Parents are going back to work and are looking for the perfect child care option for their kiddo. As a FCC Provider, it’s your time to shine! Once they find out about you—and if you’re listed on NeighborSchools.com, they definitely will—parents will probably want to see your space and meet your lovely self.
But hold up, we’re still in the midst of this pandemic…it’s not like you necessarily want them coming into your home. Disinfecting and cleaning again?! Ugh. That would be a pain. Plus, putting themselves, you, and the kiddos in your program at risk sounds, well, risky. So, what’s a perfect solution to this problem? Virtual tours!
What is a virtual tour? Exactly how it sounds. It’s just like an in-home that you give to prospective parents. Only you’ll be doing it online instead of in-person (kind of like everything else these days, right?)
The great thing about this is even the least tech-savvy Provider can nail a live virtual tour: all it takes is a smartphone or tablet and your amazing personality. Got them both? I bet you do.
Now that we have that settled, let’s walk through 5 easy steps to give the perfect live virtual tour and get those parents begging to join your program.
Giving a Live Virtual Tour in 5 Easy Steps
Step 1: Confirm the details. Then confirm them again.
You’ll want to set 30-60 minutes aside for a live virtual tour. We recommend doing this during either nap time or after hours. You’ll want to give the parent your full attention, which is a little tough when you’re juggling a toddler (or two!)
Make sure you have the parent’s phone number and email address. Confirm with them how they prefer to do the video chat (we’ll walk through the different options in Step 2.) If you can, send them a calendar invite from your email address to make sure the time is recorded for both of you. If you’re a NeighborSchools Provider, you can schedule the tour right on your Provider Dashboard.
Be sure to set a reminder to reach out to the parent about an hour before the tour is set to begin to confirm that the time still works for them. It’s no fun to spend an hour getting prepped and ready only for someone to totally forget about the time you had on the books!
Step 2: Use FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or another free video chat app
Video call apps have been a lifeline these last few months. How else could we be so connected to friends and family during these crazy times? Right now, they’re also the best and safest way to show off your program to potential families. From FaceTime to Zoom, most of us are now really good at communicating through a screen. Take these newfound skills and use them to your advantage to make parents fall in love with you and your program!
Not sure which way is the best way to do a video chat? Here are some options:
Facetime: If you have an iPhone or iPad, this will be super easy thanks to Apple’s built-in FaceTime app. However, it only works if the parent also has an iPhone or iPad too, so you’ll want to confirm with them what type of device they have before agreeing to use FaceTime.
When you’re ready to start your tour go to the FaceTime App Icon, hit the “+” in the top right-hand corner, type in their number, hit return, and then the video button. *Ring ring …* the virtual tour is about to begin!
If you and/or the parent do not have an iPhone or iPad, but another type of smartphone or tablet with a camera, there are still a ton of apps you can choose from to get the same result.
Google Hangouts: If you are an Android phone user, this is the built-in video chat app on your device. The good news is that every parent can create a free Google account (if they don’t have one already) and join by any computer, tablet, or smartphone. You just need their Gmail address to call them on Hangouts.
Zoom Meeting: If you’ve joined one of our Provider Zoom Calls, you probably already have an idea of how it works. (If you haven’t— you should subscribe to our mailing list to snag an invite ) You can download Zoom from your app store and create a free account to hold a meeting up to 40 minutes. Just text or email the personal meeting link provided to you on your Zoom account to the parent(s) to have them join the video chat.
WhatsApp: Here’s another free option that you can download from any app store! If the FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Zoom are not an easy option for a parent, you can ask them if they use WhatsApp. If so, you’ll just need to add them as a contact by adding their phone number or email address to your contact list. Then, you can give a video call!
Bonus — Record the video ahead of time: If for some reason a parent is strapped for time and has less than 30 minutes to chat, a great way to accommodate them is to record your virtual tour ahead of time and send it to them before having the video call. Just pull up your video recording app, hit the red record button, and give an exciting tour just as you would if they were on the other end of the screen. That way, they can watch the tour portion ahead of time, then come to the shortened conversation informed about your program and armed with questions. Another bonus: you can reuse the video you recorded with other prospective parents too!
Step 3: Make Your Space Spotless
FCC Providers are already all-stars at maintaining a clean and safe environment—so this shouldn’t be a heavy lift. However, it is worth that you should have your space looking your best for the live virtual tour. Remember, first impressions mean everything.
You’ll want to clear the clutter, organize toys and books, and make sure anything visible is sparkling clean. Even though the parent won’t physically be there, you should still act and prepare as if they were walking two steps behind you.
It’s also a great opportunity to stage the scene with select items that make your program unique! Do you play music with the kiddos in your program? Make sure the guitar is out in plain sight. Are you a yoga instructor for children? Layout your yoga mats to give you an easy visual cue to mention your talent.
Step 4: Show off your program (and you!)
Lights, cameras, action… it’s go time! First off, do not be nervous. The best you can be is yourself, and remember, you are an incredible Provider! Anybody would be lucky to have you educate and care for their child. But if this is your first time giving a live virtual tour, we recommend practicing by either recording yourself or running through the tour with a friend. (Psst, if you’re a NeighborSchools Provider, your Partner Success Coordinator would be happy to do a practice tour with you!)
Kick off the call by warmly greeting the parent with a smile. Start off with some light banter and ask them what they’re looking for in a child care option. Their answers can help you figure out what unique parts of your program to highlight.
Next, start the tour. Walk from room to room and give them a 360º look of each space. Do a little storytelling about how the kids interact and play in each room to really set the scene. Answer any questions they may have about what activities you hold in the space.
While you’re walking and talking through the tour, make sure you’re holding your phone and tablet as steady as possible. You want to make sure that the parent on the other side is having a nice viewing experience. Flip the camera back to you from time to time to engage with the parent and discuss the different spaces of your program.
Step 5: Get to know your virtual guests
Make sure you’re wrapping up the tour with about 15-20 minutes to spare. You’ll want to have time to sit down, answer any questions the parent may have, and really get to know them and their little one. Don’t forget, this is a two-way street. The parent can easily fall in love with you, but you’re the one who decides to send over a contract!
Ask them about their home life and what their child’s favorite things are. See if you can meet or see the child. Your chemistry with the little one is the most important part of this blossoming relationship.
After you get to know the parent a little more, chat a bit about their expectations for a child care arrangement. Any NeighborSchools Provider will already know the parent’s preferred schedule and budget in advance thanks to the parent’s Match Me Survey results on their dashboard, but this is a good opportunity to chat about the specifics and set expectations.
When all is done, it’s time to wrap it up. Confirm next steps with the parent. Are they ready to go and want to join the program? Great, tell them you’ll follow up with more info soon if they’re a fit. If they want more time to consider, give them a timeframe on when you expect to hear back from them. You’ll want to let them know there are other families who are interested in your program as well. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real motivator, so don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage.
Then give them a warm wave, say goodbye to them and the little one, and click—you’re done!
Your First Live Virtual Tour? Done.
That’s it! You nailed your first live virtual tour. You conquered the video call, made your program look incredible, and showed off your amazing personality. How could any parent NOT fall in love with you?
Looking for more guidance on how to quickly enroll families and make your program shine? Like us on Facebook and follow along for more tips on how to boost enrollment, earn more, and grow your FCC. We’ll see you there!