How to Qualify; Improve Your Show Rate, and More?

Candidates are much less likely to show up if they do not see enough value in the visit. In so many words you want to tell the candidate that,” it does not matter even if you are not thinking about going to school. This visit will open your eyes. There is so much value in this visit. You owe that to yourself to visit the school for this information.” That is what you want to say. But how do you say that?

Much of the information below will help you when you talk to candidates on the phone or in person. Your goal as Training Coordinator is to set appointments with candidates, then qualify the candidate, and close them as quickly as possible so that we can move on to the next task. This is difficult to do if the candidate does not show up for the appointment….or if the candidate does not open up and tell you more about them and their situation. We need to “Establish Value”, “Light a Fire”, “Build the Dream”, whatever it takes to get them to show. But they are not going to come to see you if they don’t have a good reason to do so. You need to make sure the candidate sees the value in coming to visit the school. Consider the following examples: (the following items are not in any order of importance)

  1. In general, if you talk too much or if you try to sell over the phone, your show rate will decrease. Ask brief consultative questions that will allow you to qualify the candidate before inviting them for a visit. This is where some TC staff gets confused. Do we want you to talk on the phone or not? YES we want you to talk on the phone but not to sell the candidate anything. Focus on getting information from them so you can give them the VALUE items they want. This does NOT mean that you should spend time on the phone going over the details of a program. INSTEAD spend the time to find out about them and to offer sending them information before they hang up the phone. If you are convinced they see the VALUE in a visit to the school, then set an appointment. Otherwise, offer to send them more info. Then ask them open ended questions to learn about their interest. Keep in mind when you ask qualifying questions in the right manner and at the right time, the candidate will realize that you were qualifying them and they will like that. Then you have to decide if you should invite them in for a visit, OR provide them with more VALUE first.
  2. You will be amazed to learn that many many times they will tell you what VALUE items they are interested in. Just ASK! Just Listen!
  3. Once you learn what they consider as VALUE, then your job is to see if you can provide that. Most likely, as a TC, the value you can offer is INFORMATION and COUNSELING! The school will provide the training, and job placement assistance.
  4. Do NOT FORGET…your job is not to answer all kinds of questions on the telephone. It is the opposite. Your job is to ask open ended questions on the telephone to qualify the candidate. Do you see the difference?

Q. if they call the school, the chances are the first thing they ask is information about a specific program, Phlebotomy, IT, MA, or they want to know the cost…or the schedule. How should I respond?

A.“I can find out for you. Would you like me to e-mail the information or call you back?”

Again don’t let them push you for an answer! We have a process to follow in the way we do business at CCI. I know you don’t want to lose the call but believe me if you talk about the program details prematurely the chances are you will never get a chance to qualify the candidate. So get their e-mail address and their name. By the time you are done getting that info the chances are they will have said something else allowing you to continue with the conversation. Please do not misunderstand. As a TC one of your duties is to provide information; but it has to be at the right time and the right place. When they call you, your primary duty is to GET INFO not GIVE INFO. So what we are asking you to avoid is answer specific program information without qualifying the caller.

Q. What if they don’t want to give out that information?

A. If they don’t want to cooperate with you then you can say…our programs are posted online. But tell me more about your interest. Do you know someone in that field? Are you trying to find a suitable job training program? …Tell me more. Perhaps I can look that up for you. Another thing you can say is that you do not know their background. We want to make sure we provide accurate information.

Q. What if they ask about a program you are not aware of?

A. The process should be the same as above. Once you get off the phone, you can forward the information to Joe Weber to Martin Zandi. We are asking you to qualify before you give out specifics. We want you to offer information by e-mail. Get their contact information and let your supervisor know.

Q. Career education centers like us who provide concentrated job training are not an academic college. We are PROBLEM SOLVERs. What do you mean by that?

A. I know most of the time the new candidate may ask about a specific program; how long is it…or how much is it? In the section above we discussed that we do not want the TC to answer such questions without qualifying first. If they are unwilling to give you their e-mail, then refer them to our web site. It is not strange that they ask about the program first. They are the one who called you OR came to visit you so they have to start somewhere ( the first question is sometimes hard to come up with); so asking about how long or how much is expected. But your job is set that question aside nicely and find out more about them because job training is about solving problems. You must find out the major problem first. Then you must find out the issues related to that major problem. They ask about the program but they are still not sold on going back to school. They came to see you because they have a problem. They are just crying for help and that is how they cry…how much is it? How long is it?

PROBLEM; I am unemployed;

a. For how long?

b. What happened?

c. Do you have a resume or do you need career placement assistance to help with a new resume?

If they have a resume already, ask them if they have their resume posted on the different job boards. If they say yes, ask them are you getting calls from potential employers? If they say NO, then that could mean they are not marketable and need new skills, or new certifications. If they say YES, then what is the problem? Are they getting calls for positions they do not want?

You should not immediately suggest that they should go back to school. Instead keep asking them open ended questions to get them to tell you more.

d. If they tell you about their problem and then ask about a program we offer, IT IS YOUR JOB TO Find out if they have actually decided that they want to go back to school. Get them to talk about the time it will take to finish a program, the reading they have to do, the family support they will need…just get them to talk.

