Goshin Karate and Judo Academy..... After being in business for over 20 years in the same location at 64th Street and Bell road in Scottsdale Arizona, our customers are pursuing us. They want our Martial Arts, Karate, Judo, Jujitsu and Self defense classes. they want us.... Our customers have been with us for years and our still referring their friends and family.
According to the Better Business Bureau, gaining the trust of a new customer is five times more expensive than continuing a relationship with a current one. The best way to maintain a successful relationship is to stop treating your customers like customers and start treating them like…well, like family.
Let’s say a customer walks into your dojo for the first time. Do you remind them of a shark pursuing its prey? Or are you friendly and helpful? Customers will respond better if you take the time to learn a few things about them – their name is a great start – and create a human connection before moving on to business. Compliment their clothes. Ask about what motivated them to walk into a Karate School today.... Even a comment about the weather will help move you out of the rank of the greedy salesperson and make you more of a person. Remember details they mention – their kids, their spouse, their goals. Are they wanting to try a class or are they in need of a self defense class right away.?
Can you sympathize with a brief sentence like.... "Our students are the most imporatant visitor to this dojo" .... Make the customer an individual, treat them like someone important. Actually listen to them, the way you listened to your uncle at your last family gathering. Then, when your customer leaves, take a few quick notes for future reference.
Once the they have become a member of the family, do what any polite family member would do after a party – write ‘thank you’ notes. I’m not talking about a bland, one-size-fits-all printout, though this will still outperform most of your competition.. Take a few minutes to scribble a handwritten note, only three to five lines long, thanking them for choosing your Karate School.... Remember those personal notes you took? Mention one. For instance, “I hope your children really enjoy the Martial Arts Classes, and we have classes for adults also!” Or, “I hope to see you again - Remember inch by inch it's a chinch.” Individualize it. Ideally, once they have become a student in your martial arts Academy, you can take a minute or two to scribble the note, while things are still fresh in your mind. Your student will remember that you went the extra mile, and will most likely feel the thanks are sincere – making them not only more inclined to return, but also more likely to spread that good karma around.
If you really want to take them by surprise, give them a call. I don’t know about your family, but my mother loves to hear from me – and she especially loves to tell me what I did wrong. After a few days, ask them a few brief questions regarding your service. The key phrase: “What could I have done to make you more satisfied?” Make sure you remember what they said and learn from it, too. If there was a serious complaint, make sure you follow up on it to solve the problem quickly and efficiently, with the ultimate goal of customer satisfaction. Outsource it to a company care department if you must, but imagine how your customer would feel if you called and really did follow up by asking them if there was anything else you could do to help. He would think, wow, that karate guy really does remember me and really did listen!
Next on your list, maintain a file your customer. Make a note of when they return to your karate school, and any other comments they made. Then, cater to their interests. If your karate kid said that he was interested in the Black Belt club or the getting sparring gear. You would want to see if he had checked with mom and dad, and would it be OK to give them a call or send them a letter when the item goes on sale. Better yet, give them a discount before you give one to the rest of the general public – and let them know it. After all, wouldn’t you give your brother first crack at saving money?
Periodically, send them a letter – again, handwritten is best. Remember all those letters to your grandparents? Enclose a flier with a brief note: “I thought you might be interested in this new reality Self Defense DVD that just came in.” Touch base with them once a quarter. In this high tech world, databases abound that will alert you when you haven’t contacted someone in three months. Keep your name and your concern at the front of their mind, and when they think about Karate or Martial Arts you will be fresh on there mind.
People would rather buy from someone they know, someone they believe genuinely cares about them and their needs. I’m not talking about forcing a relationship to increase your profits, although that will certainly happen. Instead, try to genuinely meet the needs of those you come in contact with. Help them solve their problems. Don’t forget about them once you have their money. Foster a good relationship, rather than a sales pitch. You will find that your customer will share his positive thoughts with others, creating an extended family of customers for life.
Roger Boggs - Owner/Renshi
Goshin Karate & Judo Academy
6245 E. Bell Road #120
Scottsdale, AZ. 85254