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Convincing customers to buy


TR asked:

My question is ...We are trying to run a online referral site childcare providers to advertise their type of care, and for parents to search for care available in there area. We are having trouble getting providers to advertise on our site. We have been contacted by many parents requesting the info. and before we started providers thought it was a great idea.

Do you have any suggestions as to how we can attract providers to register on our site?

PS: We are advertising in the local paper.


You mention that at first daycare providers liked your business idea, but now it sounds like they are not following through and signing up for your service.

My first thought is that you may need to offer a sign-up incentive, but before you go ahead and do that I would highly recommend that you conduct a simple market research survey of potential customers.

For starters, make a list of prospective customers that includes both businesses who had already given you favourable response and others that you have not spoken with.

Before you call have your survey well prepared. Questions you could ask would include:

Questions you could ask would include:

  1. Were they aware of your service?
  2. If they were, how did they hear about your website?
  3. If they saw the ad, what did they think of it?
  4. Are they looking to build their business by having additional children at their daycare?
  5. If so, would they consider placing an ad in an online directory if it would bring in qualified leads?
  6. What incentives would entice them to try out your service?

When you contact people you will want to use as little time as possible and should tell the person up front how much time the survey will take. I would recommend that you first call to schedule survey times and be sure to call back on time. If a call is missed don't get angry; the daycare provider is helping you so simply try to reschedule at another time.

To build up the initial list of prospective customers, some websites will have a free introductory period. Another option is a money back guarantee if they are not satisfied. Incentive cab be a great way to hook in long-term customers, as they give you the opportunity to demonstrate the value of your service. Ideally you want daycare providers to feel that they cannot afford to not use your service!

When you contact each provider, keep in mind that you will also be doing some preliminary marketing. The way you ask questions can send the message that you are really interested in helping them build their business. In otherwords you will have both a research and marketing benefit by doing this work.

Also, it is possible that you may need to be more aggressive in your marketing efforts. You mentioned newspaper advertising, which is great for its reach to the parents. But have you tried direct marketing to the daycare providers? You will probably have many more questions and ideas once you complete the survey.

The bottom line is that the survey should help you understand what you can do differently in order to increase sales. Hopefully it will provide you with clear direction that will help you get your business off the ground.

Good luck!

Julie King

About the author

Julie King is the co-founder and managing editor of CanadaOne, Canada's first small business portal.

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