out.

Stacey Peters:

She really is.

Chris Linford:

Okay. I think we just got a great question. Here’s a school circling back to the tuition discussion. They don’t offer FAFSA®, and it seems like once they realize financial aid is not available, they lose the lead. Any good strategies there?

Linda Huynh:

That’s a good one.

Stacey Peters:

Yeah.

Linda Huynh:

That is really a good one.

Rob Thatcher:

Wait, it’s a good question? Did everybody get confused? What was the question again?

Linda Huynh:

It was about not offering FAFSA®.

Rob Thatcher:

Oh. Okay, so school just asked … Wait, wait, so give me the question again. Someone texted me during this, and I’m saying, “Go away. I’ve got better things to do.” And I got distracted. I’m not going to lie. That’s what happened. Let’s just be honest, I’ll throw it out there. I told them to go away. Okay, say it again. Do it again.

Chris Linford:

I think I was a little echo-y, though. Do I sound better?

Rob Thatcher:

You sound great.

Linda Huynh:

Echo-y.

Rob Thatcher:

And you look great.

Chris Linford:

Hm.

Rob Thatcher:

Hm. Okay, go.

Chris Linford:

They don’t offer FAFSA®.

Rob Thatcher:

And what’s the question?

Chris Linford:

They don’t offer FAFSA® and students who realize, “Oh, geez. How am I going to pay for this?” Any strategies that you’d suggest?

Stacey Peters:

I guess what do you talk about when they come in for the tour as far as what their payment options would be? Is your tuition price point … Are you looking at being able to offer financial aid through accreditation? They would have to go to an outside lead source, and then, unfortunately, unless their parents have a 529 or something like that set up for college, there aren’t going to be any lenders available that would help with that.

Maybe show them how they could break down their payments. If you want to expand on your question a little bit more to where they don’t disappear on you to where you’re losing those leads because you don’t have financial aid, we could take a look at that.

Rob Thatcher:

Let me throw something at you guys on this. Don’t be scared of the wolf that you … have you ever been sitting … this has happened to me multiple times … I grew up on a farm. Right? There were bugs all over the place. Right? And I remember. If you’ve ever had this happen … You’re laying in bed and you see a spider on the wall, and you’re like, “Oh, spider.” And maybe you’re afraid of spiders. I’m not. My wife is terrified of spiders. I don’t like water. I have my fears. I’m willing to admit it, and spiders is not one.

So, I’ll sit there and I’ll look … I’ve done this before, and I’ve looked away. And then you look back, and the spider is gone. That spider is so much scarier than the one that you saw. You’re like, “Oh, crap!” And before you know it, you’re like, “Oh, I’ve got something on my neck, and my hair is … ” And because you can’t see it, it’s scarier.

If you’re dealing with this, the thing you have to realize is that the wolf that you can’t see or the spider that you can’t see is infinitely scarier than the one you can. Right? Measure the teeth on the wolf. Figure out what kind of spider it is, and then it’s not as scary. It doesn’t even have teeth, or it doesn’t even bite. It’s not even venomous.

You have to start to realize and go, “Well, gosh. If I don’t have financial aid, I can’t possibly do this.” Well, I don’t know. What are your payments, and what were the payments of the school down the road? You better understand those numbers.

I just sat with a Windows company. We were training a company on Windows, and they were like, “Oh, everybody is so much cheaper than us.” And I was like, “Are you sure?” And they go, “Oh, yeah. No, we’re the most expensive.” I said, “Okay. Well, let’s pick a couple.” We called a couple of their competitors. It turns out, they were cheaper than both of them, but they’d been scared for years. These people had worked there forever. They’d been scared for years over price. They didn’t need to be.

Now, I get it that you have a disadvantage, and let’s be perfectly frank. If you don’t have financial aid, that’s a disadvantage, but there are ways that you can work it to your advantage. But we have to recognize that it is one, but stop being scared of it.

Figure out what your payments are compared to down the street. Figure out a way to get around those things. And often, it’s not as big a difference in payment as you think.

And then the other thing is why did they come to you anyway? They probably knew you didn’t have financial aid. There was a good chance that they knew that, so why did they come to you anyway? Well, it may be that you’re more convenient, and that’s worth the extra money because they don’t want to sit in the car for another hour, depending on where you’re at.

Figure out why they’re there in the first place, but again, recognize it is a disadvantage. You’ve got to measure the teeth of the wolf before you’re scared of it. Okay?

Stacey Peters:

Right. There was a question on here. I’m just trying to find it.

Linda Huynh:

I also wanted to add, too, Donny, have you looked in … Oh, sorry, Stacey.

Stacey Peters:

No, no, no, you’re fine. I’m still looking for it.

Linda Huynh:

I wanted to also see if, Donny, if you looked into any local … Oh, thank you. Donny, have you looked into any local credit unions that possibly offer student loans? Or maybe even you can work with a local company to see if they can assist with any of that funding. We, personally, here are working with a credit union that will help out-of-pocket costs for those that don’t qualify for financial aid.

