By Shane Tassoul
With all the talk about paid trials these days, it’s easy to lose focus on what you’re actually trying to accomplish. Remember that you’re not in the business of selling paid trials. Paid trials do not pay your rent, your utilities, your payroll or any of your other bills. In fact, most paid trials that I see owners promoting end as either break-evens or loss-leaders.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m all in favor of paid trials. However, I see schools working hard to generate paid trials month after month, only to enroll very few of them as new students. The purpose of a paid trial is to get qualified prospects into your school and convert them into paying students. If they’re not converting, the trial was wasted. It’s important to have a system in place to convert your paid trials into enrolled students. It doesn’t matter what kind of trial you sell — two weeks for $19.95, four weeks for $49, six weeks for $69 or any other deal you can dream up. It could even be a free trial! Having a system is the key to conversions.
When your trial comes in for the first lesson, you must understand what the parents want the child to learn from your program and why. It’s crucial to find out the why. This is where you get the parents’ emotions involved and discover the real reason they want their child to train. Once you understand the why, you can deliver exactly what the parents are looking for.
Next, schedule the first three classes before they leave that day. Schedule a “progress check” during the child’s third lesson. Explain to the parents that you’ll be meeting after the third class to see how they’re enjoying the program and answer any questions they have. You may also want to hold their (metaphorical) hand during the first three lessons by conducting confirmation calls or sending texts to keep them on track with their class schedule. The following are the four questions you must ask before converting a trial into a student:
How Are You Enjoying the Program?
This is an important question for finding out if the parents are seeing the value and benefits of your program. The answer to this question should obviously be positive. If not, you need to evaluate and revise your approach to teaching that student to help create that value.
How Is Your Child Enjoying Class?
Again, the answer should be very positive. If you aren’t getting a positive response, you need to make your classes more fun and exciting.
Can You See How Our Program Teaches This Benefit and Will Help Your Child Over Time?
This goes back to the very first class and having a clear understanding of what, specifically, the parents want the child to achieve with your program. You must be delivering and demonstrating this benefit on the floor. Notice that I did not ask, “Can you see a difference in Johnny’s discipline?” Johnny has only had three lessons with you, after all. You need to make it clear to the parents that the changes they hope for will happen over time. However, based on the structure of the class, the parents should be able to clearly see how your program delivers the benefits they’re looking for.
Would You Like Me to Show You How You Can Save Some Money on Our Program?
Ask this question only after determining that the parents and child love the trial. Make sure they clearly see the program’s worth and how it will help the child with whichever benefit the parents value most. At this point, you simply review your program and pricing options and give them an incentive to get started today. An example might be $100 off the down payment and the first payment isn’t due until after the trial expires.
You’ll find most parents will take advantage of the savings and get started immediately. However, others will need to think about it — and that’s OK. Simply schedule a follow-up appointment during their next class and extend the special until that class.
Shane Tassoul is the Large School Specialist for the Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA). Learn from his expertise and the team's at the 2022 SuperShow!
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