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#383160 - 02/19/08 11:40 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Kujaku]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5846
Loc: USA

Nice passive-aggressive post BTW.

Actually no, that is a COMPOUND idea---not exactly mutually exclusive.

Its 2 seperate claims---1 being your purpose is to "help people"---which can be examined in all the ways you have to "help people" that DON'T involve you stuffing your pockets with loot.
The other being if you are in any way, shape, or form qualified to "help people build better lives.

See what I mean???

One question does not invalidate the other.

BTW--NOW your using an overly loose interpretation of making lives "better"--by that interpreation the guy that held the door open for you made your life "better."
Certainly not how you used it prior.

Its not "different" its a "red flag" when YOU say things like "sometimes you can forget to be sincere" etc.
Don't blame me for pointing out how that sounds--blame YOURSELF for having expressed that kind of outlook.

And had I not taking the time to rather pointedly point it out you would STILL be running around claiming your "goal....was to make peoples lives better."

If you can't see how pretentious it is to simply assume that people that ring you up and ask about martial arts classes are in need of YOU making their lives better---or that you, because you teach martial arts are in any fashion qualified to do so....I can't help you.

I'm just a martial arts student and sometimes teacher--I'm not a guru, not a life coach, certainly not anybodies therapist...nor do I pretend to be.

Treating martial arts as if you were such is a problem.

IMO treating it like a "business" is problem----a problem you illustrate rather well---you want to treat it as a business when it suits you---but you wish to cast yourself as so much more otherwise.

Case in point:

"Its part of a martial arts instructors teach mental training"

What kind of "mental training" exactly do you mean?

And how are you qualified to claim to be able to teach "mental training?????"

Edited by cxt (02/19/08 11:44 PM)
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#383161 - 02/20/08 12:58 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Ed_Morris]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

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

Excellent idea.... just do what we do, if they like the sound/feel of it they'll come.

I've floated this idea before, and seen different places use it as well on occasion (No idea if its done widely/elsewhere). The idea being actively encourage multiple visits(sic. via the telephone message). Minimum of two, (3 preferable) and at minimum one visit with the child themselves... THEN once without Tammi/Mark beside me, so I am able to ask the questions I truly need, without them listening in.

Fewer surprises that way, IMV....


#383162 - 02/20/08 01:17 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: cxt]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
And this is where is gets me... all you guys have an opinion how on how something should be handled. We have those with experience and those who express there feelings as to what people would feel more comfortable with.

Handling the diversity

I hear where you are coming from, and from the "making lives better part" you are building there strength, there confidence, and new control over there body (via katas, techinques, etc.)

If you are first starting its an entirely new experience - not like going to a store getting new clothes. And for those who have an understanding you know where I am coming from. Those dedicated to the martial arts have felt a life change. You can't tell me you haven't. The mental training is the confidence and overcoming fear. The ability to handle new situations you never thought you could before. Heightened sense of mental awareness. Its not something you can completely teach. It just happenes to you if you let it.

So in the opening of this business - yes it is for them, the students.... but how to you get the students into a school? Of course I could send them anywhere to try, but that is a decision I will let them make on there own. I'm not here to send students away I'm here to teach them. I want to persuade them, not make the decision for them.

But everyone is -different- I'm full and willing to get to know those differences better and teach anyone. And it starts with the first impression which may be made over the phone. This is not an average business its a life change for some people, and yes it has business aspects but its a foriegn animal in the capitalistic zoo

If I stutter or sound like a creeper selling watches in my trench coat whos going to want to learn from me. NO ONE! This is not what I want.

Don't get this wrong, the advice you have given has helped me ALOT in practicing the phone game. (the akward pauses are almost gone, and I can handle harder questions) But one person says one thing, and another contradicts.

When you (the potential student) talk to me I want you to feel comfortable and welcome. Not like I'm backing you into the corner over top a trap door.

#383163 - 02/20/08 01:23 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Ronin1966]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35

Hello Ed:

Excellent idea.... just do what we do, if they like the sound/feel of it they'll come.

I've floated this idea before, and seen different places use it as well on occasion (No idea if its done widely/elsewhere). The idea being actively encourage multiple visits(sic. via the telephone message). Minimum of two, (3 preferable) and at minimum one visit with the child themselves... THEN once without Tammi/Mark beside me, so I am able to ask the questions I truly need, without them listening in.

