It's easy to quit a business but hard to quit a relationship
NO RELATIONSHIP - NO BUSINESS
It’s easy to quit a business but hard to quit a relationship
We're going to start with things that I feel you can automate. Things that you should automate are things that educate your prospects about you and your business.
- Your class schedule is something that you can automate, so I might send out an email that says “Hello Bill, [I don't want to say “Hey Bill”. If you don't know that person, you just don't do that. Don't write hey to a parent or hey to another adult if you don’t know them. That's very informal. That’s something that you say to a buddy. Use the word hello and say] “Hello Bill, thanks so much for your interest in our program! Most of our students train on an average of two to three times per week, so I thought I would include a copy of our class schedule for you to see if there are two or three class times that are convenient for you and your family.” When you send out a class schedule basically what you are doing is starting to prequalify the person to see whether or not they’re going to be a good fit for your program. If they can't make the class times, it's not going be a good fit. If you've got your schedule set up properly and there a variety of class times available, they're going to look at your schedule and say “Oh yeah I could make Monday and Wednesday - yeah we can make those!” That's the first yes in the buying process that they made all on their own just because you sent them a schedule and let them know what to be looking for.
- You could send them a video of what they’re going to learn in their introductory lesson so they know what to expect and they're not intimidated by it. If they see a little bit of video on some of the things that they're going to learn you can be sure they’ll be trying out some of the moves. Then once they come in you can add a little bit of zip to it and take it to the next level to get them really pumped about coming to class.
- You can also automate your student success stories. People love to hear great stories so if you send out some stories and just say “Bill, I just wanted to touch base with you again before you came in for your first introductory lesson. I thought I would share a success story or two from some of our existing students so you can see what kind of experience they are having with our program.”
Now let's talk about relational items. These are the things that I feel that you should not automate. This is my opinion of course so it’s ok to disagree; even though you would be wrong! Ha ha. A little humor there.
- Missing in action calls - Why? Because there's more to a missing in action call than just saying “Hey I didn't see you in class, are you coming in?” What I'm doing on the missing in action call is I'm letting people know that I actually care and that I noticed that they weren't in class. If I was talking to Craig and he wasn't in class I would give him a call and say “Hey Craig, I noticed you weren't in class on Monday or Tuesday.” He wants to know that his instructor noticed that he wasn't in class and was concerned about him. Now there may be nothing wrong, he may have said “Oh geez you know we had family in town and I just couldn't get away.” or “I had a project deadline and it just had to get done.” but if he said to me “Oh you know man I really hurt my finger the other day in class. It's all jammed up and it’s totally swollen.” That's a red flag because injuries and things like that are a big deal. If somebody gets an injury now they're going to start missing class times causing them to start falling behind in their progress. This is another red flag that I need to pay attention to. You might be talking to mom and dad and they say “Jimmy's not doing well in school and his grades are falling behind so we're gonna pull him out until he gets his act together.” Of course we know that that's completely backwards thinking because we know that they need to attend martial arts classes to develop the discipline to do better in school, but parents don't see it like that. They are crazy when it comes to their own kids and they don't always think straight, but that’s the purpose of the missing in action calls. You're using your ears to listen and you're trying to find out why the student hasn't attended. The last thing you're trying to do is pin them down to make sure that they do come in. If they didn't train on Monday or Tuesday I want to ask them specifically “Hey will you be in tonight for class? I'm gonna do some really cool stuff in class and I'd love for you to be there. Can you make it at 6:00? I'm trying to pin them down to get them to commit to coming in because I know if any more time goes by that they will have one foot out the door and I can lose that student. I don't want to lose my students. I know what the benefits are of living the black belt lifestyle and I don't want them to miss out on that opportunity. Make sure that your students know that you care enough to pick up that phone and reach out. Some people communicate by email or Facebook and that's fine. The discussion or the relationship doesn't change. You can type the same thing that you would say on the phone. The point is that it's personal.
- Another thing not to automate is birthday cards. I hate getting a birthday card every year from my insurance company. It actually makes me mad that they spent the money to send me a garbage birthday card that's computer generated. Plus you know the agent has no clue that it's my birthday or event cares so it's just a complete waste. What's a better way? I'll give you an example. My daughter got a new car and Master Shihan Craig Haley saw a post of Sam and her new Jeep online so he sent her a handwritten card and said “Hey Sam I saw the new Jeep and it's awesome! It looks so cool!” He also included a gasoline gift card for her. Now I know that you know he and I are friends but the thing is that he didn’t do it just because we are close friends. He does the same with all of his students too! How do you think his relationship with his students is compared to somebody that auto generates a card? That's the kind of thing that makes a big difference.
- The last one is generic emails. I don't know who in the world thought this was a good idea but there's a lot of people on the internet selling these automated email flows that are supposedly professionally written. I think they are complete crap! The reason I say that is because again they're not relational. It's almost like they took every benefit of the martial arts that they could possibly think of, tried to put a clever twist on it and then set out to systematically annoy the living heck out of their prospect by inundating them with e-mails that don’t even attempt to start the rapport building process. Telling is not selling and that’s exactly what these emails do. A good example of this is when I opted into one of these things and the email I received went into detail about how martial arts training was great for childhood obesity. It gave all these statistics to support it. As I was reading it I was thinking to myself that this is the worst email I've ever received; both of my kids are thin! How’s that for completing missing the boat. This school owner probably has no idea that what he/she bought wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. They didn’t ask me any questions and the correspondence that they sent me didn't have anything to do with what my interest was in their program. If a small skinny kid is getting bullied and then the parent gets an email about childhood obesity you would completely understand why that parent would tune you out and become unresponsive to any further communication attempts. We have to get back to the days where people understand the basic concepts taught in Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. It is all about relationships! People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. You have to show your prospects that you care and show your existing students that you care. Yes, sometimes it can be exhausting but this is the business that we're in. We're in a service related business and we're here to educate and inspire.
I have a very easy way to start conversations especially for people that hate selling. My no selling sale system is simple, requires very little time or money and is ideal for the introvert.. When we run a campaign and somebody likes our page, likes our post or makes a comment on a good job note that we post online, the easiest way to start a conversation for the introvert is just simply to say thank you. If somebody likes my page I just write them a quick note “Hey John thanks so much for liking our page. We really do appreciate it!” Then if you want to take it a little bit further, you could send them something to wow them. It can be a welcome gift, a VIP pass or anything else that you feel has real value. “Hey John thanks so much for liking our page. We really do appreciate it! I don't know if you've ever thought about martial arts before or not but you liked our page so I thought I’d send this VIP Pass out to you. The VIP Pass is good for _________. Have a great day!
This is perfect for the introvert because you don't have to worry about rejection. You just send them something of value in exchange for them liking your page or post. Then if you really want to start a conversation you could ask them an open-ended question like “By the way, do you know someone that trains with us?” That's a non-threatening question.
So here’s my success formula….
Start 10 conversations a day. Over the course of a week that is 50 conversations. Over the course of a month that is 200 conversations. Over the course of a year that is 2400 conversations. Please tell me how it would be possible not to enroll 10% or 240 students in 12 months if you sent out VIP passes to each and every one of them as a special thank you for liking your page or post and continued to nurture the relationship with them!