Found in: About Business
Mark M. New York
At Free Introductory Sessions, I’ve offered a discount of one lesson off the first month. That’s almost 25% based on how I do payments.
It hasn’t seemed like a huge draw. People seem all too willing to leave the FIS without enrolling. Even when I let them know I’ll extend the discount a few days, doesn’t make much difference.
Perhaps this just isn’t a big enough savings to people to seem like a real incentive? Does anyone offer larger, e.g., half off a month, or a free month?
And what about at other times of year, when you haven’t done an FIS, do you do any incentives at all?
I’m hesitant to offer more unless I thought it would be effective, both in terms of increasing enrollment and making sure not to have “less desirable” people enroll as a result.
Paul C. AU
Mark, the incentive I’ve used so far at an FIS has been quite effective.
I have to admit I have been reluctant to discount two whole lessons for the first month but I have felt a discount of more than 1 was necessary to help “reel ’em in”! The price of the Student Home Materials (SHMs) falls in between the price of one lesson and two lessons according to what I charge so I offer the SHM for free if they can enroll on the day/night. Also, because I’m not in a position to be able to process Credit cards I tell people that if they can get payment to me within 24 hrs the discount will still apply. I accept cash, cheque, and direct deposit (into my account). Some people opt for direct deposit so I have little slips of paper ready with my bank account details to give to those who request it. They can go home and transfer the money the same night – very convenient all around!
I have also taken up the suggestion of a couple of teachers in offering the FREE month of lessons to those who refer someone to me who enrolls – I tell them it’s a way I can say “thank you” to them for telling their friends and relatives. Just recently I gave three free months of lessons to a parent who had recommended me to three other parents at the school where I teach – they were really chuffed about the discount. However, in this case I still asked the parent for payment for the Accompaniment I program because they were paying for something physical. If I give the lessons for free and also the SHMs then effectively I’m paying for the SHMs – the money to pay for it has to come from somewhere. At least when I give a discount for the SHMs at an FIS the students are still paying for the lessons and I effectively still have their money to buy the SHMs – I’m not out of pocket. So far this has worked great!
Sheri R. California
I’ve not done this, but maybe offer a free month for enrolling for one month. That way you have them eight weeks into the program and they’re probably sold by then. If you’re willing to forgo a month of fees it could still be very worth it if they stick around for a while.
Andrea M. Canada
My husband and I have just recently become teachers – we tried discounting like you have done, but it didn’t really seem to work as well as I would have liked. So, we have started including the Level 1 Student Home Materials if they commit to two months of lessons. We therefore have a commitment for most of Level 1 and we aren’t changing our lesson price – it stays the same after the two months. It means we don’t make as much the first month, but we aren’t out any money either. We have found that people are more likely to stay on after the eight weeks because they see how great it is so we are benefiting in the long run. So far it has been 100% successful – no-one has dropped out but we are new at this, so we don’t have a huge experience to draw on. Initially we were offering four weeks as well with home materials included and had one person drop out. But she only came to two lessons – I think she may have signed up just to get the home materials so we now only offer it if they commit to an initial two months.
Hope this helps!
Laurie R. Nebraska
I’m wondering, how do you get a “commitment” for two months? Do you require them to pay the two months in full up front in order to receive the materials? I think this is a good idea.
Andrea M. Canada
Well, we haven’t been firm on the whole two months in advance so if people seem to think it is too much for them to afford all at once, we give them the option of two payments, each at the beginning of the month but we have their verbal commitment and they understand very clearly that they are only receiving the home materials for “free” because of the two month commitment. We are very clear about the cost thereafter and that this is only a beginning incentive. So far we have not had a problem. We only had the problem with the one lady when we were offering one month with home materials included – live and learn – we realized quickly that this was not where we wanted to go with this. If we do end up having a problem in the future, we will start asking for the entire two months up front. However, I think by not insisting, but making sure we get verbal commitment, we are showing we have some trust in their word, and because they feel like they are getting something for “free”, they are more likely to honor their part of the bargain. Another great thing about this is the monthly rate is always the same and they accept that. They also become very aware of the cost of the home materials because we make sure they know what they are getting for free. When discounting, I found they were always asking me the cost for next month. Overall this has been much easier to administer. Over time we may not offer it anymore but as this is brand new in the area, it is a great way to get people to at least try it – as you know, a lot can be taught in 8 weeks and I think it is a great way to show people how great it is. I think it also may discourage people from joining who really don’t think they will be able to commit to the program because we are asking for commitment right at the front – sets the stage for the longer commitment that is required later on. Easy to commit to 4 weeks, but 8 is much harder….
We aren’t pros at this but being new at it we are willing to try anything…..if it doesn’t work, then we try something else. 🙂 Take care!