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Setting More Admissions Appointments that Show

Setting More Admissions Appointments that Show


By Matthew Schmoker, President/CEO, Legacy Solutions


With appointment conversions low amongst school groups today, it is 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 I am not only going to illustrate why an outdated phone guide (script) and approach might be the reason your team is not yielding the desired results, but I will share a template which has helped many of our partner schools improve this key metric.

It is 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 Unfortunately, using an outdated approach to the first phone call can make the wrong first impression with today’s student, and can also be the very reason why many do not set committed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 have 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 and does not have the proper 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Here is an example of the outdated order, and improper objectives, that we typically see being used by admissions reps that are struggling to set appointments.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 The Outdated WHAT: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 The Outdated HOW: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 The Outdated WHY: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:

  1. Prospective students are extremely skeptical and pessimistic.
  2. Far more consumer information exists than ever before, with more post-secondary options available to students.
  3. Immeasurable narcissism.
  4. The need for immediate gratification and being understood.
  5. Students hate being “sold” to.

With these variables driving the demand for a new structure and approach to the phone call, and admissions appointment for that matter, it is just as critical for the tone and style of the call to adapt as well. As such, it is important to remember:

  • Challenging the student to create visions of success builds value.
  • Building value increases commitment.
  • It is 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 structure and repurposed series of objectives 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:
    • Needs
    • Motivations
    • Goals
    • Beliefs
  1. The Modern HOW:
  • Uncover HOW going to school will fulfill the prospective student’s:
    1. Needs
    2. Motivations
    3. Goals
    4. Beliefs
  • Discover HOW life will be better for the student when they graduate.
  1. 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.

Schools that have adopted this modern template have not only seen a significant increase in conversions, up to 23 percent, but have found a higher level of receptiveness from those students attending their admissions appointments.

When the correct style and approach is established during the initial phone call, aka 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 their expectations, as you will be seeing even more students when your team is setting more appointments that show.

Legacy Solutions is a premier admissions training and strategic enrollment management consulting group. With over 17 years of success, Legacy Solutions has been an international trusted partner of higher education institutions, both public and private, specializing in admissions effectiveness training and customized enrollment optimization solutions.

Our unrivaled blend of expertise, innovative and forward thinking approaches, scientifically proven strategies, as well as our highly regarded results-driven training programs and seminars, have supported schools in meeting/exceeding their enrollment goals while giving them the competitive advantage to overcome future challenges.

Matthew Schmoker

Matthew Schmokeris fortunate to have dedicated his passion and career to higher-education for nearly 20 years as an awarding winning enrollment management expert and consultant, and nationally acclaimed speaker.

With an unmatched ability for transforming low performing institutions into surpassing goals, Matt decided to commit his expertise to supporting even more schools in maximizing their enrollment potential. As such, Matt founded Legacy Solutions, the premier admissions training and strategic enrollment management group. Since then, Matt has developed a reputation as the “Admissions Whisperer” by the support he and his organization provide both private and public institutions in surpassing enrollment and retention goals through innovative and strategic approaches to the admissions process and training. As a result, Legacy Solutions has become an international trusted partner helping schools throughout North America and abroad experience unprecedented growth.

Additionally, Matt is humbled to be a member of the national speaking circuit. With a passion for empowering today’s higher-education professionals, as well as today’s generation of students, Matt is a highly sought-after speaker who has motivated over 1.35 million people by delivering over 3300 presentations and seminars and is the recipient of the Washington Education Association’s honors as the “Best motivator in the Northwest.”

Contact Information: Matthew Schmoker // President/CEO // Legacy Solutions // Phone: 561-235-1954 // www.LegacySolutions.co // mschmoker@legacysolutions.co


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