Handling Phone Inquiries
Found in: About Business
Carrie L. Michigan
What do you say when you’re talking to people on the phone about Simply Music? I typically just give them the price and that’s it… they are looking for something cheaper, which I didn’t know even existed. Also what do you say when someone says their child doesn’t really want lessons but they do?
My feeling is that if they are just calling about price then I’m not really interested in teaching them, but I’m also wondering if there’s a better way to combat that.
I had two ‘price checking’ calls today…
Yvonne O. AU
I always avoid giving a price until I have given them as much info about the method as possible and feel that they are ready to sign up with me. Even if they are sold on Simply Music I still won’t give a price if I have no places. If I have referred them to other SM teachers I explain that as we all set our own fees and that these will vary from teacher to teacher and also depending on lesson type (private, shared, group etc) fees should be discussed with the teacher they intend to sign with.
Discussing the method is beneficial but discussing fees is not.
Kerry V. AU
People don’t really know what they are looking for when they are in search of a piano teacher. The first question to them that matters is price, as they don’t usually know much more. There has been a long, long, many, many years of indoctrinating re music and their lessons. That is, you must, and can only, learn by reading music, you are not musical if you cannot master this, you move on from one song to the next and not remembering the song you just finished, you drop the kid off and pick them up and expect miracle. The parent hasn’t a clue what their child is learning etc. People wishing to play have one thing in mind, beyond playing and that is, the cheapest.
We, as in SM teachers, educate people as to what music learning culture can really be and how wonderful it is/can be. Not from our own poor past experiences but from what we can achieve and develop for them now. Music as a companion for the rest of your life! Can you say any more about that statement? Probably no need however…..
(Please accept that what I have said in this email is only in general terms, for example, there are some of you who had wonderful experiences via traditional lessons etc. but to make things simple in this reply I have left it this way)
If someone rings, ask them, “and what has your experience with music been?” Or, “and what is it you are looking for little Johnny to get from playing?” Or, “What is it about SM that you rang me?” The list goes on. Usually, once you have their appreciation of sharing their experience (sometimes they do have experiences and sometimes none at all) you then go into the studio spiel. Of which then includes the price.
My conversation will go through with (let’s go on as if a parent inquiring about their child having lessons and not necessarily in this order however the cost will be bought in at the end.)
“What is your child’s name and age?” (Let’s say child’s name is Johnny)
“Has Johnny played before?” Depending on the answer the next question will be….
“Did Johnny enjoy his lessons before?” Or….
“Who wants the lessons, Johnny or do you want him to have the lessons?”
Then I will say something depending on their reply. If they have had experiences (either of them) I will point out what we do. If they haven’t had previous experiences then I will tell them what we do.
“Well, SM is a different way of learning….” I introduce the playing first analogy. Then the Student Home Materials (SHM). Then I bring in cost. I have no hesitation to bring it up at this point. I point out how and when payment will be made etc. Usually I have them enrolling and cost is not an issue. However, some do prefer to speak with their partner before hand. Usually these people are the ones who are not quite sold or sometimes need to talk their partners into agreeing too.
Now, some of these questions may not be asked as they may have been spoken in their previous answers but this is only a situation.
The difference with mentioning your costs is that you be up front, honest, and have no doubt in yourself. Having no doubt can be hard to do when you start up, could take years to feel comfortable about taking money from people. Understanding that you are accepting money as an energy exchange for what you do and give to them and what they want and receive from you makes a difference. If you skirt around figures and fumble then you loose them, regardless of how wonderful your previous talk about SM was, if you are not assured and secure in your costs then they will feel it too and move to someone else.
So, be confident, ask for their story, relate to them, and share with them what they will get from lessons and then the cost then enroll them :).
Best of luck in your growth in this matter. You have been teaching for a while now and have gone through other learning and growing stages and this one is a great one to jump the hurdle with and move forward.
Sue C. AU
You said to ask the caller the question below. If the answer was that the parent wants the lesson for Johnny and Johnny is not so keen, do you start lessons with him or say to come back when he really wants lessons? I ask this as I think many people take lessons because their parents want them to.
Kerry V. AU
If it turns out to be the parent is wanting the lessons I would turn to the child and talk about the fact that sometimes we do need to do what our parents (or other adults) want as they believe they are doing the right thing for you. I then talk about what they (the child) will get from the lessons. Putting aside the family issues, allowing him to see that this is something he could really enjoy. It has worked. You must be aware of family dynamics and that you are not pushing any beliefs onto any of them, merely showing the child what they will get as well as showing the parent that you support them. After this conversation the child is usually the best students in the group. See, in the scenario, you have the child feeling they have been heard because I ask them what they think. Usually they are okay but I have had some really not interested until after I speak with them. Show them what is possible for THEM not the parent.
It can certainly bring up issues for the parent, that they wish they could have had lessons etc. and this works out brilliantly as you then have them being ‘heard’ and they feel comfortable with you.
Amy Y. New Mexico
I currently have a student who was “pushed” into lesson. He was very reluctant and had serious attitude problems to start with. He had a few previous piano lessons before SM and had promptly quit (perhaps he had convinced himself that he would never succeed with piano). The parents were very supportive from the start and they made a compact with him at the beginning that if he gave it an honest try for a set amount of time and still doesn’t like it he can quit. He went through the first month plus by threatening to quit as soon as the time was up but has since quit threatening and now loves the lessons and looks forward to learning. So I think if you feel that there’s going to be a high level of support from home, I would say go ahead and start as I believe the child is likely to change his mind and his enthusiasm level once he begin to experience very quick successes with SM.