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#383140 - 02/17/08 05:57 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
Ok, anyone ask me a question they would usally ask about a martial art school (what do we teach, cost, classes, etc.)

I would like to get some practice answering them (feedback on what you like and didn't like helps too)

#383141 - 02/18/08 12:16 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Dannyl:

"Trial" anything (to me) is retroactive . It may well be the correct marketing approach, the right business method... the correct words however consider if I'm tentitative... I don't want to meet you... I'm flipping through a blessed phone book, and curious enough, motivated enough that I've made the initial contact.

In my head you'll have really spooked me ... because in my head you've locked me in some little room with your best instructor (sic "closer") trying to get me to sign up. Sounds even more scary... IMHV

I cannot tell if it is merely a semantics issue, or a fundamental approach question. I don't want to COME in and
talk... if I wanted that I can do that via the phone/internet. Naaah, I want to see what happens on the other end of the phone. If, if I like what I see, we'll definately talk.

If it doesn't meet my needs (whatever they might be) I won't visit a second time. It can be a very scary thing just to make 1st contact... second contact (sic. the 1st time in person) I have to be the initiator even more so as I see it.

Merely my opinion, I could surely be mistaken

<<We give the personal attention that you won't find in many other schools **Practice round - what are your thoughts?

Some genuine ratio, (that you truly use) might do better for you?! personal attention, we have 4 to 1 student teacher ratio (whatever your number)... sounds very personal. But the generic certainly works...

Will you recommend other schools for comparitive purposes?
I don't know does this still get done?

"...Come see me, go see her... you might like them two blocks over ... then come back let us know what you think, when you have some questions... or would just like a second look..."


#383142 - 02/18/08 05:24 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
I don't know if I'd ask them what interests them straight away, folk can get flustered by a question like that. I'd probably ask if they have done any MA before and whether they know what kind of art you do.


"OK John, have you done any martial arts before?"

"Errrm, no, but I've been thinking about it"

"OK, well that's ok, we take beginners and we start slowly, so you don't have to worry about being super-fit."

"Now we do an MA called TaeKwonDo (for instance), do you know anything about it?"

And then you can explain things first, rather than wait for the questions.

Like everyone else says, always be up-front. It's better to lose them early than lose them angry at having "wasted" a journey.
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

#383143 - 02/18/08 11:32 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: trevek]
bwhite55 Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 59
i actually prefer to do poking and prodding early on using open ended questions. for example, in the close ended question that you ask, he could just say "um, no" and leave some akward silence. you could rephrase it to ask, what experience in martial arts do you have? or what are you interested in in a martial art? then they can't leave it at yes or no, and chances are they won't leave it at no over the phone, but why give them the opportunity? i've lost several potential customers in the future just by asking "is there anything i can help you with" or something like that and they say no, i'm just looking. whereas, if you ask them something like "hey, my name is dannyl what brings you in to Dannyl's McDojo today?" or "Thank you for calling Dannyl's McDojo, my name is Dannyl, how may i assist you?"

basically, if you can get them talking, then it'll lighten the mood and make it easier on both of you. open ended questions lead to conversations(ie, how may i help you? what are you interested in?") and close ended questions shut the door on conversation quickly(ie can i help you today? would you like some help? etc.). the quicker you get them talking, and talking about themselves, the better off you'll be. let them be the center of attention regardless of what the topic is. you are providing a service to THEM. find out what THEY want. and see how you can accomodate THEM. if i'm talking to a salesman and they go off in a tangent, that takes away from me, and me being selfish, i wouldn't like that. most people are gonna be more open if they start talking about themselves and stuff like that. and if they are open, then you can see what you can do to better serve them. after all, you are competing w/ several cheaper mcdojos(not by any point calling your school a mcdojo, so please don't misinterpret that, just saying they are everwhere) the thing that'll set you apart from them is the service you are able to give them. its gotta be much better than anything else around, and one of the best ways to figure out how you can make it the best school in town is to listen to people's wants and needs and accomodate them to the best of your abilities. people won't open up to you unless you give them the opportunity, so give it to them.

just another thing that you learn when you are in sales for 3 years.

Edited by bwhite55 (02/18/08 11:41 PM)

#383144 - 02/19/08 12:11 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: bwhite55]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
Haha ok, so not exactly the "how can I help you" (yes I would like a hammbuurger - reminds me of pink panther)

getting them to open up and talk (but not turning it into a cocktail party) about themselves does have a friendly sense about it, however I would still like to be the one in control of the conversation. need my happy medium there

I'll need to reword my greeting to something more basic like what I had before minus the "how can I help you"

My reply to Jeff - You make a good point verbally and theoretically. Everyone is different, so I find I need to hit that key note with every phone call to make the person feel comfortable

You said that the private lesson idea would be a little akward (if I understood you right) and that you would rather ease your self into class instead of me setting you up. You aren't the only who would feel that way, then there are those who are gung ho get me in NOW people.

Then there is the people who like to get business done NOW, and those who do a little more through investigation into what they are doing.

.... once again I understand I can't win them all

But, I need to work on hitting those key note. The thing that would "turn on" a potention student. For me it was practicing doing techniques with partners and the private lessons, for other it is the workout we offer

#383145 - 02/19/08 12:16 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
Ok so what I have learned so far ...(some I have from before)

1) Smile before answering the phone
2) be straight up honest
3) Use there name when talking to them
4) Keep it short and sweet, but take time to know them a little

5) Give a little insight in what we do
6) If possible have them give a class a try
7) Explain the different programs (cost, workout, etc.) and what fits best to there needs - (thanks you bwhite, mattj, and everone's insight on this)
8) everyone has different tastes - find that keynote

any other good one to add on here?

