Tag Archives: Prospects

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6 Ways for Struggling Martial Arts School Owners to Find Time and Grow – Steve Giroux

By Steve Giroux

money_watchOwning a business doesn’t have to be a grueling ordeal for it to be successful. In fact, the opposite has proved true and it took me until recently to realize this. Thinking back to the stressful days of trying to do it all myself and having no time for anything else makes me laugh now. I went from having no time at all to having more time than I actually knew what to do with.

In this article, I’ll discuss the things that have been successful for me without breaking the budget. Something to also think about is that it doesn’t have to cost you a full-time salary to remove yourself from the day-to-day operations of your studio. A common misconception is that in order to hire a full-time assistant, you need to pay someone $50,000 per year plus benefits. The reality is that you can outsource the majority of the tasks you need accomplished to run a successful studio. And, by doing so, you won’t have to worry about paying someone to be on Facebook half of the time!

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Digging the Martial Arts Marketing Well While Being Thirsty and Creating Parades – Mike Dolpies

By Mike Dolpies

I purposely butchered the quote: “Dig the well before you thirst” just for fun. You”ll see where the parades come in too!

In the Martial Arts business, you”ll always be thirsty for new students. Because retention will never be 100%, it’s extremely important to dedicate a percentage of your daily efforts to new student acquisition.

Digging the Martial Arts Marketing WellWhen thinking about new students, it is natural to deal with the “urgent and important.” A prospect who fits into “urgent and important” is one that is ready to get started now.

Reality is “urgent and important” prospects only represent a small percentage of the prospects out there. There”s a larger percentage that are in “consideration” mode. These are the “important but not urgent” crew. What do you do with them?  And more importantly, what sort of efforts are you putting forth to build up banks of all sorts of prospects?

That”s where the idea of digging the Martial Arts marketing well before you thirst comes in.

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Why Prospects Won’t Call You Back [But Will Sometimes Talk to You If You Call] – Andy Gole

By Andy Gole

You have a bunch of leads. You constantly place calls to these leads. You follow up by phone, leave voicemail messages, send emails, mail letters. But the prospects don’t call you back … don’t respond to your emails … don’t stop by in person.

Then, one day, out of the blue, you get one of your prospects on the phone and talk with them for a good hour. You end up signing them up for an introductory class or significantly moving the membership sales process forward.

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How Do You Sell on Quality to Avoid Cut-Throat Competition? – Andy Gole

By Member Solutions

Round stamp with text: Quality

Builder’s Grade vs. Quality: The Entrepreneurial Dilemma

Could your customers be suffering from addiction to builder’s grade? If you have ever owned a home, and had to replace major components – draughty windows, siding falling off, leaking roofs, and crumbling driveways – you have encountered builder’s grade.

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Video Blog – The Best Hooks for Your Website – Duane Brumitt

By Member Solutions

Client Question: “I want to offer website visitors something enticing to get them to enter their contact information. What’s the best hook in order to do that?”

This question came in from a Member Solutions client. Below and to the right is the current opt-in box on my website. Take a look at it and you’ll notice I only ask for e-mail address. I know this isn’t a lot but people that are visiting your site aren’t ready to give you all their contact information. You need to start off small with this type of offer and make it as quick and painless as possible for your prospects.

Below is a short video that provides some more tips and ideas for website offers.

Hope the video helps. If you have any questions at all, feel free to shoot me an e-mail or post your question below.

Duane Brumitt is the co-founder and owner of Duane Brumitt’s Tri-Star Martial Arts Academy in Bradley, Illinois. Duane is also a member of the Member Solutions Advisory Team.

Selling Insights: How do you prove your case to the skeptical prospect? – Andy Gole

By Member Solutions

The Tale of the Sunny Day Used Car

Did you ever buy a used car? If so, do you remember what the weather was like that day? Over 20 years ago, I bought a used VW Squareback for $900 [≈ Traditional cell phone cost per year] on a beautiful sunny day. It was a great car; it met my budget and did what I needed: 25 miles per gallon, 4 doors, hand crank moon roof, 30,000 miles on the odometer. There was only one problem: I bought the car on a sunny day.

Several months later, I was driving the sunny day used car in the hills of Binghamton. It was not a sunny day; the rain was pouring from the sky, pounding on the roof of the car. It was raining outside the car, and as you may have guessed by now, it was raining inside the car as well.

I had made this classic mistake: I bought an old used car on a sunny day.

The car had rust and sheet metal perforations in the body, which weren’t obvious till it poured “cats and dogs”.

Imagine how I felt that day – 3 inches of water in the driver’s well; I was cold, wet, uncomfortable. I felt stupid.

This experience was so searing, it led to the family proverb: “Never buy a used car on a sunny day.”

Now, I know that you have never done anything as foolish as buying a sunny day used car. But all of your prospects and clients have done so; they have bought their own version of a sunny day used car. As a result, they are very skeptical when we sell to them; in fact, they don’t believe what we say.

So buyers hesitate in making commitment. They are concerned about being defrauded again. This makes it necessary for us to have a strong program to substantiate our points in a sales call.

We need to be “loaded for bear” with press releases, articles, testimonial letters, case histories, before and after pictures, etc. 
And we need to prove early in the sales process. When prospects listen to our statements, they classify them as either facts or opinions. Opinions they can safely ignore. We need our statements to be taken as facts; facts on which the prospect will act.

This much may be fairly straightforward. What isn’t obvious is how such skepticism will affect their openness with salespeople. Prospects may wind up saying things we want to hear, at the moment, but which are not necessarily related to closing a sale.

Salespeople may be skeptical as buyers (say, when you buy a car). But are you as skeptical when you persuade? Do you make it a point to test a prospect’s answers, as you may test a new car or computer? This is crucial to achieving sales success. You need to be a skeptic. Many salespeople fail because they don’t test the information provided by a prospect.

The best evidence is to watch what a prospect does, not what the prospect says
. Look for evidence that the prospect is engaged in “getting to know you.” Examples could include: visiting your facility, checking references, introducing you to other team members.

Otherwise, you might just wind up “buying” a sunny day used car.

Selling with Urgency: Part 5. Managing the Reversal Curve

By Member Solutions

Every business needs a selling mechanism. Selling is as essential to business survival as breathing is to us. But unlike breathing, selling isn’t involuntary. That’s why I value my relationship with Andy Gole, founder of the Urgency Based Selling® system.

Here’s another excerpt from my interview with Andy discussing the “Reversal Curve.”  This post covers how to engage and encourage prospects to show for their intro lesson.

Andy: A school owner has an engaging conversation with a prospect. They’re sure the prospect will show for the intro and enroll, but they don’t and they can’t get them back on the phone.

Joe: We’ve all been there. Why does this happen?

Andy: It’s the reversal curve. The prospect sounds very engaged, then forgets we exist when off the phone. They have other priorities which command their attention.

Joe: What makes some prospects show up?

Andy: Some combination of prospect urgency and business development effort creates a “must have” condition for those prospects.

Joe: How do we create a “must have” situation more often?

Andy: We “fill the prospect’s glasses” and “earn the right” to the next engagement.

Joe: Tell me about these glasses.

Andy: I suggest prospects have imaginary glasses. Each glass represents a decision criterion — for example, great reputation. The prospect can’t move to the next stage of the decision process until all their glasses are filled ― which means that we’ve satisfied their decision criteria.

Joe: School owners contend that they can enroll prospects that show for an intro. The big challenge is getting them to visit. You’re saying they need to reasonably engage them and fill those glasses. How do they accomplish this?

Andy: We use a combination of e-mail, mail and calls to deploy our proving-kit items, such as reference checks, testimonial letters, articles about the school/benefits of Martial Arts, and hard-hitting messages about the value they deliver.

Joe: If we obtain an appointment right away, do they still need to fill the glasses?

Andy: Absolutely. Otherwise you increase risk of a no-show. I would send information confirming the appointment and giving compelling reasons to visit.

Joe: What if a prospect isn’t responding, should we invest time in following up?

