We all know first impressions matter.
It's a one time shot and there are no do overs.
So, what is the first impression that your students and families get for you?
It should start BEFORE their first lesson.
Here are some simple things you can do that make a HUGE impression on students and parents after they've signed up for lessons...
Send them a Greeting
Email, Phone Call, Text, Postcard...Video?
Before students begin their first lesson, you have the chance to really make a great impression on them.
Chances are that you've been talking to the parent this whole time.
Not a lot of 9 year olds sign themselves up for lessons, ya know?
Now is your chance to make an impression with the student.
While an email, phone call, or text would be a great way to reach out we want to take it up a notch.
A postcard is a solid option.
NO ONE gets anything good in the mail anymore. But kids never get mail.
How awesome would it be for mom to head to the mailbox and for your student to hear,
"Hey Jonah! You've got some mail!"
What? That has likely never happened before. I mean, maybe a card from grandma but even she is just sending a birthday text these days.
He runs over to the mailbox to see a postcard with a handwritten greeting from you introducing yourself and saying that you can't wait to meet him and start lessons next week. Awesome!
But, how about we take it a step further?
What if you sent a personalized video to him?
Take a quick video in your studio introducing yourself, calling him by name, and saying how excited you are to meet him and get started.
How cool is that?
LessonMate is a great and simple option for this. You can quickly record a video DIRECTLY into your browser and send a link over to his parent's email. No awkward download/upload process. No waiting. No having the parents sign up for some confusing new software that they'll never understand. Just a quick way for you to send a video and put a smile on a kid's face.
Walking in for their First Lesson...
Make sure that you, the teacher, or the desk staff is there to meet the student and family at the front door and greet them BY NAME as soon as they open the door.
Their first moment is everything.
They are in a new and unsure location and looking for a sense of belonging. Give it to them.
One of our members, Emily, has a GREAT way to do this. She has a board welcoming in new members. She calls it her VIP Board, or something like that. Basically, it's a board welcoming in new students and they can see their names and feel like rock stars as soon as they walk through the front door.
But it doesn't stop there. Expand on it with a full VIP package. Give them a backstage pass to wear with their name on it. Give them a Swag Bag filled with studio merch like a t-shirt, stickers, pencils, headphones, and anything else you can think of or get your brand on.
The idea here is to completely overwhelm them with awesomeness from the first time they step in the door.
This is going to help to boost confidence and help them feel like they are part of the community from their first step into the door.
The Actual Lesson
No matter the instrument, the first lesson can be a little intense.
We have to go over posture, music reading, how to hold the instrument, and a hundred other insanely boring tasks that zap the enthusiasm out of your young and eager student.
So, how can we improve this experience?
There are too many instruments in here for me to get into specifics but here are a few suggestions. I also tread lightly here because you're here for business advice, not pedagogical advice.
This first lesson should be experiential, more than educational.
Do NOT overwhelm with information.
Overwhelm with the power of music and let them experience it!
For drum students, that means we're playing We Will Rock You at the first lesson. I don't go overboard on stick grip or proper posture, though I mention it. I just want them to get in and have an awesome time. I want to inspire them so that they can't wait to come back for more.
Take time to get to know the student. It's easy for us to just switch into full on teacher mode.
After the First Lesson
Typically this is where it ends, right?
"Well, start practicing and I'll see you next week! "
But that's not where you end.
First, make sure you have time to go and talk to the parents even if you have to cut the lesson short by a minute or two.
Go over what you learned, but don't overwhelm.
This is a chance to talk about how awesome their kid is.
Find something that you connected over and brag about their kid!
When they Get Home
Within 24 hours you need to follow up.
Like before, this can be call/text/email or you could also send another video.
Just depends on your style.
But it's important to follow up after the lesson is over to help them to realize that they are getting more than just a 30 minute lesson every week.
It also helps to remind and reinforce what they should be working on in between the lessons:
"Hey! Enjoyed our first lesson today.
"You did great! Remember to work on blah blah blah and I look forward to seeing you again next week!"
A postcard or email later in the week before their next lesson will also go a LONG way towards making them feel like they are already an important part of your studio.
What are some ways you make new students feel welcome at your studio?
Let us know in the Facebook group!
Join us for November's Challenge:
Starting next month, Studio Challenge Members are going to work on improving the lesson experience at their studios!
When you are done with this month's challenge:
Join TSC's Silver Membership NOW to take part in November's challenge.
(You can cancel anytime.)