As martial arts school owners and business operators alike, we all want to increase our new student count and keep our retention levels high at the same time. Enroll more students and keep the ones you have – simple enough, right? Keeping both of these high at the same time can often be a challenge, and many of us spend a majority of our time trying to find just the right formula to make it all “click into place.” Unfortunately, there’s never just one miracle solution for all of our issues. Each school is unique and has its own formula for success, but there are some methods that have proven effective time and again, throughout all parts of the country, and across all styles of martial arts...
Whether you’re trying to win over a student on a trial membership, or working on keeping your already-enrolled students, keep these concepts in mind:
- Recognize progress. Your students need to see that they’re making headway. Tip tests and belt tests are definitely milestones, but be sure to give personal feedback as well, so students know you see something they may not.
- Keep their interest.Of course it’s always easier to sign up or stay with a program if it holds your interest. While peaks and valleys are part of the martial arts journey, stack the odds in your favor by keeping your classes varied and exciting. This leads to…
- Drive regular attendance.You only need to get your students to their NEXT class. Get your students to commit to coming to their next class every time they come in. If they leave with a sense of when they’re coming back, you’re far more likely to see them again.
- Let them know they’re missed.In the chance that they do miss a next class, make sure they know right away that their absence was noticed, and that you look forward to seeing them again soon. This can be a phone call, a text message, a miss-you card, or even a social media message.
- Remind them of what’s still to come. We all like to have something to look forward to. As instructors, we know that training only gets better with time and experience. Make sure your students know this too. Let you beginners know some of the exciting new things they’ll get to do as an intermediate student. Let your advanced students know what it’s like to train after black belt. Let your black belts know what they’ll get to do as an advanced degree.
If you keep these progressive steps in mind, you can help increase your retention rates of existing students, as well as your conversions of trial members.
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