Fewer surprises that way, IMV....


Instead of one session, do like a week session. I can definiately see that for the people who need a little more time to get a feel if it for them. This can work for random meetings too if it needs too. People may be encouraged to bring a friend too to lessen first class akwardness

#383164 - 02/20/08 01:27 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
Dannyl_K Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 35
Keep in mind I'm not disagreeing with anyone, I'm using ideas and mixing ideas - honestly what would make you feel comfortable over the phone

Using Sir/Ma'am or your first name?

Answering all there questions, or asking my own to learn about you (a happy medium of both?)

A cost question that has a short sweet answer or in depth explaination down to the last penny

In general a longer "get to know you conversation" (not super long though) or one that quickly answers your questions so you can go do something else?

#383165 - 02/20/08 10:34 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
JM2007 Offline

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 37
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Dannyl_k, et al,

I think one of the confusions here, which also seems to complicate many other areas of this and other martial arts forums, is that we have to understand the two main halves of running a martial arts school (as opposed to just teaching martial arts) which are teaching and business management. As much as many people don't like to associate making money with teaching martial arts, the fact is that sometimes they (necessarily) go hand in hand. It is often assumed that if someone is making money they are a McDojo, which I personally believe is not always the case. You may be able to teach a part-time class for free, but I don't know of any schools or instructors who teach full-time and are open every day who don't charge or make money. Just because a school is non-profit does NOT mean they provide better instruction.

Having said that, there have been, in my humble opinion, some good suggestions here. From good conversational techniques to ensuring that you're not coming across as a "salesman", I think (almost) everything said here, pro and con, is worth listening to. You definitely want to make sure your ability to speak on the phone is natural and creates interest in the person on the other side, however, you certainly don't want to sound like a salesperson. In fact, in my opinion, if I have to "sell" you on training in my school (as opposed to sharing some information about what we do and simply offering you the oportunity to watch or experience), then you probably wouldn't make a good fit anyway. In my experience, many people who had to be convinced to sign up at a certain martial arts school a) didn't really want to be there, b) tend to wish they had researched more schools and had better choices, c) felt like they were pressured into joining, and d) had a bad taste in their mouth about the school. So, in essence, I think it is important to NOT have to "sell" them on joining your school, but rather to help them make an educated decision about what you do and why you do it better...if in fact you TRULY believe your program is better for their needs than someone else's program. If you believe that everyone who walks through your door is right for your're a McDojo.

Now, I am going to contradict myself a little. When I mention "sales" or "selling", I am speaking in terms of using particular sales tactics that are pressuring, in ANY WAY to the potential student. The reality of the situation, or of life in general, is that almost everything you do is sales in some way, shape or form. When you ask someone are trying to sell yourself. When you ask for a raise, you are selling your worth to the company. When you make a suggestion to a boss, co-worker, friend, you are trying to sell your idea. When you write a paper for school, you are trying to sell your knowledge (the more you know and better you state it...the higher you are paid...just with a grade). The point is, everything in life is sales, so I think it is important to understand how to sell yourself, your program, and why you think whatever you are doing is right for that person. Even if you are teaching for free. If you are teaching for free and truly trying to help someone out, isn't still important to be able to properly explain to them WHY and HOW what you do is good for them. I would rather pay someone who teaches a better program than train for free under someone who has a poor program.

The real question is, how do you get to the point where you can determine whether or not what you teach is best, or even suitable, for their particular needs? I personally think if you can articulate that piece, the potential student is much more likely to come in and look at the school and see if it's a good fit.

If all they want to know is how much you cost, tell them. Don't upfront. However, also find out what their needs are make sure you can fill them...then invite them to come take a look and talk more in-depth with you.

Just my opinion...respectfully, Jason

#383166 - 02/20/08 11:37 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Ed_Morris]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA

I have the perfect solution for you: get a phone with an answering machine, practice the greeting and mention for them to come by to watch a class and ask questions, etc give the hours that the dojo is open and the hours of class, website address and whatnot. after recording the message you are happy with, put the phone on first ring answer mode, then mute the ringer.

that way you don't have to worry about answering the phone and can concentrate on the real first reason you are there in the first place: to teach and train. not run a business.

