The following is an excerpt from Dave Kovar's Martial Arts Instructor Toolbox:
Here's the perfect formula to get your martial arts students off to a great start:
- Find out what they're hoping for and what their concerns are in your introduction. Develop a plan to give them more than what they're hoping for. Be sure to address their concerns quickly and thoroughly.
- Orchestrate their first class so that they LOVE the experience and can't wait to come back.
- By the end of their second week, they should feel completely comfortable with the martial arts instructor and the other students in the class.
- Make sure that they feel that their efforts and accomplishments are acknowledged.
- Find just the right moment to tell them that you can look ahead and see them as an awesome black belt in your program. They'll start sharing that vision and get excited about the prospect of actually earning that black belt. Students realize that they love training at your school and parents are thrilled because you gave them exactly what they were hoping for and more. This didn't happen by accident (see the first bullet point).
- Communication in their first several weeks is vital. The only way to know for sure if they're getting off to a great start is to get feedback. It's easy to make course corrections early before small concerns become major issues, but only if you know what they're thinking.
- Get them over their first obstacle. This can come in many different forms, but it's going to come. So be ready. And after they've overcome it, be sure to make them feel great about it. The next time they encounter an obstacle, they'll be ready to persevere through it.
Be sure to invest similar energy into the satisfaction of your students' parents. Go out of your way to engage with them. Compliment and appreciate their child. Every parent loves this!