The 27th of March was a good news day for me. One of my General Managers called to inform me that my two Krav Maga schools were ranked #1 and #2 in the Member Solutions President’s Club based on total monthly gross billing totals. While I charge all of my enrollment fees, first month’s dues, and retail through a POS system, my two Krav Maga schools had still managed to climb the Member Solutions President’s Club rankings.
The Entrepreneur’s Club
I respect every instructor, owner, and manager on this list. The moxie it takes to believe you can make a healthy living teaching martial arts is substantial to put it mildly. Everyone on the list has undoubtedly faced obstacles and taken risks, and each of these people has overcome. That’s special.
I still remember the day I decided to sign what seemed to me to be (at the time) an expensive lease in the heart of Houston. I had somehow talked my way through two interviews with the property manager and minority investor of a newly-developed retail property. Terms were agreed upon. I was elated.
The first student I told was a private training client—a family member of a very wealthy and well-to-do Houston dynasty of sorts. I recall vividly what he said. “Don’t do it. You’ll never make it work.”
Thank God I didn’t buckle. In fact, the lease was signed the day the Dow dropped 777+ points. My commercial broker was sitting across from me on a family room chair. The lease lay still on my coffee table. He looked at the television, tuned to CNBC with the Dow in a free-fall. He looked at me and drew a long breath. “You don’t have to do this.”
“Yes, I do.” I replied. I suppose the rest is history. But it’s a history full of my share of close calls and decision points that have obviously propelled my businesses forward. Interestingly, my two schools are vastly different. The first school I opened with my life savings is a mere 2,900 square feet. It’s ranked #2 on the Member Solutions list and grossed more than $100,000 last month. My other school is the largest and largest contiguous Krav Maga school on the planet—boasting over 36,000 square feet of mats, heavy bags, CrossFit equipment, Hammer Strength equipment, and staff offices. This school had considerably more gross revenue than my smaller school, but as you might guess, the cost footprint is higher.
I’m sharing these things for a singular purpose—to reinforce the notion that any school of any size can be a huge success. You can be a huge success.
Optimizing Existing Sales Assets
A friend in the martial arts business called me a few weeks ago. His school was in a slump. The numbers were down across the board. He started by telling me what his new branding and marketing concepts were. I listened.
As I’m familiar with the school, I could speak with some level of understanding. In the end, he asked me for advice. I simply told him that I knew he had a quality program with top-shelf instructors, but I wondered if his sales staff were as accomplished (they are not).
In an ideal world, he’d convert every appointment. To that end, if he increased his closing ratio to 100 percent (for example and to make a point), he’d have to generate one-half the traffic to generate the same amount of monthly revenue—assuming he is converting 50 percent of his leads today. At the very least, he could dramatically increase enrollments and gross cash flow by simply closing at a higher, better rate. That’s job number one.
Job number two is to better work with existing members and new members (during “post close”) to generate more “warm” referral leads.
In summary, if my friend upgraded his sales training and process, he’d likely increase his closing rates by 30 percent while simultaneously increasing his lead stream by 50 percent or more (without ever spending an additional dime on marketing schemes), nearly doubling his revenue.
Prioritize and Preach Your Value Proposition
I earned my MBA in 1997 while working full time. I do have some background that makes the decision process a bit more structured for me. But, the one thing I know more than any other is this: everyone needs a world-class sales presentation and closing process. This is partly a sales training issue and partly a buy-in issue.
Put simply: If you don’t believe what you’re selling is valuable and life changing, no one else will. They certainly won’t pay for it.
The bottom line is your sales staff (this may mean you) must clearly understand the benefits of your martial arts programming and project a level of certainty and excitement about what your program can do for people (vision). This is a value proposition. Do you know yours?
The benefits of a martial arts program vary widely—from traditional martial arts to MMA and fighting, to self-defense programs like Krav Maga. Clearly identify the benefits you offer, and provide a wealth of evidence to back-up your claim.
Far too often, sales people present the view (what you see in the school on tour), not the vision (the short- and long-term benefits of martial arts training). It’s the vision that creates the value for your students. Only after clearly providing a superior value proposition can anyone really ask for the sale with confidence.
Using our sales program, we close just over 80 percent of all in-person leads at my small school with monthly fees ranging from $169–$219 and over 85 percent at my big school with monthly fees ranging from $99–$159. Every agreement has duration of 6–24 months. Absolutely no month-to-month contracts.
Do you want more sales? Implement a solid, well-conceived closing and post-closing sales process that clearly articulates your value proposition today.
Krav Maga Houston’s Chief Instructor, C.J. Kirk, is certified and licensed through the Krav Maga Association of America/Krav Maga Worldwide as a 3rd Dan Black Belt instructor. His two schools, Krav Maga Houston and Krav Maga Houston North, are the only certified and licensed schools in the Houston, TX area. Most recently, C.J. launched Kravology, an online resource for self-defense instructors and enthusiasts. For more Martial Arts and business information, register for the free Kravology weekly newsletter at kravology.com.