Rob Thatcher:

Yeah, that’s awesome.

Stacey Peters:

That’s a good point too.

Rob Thatcher:

Yep.

Stacey Peters:

There was a question, and I can’t find it. It was from, I think, a barbering school about how to organize files, and I just wanted to touch on that for a minute. It’s super important for your admissions team. You can organize them by either class starting date and program, which helps keep them segregated so you know what you’re working.

But, also then, for your business office to work with your admissions team to have accountability meetings at least two to three times a week to touch base on where those files are at and where they’re at in the enrollment process.

If you don’t have a system like that in place, start off with organizing and getting them in touch, and then the directors need to be involved in that meeting as well just to see where your enrollment is at.

Chris Linford:

No, that’s good. Anything to add, Linda? I mean you, working with the CRM and leads, and keeping track-

Linda Huynh:

Yeah, and I apologize. Mine is cutting out right now, but I do work with the CRM to keep track of my leads as well. And honestly, it really does help when I’m taking notes from each of the leads or each of the tours and moving them into certain buckets to keep track of them. But I will never not contact someone unless they specifically say don’t contact me. I will still continue to do so.

Rob Thatcher:

By the way, if anybody … I’m going to say this because I love being controversial. It gets people’s attention. If you’re an owner or a director right now, specifically if you’re an owner, and you’re listening to this, and you do not have a CRM, I would tell you that you shouldn’t be investing money in anything else, including probably even up to the electricity in the building.

Before putting even the electricity in the building ahead of a CRM, you should have that immediately.

There’s no excuse for not having it. And I love you dearly, but that was a bad decision. The good news is you can change and be better tomorrow, and buy a CRM. And I don’t care which one, just get one and make it effective.

Linda Huynh:

Just get one.

Rob Thatcher:

Just get one. And by the way, those of you that are learning a CRM or feel like it’s a pain in the neck with your CRM, you got to get over it. Use what you got. Do the best you can. There’s a bunch of good ones out there, but please, use your CRMs. And if you don’t have one, owners, get one right now.

Chris Linford:

Yeah, thank you. Let me add to that. If you’re on, I think it would be awesome if everybody posts what CRM you’re using and why you like it because we get that question all the time. “Hey Oozle, what CRM is the best? What are people using?” There’s so many options out there and so many different ways you can customize them. And schools love some, and some schools hate the same one that other schools love. If you could put which one you’re using and why you love it …

Also, I think there was a question from my good friend Brenda Sharman. She was wondering how are enrollments doing across the country? Are they down because of COVID, or are they up? Or are they staying the same, or you don’t know because you can’t open? You can’t enroll.

So if everybody can utilize the chat for that too … But we have time for one last question because we’re approaching the 60-minute mark.

There were a couple of questions in there about first appointment, to show rates, to enrollments, and being successful. For example, how to minimize no-shows, how often do you continue to contact the prospective student that no-showed? Let’s get into that real quick. What are the strategies there? What’s a formula we can follow? Who wants to talk about no-shows?

Linda Huynh:

Yeah. I think, honestly, that’s a great question. But with measurements, how to minimize no-shows, it really is from the beginning of the conversation that you’re having with the prospective tour. Are you creating that relationship? Does that person feel connected to you in admissions that they’re just not setting it just to set it?

They want to come in, they want to meet you, they want to tour. And so I think from the get-go, having those conversations will minimize that.

And then obviously, doing a reminder the day before, the morning of, to make sure that they’re aware because sometimes people actually do forget, will help minimize those no-shows. And how often do you continue to contact the prospective student that no-showed? I’ll continue until they tell me, “Stop.”

The question if they are no-showing multiple times is a different story. Obviously, I’d let them know this is the third time that you have not showed to the tour, and that’ll be a different conversation. But I will continue until they tell me otherwise.

Stacey Peters:

Right. I agree with Linda 100%. The more conversations you have with them, we go back to the better connection, and they’ll feel a little bit more guilty about not showing up. And also, to touch back on what she had said about if it’s second and third time, it’s like, “Hey, I just need you to bring in something to show me your commitment level. And if you can’t even do that, then you aren’t vested in this, so it’s time for you to … until it’s a better time for you to start school.”

Because you have to believe that if they’re doing that during that enrollment process, they’re going to be doing that during the school process. If you have to hunt them down-

Linda Huynh:

It shows to their commitment.

Stacey Peters:

Most definitely. But if you have somebody that’s walking in with their documents in hand and they’re ready to sign, they’re ready to go. They’re going to rocket through school. But I agree 100% with Linda, that second and third no-show is a whole nother conversation, and it’s not an icy one. It’s just like, “Where are you at really in life? Is this really going to work for you right now?” You know? “You can’t even bring me a birth certificate.”

