Developing Relationships With Current and Prospective Clients - Joanna Warren Smith

High Tech Requires High Touch

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A number of camps and year-round facilities have gone to all-electronic telephone answering or routing systems for more efficiency in the office. This may be necessary for huge operations and it can be effective if the messaging is updated regularly, the system is user-friendly, without flaw 100% of the time and calls are returned immediately.

On the other hand, what is more important in your office than developing relationships with current and prospective clients?  Especially during this time of the year when you are busy hiring staff, managing registrations and planning program, parents tell me that there is a tendency to be rushed to the point of being rude with callers.  If you are going to answer the phones, do it right!

Take Action Now!

  • Train ALL Staff.  Each individual can flavor the connections with his/her own personality, but the style should the same.

  • Be Succinct & Warm.  Parents do not want complicated and extended greetings.  'Camp Run-A-Muck, this is Joanna' encourages a caller to respond with 'Hi Joanna, this is Jamie and I want to know about camp for my son." The engagement that follows identifies the boy's name/age,  mom's expectations of camp and what the experience can do for her son.

  • Set the Stage for the Sale.  Secure the essential contact information and then explain that 'the summer camp decision is a critical one' and that you want to help them make the right choice.  If they are not ready to register at that moment, outline the next steps to enrollment.  Follow-up regularly and in an engaging, 'personal' way.

  • Monitor Calls & Mentor Performance.  Take the time to listen to conversations with parents and help staff to create authentic connections that will produce additional conversions.

Since most inquiries arrive via the net 'anonymously', leverage the opportunity to nurture relationships when parents actually call in.


Need an objective perspective on any aspect of camp?  Give me a call at 310-451-1876 or email

(Note from Travis:   We are so thrilled to be posting the always brilliant HINTS from camp consultant Joanna Warren Smith!  If you don't already you should sign up to receive theses HINTS in your email - in the right-hand column of Joanna's website: