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#383100 - 02/13/08 11:50 PM How to answer the phone..
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
Its a strange topic title, I know, but I'm highly considering opening a school of my own soon and I find I have alot of trouble with this. My own instructor has been teaching me all the points on how to do it (i.e. ask all the questions, get them to come in etc.) and we'll play the game where he calls me and tries to throw me off so I know how to deal with difficult people, but I would like to be able to practice this on my own as well.

My question is to all the instructors and business owners out there, how do you do it? When they ask the cost question, how do you turn that around into "come in and see if its for you" and what to do if they are persistent about it. As well as anything else a person usually asks.

Advice, pointers, any kind of help is greatly appreciated especially considering that I am a female in the male dominated business aspect of martial arts. To open this kung fu school I've got to have stuff.

#383101 - 02/14/08 12:13 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Are you a salesman or an instructor?

I find it more credible when someone is just straight forward and honest. If you are giving me the car salesman crap I'll hang up.
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<

#383102 - 02/14/08 12:16 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: BrianS]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
Instructor, and I would agree with you there I don't want to sound like the telemarketers I hang up on

#383103 - 02/14/08 12:36 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
JAMJTX Offline

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
Unless your running a McDojo, there is no reason to not just answer the questions.

Most people will be calling just to find the location, hours and cost. They want to go to either the closest, most convenient or cheapest place. Nothing else will mean anything to them.

Just answer the questions straight up and offer them a chance to come watch or take a class and they can see for themselves if this is what they want to do. One class can answer dozens of questions.

#383104 - 02/14/08 12:41 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
clmibb Offline

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 1035
Loc: South Texas, US
I'd give prices over the phone. If you are charging $200/month and my limit is $50, then there's no reason for me to come in and see if I like it or not. I can't afford it, so why waste your time and mine? Like Brian said, straight forward and honest is the best policy.

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."- Ronald Reagan

#383105 - 02/14/08 07:12 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
NewJitsu Offline

Registered: 12/14/06
Posts: 130
Loc: Midlands, UK
I run my own business and I am always suspicious when someone can't give a straight cost answer! So yes, be up front. If you are ridiculously expensive then people won't join no matter how great the instuction.

But... (!) on the other hand I wouldn't go into every single cost breakdown either, but rather "It's 5 an hour but your 1st lesson's free" kind of thing. If you start going on about joining fees, insurance fees, the cost of buying a gi, etc etc. then you'd start to detract from the training you are offering. Simple and straight always the best!

Unfortunately there will always be people who's sole determining factor will be cost, so if you're 5 an hour and a competitor down the road is 4.50 an hour they will go to him regardless of what kind of teacher he is. That's life!

#383106 - 02/14/08 08:53 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: NewJitsu]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Agreed with the others. Tell them the price, and offer them a free class (or classes), so they can decide if they like it or not.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#383107 - 02/14/08 10:48 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5844
Loc: USA

Excellent advice above---really good.

If someone is buying anything stright on price they either already know everything they need to know---and how often does that happen?
Or they know almost nothing and they are not takeing their choice of school very seriously.

If someone does not care enough to check out the school personally before they decide---then you probably don't want them as a student.

If its a question of cost--as in they can only afford so much---then its best to know that up-front....time is money and you only have so much to waste on people that are not interested.

Somebody asks how much it is---I'd tell them.

Then depending on how the call is going I'd ask them some questions--, how did they hear about you? What got them interested in martial arts? What are they wanting to achive? could help your business.
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#383108 - 02/14/08 12:39 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: cxt]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
So lets say one of you guys were to call me at my business and ask "How much do you cost?"

Would you feel like I'm avoiding the question, or trying to be sincere and learn more about you (I'm really aiming at the latter of the two) if I were to say

"First can I get your name?"


"Alright John, tell me what intrests you about the martial arts?"

Yes I know I have just avoided the cost question, but I don't want to be judged on cost alone, because that would make for a really short conversation, and I might have different programs. you know?

Would you answer with what you enjoy about the martial arts, or press the cost question again? Its not like I don't want to tell you but wouldn't it be worth trying a free lesson first

what do you think

#383109 - 02/14/08 01:12 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
JAMJTX Offline

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
There's nothing wrong with getting someone's name first.
If you have more than 1 plan, then you can answer the "cost question" by saying "we have different plans. What are you interested in?".

This question is usually asked upfront by people interested in going to the cheapest place. They're not going to pay extra because you are a 10th Dan Soke or you teach Karate instead of Tae Kwon Do. If there is something more important to them than cost they will ask that first.

Some may call and ask "how long does it take to get a black belt?" then ask either "how much does it cost?" or "Are you a black belt? What rank". If the rank of the instructor i smore important to them they will ask that. Again, they may very likely be interested in only going to the closest school and cost, style, teachers rank, etc mean nothing to them.

When I was training directly with my teacher I gkadly drove 40 miles past dozens and dozens of schools and there were another dozen or more closer in the other direction. But I wanted something specific. So I never called and asked "how much?". etc. It didn't matter.
But this is the way of thinking of only 2% of those who train in martial arts. The other 98% want fun at the closest and cheapest place.

One of the original answers was "are you a teacher or a salesman?". The teacher answers the questions and spends as little time on the phone as possible. The salesman tries to be slick and keeps the caller on the phone until they sell something.

So really, the answer to the qoriginal question depends on the goal of the dojo operator.

Are you looking for serious, committed students? Or are you looking for people who need a cheap place to drop the kids off for few hours a week and maybe people who are going to spend the nesxt 3 months at place that's on the way home from work where they can exercise.

I personally wouldn't trust someone who was too afraid to just tell me the cost if that's what I ask. It's a straigh forward simple answer. But sadly, what we are seeing in the Mcdojo industry is "charge what you can get". When someone is afraid toi just tell me "class is $80 month", I start to think maybe they are just trying to see how much they can get from me.

I had one student here who came over from one of the local mcdojo. He was in an "instructor training program". Part of the training was to figure out how much you can screw each person out of. There was no set monthly fee. If they drove up in a nice car and had nice clothes, it was one price. If maybe they looked more working class and on a tight budget they offered a plan. For a place like this they would be afraid to set a price over the phone. They would be disappointed if they told you $70/month and then you pulled up in a Mercedes and they realized they could have gotten a $100.

Reputable people, regardless of thier business, are not afraid to set prices and quote them over the phone.

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