Edited by Dannyl_K (02/19/08 12:20 AM)

#383146 - 02/19/08 12:24 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
I did some extra research and found some site dealing with this too. I put them on here to keep my thoughts organized (how did I miss this? its on this site holy cow);wap2,M1

#383147 - 02/19/08 06:30 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
bwhite55 Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 59
in one reply you said you'd still like to have control of the conversation. this is a must. there's a fine balance between having control and having the conversation being about them. if you lose control, then you lose the sale.

it'll take time, but don't worry, rome wasn't built in a day and just like anything else, talking to people is a skill that you sharpen and hone over time. the key is to learn from every person you talk to. just think to yourself, you can even keep a notepad in your desk for info like "this worked for people like this, this didn't work for people like that, etc etc" and that'll help the learning process several times. i replay stuff all the time in my head and say to myself "i can do it better this way or i shouldn't have said that" and then if you catch that then you are ready for next time. don't think of a lost sale as failure, think of it as experience to help you make a sale down the road. if you think of lost sales as failures, you'll get down on yourself big time, and confidence is one of the biggest parts of selling. there will be far more people that visit that don't sign up, so be prepared and keep a positive attitude.

#383148 - 02/19/08 12:50 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: bwhite55]
Kujaku Offline

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 80
Loc: Rockville, Maryland, USA
errr, regarding the previous post, I personally disagree. I believe that if you are talking to a new potential student on the phone, then you should do everything you can to show them that you are interested in them as a student. Do everything you can to build up their interest by showing interest in them. If you only talk about what you can offer them and don't show any interest in them as a person, then you risk the chance of losing a student by only appealing to a certain small group of people.

I would say that you should avoid talking about cost and the likes until you speak with them in person. You should definitely avoid talking about cost until they try out a class as an intro.

No one wants to hear that they have to spend $100-something dollars a month for lets say 2 classes a week. That sounds like they are getting ripped off, unless of course they know what they are paying for. And the only way to know what they are paying for is for them to actually try out a class in person.

So here's the thing, when talking to a potential student on the phone, do everything you can to show interest in them as a person, but avoid being invasive. (You can do this by just asking them about why they want to try the martial arts, what sports them have tried, any previous martial experience, etc) Then you should get all of their contact info, make sure to be very sincere and honest. And make sure to insist upon having them come in for an interview and an intro class. THESE ARE A MUST!!!

Now, besides talking to potential students specifically, here are some things that I have learned when answering the phone in general.

*You should always answer the phone with a smile.* --This is a must, people can feel your sincerity through the phone.

Let the phone ring a bit before you answer, otherwise you seem too eager and it seems like you aren't busy enough to make them wait. It will seem like you are a hawk sitting by the phone waiting for your new potential prey. Making them wait a little bit makes them want it more, but don't make them wait too long!

Always be interactive on the phone. Be in control, but don't be controlling! People don't like to be controlled by people they don't know!

Talk to the person with respect, call them sir/ma'am, be very kind and sincere. Listen to what they have to say. Always talk and treat them as if they were one of your Masters on the phone--(People like to be shown respect).

Basically, don't come on too strong. Be kind and do everything you can to keep the conversation about the studio brief and keep talking about them more. After that, do what you can to get them to actually come in and visit the studio at a set time. Make an appointment. Don't say "come in whenever" it seems unprofessional...

Anyways, that is all that I can think of ATM...I hope that this helps! (And I apologize if it seems like I ranted or repeated anything already said)

EDIT: One more thing, regarding the "cost questioning", here is what I have been told to do. If they are persistent about asking about it, then usually you haven't set up the conversation properly and you haven't followed the basics of what I mentioned earlier, but this does happen, so no need to worry. Here is what I do.

I tell the person the truth. I tell them that we have various programs available to choose from. If they want more info, I might describe some of the more basic packages and tell them what is included, etc.

Basically, with regards to the cost question. Try to give them as little information as possible but enough to satisfy their need for an answer. No one likes to be jerked around, but you don't want to intimidate them with a huge cost to attend the studio. So do what you can to make them feel comfortable and make them feel that you are willing and able to work with them and any of their concerns.
--I hope this answers your question better =).

Edited by Kujaku (02/19/08 12:55 PM)
Proud student of Grandmaster Yong Sung Lee, founder of Hapmudo

#383149 - 02/19/08 01:46 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Kujaku]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5846
Loc: USA
I'm all for good business and doing business.

(personally think focusing so much on the "business" side of things is what is killing the martial arts--but what the heck)

But most this discussion has revloved around how one "makes the sale" and very little on how one plans to provide good service for the cusotomer.

We have a person starting a new school--and the only real question thus far is essentialy how to "sell" on the phone????

No questions on cash flow, insurence, licesure--if applicable, lesson plans, teaching skills, class structure, business plans, bank loans, valuatiuon of the business, legal protections, evaluation of the TEACHERS skills and how to addresses any shortcomings etc

I'm a little troubled by that.

Could be that discusion is coming--and we just have not gotten there yet.

But when "makeing the sale"--up to and including methods of how to "gain control" of the coversation--let the phone ring a bit, using their name etc--ie "sales tricks" becomes THE focus----its not a good thing...IMO.
People are much more savvy than they used to be and nothing hacks people off faster than getting the impression that they are being "sold" to.

If nothing else its poor business pactice--"makeing the sale" is only the FIRST step in keeping a customer--ie "repeat business"--you have to PERFORM as promised.

If you don't or can't--your just a short step away from the contracts discussion and the black belt club discussion we just had.

Edited by cxt (02/19/08 02:03 PM)

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