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#383110 - 02/14/08 01:19 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: JAMJTX]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
You know...when I was first enquiring about starting MA...the hardest part was just getting a live person on the phone. The phone messages were usually completely worthless, and I NEVER got a return phone call. Ergo...I kept moving on.

I think the best way to handle phone calls, as probably MOST of the calls are from noobs that haven't a clue what they really to tell them the best time to come and view a class...and meet the teacher in person. Get them in the dojo...don't play 20 questions on the phone.

#383111 - 02/14/08 01:19 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
NewJitsu Offline

Registered: 12/14/06
Posts: 130
Loc: Midlands, UK
There is a current school of thought that encourages reverse selling, i.e. getting the price out of the way with then launching into the pitch, rather than the other way round. It is each to their own but I personally have found this effective. If somebody's 1st question is "How much?" then they tend to have a figure already in their mind. Why not answer it and save everybody's time?

With many businesses there are different sales packages, hence different prices depending on a client's specific needs; but with an MA school I presume there is just one cost, either per lesson or per hour or whatever. Just answer them then if he finds it acceptable you can move on and concentrate on the real stuff - how good your classes are!

#383112 - 02/14/08 02:18 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5843
Loc: USA

Depends on if I get the sense your trying to "sell" me instead of just trying to be accurate and clear.

Very few people just call up a business and ask for just the cost.

If that really is the ONLY information they want--again, I doubt that I would like to have them as a customer.

They either already think they know all they need to know---a very questionable idea and probably indicitve of other attitudes you don't want to have to deal with or they are "price shopping" and don't really value the service--they are just looking for a "deal."

One easy way to fail in business is to try and be all things to all people.

If some calls me up and right of the bat---no other information asked "what do you cost?"

I'd ask them "What do you know about what we do here and the arts we teach?"

If they say "I just want the cost?"

I'd ask "How many days week do you plan on training? And for how long each day?"

If they AGAIN just say "what do you cost?"

I'd ask "Are you interested in just weapons training or just empty hand skills or both?"

What your trying to find out is if this person just does not know what questions to ask or is being a jerk or is competitor doing a "secret shopper" call.

If at this point all they keep doing is asking the price---I give it to them and move on to more profitable work.

Edited by cxt (02/14/08 02:30 PM)

#383113 - 02/14/08 02:20 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: NewJitsu]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
In that case then answering it straight up...

"How much do you cost?"
"so and so" amount per month

"Ok thank you goodbye"

I understand that as people we need to save money... (I'm always broke, its college, what can I say) but sometimes don't you want quality over quantity (in a sense)

how can I word that statement from "so and so a month" into this is what we cost in a program what are your goals?

I don't want to be judged on cost alone... but I think we all agree that as Martial Artists, and more importantly business owners, we never lie to customers

So I'll need to discuss with my instructor how the payment plans are set and specifically what we offer (I know what it is, but looking for more detail)

I thought about this too, What makes for a really good phone experience? - (like using the persons name and thanking them)

#383114 - 02/14/08 03:39 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
JAMJTX Offline

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
There certainly is nothing wrong with saying "we offer a variety of classes and programs so cost will vary. What are you interested in?". But once they tell you, there is no reason why you can not say "that plan is $80 per month" or what ever your price is.

What makes a really good phone experience is that you give the caller the information they are looking for, you don't waste thier time and they don't waste yours.

Of course you can prefix your "price quote" with, "we have a unique program here that can not be matched any where for the $80 that we charge". Then maybe they will ask "what do I get for my extra $10/month?". Then you can tell them of your style, lineage, etc. But the problem is that 98% of the schools are mcdojos and have nothing unique that can justify a a higher price. Not to mention, that more often than not, the best teachers charge less and often nothing.

#383115 - 02/14/08 03:48 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: JAMJTX]
wiggy Offline

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 123
Loc: Massachusetts

Good thread and excellent points brought up by everyone.

Several questions I have: What is your style? What is your goal in life (you say you are going to college but is it for business or other)? Where do you live (city/suburban/country)?

