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How Do You Hook Them?

What’s your procedure when you have a new parent walk into your school wanting to put their kids in your class?

For most instructors they simply say “Here’s some information”, as they pass a dull, colorless and boring flyer to the prospective parent. Or they might simply say “We have class on Wednesday at 5.30pm.”

I see this all the time when visiting other instructor’s studios and now I know why they haven’t got as many students as they would like.

The person who walks into your club is INTERESTED! That’s why they are there. They WANT to sign up…. Or at least try a class!

These people are HOT leads and you need to do everything in your power to get them into your class, because as you know, once they try a class they more than likely will become students.

But by leaving it to chance… by giving them “information” and hoping they will return is a waste of your advertising dollars and energy.

The most critical step is to get their information!

I’ll say that again – the most critical step is to get your prospect’s information.

That way you can contact them again… and again…slowly building rapport and luring them to all the benefits of your karate school.

Here’s an easy way to do it.

First you need to have a “class registration” form handy with all the other promotional info that you give out. This form should ask for parent’s names, student’s names, address, phone etc.

Second, instead of just saying “Here’s some info, fill out this form so I can contact you again”, you need to ADD VALUE to your process. I probably wouldn’t fill out a class enrolment form for the next day with all my personal information if this was the approach and neither would you or your prospective students…

But if you do a quick “2 minute class” with your prospective student’s parents right there in reception it can make the world of difference.

For example, I grab a pair of focus mitts and TELL nicely (not ask) the prospective child to stand in front of me. You don’t want to give them any opportunity to say “NO” – that’s why you “tell nicely” instead of ask.

I then ask them, “Do you want to have some fun?”

It’s a bit of a rhetorical question of course – what sane kid doesn’t want to have fun? But it’s a good way to start the bonding process with your kids. And it causes them to answer you. In this case we don’t “tell them to have fun” – they confirm it with “yes!”.

Next I hold up the mitts and get them to hit them a few times and once we’re done (about 30-60 seconds later) I congratulate them with “Awesome job! Gimme 5!”

This again builds rapport, makes the kids feel great and the parents see first hand how you work with children.

I then ask the child “Did you have fun?”

Of course they say “Yes!”

Quite often they’ll then turn to their parent and say “Mom, I wanna do karate!”, at which point I kindly direct (not ask) the parent to fill out a class enrolment form and at the same time I book them in for a free class the next Wednesday.

If they don’t ask their parents about doing karate, I’ll then speak with the parent directly and say “Wow! They did a really great job. I think they’ll do well in the program. I’ve got a free class on Wednesday at 4.00pm that’s just for beginners just like your son. It’s a lot of fun.”

I then turn to the child and ask “Would you like to do a real karate class on Wednesday?”

Again, I’ve directed the conversation to the child, who in turn asks their parent. What parent will say “no” to a child that is so happy and feeling great after the 2 minute class?

If they don’t ask their parent, or just simply nod their head, I’ll say to them “Why don’t you ask your Mom if you can come along on Wednesday to try a real karate class?”

Again, the question comes from the child to the parent – not from you.

Then at this point we fill out the paper work and book them in for class as mentioned above.

Now the beauty of this system is that you have a written commitment from the parent and an excited child.

If the parent doesn’t bring the child back on Wednesday, the child will be nagging and asking when they are going to go to karate. Then when you follow up the next day by phone, the parent more than likely will apologize for missing class and reschedule a time to come in.

I think you’ll agree this little approach is far more powerful than simply saying “here’s some information” or “try a class”. It’s been a huge success for my club and can be for yours too!

To your karate school’s success!

– Jason

2 thoughts on “How Do You Hook Them?

  1. This article was very good! But, it refers only to kids, what´s up with older students who come to my club, ask for classes and never come again? I mean, people of 16-20 years who don´t join.

    That´s all.

    Nice page

  2. – To be perfectly honest with you, I’m in a growing community with loads of younger kids and don’t have many of that age 16-20 years.

    Of the ones I do have, I converted them by appealing to their needs and desires. You need to do this in order for them to come to class.

    Ask yourself “What does a 16 year old kid think is cool?” and then pick something from your syllabus that you’ll know they’ll like and do the same kind of thing as described in the article.

    Offer them a 2 minute class to show them that one thing… give them something to remember you by… something that they’ll be “amazed with”, something that’ll hook ’em!

    It might be a simple yet effective self defense move or you might like to demonstrate the power of a punch against a pad, etc.

    16-20 year olds often are a confused bunch and easily impressed with things like that – so by appealing to their emotions and giving some value before you ask for them to join, you’re creating a bond with them.

    Then simply try to book them in for class – be sure to get a commitment from them and also get their phone number so you can follow up.

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