Ippon for Ed Morris!
"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

#383167 - 02/20/08 12:44 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: MattJ]
Kujaku Offline

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 80
Loc: Rockville, Maryland, USA

I do understand where you are coming from. I can see where some of what I am saying could be perceived to be a red flag as you say. I guess that this is really the difference between styles?

I study in a very traditional martial art. We do not simply focus on getting a good work out but also emphasize a lot of things that some (not all) modern martial arts (or untraditional, without ritual, etc, ex. lets say Krav Maga or other CQC/Combative arts) may not teach.

Some of these things that we emphasize are manners and discipline. Not to say that other arts don't emphasize this, but we are very traditional in this manner. We try to teach that the martial arts are not meant for hurting others, and they are not meant only to defend yourself, but more so to defend your family and community.

The martial arts, when combined with mental training, are here to help make us into better (honest and caring, etc) people. The martial arts help people to find discipline in their lives, to bring order to the chaos of daily life.

We teach breathing techniques and meditation to help calm emotions. We emphasize such things as loyalty to your parents and teachers, to think before killing any living thing.

You might say that we have no right to teach philosophy in our classes, but we are not making people come to our studio. They come to us because they don't want to just learn how to defend themselves--they also want to learn (and I speak from experience here) how to find harmony in daily life.

No, I am not saying that the martial arts are a cure-all to any problem. Nor am I saying that my martial art is the best, I am not saying that my martial art is better than yours. The best martial art is the martial art that you feel the most comfortable learning in, the one that you gain the most pleasure from studying.

And just so you know, I teach for free. I have been teaching at this studio for over a year now and have not been paid a penny for doing so. So no, I am not stuffing my pockets. I am there to help people the way that the martial arts have helped me. But this does not change the fact that I understand that running a martial arts studio is a business in that you do have to pay the rent, and the instructor's do have to earn money to support their families. Don't get me wrong, free instruction is great. But I don't think that there are many people out there that teach completely for free full time (unless of course they have some other source of income or are already wealthy). After all, we do live in a capitalist society.
Proud student of Grandmaster Yong Sung Lee, founder of Hapmudo

#383168 - 02/20/08 03:02 PM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Kujaku]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5846
Loc: USA

Nobody says you can't or shouldn't make money.

But the standard business model and martial arts does not mix well.
Its 1/2 of the reasons you end up with McDojos--putting profits before performence.

(For that matter show me a MA school that is willing to actually put its preformence against anyone else in town----a "business" does so all time--MA schools seldom.)

And its not just a problem with martial arts---its a problem with all to many other industries.

I see it every day---once profitable comapnies taking a nose dive when the economy goes south--and most of it is due to poor decsions from a managment that should know better.
The "standard" business model--used all to often IMO is constructed around short term rather than long term profits.

Said it once, I'll say it again---the problem is not exactly treating MA like a business--its ONLY treating it like a business when it comes to getting PAID---and quite something else at all other times.
Its a "business" when it comes to detailed plans for how to handle "control" issues with folks that call in. Its a "business" when it comes to using contracts and black belts clubs to retain customers--THEN its a "business."

But somehow that perception changes when comes to how they want things tio function the rest of time--THEN people get a lot of talk about "loyality" and "tradition" etc.
From where I sit---the "business" is assumed to only run in one direction--and its NOT in favor of the student.

If someone wants to be a "business" then be a GOOD one.......Stans Plumbing should not have better customer service than you do.

I don't know what you do or how you do it----you have been all over the board on this issue--so at this point I have no idea what to belive.
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#383169 - 02/21/08 06:44 AM Re: How to answer the phone.. [Re: Dannyl_K]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Using Sir or Madam really depends what the everyday protocol is where you live. I imagine in Tennessee it would be the order of the day.

In Britain I'd always say Sir or madam when I first answer the phone until I find out what they want. Then I can ask their name. Depending if they answer John or John Smith, or Mr Smith I then decide what to call them.

Remember, you aren't trying to sell them anything, as such, you are helping them make a decision which is good for both of you.
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

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