The Dance Studio Owner’s Million Dollar Question


DTW_studioprofit_MAINBy Steve Sirico of Dance Teacher Web

Do you want more students or more income?

I hope the main goal is the latter. Furthermore, if you are in a remote area or in a place that has a lot of competition you may be spending a substantial amount of money always trying to get more students that are just not there.  You need to have a rock solid strategy in place.

What we have found that has been the most important part of our marketing strategy and has helped the studio owners from around the world that we consult with our VIP program at is the art of upselling. One studio we worked with has reported an increase in revenue that has just about doubled and that doesn’t include any of her new students. We were thrilled to hear about her success!

It really is all about upselling your current customers. It is amazing how little this is used by small businesses of all kinds. Think about how much you enjoy an establishment that you frequent. It may be a restaurant, clothing store or any other place you enjoy doing business with. Do you mind when they send you a special offer or let you know what they are doing? How about when you are at their business and they inform you about a special dish or clothing accessory? I love it! I recently went to buy a new suit. I had no plans to buy a new shirt, tie or shoes but I bought all three! I just needed guidance! How about the major food chains? Do you want fries with that burger? What about supersize? I also love to hear from businesses that I frequent and enjoy getting an email or post card from them as it gives me a reason to visit them again.

Do you reach out to your customers on a regular basis?

If you think that you cannot upsell to the customers who love your studio, think again. Let’s face it, most parents want direction on what classes they should sign their children up for. If you or your front desk staff knows how to position your classes to your customers and can explain all of the wonderful benefits that they will give to the students, then getting them to sign up for them will be seamless.

Do you have classes in different styles for the same age group and level back to back on your schedule? If not, I recommend that you try to do so for your next semester. This way it is easy to have a student who is signing up for one class conveniently sign up for two.

Increase revenue by 90%

A studio owner who we consult did exactly that by using this approach and that does not count any of the new student she acquired during this time.

Here is how she did it!

When someone came into register the front desk would be prepared with several questions to ask the parent to establish exactly what they were looking for. These questions would get the parent thinking. Once they opened the dialogue it was pretty easy to show them all of the wonderful benefits of adding 2, 3 and in some cases 4 additional classes. Angie, my wife, is the Queen of getting parents to sign up for multiple classes when they just planned on one or two! Many a time a parent will come in with the registration form all filled out and they end up ripping it up and making a new one with many more classes. And they are thanking her for her time and guidance as they walk out the door!

So this little, rarely used strategy during the registration period produces fantastic results! Plus you can and should use this same technique with new clients. They need your help, show them why taking more than one class will produce expedited results and you are half way there to not only having better students but also additional revenue!

Think about when you go to a restaurant and the waiter reads out the specials for that night. The good waiters know how to make those specials sound so appetizing that you can’t help but say yes, especially if it is some food item that you really love. Dance is the same. If a child loves her tap class why wouldn’t she love adding jazz, hip hop, ballet or all three!

Here is the key: It is not high pressure or some big sales pitch. Remember these are your fans or new people who probably know nothing about dance training. Most people are eager to hear what you and your staff have to say. People are starving for information so that they can make an educated decision on classes for their child. Just make sure whoever is registering people have a plan in place on how to upsell. We recommend a good script for the front desk person to follow so they understand the flow and how to make the upsell seamless. If this somehow makes you feel a bit uncomfortable than I recommend you take a hard look at your program. Because if you don’t believe your classes are terrific and will make a huge difference in a child’s life than no one will!

Try This:

Start now to plant the seeds of taking more classes next year.

  1. If you have more than one studio and several classes going on at the same time. With 10 minutes left, do a “Share a dance” session where say your ballet class can watch a jazz, lyrical or tap class or vice versa.
  2. Have a trial day of free classes and invite your current students to come in and try a different class.
  3. Send out season end student evaluation forms to your current students letting them know what level they will be in next year and suggestions on what additional classes you recommend for the upcoming season.
  4. Offer priority early registration. We do this every May for two weeks and it works like magic. Your current customers love the fact that they get to sign up first. Just make sure you get the word out early and often. If certain classes have a tendency to close out make sure that your customers know that to!
  5. Have a plan in place to help parents make an educated decision. Once you and your staff have a clear vision as to why additional classes are beneficial it will be easy to show others why it is a good idea to add more.

Well there you have it! If you are looking to increase revenue, and let’s face it who isn’t? Then instead of always looking for new customers try tapping into the ones you already have. There is a goldmine of income waiting for you to prospect. Your customers will even thank you!

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