All these questions will make a difference… If you do tai chi, then you don’t really need a lot of equipment and you will market differently than if you do thai boxing… If you plan on doing this as a hobby rather than a career, then you may not want to open a formal school and just teach at people’s houses or at the YMCA….

As a consumer, if I ask a question regarding price, I already did or am currently doing my research and am just looking for price and price alone… If you try and sway me by asking my name and other information, I get frustrated and start to feel like my name is being put on a list (I shouldn’t feel this way but it is the overall bombardment of marketing these days that has made it this way).

Saying in the beginning that you prefer that the consumer see the class and facilities up front so that both you and him/her can ‘interview’ each other in order to make an informed decision (and not waste time) is always positive… If they ask what the cost structure is again, then just briefly repeat the above and give them the price.

However, do your pricing comparisons beforehand so you know what you are up against. Know what your overhead is so you know what you need to pay rent.

Since you are just starting up, ‘quality’ is untested to the public and your reputation is minimal at best. So in essence you will be getting a lot of people asking the question about price.

My teacher had several schools and shut them down for many reasons due to poor quality of instruction, high cost of overhead, and the public’s opinion as to what it meant to study the martial arts…. Yet he still taught a number of people at his house, at the YMCA, at various colleges, etc…
Therefore it is possible to do it but it will be tough in the beginning.

You don’t necessarily need a facility to teach. Your cell phone can act as a business line. Liability insurance is always a good idea… The rest is up to you.

Good luck.

"There is no right or wrong way, just a better way"... Soke Robert Murphy

#383116 - 02/14/08 04:02 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: wiggy]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
Thanks for the advice Carl!

Education is very important to me, but as for an overall goal in life, I love to be active and I love to interact. Teaching gives me both. I only recently started living in town but grew up in the country for a majority of my life.

style: shou shu

And thats why I place so much emphasis on the phone - thats where a majority of my first impressions are going to be made, and the follow through when we meet in person.

What concerns me is when you research Shou Shu on the internet you will get a significant amount of forums sites that bash my art saying its "shady"

It because they judge on what they read on "THE INTERNET"

I will never judge another Martial Art till I have tried it, and even then if I don't like it I just won't do it. There is no need for me to bash an art because its not for me. I keep an open mind so my ideas don't grow stale

Thats why I ask the members of this forums how they feel about there past experiences.

What do you think makes a good phone experience, and what do you want to know when you call? Do you know what you are looking for? Has the person done any previous research... some have not. You know?

#383117 - 02/14/08 04:05 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
What is usually the most asked question?

My guess is "What style do you teach?"

But theres also "Do you teach "so and so" style"

How often do questions like that get asked

#383118 - 02/14/08 04:24 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5843
Loc: USA

IMO a potential customer should generally know what it is you do with little prompting--if they have to ask "what style do you teach?" your not being clear enough.

You don't want to get too wordy or technical either--soemthing along the lines of "Chinese martial arts" or "okinawan karate" etc should cover it.

Then you can get more in-depth with those that need more info.

"What style do you teach is kinda a different question than "do you teach Hsing I?"
The former might indicate a general interest in the martial arts--the latter a very specific interest.

If someone asks for "X" style and I don't teach it---be upfront and steer then to someone that does...if possible.
Heck, you might even work out a deal with the "other" school.....I know a guy that ought ot be formal partners with the school on the other side of town---they focus on different thinsg so they are frequantly trading leads---and students.

Edited by cxt (02/14/08 04:26 PM)
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#383119 - 02/14/08 04:35 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: cxt]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
Thanks CXT!

It'll be a whole new school in a different town, so in the case of a potential customer calling would it sound to wordy if I say

"The style is called Shou Shu"

- "what do you teach"

Then i'll say whatever it is we teach in a "nutshell"

joint locks, different kicks, punches, block, and etc.

but thats if thats there first question. Lets say your calling around, doing a little research because your intrested in starting an art, what would you as a customer be looking for?

(I'm practicing conversations in my head)

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