Using the VIP Cards.
By James Latus, Kernow Martial Arts & Paul Griffin BBI
Click on the image left to buy them.
The way they work is through relationship marketing and building up a business friendship over a short conversation and ensuring the potential client feels special and important. The script is more explanatory see below.
Many high streets and shopping malls can be approached and asked if you can set up a booth or stand in their shopping complex. Usually for a small fee they will allow you to set up a small stand displaying posters about your club and what you do for the local community. The benefits to children, more confidence, better concentration, leadership skills, health and fitness. Develop a strap line aimed at your target audience such as "are your children safe and sound?" for parents or "Stop those aches and pains developing" older citizens etc.
Stands should have lots of vivid images; do not use photos of sparring, swords or anything that could be construed as dangerous. Also do not mention price, and by not mentioning price you can make the person you give the VIP card to feel extra special when you give them an exclusive deal.
The cards have spaces for a sticker which should include:
- Club name
- Day and time, when and where.
- Training venue address
- Contact telephone no
- Details of the special offer. 1 free lesson or free months trial etc.
Don't forget to maximise the PR and take photos of the stand and send them in to the local news paper etc.
Joint promotions are also a possibility, especially if you need to reduce your expenses. You could contact local businesses including:
· The people you hire you hall from.
· Local radio station
· Local newspaper
· Sports centres
· Shops & retailers
Approach them with a letter and follow up with a phone call, be excited and enthusiastic it's infectious. Simply ask questions like:
- Are you interested in a joint promotion in our local shopping mall?
- Could we hand out your leaflets or vouchers and send them to you?
- How do they contribute to the promo, payment or reciprocal advertising?
Explore the opportunities.
The VIP Process and the Use of Scripts
The use of VIP cards is a relatively cheap and productive means of external marketing. Note it is not a free form of marketing as some groups would suggest! No marketing is free as all marketing has at the very least a time cost even referrals have a time cost.
This VIP process requires a degree of confidence on the part of the instructor/sales team. When done well it can generate a very large number of leads in a short period of time, however it is important to use a well rehearsed script to gain maximum benefit.
The process has 5 main stages as follows:-
1. The salesperson/instructor should choose a suitable day/location to VIP an area, I personally would VIP a town centre 2 days prior to the lesson. This gives you enough time to call all the leads to confirm appointments. Using the script and VIP card is simple just remember every single person you see is a potential target for VIP'ing as everybody knows someone who can benefit from Martial Arts even if they themselves can not take part. Using the VIP card approach an individual and introduce yourself as per the script and offer the chance to a free trial month emphasising the monetary value of the free course. For every card you give out you must book an appointment and take a note of the name and phone number of that person so that you can call to confirm their appointment. Note some people may not be willing to book there and then so ensure you get their number to give them a call later that day.
1. Any number you have but have not booked in to a free trial session should be booked in over the phone for a free trial session the same day as you collected the number.
1. 24hours before their first trial session call them to confirm their appointment
1. After the first trial session sit the student down to enrol onto the course there and then. To do this you can say that instead of a free month you are willing to take the value of the VIP card and offset it against your joining fee (if you have one) and also offer a free suit at the same time e.g. If your normal joining fee is Ј50 excluding the suit and monthlies are Ј30 then reduce the joining fee to Ј20 so that the cost of the suit is covered. If they pay there and then you have a commitment. Assuming you use a billing system you can set up the direct debit there and then whilst the student is still excited and fired up. Remember the 1st 2 weeks of training is when the student is most excited so this is the best time to enrol. To this point your only cost has been in production of the cards and your time.
1. Finally any potential leads that have not shown should be called back and re-booked. Some of my best students are ones which took as many as 4 call backs before they decided to show up!
Scripts for VIP recruitment.
Note this script may need to be adapted according to the individual/group you approach.
Approach your target in a positive but friendly manner and extend your hand to shake hands maintaining eye contact. Greet the individual as follows:
For an individual:
Good morning/afternoon can I just use a little of your time?
Or for a group of youths:
Good morning/afternoon lads/ladies how are you doing?
The main body of script:
I'm from Insert School Name and was just wandering if have you ever considered Martial Arts for you or your family?
If they reply I'm a black belt in such a style and train at jo bloggs then you are probably on a non starter! Typically the answer is no.
As you know Martial Arts is excellent at developing confidence, fitness, improving weight loss and has been proven to help children get better grades in school! Today we are offering people the opportunity to take a free 30 day trial at Insert School Name worth Insert Value of VIP Card, is that something you could be interested in.
Excellent! If I could just take your name and number, thank you. We have appointments available at __________ and ___________ which one is most suited to you?
The times should be convenient for you to run an introductory class and should be written on the back of the card which you then give to potential student.
I look forward to seeing you at Repeat Time Date and Venue.
Before you go do you know of anyone else who may be interested?
If the answer is yes:
Excellent, could you possibly give me their name and number then I can call them and see if they would like to join you.
If the answer is no:
Well I'll you what, take a couple of VIP cards and if you think of anyone else you'd like to bring along then they can come along also.
Once again thank you for your time and I look forward to seeing you on Repeat Time Date and Venue then shake their hand.
Note you can quickly decide if a conversation is going anywhere so don't linger with a dead lead quickly go on to the next.
With regards recruitment consider the structure of your market. In your school only 10-15% will have been pro-active in looking for a school to train in and will have researched to find school that suits them and hence need little to motivate in terms of marketing. A further 65%-70% of students will have been prompted to join you as a result of external marketing. The remaining 20%-25% suffer low self esteem and did not have the courage or confidence to follow through when booked in to a session. It is this last section which VIP recruitment concentrates as you are going out to find them as they won't come to you. These percentages are important for many reasons.
1. Those with low self esteem and confidence stand to gain the most from training in Martial Arts.
2. Those with low self esteem will often be less likely to give up as they do not want to let others down.
3. Those with very high confidence levels (your hardcore top 10-15%) are more likely to leave in search of other styles systems.
4. Those with very high confidence levels (your hardcore top 10-15%) are more likely to challenge you and undermine your position in the class.
5. Those with very high confidence levels (your hardcore top 10-15%) are often a greater challenge to keep motivated. It is possible to train too often as a student.
6. Although it is great to have phenomenally good martial artists in your schools they will often deter the lesser student, so try to maintain a balance.
7. The middle students will generally provide a good source for referrals.