Andy: Well, the prospect called us for a reason, perhaps an unshared urgency. My view is the prospect is bleeding in some area of life. So we need to find a way to engage, fill the glasses, and explore solving the problem with us.

Joe: If prospects are bleeding, why don’t they visit immediately?

Andy: There can be a number of urgencies in their lives — if they need a new roof, a kitchen and a bathroom, which will they fix first? If the roof is leaking, probably the roof gets fixed first. And then there is the “festering sore” issue, which is: when a prospect has lived with a problem for a long time, they usually figure they can make it longer without us.

Joe: How do you overcome the festering sore problem?

Andy: You fill the glasses that need filling. You just need them to visit.

Joe: Tell me more about “must have,” and how this impacts the reversal curve.

Andy: “Must have” has two components:
a) Material difference: a difference so strong it changes behavior, for instance, causing the prospect to visit for an intro lesson.
b) Defendability: competitors can’t emulate us.

Joe: Can you give an example of moving prospects to “must have” so they visit for an intro?

Andy: If a prospect calls, you might have this conversation:
Owner: Why are you calling us today?
Prospect: I would like to get into better shape.
Owner: Why now?
Prospect: I am going to a wedding and need to look sharp.
Owner:  Would you like to know how you can look fantastic?
The vision of “fantastic” could create a “must have” condition for an intro.

Joe: Putting them in a “must have” state of mind.

Andy: Right. To manage and overcome the reversal curve takes compelling reasons, delivered with some moxie by your business development staff.

This is the fifth installment of the Selling with Urgency article series. CLICK HERE to read parts 1 through 4. An MP3 of the entireinterview with Andy is available upon e-mail request. Joe Galea is president of Member Solutions.

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How Many Websites Do I Need for My School? – Michael Parrella

By Member Solutions

This is a question I get asked quite frequently. Here’s my take on the situation and why I think most school websites don’t do what they’re ‘supposed’ to do.

Question: How many websites do I need for my school?
Answer: Two.

[One for your prospective members, and one for your students.]

Almost every school’s site that I ever come across is trying to market to both students and prospects on the same site – to me, that’s absolutely insane!

Think about it like this; a prospective student comes into your office to potentially ‘sign up.’ But before you start telling them how to get started in your school, you do the following;

-Whip out a photo album of last year’s Halloween Party,
-Begin to tell them about your upcoming events,
-Show them a pic of last month’s ‘student of the month’,
-Point to a flyer for this month’s Kids Self Defense Seminar (even though they’re an adult),
-Reference an empty picture frame hanging on the wall (I’ll explain thisone is a minute),

Sounds crazy right? Where are the benefits? Where are the testimonials? What’s in it for them?

We can all agree that this would not be the sales pitch of choice and we’d all, most likely, fire our program directors if they tried to ‘sell’ like this.

But this is exactly what most websites do – they show all this stuff, the stuff that your students would have a connection to, and they throw it right into the prospect’s face when they come to their site.

Your prospective student does not want to know ‘what mountain what master came from’ or the ‘origins and folklore of [insert your style here]’. They want to know what they need to do to take the next step in becoming a student in your school. And they want to be able to find this information within 2-3 seconds of viewing your site’s home page.

97% of all the Martial Arts sites out there don’t even have a clear Call-To-Action on their site. And if they actually do have a button or a link on ‘how to get started’, it’s usually buried in some obscure part of the page, or it’s so small that it’s barely noticeable.

Martial Arts schools should have a ‘Sales’ site for recruiting students. And it needs to be a separate site than the one they need to ‘Communicate’ with their students.

The Sales Site is where 100% of everything that is on it, works towards getting this prospect into your door, plain and simple.
The Student Site is a place for you to post events, pics, videos, sell seminars, merchandise, share history and stories, etc. A ‘blog’ site is the perfect platform for this type of site. Most people, if you’re just a little Internet savvy, can do it all themselves.

For a student site, I recommend going to www.Wordpress.com and picking out a theme that you like and deciding on what functionality suits you best. WordPress has a giant list of all kinds of ‘plug-ins’ (modules or features to add to your site like; password protected areas, calendars, connections to Facebook, etc.)