Stacey Peters:

But conversion rates are really … I mean, you could have massive amounts of leads come in. We have another campus and love them dearly. They are in a larger city, and they have a lot more leads coming in. But us being in a smaller community, our leads may be as mighty, but we have to look at our conversion rates.

How many of our tours are actually showing up for their appointments? How many are turning into enrollments? And you really have to take a step back and analyze that.

If you’re texting, texting, texting, and your tours aren’t showing up, it’s because you’re texting them. You’re just an automated oversight.

Linda Huynh:

Rob hates texting.

Rob Thatcher:

Oh, my. Wait, wait, wait, wait. I hate texting unto an appointment. Texting is my favorite thing to get ahold of somebody, but oh, Linda, you’re so right. I hate texting, making a commitment via text because it’s … You’re looking at a 20%, 30% reduction in show rate based on that one stupid decision, so you shouldn’t do it.

But you should use text message to get ahold of people. There’s no better way, right?

I’m going to speak to this nuts and bolts, okay? Which, I think, is a company also. But let me give you the specifics here on this too because everything you just said is absolutely brilliant and 1000%, I agree with.

As far as measuring it, I’m going to tell you this really fast. I’m going to throw a lot of information at you in one and a half minutes. Here you go. Here’s how to measure no-show rate. Okay?

The first thing you need to look at is total number of appointments made. Okay? And then you need to batch it. Okay? In other words, batch it between … you look at the time like say maybe October 1st and October 31st. And all those people needed to have some sort of action. So you took the phone call. You could have taken the phone call in September, and then you made the appointment for some time in October, and now it’s November.

You made it sometime in October, and they either showed, no-showed, canceled, or rescheduled. They had to do one of those four things in order to show up in your batch. Okay?

It’s really important that you batch. If you don’t batch, you’re never going to get an accurate number. Right? So you have to look at it and say, “Okay. Between this time and this time, I made this many appointments. And out of this many appointments that have already come to pass in some way, shape, or form, again, they no-showed, canceled, rescheduled, or completed.” Right? So that’s the first thing, batch.

Second thing, a cancel or a reschedule in advance of the appointment is different than just no-showing you. And I can promise you that it is different, and here’s why. Because you go, “Yeah, but Rob, they didn’t come in for that appointment, so I’m just putting it as a no-show.” Well, I’m sorry, that’s a bad decision because if they called in advance and told you they couldn’t make it, that means you don’t have to call them back. And so you don’t have to put more time in to get them rescheduled. They’re already rescheduled.

It takes, on average, eight phone calls to get ahold of somebody to get them rescheduled once they’ve no-showed you. And by the way, once they’ve no-showed you, they’re likely to do it again, so you have to separate. There’s a difference between show, no-show, cancel, and reschedule.

If they call you in advance to say, “I can’t make it. Let’s do it another day.” Or they call and say, “I want to be a nurse instead. Pound sand.” Well, these people, I don’t have to call anymore. They’re done. They’ve either rescheduled or they’re off my list.

And so that’s a really big differentiation, right? A no-show or a reschedule from a no-show or a cancel from a no-show. By the way, I’ll put my email right on here right now, and if you guys need … I have an Excel sheet that you can pump this information into, and it’ll pump out your percentage, your no-show percentage. I can just email it to you, it’s no problem. But again, it won’t work if you don’t batch it.

Do not count pending people. “Well, Rob, they’re scheduled for November 5th, but they … And I talked to them.” No. No, no, no. If they did one of those four things, they show up in your batch between this time and this time. Okay? So really important that you need to measure that. By the way, that’s how you determine how well you’re doing on the phone. That’s your KPI. Right?

If you go, “Well, how good am I on the phone?” Well, what’s your show rate, and what is it consistently? That’s how you determine how good your show rate is or how good you are on the phone is by your show rate. Yeah, KPI. I like that. Thank you, Linda. See that? KPI. Okay, so that’s all I have to say about that.

Boom, boom, boom. Boom, boom. I was trying to pump some music, and I couldn’t. I just realized it at the last [sound effect] oh, there’s … Oh, I didn’t even know that was there. Yeah, that’s nice.

Chris Linford:

Okay. Well, I think this has been a great discussion. I think there’s been a lot of-

Linda Huynh:

It really has.

Chris Linford:

… really good information shared. I think hopefully a lot of questions have been answered and that those who have attended have taken something from this and they’ll be able to implement. Again, if you want to get ahold of any of these great people, if you feel comfortable putting your email out there Stacey and Linda. I know, Rob, you have already.

I want this to be a community where we get together and we help each other. We’re here for each other, sharing great information.

Chris Linford:

This isn’t the first admissions discussions we’ve had. I think this is our third one that we’ve done this year, and we’ll continue to do three or four a year. I thank you all for being on. Stacey, Linda, Rob, much appreciated. I want to thank everybody who has attended for your questions.

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Oozle Media Nov 02 2020
Categories: Advocates | Webinar
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