Your phone rings… it’s a potential student! You talk some details and then you arrange an interview. For all intents and purposes this is a “done deal”. As long as the child isn’t hanging from your studio chandelier by the end of the interview you’re fairly certain that you’ll take him on as a student. And as long as it’s clear you don’t bite, the parent will likely sign him up. So what’s the point of this interview? To simply check for light fixture fixations?
Oops! I Thought This Was Just an Interview…
This interview isn’t simply a meet and greet. And it’s not simply an introduction to your piano teaching studio. It’s the start of a relationship… and you want to start right. Clearly show your professionalism, your ingenuity and your care and concern for your students. First impressions matter; they set the tone for the rest of your dealings with this family.
Oops! I Peppered Them With Questions…
People are never “themselves” in an interview situation. You will always be met with their careful and guarded side. Do all you can to put both parent and child at ease. Avoid the tendency to treat this like a job interview and instead turn it into a mini-lesson. Put together the most fun introduction to what piano lessons with you will look like and allow Mom or Dad to see you in action and the child to realize just how awesome piano lessons are going to be. Putting people on the spot and creating awkward and stilted responses is not the best use of your time and you won’t often get candid and genuine answers anyway.
Oops! I Forgot That This is a Marketing Opportunity Too..
You have a captive audience with the potential to create a ton of free advertising for you. This is a news-worthy event in their lives (their child is starting piano lessons… everyone will know!) and so this interview is the perfect opportunity to share 3 of the things you feel set your studio apart. Do not fall into the trap of trash talking your competition, but instead present the 3 most fabulous aspects of your studio that you know cannot be found anywhere else.
Oops! I Thought It Was Over…
So the interview is over, the policies reviewed, the child is excited and you’ve gained a new student! But it’s not over yet. Be sure to follow-up to further show your commitment to your students and your tendency to go above and beyond. Pop a personalized card in the mail addressed to your new student. Mention something they did particularly well during their mini lesson and include one thing that they can look forward to at their first lesson with you. It makes a huge difference in establishing your relationship with the new family, and it takes about 5 minutes to do.
The word interview sirs up images of awkward questions, stilted answers, and air of judgement. Banish these negative connotations from your first meeting and you’re sure to be scheduling many, many more of them in the near future!