The cool thing is, it’s totally free! Now, if you want to use your custom domain name for this site, you’ll need to establish an account on www.Wordpress.org.

You can hire a local graphics person (might even be a student) to create a custom header for this site and the rest is fairly easy. And since WordPress is such a popular platform, there are no shortages of people out there that can help you with it.

Okay, now back to the Sales site.

Here are some of the things you need:

1. Clean, Optimized Home / Landing Page
People need to see what programs you have to offer right away. Don’t make it difficult. The back end of the site should be optimized around your towns and your types of Martial Arts. And whether you do TKD, JKD, MMA or BJJ, make sure you use the words ‘Martial Arts’ all over the place. As a search, the word ‘Martial Arts’ is used more than all those other words combined.

“Here is an example of a simple yet effective home / landing page.”

2. Make sure the graphics are not intimidating, offensive or ‘weird’
Don’t have people kicking each other, choking each other or smashing each other in the face. More often than not, the prospect will identify more with the ‘Kick-ee’ than the ‘Kick-er’. Also, don’t choose crazy-hot-over-the-top models. Use ‘better-than-average’ type people that others can relate to. And no kids or guys doing a technique with ‘crazy-eyes’ or ‘blood-thirsty’ snarls. Show people looking ‘normal’ and having some fun.

3. Have Sales Pages for Each Program You Have
If you sell Kids memberships, make sure there is a page that gives them everything they need to know to get their kid started. Have an offer that they can purchase – now! If you don’t, the odds of them remembering to call you the next day are slim.
Here’s what you don’t Need:

1. Flash
Forget Flash. You don’t need your prospect to stare at a bunch of images that keep rotating every 3 seconds. It’s an annoyance. Plus, Flash doesn’t show up on iPhones and iPads – so clearly it means that anyone who is ‘cool’ will not be able to see it. Additionally, with Google’s recent search changes, sites with flash don’t display correctly. They’ll just be big blank gaps that’ll make your site look like it’s unfinished.

“A Flash Website like this one will not show up very ‘readable’ in Google’s new ‘Caffeine’ Search.

2. Photo albums
These are great for students who are actually in the photo or know people who are – not for prospects. And if they really dig looking at pics of strangers, they might NOT be the type of people you actually want in your school anyway, LOL.

3. Detailed History about you or your style
I’m sorry if this hurts anyone’s feelings, but 99% of the time, people aren’t concerned about you and what you’ve done until they’ve actually joined. They’re concerned about their favorite radio station – WIIFM. What’s IIFor Me!

3. Do not have Dead Links!
This is from the blank picture frame reference I made before. There is nothing worse for your site than clicking on a page and getting that “404 Page Not FoundError.” It’ll get the prospect’s confidence in your site to plummet faster than Mel Gibson’s Movie Career.

I hope this info helps and gives you a little insight as to why your site is not doing everything that it can be doing for your school.

My advice? Convert your current site into a student site, since it’s 60% there already and get yourself a bad-@ss Sales site for your Martial Arts school. This way you can start getting the number of new students each month that you actually deserve! Believe me, the people are out there just waiting to join your program. Are you going to have a website good enough to get them in your doors?

BTW, this is exactly what my company http://FullContactOnlineMarketing.comdoes, so if you need help or want to find out more about the site we can build for you, give us a call at 516-543-0041 or email me at

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Nobody Wants This – Stop Trying to Give it to Them – Mike Dolpies

By Member Solutions

It’s your lucky day. Someone made it to your school’s website: a prospect who is interested in your program. Now don’t get too excited because this prospect is not “totally hot.” They’re not ready to whip out their wallet and make a purchase or call you to arrange a meeting. The reality is this prospect is still not sure if they want to train with you or not. Your prospect is still “gathering information.” Keep the gathering information thing in mind as you read the rest of the article.

Transition…

Before we get back to your fictional prospect, we have to cover something that’s so important it can make the difference between success and failure… between steady movement toward your business goals and being stuck on a treadmill.

