Webinar: Keeping Admissions Successful and Busy During COVID-19 Outbreak
Our CEO, Chris Linford and Rob Thatcher, owner of Sales Comm, paired up to talk about what beauty school admissions should be doing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Rob has been working as a beauty schools admissions consultant and has over 25 years of sales experience.
We invited him to talk with us because admissions are up in the air right now. We wanted to provide as much helpful and free information as possible. We’re all in this together. During this webinar, we talked about:
- Admissions best practices during quarantine
- Most important things admissions reps should be doing while schools are shut down
- Tips on how to create and run successful virtual tours
You can watch the replay to get a few laughs and some useful advice and get a recap of what they talked about down below. If you didn’t see our first webinar about what beauty schools should be doing on social media right now, you can watch that replay and check out the slides.
Watch the Replay
Stay Positive During a Crisis
Whenever there’s a crisis, the best thing to remember is to stay positive. How you react is what you’re going to remember, so if you react well, this is going to be a good learning opportunity.
Don’t be the school running in circles. You have to take this seriously, you have to recognize there’s so much opportunity right now to grow. A lot of schools are confused about what they should be doing right now.
The Current State of Admissions
Admissions during this time is jumbled. You have some schools that are trying to go online, you have to deal with the no-enroll rule, and some schools are closed down entirely.
The No-Enroll Rule
With the no-enroll rule, you can enroll people, you just can’t enroll people in online different learnings. Each state has different rules, and it’s possible that by the time we release this webinar, things have changed. We spoke with six or seven different owners about those rules.
Rules are determined state-by-state. We are not attorneys. If you don’t know what your state’s regulations are, you need to get in touch with those who can direct you on your state’s rules.
People are still enrolling in schools, and your admissions people need to be enrolling if at all possible. We need to get a list of people who are interested in the next start date. We’ve talked to several schools about that. It’s been confirmed by the board on AACS and a few others. This is what we know so far.
Leads Are Down
Schools are in the position where they should still be getting some leads, but that will be dying down. At Oozle Media, we’ve had a percentage decrease in the amount of impressions on Google searches, because they aren’t searching as much. Instead, they’re spending time on social media.
What can you do while leads are down?
You can enroll for future class start dates. So, let’s talk about those conversations. How do we handle virtual tours? How do we handle those leads right now? What are those conversations with them? How do we handle them?
Set Up Virtual Tours
There are some schools where you can’t go back to your school. That will probably happen. If you are allowed in your school right now, what you need to do is create some type of virtual tour. Grab a cell phone, tour the school, explain things. You might say:
It’s boring. It’s empty.
Right! That’s because everyone’s in quarantine! It’s better than nothing. Create content while you can still get in your school, so that when people reach out to you next week, you have something to give them. While there is a reduction of leads, that’s going to change.
Think of the industries that are hurt most right now: restaurants. We pull a lot of our cosmetology students, esthetic students from people who are servers. Those people are a little scared right now, but next week they might start thinking, “Gosh, what do I do with my life?” You need to be able to speak to those people who were laid off.
This industry is going to be coming back roaring. Within weeks or a couple months, this is going to be lit on fire. This is also forcing us to do online learning that everyone has been pushing off, so that’s good.
If you can’t get back into your school, contact people who might have it.
Use technology to your advantage.
If you can, do a Zoom because you can show footage of the school and pop it back to your face. We need to give people a sense of normalcy, and that is communicating face-to-face. Try not to do phone tours. It needs to be a visual representation of you.
Another option is to do a Facebook video chat. Almost all the folks you’ll contact are going to have that.
Whatever you do, do a dry run of all your options. Your virtual tour should be done whatever your lead is most comfortable with. If you have a call center answering, ask them to ask what’s most comfortable for them. Don’t let them catch you off guard.
What about a one-on-one tour?
Half schools are still open for tours, the other half are not open. If your school is open, do a tour! If your admissions person is the only person is the only one in the school, no. As long as you have two or three people in the school, and they’re comfortable with it, go for it.
How is a tour different from being in the school or while you’re at home?
There are some things that are different, but there are some things that we think are different but aren’t. You better get a commitment out of someone before they get off the tour. You’re not here to entertain, you should make them have fun and enjoy it, but the ultimate objective of that tour is to get some sort of commitment. If it’s approved you can enroll, enroll them.
You should have some sort of portal on your website to accept an application fee. You could do Venmo or PayPal. At Oozle Media, we are working with some of our clients to get a payment portal on their website. So, if that student wants to pay that, they can fill out the form, and you can get that commitment. That is going to be essential.
People might say:
“I need to hold off. I’m not sure what’s going to happen.”
Maybe they won’t come in for a tour because they’re scared. You need to flip that around and say, “It is because of this, now is a great time.”
Tell them: “In the next couple of months, we are going to see an influx of students. All indications show that. We could be wrong, but the chances of that are low. The chances are very high we can see an influx.”
