The first 100 days of a new martial arts student’s training are by far the most critical and should be given special attention. Percentage-wise, more students are lost during the first 100 days than during any other period.
In fact, many times the reason for a student quitting so early can be because of some easily repairable issue that the child or parent was too uncomfortable to bring up, simply because they didn’t know who to talk to or how. For this reason it is very important that the student’s main instructor make a personal connection with them soon after they enroll.
Since students enroll at all different times of year, certain subjects will need to be addressed at different times based on when the student enrolls. Things such as Tip Testing, Belt Promotions and any Special Events or dates should be brought up early with new students. These could be dates that the school will be closed, changes in class times, upcoming seminars, seamstress drop offs or any other events that are outside of the normal class schedule. When you do this, you are helping new students know what to expect. You are building a relationship with students and parents by reaching out to them and showing that you care and can be relied upon as a resource if they ever have questions or concerns about your program.
We have a detailed communications plan for new students during their first 100 days of training and a process for tracking where they are in that communications plan. We know when we’ll be calling them, and what we’ll be checking in with them about at each touch point. The “First 100 Days Plan” is one of the most important pieces of our retention strategy for our schools.
This week’s challenge: Think about how you communicate with your students during their first 100 days of training. Are you making a connection and building a relationship with them and/or their parents or can you do more?