When it’s close to Christmas that means shopping (unfortunately…not yet for me… yikes!) and at this time of year we can more often than not be found in our local land of Big Box Stores.
If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where you don’t know what this means, let me enlighten you. Big Box Stores are mega super-stores where you can buy everything from grapes to snow tires all under one roof. Charming. Yet, oh so useful.
I’m not a fan. In fact I’m much more a fan of the “mom and pop” home-grown itty bitty specialty shops. But there is one thing that those big box stores do well. Sell. Easily.
Little bitty shops are great – but all too often it’s just more difficult; there are more barriers to making a purchase… Is it in stock? Should I shop around for price? How many times do I want to drag my baby out of the car seat and then wrangle her back in driving around to these little stores to get everything I need? Can I return this if It won’t work?
It can be exhausting. And so the big box stores lure us back.
But despite the love/hate relationship, there is something that we piano teachers can learn from the big box/little shop battle.
Making it Easy to Purchase
When you’re offering a service you want to remove every barrier possible to making a sale (or in our case, signing up a new student). Signing up for piano lessons with you should be anything but difficult… so check out the following hints for bringing “big box ease” to your piano teaching studio:
1. Answer your phone and email regularly. This seems like a no-brainer, but when someone is shopping around they are used to getting immediate results. Big Box Stores are always open! Don’t make your potential clients wait for eons before you get back to them. You’ll lose them to others who answered their phone. Set 3 times per day where you check email and voice mail and return all messages right away.
2. Eliminate hassles. Make the sign-up process as friendly and simple as possible. Keep registration forms to the information you absolutely need and keep requirements to sign-up to a bare minimum. You can always collect everything else after they sign up. Making it seem as though the sign-up process is arduous sets a negative tone for the start of your working relationship. The initial phone call should accomplish all of the sign-up process. Anything else you require can happen at the first lesson once they’re “hooked”.
3. Be a “yes” man. Big box stores never say “no”. They always have it in stock. They always have an alternate product to what you may be looking for. People love a “yes” man. Avoid saying no by always offering a carefully-worded alternative solution. Did they phone you looking for drum lessons? Give them your best sales pitch on why piano lessons are actually a better option! Can they only come on Thursdays (and you’re full)? Give them the choices in times that you do have available, but let them know that as soon as a Thursday spot is available you’ll switch them over. You get the idea.
4. Finally, bring a bit of the small town charm to your sign-up process by making sure you follow up with your new clients. A personal note inside a cute card popped in the mail is a wonderful surprise to your excited soon-to-be student. As the small shops know… it’s all in the little touches 🙂
Make the changes to your sign-up process now! Because if you’ve read “Piano Hands Shouldn’t Flip Burgers” you’re sure to be getting ready for a huge influx of new students come January! If you haven’t read it… what are you waiting for!