For the last week, Trevor and I have been taking our girls to see a travelling circus, a strong lady, a world record holding jugglers, and a bunch of comedians. All of these performers have been part of the Victoria International Buskers’ Festival.
On a number of stages spread throughout the city, these performers attracted massive audiences who roared with approval and entertainment for 55 minutes.
And then, in the final 5 minutes, right before their much-anticipated grand finale, each busker would make a very pointed announcement. “We aren’t paid to be here… we’re paid only by our audiences. This (believe it or not) is our job. If we’ve brought you some enjoyment we ask that you come up after the show and give us what you think we’re worth.”
It was amazing how the audience fell silent as soon as money was mentioned. People don’t like talking money. But it was also amazing how a flood of people (who had every opportunity to simply continue on down the street without giving up a cent) came up to the performers to drop $5, $10 and $20 into their hat.
I hate talking about money. I’ll put-off phone calls to remind parents of overdue fees simply because I feel unconfortable discussing money. But yet, here these performers were shouting from the rooftops (literally!) “Pay me… I’m worth it.” without a hint of apology. There was something to be learned here…
What Piano Teachers Can Learn From Street Performers
We are in this profession because we love music… not necessarily because we love running our own business. But the Strong Lady and the Fire Dancers and the Soccer Ball Juggler… all of these professional performers… taught me some really valuable “talking money” lessons from which piano teachers can learn a lot!
1) Rapport goes a long way. These performers spent every single minute of their entire show building and nurturing a relationship with their audience. They were likeable people. You got to know them quickly. You were made to feel as though you had a connection with them.
So, as a piano teacher… focus on building a strong rapport with your clientelle. We’ve blogged a lot about building relationships within your studio. Putting a concentrated effort into building strong connections does wonders.
2) Confidence in your own worth is contagious. These performers unabashedly stated “You know you just had a great time. We’re worth your money.” And it was said without apology. This confidence truly made you believe that they were worth your money. It would have been difficult to walk away from them without feeling guilty.
So, as a piano teacher… be confident in your offerings. Deliver quality lessons in a professional way and be 100% confident in your abilities. This mindset will really help to guide your business decisions and the way you deal with your clients.
3) Charge What You’re Worth. Not only did these performers ask for money but they also specified what they thought their show was worth. There was no “Donations would be great if you can, thank you.” It was “Ladies and Gentlemen I think that my show is worth $10 or even $20 for an hour’s worth of entertainment you couldn’t see anywhere else”. And you know what? They got a LOT of 20’s. Why? Because they asked for it.
So, as a piano teacher… charge what you’re worth. If you don’t ask for what you’re worth you won’t get it. Learning to ask without apology is the most difficult part. These street performers did their “money spiel” 4 times a day every day. They had a lot of practice. They also had a lot of success.
I walked away from that festival having been more than just entertained… I had been educated. If Piano Teachers could adopt this “street performer” mindset, I think a lot of our money woes would disappear. And while I’m not about to start swallowing fire… I am going to start losing my inhibitions about talking money.
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