In my day-to-day adventures, I come across a lot of websites. School owners often reach out because they know there’s some untapped potential buried in their website. There are two very common mistakes that doom a school’s website to mediocrity.

Mistake #1…
• The first and very common mistake made on Martial Arts school websites is the total absence of any form of lead capture. We’ll talk about lead capture in a second.

Mistake #2…
• If there is a “lead capture” mechanism present, it’s usually dull, boring, lame, has no urgency and gives no compelling reasons why someone should exchange their name, e-mail and other information for it. This is the mistake of offering your “newsletter” as a lead capture mechanism. Here’s a news flash  …

Nobody Wants Your “Newsletter,” Get Over It!

Do you see where this is going?

First: You need a lead capture mechanism to fill your funnel with prospects.

Second: The lead capture mechanism needs to be exciting, fun, interesting and have a little sense of urgency.

So where to begin?

Remember we said up top that your fictional prospect is in “information gathering mode.” The place to start is with “information.”The question to ask at your next marketing meeting is simple: “What sort of information can we package up for our prospects and give them in exchange for their contact info?” Take it further by making sure the information you are packaging up has real value.

Step it up a notch…

You’ve decided on the valuable information but that’s not enough. To get your prospect to act you must offer some sort of immediate gratification. You do this by making sure your information will deliver an immediate benefit, give them something to look forward to, (in some cases sending your prospects information in the mail works great!) or help them begin to solve a problem they have.

Here’s where your newsletter comes in…

After you’ve helped your prospect take one step closer to becoming a client or customer, then you can introduce your “newsletter” as an added benefit and way to stay in touch.

So the message…

Be sure you are employing “lead capture” on your site. More importantly, make sure your lead capture will stop your prospect in their tracks and make them respond to your offer.
Mike Dolpies is a long time Martial Arts business veteran and well-known consultant, author and marketing strategist.

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Turning Your Website into a Gold Mine of New Leads: Part 1 – Mike Parrella

By Member Solutions

Imagine this scenario… You walk into the computer store, scouting out the next cool gadget you’re going to buy. You come across some pretty nifty stuff – stuff you can definitely see added to your collection at home.

But you’re not ready to buy that day. So you read up on the product, note the price, take some mental notes, and head home.

Guess what? People do the same thing when they visit your website.

Most people who come to your website are “window shoppers.” They want what you’ve got – but they’re not ready to buy now.

Trouble is, most window shoppers get caught up in life. And they put that purchase on the back burner.

But imagine that you could contact them a few days or a week later, remind them of the powerful benefits of your program, and give them a call to action to sign up now?

How many window shoppers could you convert?

A lot, right? I mean, they’re interested in your program after all. They just forgot because life got a little hectic.

Well, here’s how to make them remember – and get them to buy:

In two wordse-mail marketing. With e-mail marketing you can send those powerful reminders right to your prospects’ inboxes. Once or twice a week you can give them a “hello” and remind them about why your program is going rock their worlds.

You can offer web specials and give powerful, free information that helps their lives – while positioning you as a total expert.

In a nutshell, here’s how you can get started now so you can begin converting those window shoppers into students today!

1. Get e-mail marketing software

There are companies that do one thing, and one thing alone: make e-mail marketing easy and simple.

The first thing to do is sign up with one of these companies. Their services usually start at around $19.99 a month – whichisn’t bad considering you’ll be making a lot more off of it.

I recommend AWeber most highly. However, these are the most popular companies:

Once you sign up, everything you need to get started is right there on their website.

2. Set up an Opt-In Form on Your Website

The next step is to set up your lead capture. Any of the above companies will let you create an “opt-in” form. That’s basically a form that goes on your site, where people enter their names and e-mails (or just e-mails) in exchange for some sort of information.

Here’s an example of the Opt-In form from one of my kids’ Martial Arts sites. [This is a custom job that we do for schools, so you won’t be able to get one just like this from these companies.]

Once prospects enter their info – they’re in your system!

