Summer can be an unpredictable time for acquiring new students, but with the help of our current students, there are tons of ways to get quality referrals. It’s a universal truth that positive referrals create the best opportunities for new student acquisition.
The following five tips will make asking for referrals more effective.1. Buddy Days
Schedule a handful of days sporadically throughout the summer to have your students invite their friends to their martial arts class. Attendance is typically higher if there is a theme for each Buddy Day. Consider themes such as Twin Buddy Day, Crazy Hair Buddy Day, or Board-Breaking Buddy Day, amongst others. While the buddies are out in class, the program director or another team member can take that opportunity to talk to the buddies’ parents and schedule them for an appointment to begin a trial of your program.2. Get Parents Involved
Too often we see the parents of our students sitting in the audience with their eyes glued to their phones. We understand Facebook can be a never-ending whirlpool of cute cat videos, but the question remains, how do we use this behavior to generate referrals for our martial arts schools? Involve the parents by asking them to check-in at your school on Facebook. A simple check-in acts as a testimonial for your program to a group of potential students.
If you’re having trouble getting the parents to check-in, give them incentive to do so. You could create a summer raffle by offering a free/credit towards a karate camp to the student with the most check-in’s, or programs like Sweat Angels donate to worthy causes on your behalf for every check-in. There is a multitude of ways to create a drive to check in, find what works best for the parents at your martial arts school and run with it.3. Online Referral
Consider doing an email campaign to your current students with a referral pass they can forward to their friends. Along with a beginning and end date for the offer, the email should emphasize the benefits of training in martial arts with friends. Create a landing page for this campaign, so you can track the email addresses you receive from these efforts. In doing so, you can reach out to these potential students with a how-to of getting started with your martial arts program.4. Summer Camps
Long before summer break begins, parents are looking into summer camp options for their children. In order to retain your current students, we recommend scheduling summer camps within your program before your students become involved in a summer activity that conflicts with their martial arts classes. When announcing these camps, emphasize bringing a buddy to the camp. For every student that signs up for a camp, give them a physical invitation to give to a friend. The invitation should include the steps for signing up for a karate camp at your school. The day of the camp, each friend will walk away not only with a guest pass to start a trial program, but also with a greater enthusiasm to start attending your regular scheduled martial arts classes.5. Just Ask
Summertime is a great time to get to know the families that attend your school a little better. While you’re having conversations about vacations and summer plans with the parents off the mat, ask them if they know anyone they think would benefit from your program like their child has. Encourage them by emphasizing how far along their child has come because of the program and give them something they can pass along to their friends. The 8-Step progress check can be a great template to follow in these interactions. Follow up on the referral next time you see the parent. Not only will this create a stronger rapport between you and the families attending, but it can also generate quality referrals.
Each martial arts school is different, and each student base responds to summer referral tactics differently. Try a few of the above tips this summer and decide what works best for your school. Above all, the best referrals are through extraordinary service, so focus on your school and your students and the referrals are sure to follow.
For more summer resources in running a successful martial arts school, receive a free walkthrough and make an appointment now by clicking here. Kovar Systems provides integrity-based coaching and community resources to busy school owners that save you time and grow your business.