Q. They already told me they had an interest in going back to school. Why do you want the TC to still talk about PROBLEMS?

A. Because those problems will, in many cases, keep them from starting school. They are just crying for help. Our job is to get them to put all the issues associated with going back to school on the table so we can counsel them. So we can help them see that they can do it. We are talking about issues like:

  • gas money
  • transportation
  • single mom issues
  • no rent money issue
  • afraid they might fail
  • afraid they can’t handle the reading
  • problem with the spouse.
  • Baby sitter expense
  • Borrowing money for tuition
  • The word FEDERAL turns some people off
  • Who is going to cover the grocery expense while I am in school?

ASK Them about VALUEs they want (information they want):

SAMPLE QUESTIONS: A lot of these questions may be asked even during the campus visit. Remember, your goal is first to qualify the candidate. Who are they? What is important to them? Do we have a suitable program to match their situation?

  1. At this time what is most important to you?
  2. Do you have a current resume or do you need career placement assistance to help with a new resume? If they have a resume already, ask them if they have their resume posted on the different job boards. If they say yes, ask them are you getting calls from potential employers? If they say NO, then that could mean they are not marketable and need new skills, or new certifications. If they say YES, then what is the problem? Are they getting calls for positions they do not want?
  3. If you decide that it’s time to invite them in…you can say… based on the information you have given me, I would like to invite you to visit with me. At this time you need INFORMATION! You need GUIDANCE! etc.
  4. If it’s not time to invite them in for a visit then do NOT invite them in. Instead offer to send them valuable information. Then get their e-mail address.
  5. Remember, when you are on the phone with a new candidate, it is your most important task. Take your time. Be relaxed. Listen. Concentrate. Even if you have three clients waiting in the lobby to see you, this call is still your most important task. Focus. Concentrate.
  6. “Our programs are somewhat unique. The only way we can determine if you are a good fit for one of our programs is for you to interview with an Admissions Representative here at the school.”
  7. “Our programs are accelerated and are offered in a workshop setting. In other words these are accredited programs but they are fast-tracked. If you are interested in a new career, is fast-track what you would prefer? If yes… ok good, When you come in we will take the time to explain the design of the program and show you how it is different than most others schools.”
  8. Since you do not know much about the person yet, do not ask… what program are you interested in? Instead say… tell me a little bit about your interest or your situation please.
  9. If they already asked about a specific program…tell them yes…that is one of the programs we offer. Tell me more about your interest in general. Tell me…if I looked at your resume…what would I want to pay attention to? If they ask about a class rather than a PROGRAM we offer, your reply MUST BE THE SAME. Let them talk first and tell you more about their back ground.
  10. Do not ask if they have researched about that program. That is what you might ask once they are visiting the school; not on the telephone.
  11. A question you can ask in the interview but NOT on the phone: If they mention a specific program they want to study ,ask them… if they know of a friend or relative who is in that industry. If they say no,… this is when you want to share information about the job market for that field. If they say yes, then ask them what is appealing to you about the program?
  12. If the conversion goes very promising on the phone or in person, say…The program you are interested in begins very soon. Because our admissions process takes some time, and because you first need to review the program details we need for you to take the next step to discover if the way we do job training is suitable for you. ( the next step is for them to come for a visit or to APPLY). Again what you are saying is that we have a process we follow and we want them to understand that process.CAUTION If they think you will try to close on them and get them to sign paperwork, they are much less likely to show up for their appointment. So put them at ease. The visit will get you to meet with us to get information about career change and career training. You will go home with lots of information so you can decide on your next step
  13. NOW LET S TALK ABOUT AN OPPOSITE SITUATION If the candidate is worried about things and goes back and says that they need a job…then you should do:
    a. say.
    Do you have a current resume? If they have a resume already, ask them if they have their resume posted on the different job boards. If they say yes, ask them are you getting calls from potential employers? If they say NO, then that could mean they are not marketable and need new skills, or new certifications.Now that you have talked about their resume…Say … I have been listening to you discussing your situation. Let me ask you this…If you were to look at your situation objectively, do you think you have the current skills to get a suitable job offer right now?….Then see what they say before you say…To me it seems like you need counseling….you need more information about your options. (notice that I still did not say that they need to go back to school). Why not? Because you don’t know if they are truly sold on it yet? Keep talking to them to see how much you can learn about their situation. Again all you are trying to do is to qualify them as a candidate. You are doing that by getting them to talk rather than you telling them about CCI. Don’t try to sell CCI yet!
    b. If they say YES, they are getting calls on their resume… then what is the problem? Are they getting calls for positions they do not want? So they are unhappy with their credentials so they get poor job offers? Well they still need your help.
  14. If they are a WIOA candidate…say TWC requires you to take a reading and math comprehension exam called the TABE test. If you fail these exams at the Workforce Center, they will remove you from the process or significantly delay the process. I have FREE study materials and FREE tutorials that can help you prepare for these exams.
  15. Have you seen the latest government reports regarding employment rates and salaries about the program? I have these reports here with me that I will be glad to share with you.
  16. Our job placement assistance program is a great value and very popular with our graduates. To get a better feel for how this program will work for you, come in and visit with me and our Job Placement counselor.
  17. Do not make app’t beyond 3 days.
  18. Do not offer an app’t yet. If the value of the visit is not established, they will not show up.
  19. Build a relationship. Offer to send them valuable information about:
    • Local job market information regarding career options
    • White paper and article regarding career options
    • The industry certifications that are in high demand
    • CCI blogs we have on our website.
  20. If a candidate asks to come in, you still need to qualify to improve your show rate. What questions can you ask? Many of the questions you see below.