This leads us to Step 3…

3. Create a Powerful, FREE Offer

Now that your form is set up, it’s time to create an offer. The reason you want an offer is that you want to create the desire in your website visitors to enter their e-mail addresses.

The following are not good offers:

  • Enter your e-mail now for a Free Introductory Offer
  • Enter your e-mail now to receive our newsletter

These are the most popular offers – but they’re not effective!

For my kids’ Martial Arts website, the offer I use is a free report on building your child’s confidence. Because it’s parents who are coming to my site, I created a free report to help them solve a problem.

Your free offer should do this too: it should solve a problem that your target market is experiencing. And since you’re such an expert at what you do, it won’t be very hard to sit down and write a three- to five-page report.

Or, you can record a video… record an mp3… etc.

Just make sure your offer is something your target market really wants. I mean, make it so good they’d buy it. That’s how you get a lot of leads.

And finally…

4. Create follow-up e-mails

 The next step is to go into your e-mail software and create follow-up e-mails. These are e-mails that your list of subscribers will automatically receive.

Here’s the cool thing: you can time your e-mails, too. So you can pre-write 20 e-mails – and set the timing so your list only receivesone every week.

Something to think about: not every e-mail should be a pitch! In fact, some of my e-mails only have useful information that my target market wants to know.

Also, I write my e-mails personally. By this, I mean I write them as though I were writing to only one person. So I say “you” instead of “everyone”… or instead of “you guys.”

These are the kinds of e-mails I use in variation…

  • Pure Pitch
  • Pure content (bite-sized pieces of really good info that solve a problem for your target market)
  • Content, followed by a pitch

Switch those around and you can’t go wrong!

Okay – so now you know the basics of capturing leads off of your website… and turning them into buyers. However, you may be thinking, “When will I have time for all of this???”

If so, check this out…

Because I know how much work it takes to run a school (hey, I run one myself!) I realize you might not have time to do all of this…

Or you just might not feel like it!

So, to help you even more, here’s what I’ve done…

I’ve created a system where I do all of this for you! Over these past two years, I’ve devoted thousands of hours of my time to mastering Internet marketing.

I have an e-mail marketing system that works – and I’ve hired professional writers to create powerful e-mails for my schools that convert window shoppers into buyers like crazy.

In fact my websites – the websites my company builds for hundreds of schools across the country – each get on average 17 to 31 signups every single month. And a good portion of those enrollments wind up signing up as a result of our e-mail marketing campaigns.

Now, it’s not available yet… however… it will be very soon, on November 18th

However, when we open this thing up to the public, we’re only going to take on a limited number of school owners.

After all, it takes time to set up this system per person, and we want to make sure we don’t take on more than we can handle!

So, to get on the early bird list, and know about it first so you can hop on board as soon as we launch…

Just CLICK RIGHT HERE and enter your e-mail address. That’s it.

Then, before we make this available to anyone else, you’ll know first, and you’ll have the opportunity to sign up right away.

Want a little extra help? Then come to my FREE webinar next Thursday, Nov. 11th at 1 pm ESTE-mail Marketing Strategies: Tips to Convert Prospects into Students. I’ll talk about how to build an effective e-mail marketing campaign including how to write great content and avoid common e-mail marketing mistakes.

The first 100 schools to register will receive a free report, E-mail Marketing for Martial Arts Schools: Tips, Tricks, and Strategies That Will Send a Flood of New Students into Your School Practically Overnight! Be sure to register right away though. Due to the high demand for this topic, the webinar is limited to 150 seatsCLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

One last thing

There’s a chance that you’re in a bad spot right now with your school. Or maybe you’re doing great, but could be doing better.

Just know this: no matter how bad things may seem, you can always turn them around!

A few years ago, I was an inch away from shutting down my school. Now I have almost 600 students and my school is busting at the seams! It was Internet marketing that made the difference for my biz. Maybe it’ll do the same for you.

Take a sec to comment below and let me know what you think of this article. Don’t forget to share this with your buddies via the links below, and be sure to stay tuned for Part 2 of this article coming soon!
Have a great one,

Michael Parrella