Simply Music Information Packets
Alice W., AU
I am still slowly building up my piano business but have had several speculative calls or emails from people asking how much? How often? etc. I find myself having a lengthy conversation with these people either via email or on the phone, and none of these have resulted in an enrolment and therefore seem like a not-too-good use of my time in some regards.
These people are often unwilling to come to an FIS and/or I am not holding one in the near future. My husband suggested I created some sort of information pack, summarizing the content of the FIS and of course with links to the simply music website. The only problem with this is that I would have to state my fees and some people may just skim straight to that information without reading all the important stuff.
Can anyone please advise on how they handle the speculative calls that come in between FISs and has anyone else created an information pack as such?
Cheri S., Utah
I have two questions for you. Are you fully committed to the Simply Music concepts, so that your passion and excitement come across when you talk about it? And are you using the “Talking to People” conversations provided in the Teacher Training Materials? You can find Neil’s discussion about “Talking to People” here, (after entering your name and password) as well as a printable outline of the key conversations.
I’m new as of last fall, so I’ve had lots of phone conversations in the last few months and I bring the print-up of “Talking to People” to the phone with me every time. I follow it pretty carefully, using language that’s natural to me, of course. I’ve found it incredibly effective, almost always resulting in people anxious to come over and learn more. I don’t wait for a pre-scheduled group FIS. I just invite that family over to learn more about Simply Music. When they come to my house, I spend a few minutes getting to know each other and then go through all the FIS conversations with them.
In my opinion, talking in person with someone who is enthusiastic about the program would be much more effective than reading an information packet. As you pointed out, in a live conversation you control the content, discussing fees in the context of building excitement about a wonderful, unique program. There may be many situations where a packet would also come in handy, but I doubt it would replace that personal approach.
Stan M., Ohio
Funny you said some are unwilling to come to a FIS. I have discovered several things in just a few years of having my studio.
1) When someone calls I type their name (caller id) and “piano teacher” into Google. Wait to be surprised. It is quite funny to have a conversation with someone that is posing as a student when they really are a teacher. That might explain them not being able to come. As much as I believe I am also about helping teachers know about this method (I don’t consider other potential SM teachers in my area a threat but an asset), I do believe I can’t spend time chatting and debating with people who misrepresent themselves on purpose.
2) I have had zero retention with anyone I have schedule a special FIS outside of the ones I schedule. I started tracking this for my studio in 2009 and until Jan 2012 when I finally realized it was a pretty accurate predictor, I stopped doing it. I typically have one FIS scheduled a month (usually Sat). If no one signs up by Thursday, then I shut it down. Someone calls on Friday, I tell them the one Sat is no longer available and I have another one scheduled (going to be scheduled) next month. Can’t make it? See the first line of this paragraph. This is all very diplomatic and not done with a “I don’t need you” attitude. That doesn’t serve anyone well.
3) If they plan on being in your studio for years, a couple of months isn’t that big of deal. Help them see this. Tell them you are committed to starting healthy groups in times that work for you in your schedule. I always frame this in the idea of me wanting to have a healthy studio that will be here for a long time. When they can’t wait, I send them to the other two SM in my area. That is what friends are for 🙂
4) Remember, you have a diamond you are showing them. There are plenty of other programs and teachers out there that they can go take lessons from that will cost less and have an opening today. Great. Let me give you some numbers of people I know. I just know, though, I have a diamond and studio I am going to make every effort to run as smoothly as possible and that means having people come into it with the right perspective.
I have had really good success using the piano workshops as a tool to effectively recruit and place new students. Also, I ALWAYS say I have a wait list – this places YOU in the driver’s seat from the start and from the beginning let’s you discern if there will be any issues with claiming territory. I agree completely with Stan that this is a gem of a program and it has tremendous value…SO DO YOU and YOUR time 🙂
I don’t engage in long conversations at all (I did at first when I was a brand new teacher) and simply send the person via e-mail a piano workshop registration form, and I tailor it to the appropriate season or event. I run four-week sessions only and it’s basically a long intro session and then on the third session I include the official FIS with video presentation, etc. and give them the studio policies then to take home and review at their leisure. On the fourth and final session almost everyone returns with payment to become a dream2play music studio member (I transition them into “membership” to create a sense of special belonging and the vision of a Long Term Relationship as a member of my studio) and offer a discount on both their first month’s tuition and $10 off their Student Home Materials (SHM) and also request a registration fee. On occasion, I waive the registration fee where it is appropriate.
So, this creates a “call to action” or sense of urgency while giving you the opportunity of screening incoming families to see IF YOU want them for long term without the initial commitment. And it gives you a good sense of how to create your groups from the start. It’s kind of like dating LOL!
If a family/student is NOT a good fit for you, then either let them know (honesty is always best) or you can handle that how you feel most comfortable. I am completely up front from the first session and share that this workshop is a screening to see if WE are a good fit. The way I see it though, you preserve your sanity and time which in turn releases you to give your best to those who want to be there…remember the 80/20 rule. And, other teachers out there shopping are welcome too to come for a workshop – hey, recruit them as a new Simply Music teacher! I just did the fellow who gifted me my new free baby grand piano!
Remember, the program is remarkable…people always buy from those they like and trust.