When people say that, we need to help them understand that they could be pushed to an August class because other classes are full. There’s going to be a huge jump for all the people who got laid off and want to go back to school. There’s going to be lists of people, and you need to get those commitments by putting down that application fee, so you save spots in those classes.
Students love virtual tours.
They love the option to stay home. They love the idea they can tour a school and talk to somebody, but do it safely in their own home.
What does the conversation look like during virtual tours?
How do we make our students confident that we are an establishment that will be open and offering great education and classes? Here are some tips for admissions reps to get a commitment:
- Make sure they’re comfortable showing their face. Never force your potential students if they don’t want to show their faces, but they should be able to see you.
- Use a script on how we get people to agree to the tour. Sales Comm offers a variety of scripts to help you do that.
- Don’t do the tour on the admissions call unless it’s possible. If you have enough leads, you probably won’t have time to do that.
- Don’t push the tour past 35 minutes unless you’re doing the next step, such as application fees.
- Control the conversation. Around eight and a half minutes is how long an admissions call should last.
- Expect a higher no-show rate. This rate will be higher because it’s a lower barrier of entry.
What are some strategies via text to get people to show up for a virtual tour?
Texting is fantastic, and it’s the best way to get a hold of somebody. It is not the best way to schedule somebody. If you are going to schedule them via text, you still need to have a conversation with them before the appointment time. You should call and confirm their appointment time.
The goal of text is to get them on the phone.
Just texting out a confirmation can drop your show rate by on average 20-30%, based on that one action alone. Text does not successfully schedule appointments.
If you don’t have a chat feature on your website, get it. At Oozle Media we can help with it, and it’s great to have because it’s a low barrier of entry. Especially when people are home.
Things Your Admissions Staff Should Be Doing While Your School Is Closed
For admissions reps who are home or have some downtime, here are what they should do:
1. Go through your Customer Retention Management (CRM) and clean it out.
Make sure you understand the protocol for getting rid of the old stuff. Get in touch with everyone you can.
2. Catch up on overdue tasks.
If you don’t catch up now, then what’s going to happen when it’s really busy, you will not get back to them when it gets busy. They will fly under the radar.
3. Stay in contact with people who have contracted already.
We are seeing people cancelling contracts, but that has to stop. Calm those people down and show that you care. That’s going to mean a lot. Keep those people full of info and entertained.
4. Plan an open house for leads who have not toured.
You can do a virtual open house where you show the school and go over questions and answers. You can use Facebook live for that. Also, schedule an open house for when you open. Start thinking about that now.
5. Follow up with high school programs and leads.
High school students have nothing going on right now. We can get in front of seniors right now. Reach out to them and ask how they’re doing. Reassure them that this industry will come back.
This is the time to take social media seriously. If you don’t have a real coherent plan or you don’t have time for it, consider your market share gone. Other schools are going to be doing it. You could create an instructional video and questions and answer style video on a particular topic. Do a 15 minute training that you start to build up.
7. Reach out to instructors to create topics that they could teach 10-15 minute videos they could produce a few times a week.
Most people are going to get real cabin fever, so you can do it. Keep content rolling out. You have a lot of blogs you can repurpose. You can create Instagram stories. Now is the time to create the content you’ve always wanted to create.
With the influx of distance learning, there are lots of laws you have to consider. For distance learning, an instructor needs to be involved, and you can use Beauty as a Business to help.
Get Beauty as a Business
Beauty as a Business, which is 20 hours of social media marketing curriculum for beauty school students, is providing 10 hours of free curriculum you can use for your online curriculum. These are teacher lesson plans, short videos, quizzes, and worksheets. If you’re putting together a list of what your students are learning online, here are 10 hours of videos you don’t have to think about.
The two modules we are going to release are Google reviews, which is huge for beauty schools. We’ve been teaching and preaching for over 5 years. The beauty schools that have the most reviews tend to get the majority of the traffic and the leads, and the leads convert at a higher rate. Around 95% of people are going to read reviews before they convert.
The other module we are releasing is 10 videos on how to take the right photo and video for social media. This is lighting, editing software, and things like that. Those are going to be free. These do count as part of your curriculum.
If you’re interested in this, go to https://www.beautyasabusiness.com/ and fill out the demo request form and let Beauty as a Business know you want those free 10 hours.
Support Your Admissions Team
Now is the time to get focused on how well you do on the phones. People have to be engaged. Take the calls seriously, slow down, lift them up, it will bring you out of it too. When you start to connect to people on the phones then you’re going to find you’re happier.
Do you want to learn more about Sales Comm and get in touch with Rob? Sales Comm offers training videos on how to take phone calls and control conversations. You can get in touch with Rob by texting his cell phone at 801-979-0071 or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oozle Media Is on Your Side
If you have any questions or concerns about your beauty school’s marketing, rely on Oozle Media. We have years of experience marketing specifically for beauty schools. Our CEO, Chris Linford, is on the board of AACS and lobbies for beauty schools. Get in touch and receive a free analysis from us to push your marketing a step further.