Today’s topic is all about conducting virtual experiences. 

I just got off the phone with a childcare center and we were talking about what they could do in order to still generate enrollments in the coming months. Unfortunately, based on where they are in the US, their center is currently closed. 

Historically speaking, the process for enrolling in a childcare center would be that a family or parent would submit a lead (whether that was filling out a form or calling in) and they would say they’d love a tour to learn a little bit more about your center. They would schedule an appointment, go in and get a tour of the facility, possibly meet the teacher or the director. And then be able to kind of have that I guess, sales/closing conversation. 

Well, if you’re in an area and then it states that is still hit pretty hard by COVID, families are not thinking about coming in and taking a tour at this moment. That’s just not something that’s at the forefront of their mind. So, what I would recommend doing is looking at how can you have that virtual experience. 

When I look at trying to replicate something that was normally done in person in a virtual environment, you really have to start to think through all the little intricacies and to see how you could even come anywhere close. 

Let’s kind of talk this through. If you have any kind of business that had anything virtual in the past, it’ll be a little bit easier to grasp. However, if your business was largely reliant on people coming into a physical location, you’re going to want to look at changing things up a little bit so that you can offer some kind of virtual experience.

With the childcare center, there are a few different things that you could do from a virtual standpoint. 

  • VIRTUAL GROUP TOUR

With this option, everyone could kind of log on to Zoom, Goto Meeting, or something like that. You could basically do this in a group setting and a lot of times, the tours that would be done in the past would be conducted with a few families. Sometimes it was always one on one. It varies on the number of inquiries you would have but you could do this in a virtual environment where you’re sitting at a table initially, kind of setting the tone, and then you could slowly walk them around the center. 

Now, what you want to do is you want to make sure that from a camera standpoint you are still delivering somewhat of a good experience. You can either use a tripod or have the camera placed on some kind of like Dolly or rolling cart so that you’re not holding it on the computer, and it’s bouncing up and down. After all, you wouldn’t want your viewers to feel like you’re on a roller coaster or something crazy like that. 

  • ONE-ON-ONE VIRTUAL TOUR

Option B is similar, but you could do that same experience in a one on one setting. Where you’re meeting with that particular family or parent initially, doing that virtual experience or that virtual tour, and then you go back to your office and answer any other further questions. 

  • PRE-RECORDED VIRTUAL TOUR

Option C is quite different, but there are some similarities. Option C is really only needed if you cannot keep up with the volume of the virtual tours. Let’s say, you’ve got 10 child care center locations for example, and you don’t have the capacity to be doing dozens of tours every single day, you’d want to look at creating one tour that then could essentially be emailed out to the particular families. Now, the downside with option C is that it really isn’t an experience. It’s more of “here’s a video of what our center looks like”. Ideally, it’s not the preferred option. 

  • PRE-RECORDED VIDEO FOR FAMILIES (PERSONALIZED VIRTUAL TOUR)

Option D (I’m giving you lots of options and then I’m gonna throw a few other pieces of wood onto the fire, so to speak). So, option D is you take that video that you do that’s kind of the same for everyone. Then maybe you spend a little bit of time each day and you do a little video introduction at the beginning. “Hey there, Smith Family. This is Miko with ABC Academy. We have put together this video for you. Have a walkthrough of our location. I really look forward to talking with you at five o’clock.”

What you want to do with that is you want to make sure that you’re doing a little bit of personalization. All you’re doing is literally editing that out at the beginning of the video. You’re also setting a time so that you already have time to review the video and you’re going to get a much better response than you would have just sent a link to a video. 

My preferred method is Option B where you’re doing a one-on-one virtual tour and experience so you can answer questions live. However, if you have too many that you have to do, and you don’t have a way to make it work, but I want you to look at option D of personalizing the beginning and then sending the kind of that canned video, but scheduling kind of that sales appointment. 

Now with all these options, the thing that I need you to think about is you have to try and replicate this a little bit more in a virtual environment to make it feel like they’re actually there or they’re getting to experience something. 

If you’re giving them an enrollment packet at the beginning of the tour, I want you to mail the enrollment packet. I want you to send them some swag in the mail that has your logo on it. I want you to up your game and not just say, “Well, I can’t meet them in person.” 

If you had fresh muffins and coffee when they were to walk in to get their tour, why couldn’t you send them a couple of muffins, a coffee mug, and some k-cups, for example? I mean, you have to think about replicating that experience. In a situation like a childcare center, those enrollments could be worth $20000 to $30000 or $40,000 over three or four years. So why would you not be willing to invest a little bit of money on the front-end to potentially get that huge payday on the back-end? 

With all these options, you have to look at adding some kind of surprise and delight elements, adding something that’s just a little bit above and beyond that makes them have that warm and fuzzy feeling. With that, they will feel a bit more connected. And that’s really what everyone’s looking for right now. 

So while I gave an example of a childcare center, this could also apply to any type of business that was doing tours. I mean, it could be colleges, private high schools or prep schools, Taekwondo facilities or gyms. You just have to find a way to have that connection and add a couple of those warm and fuzzy elements. Hope you enjoyed today’s episode on conducting virtual tours. 

Get out there, make a change, and take some action.