The following examples are questions you ask after you have made the appointment. Don’t get off the phone yet. You want to add value to the visit to increase the show rate.

  1. After the appointment is made, say… did you also want to apply for federal Financial Aid? Should I try to schedule you with that department as well?
  2. After you have made the appointment, confirm the time and date.
    Or: Is that a good time for you? Do you need to pick up your kids from school?Or: Will that give you enough time to make it to work?Or: who in your family will be interested in your career success? (Invite them in also.)After they have made the appointment… say…I see that the Wednesday 2 pm appointment you selected is especially good because I just noticed that our job placement assistance coordinator will be here Wednesday afternoon. I want you to also talk with her regarding job placement assistance. Or, same story except instead of seeing the placement department you can introduce them to the Program Manager, or the FA person, etc.

    1. Can I ask you a favor?… Call me if you are going to be late.
    2. Ask if they know of any land marks to help them find our location.
    3. I am going to call you… What is the best time and number to reach you? I could email you directions….
    4. Do you have a resume? It will assist us in understanding your background and see how we can help you with employment. (If this is used at the end of the conversation, ask, “Do you want me to go over the directions again?”)
    5. By the way, on your first visit, do you also want to meet with the financial aid department to see what you might qualify for?
    6. What would you like to accomplish during the meeting? Bring lots of questions so you can share the information with your family members.
    7. A CLEVER WAY TO TEST IF THEY WILL SHOW UP FOR APPOINTMENT. I’ll call you on Monday to confirm your appointment. Then ask one last qualifying question to see if they engage or if they want to get off the phone. For example you can ask:
      a. I want to make sure sine you said you wanted evening class, you will attend 2 evenings a week from 6 to 10 pm; would that be a suitable schedule for you?
      b. We deliver job training in small workshops. Usually 6 to 10 adult students in the room. Do you prefer that compared to large classes?
      c. This is an accelerated program. Is that what you want?

    Questions to ask you while the caller is still on the phone:

    1. Is the person ENGAGING in the phone conversation? If not…then you need to challenge him about his current work and financial situation. This will help them confirm in their own mind that they need to make a change in life.
    2. Is she just being curious about what we do? If so, STOP! Do not ask for an appointment. Instead try to build YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION BY ASKING QUESTIONS OR BY OFFERING TO SEND THEM INFORMATION. Once you have their e-mail address continue qualifying them.

    Say : A significant percentage of our callers are not shopping for schools. They need better employment. But their situation is such that they cannot commit to college. Many individuals who contact us do not realize that we provide accredited career preparation that is fast-track. Programs that also provide long term job placement assistance.

    Or …say…many folks do not know that accelerated programs could qualify for federal financial aid. We advise our candidates by saying that if you choose the right school and the right program you will be successful ( this is our R & R policy) …These are some of the things we go over during the visit to the campus. It will allow people to see if it is the right thing for them so you take take information home and discuss with family.

    (TC s job is to help them see the potential.
    Do not sell. They need to sell themselves after they visit the campus.
    Tell them that many of our students did not know that this option existed for them.) What option?
    a. In-demand programs designed specifically for job preparation; and
    b. Fast-tracked; and
    c. Hybrid method of delivery (go to school only 2 days OR 2 evenings)
    d. Federal financial aid for those who qualify; and
    e. Delivered in small groups; and
    f. Delivered in a workshop format; and
    g. Scholarships for those who qualify; and
    h. WIOA for those who qualify;
    i. Class retake at no charge if you fail a class; and
    j. Life-long job placement assistance
    k. 31 years of job training track record in the DFW area

  3. Pay attention. Concentrate I bet you can tell if you are about to lose them. If so do not ask for an appointment. Instead say… we have information about the potential in the types of career training we provide. Let me send you some information. Then ask for e-mail, name address, phone ( if you don’t have it)
  4. Does he have a hot button?
  5. Has she thought about the schedule?
  6. Is the person more interested in a job than a school? That is ok . Like we discussed above, tell him that most of our students did not know this was an option for them till we showed the details and explained how they can finish one of our fast tracked programs successfully and prepare for a new career.

Below is a form you may want to use to improve the language (the phrase) you use. Write down what you said on the phone and later see if they showed up to the appointment. If they were a no–show; try to reword what you could have said instead.

Appointment Phrase Log


NamePhraseShow Rate: S, NS, RReword