Use Direct Mail To Win Back Lost Prospects

Direct mail leaves behind a sour aftertaste in the age of digital marketing. Email takes the spotlight, and to its credit, works when done well. When email isn’t done well, your martial arts school can lose money on lost prospects. We define “lost prospects” in this article as interested people who failed to follow up with you or chose another school instead of yours. Direct mail is your winback solution.

Direct mail may not be as intuitive as email, but it’s a low-cost marketing trick that has a high ROI and consumer brand recall. Member Solutions, in partnership with martial arts industry expert Erik Charles Russell, has created the Pink Eraser-Invisible Close Method to help you recover the revenue that many schools never see.

What is the Pink Eraser-Invisible Close Method?

For its wordy name, the Pink Eraser Method is simple. The Pink Eraser Method combines sending a winback letter to the prospect with a pink eraser enclosed on the premise of helping them “erase the mistake” of not joining your martial arts school. It borrows the eraser concept from Dan S. Kennedy, a renowned marketing expert with 33 years’ experience who has written several books on topics like direct mail.

Because of the nature of the technique, you aren’t competing with the digital swamp that is most likely your lost prospect’s inbox. The weight and shape of the eraser gives the prospect a reason to investigate the envelope and to read the winback letter. You create an opportunity for a new business relationship through a low-risk situation.

How to use the Pink Eraser-Invisible Close Method

Materials You Need

  • Pink eraser
  • Member Solutions’ Prospect Winback Letter
  • A padded envelope

The only rule you must follow.

Use the Pink Eraser Method as a last attempt at making a sale. Do not include it in your everyday sales process. Keep the effectiveness of this technique by using it with people who have disappeared after a trial or short-term promotion for your martial arts classes. Need help with refining your sales process? Our member management software can help.

Step 1) The Pink Eraser Winback Mailer

Insert a pink eraser of your choice and the Winback Letter into a padded envelope. Send your direct mail package to your lost prospect. The weight of the eraser gets your prospects to open the envelope out of pure curiosity. Once opened, the introduction of the Winback Letter starts as,

“Anyone can plainly see…

I have enclosed a BIG eraser for BIG mistakes
because I think you’ve made one.”

The rest of the letter talks to the reader in a way that’s relatable (a low-barrier entry to a relationship). For example:

“I get it. You didn’t become a member because, for one reason or another, you felt like signing up on the spot would be a mistake. Maybe your fear is due to your past experience signing up for a membership that you never used. If you not becoming a member is in any way related to this, I want to help with that.”

It also is peppered with incentives like a free one month (30-day) membership and three bonuses of your choosing. It may sound formulaic, but the combination of emotional appeals with cool, free stuff works.

Step 2) The Invisible Close Method

The Invisible Close Method (ICM), as coined by Erik Charles Russell, allows you to close a sale without asking a prospect to make an immediate decision. Having time to build a relationship with the person and to demonstrate the value of your services often sells itself. Money then becomes an investment instead of an expense.

Ask to store credit card information in your member management software when your prospect returns to your martial arts school to redeem his or her free 30 days and free gifts. Tell your prospect that before the 30-day mark, she/he can decide to leave at any point with no charge.

The ICM sale happens near the conclusion of the 30 days. Talk with enthusiasm to your prospect about the progress he/she has made. Say that you want to see him/her continue that progress. If you have shown the value of your martial arts school, you’ll have an eager new student.

Make Direct Mail Work for You

The impact of direct mail can expand to other areas of marketing, like increasing awareness about your school, promoting summer specials, or engaging your current students. However, direct mail, like all forms of marketing, should be evaluated based on your needs and its effectiveness. One medium, like email, may be more effective for one martial arts school but direct mail and community networking may be more effective for another.

Although it may feel archaic, we recommend using direct mail, regardless of what’s trendy. If you’re looking for more martial arts marketing tips, Member Solutions can help!

Download your Member Solutions Winback Letter here to convert more prospects.

Free your schedule to build the relationships that fuel your martial arts school. Learn how Billing Manager gets you away from repetitive paperwork today.

5-Step Guerrilla Marketing for Martial Arts Schools

Need summer conversions at your martial arts school? Try guerrilla marketing. We assure you it has nothing to do with bringing an actual gorilla along with your demo team. While that would be impressive…we don’t recommend it.

Guerrilla marketing is a catchy turn-of-phrase that describes marketing techniques that stray from the traditional methods you may know—direct mail, radio, print ads, and even today’s digital marketing—to get maximum exposure and impact. Examples include putting underwear on a statue, branding public spaces (with permission, of course), and vending machines creating awareness about areas without clean drinking water.

During the summer, martial arts schools typically experience a shift in enrollment. Parents are less interested in enrolling their kids in activities that they perceive as year-long activities and more interested in filling their summer with activities that can be enjoyed without disrupting summer vacation plans.

Creating your own guerrilla marketing strategy means that you don’t have to accept that summer gets slow. You can take actions that not only keep you afloat but give you more cash flow—if they’re done in a creative, thoughtful way that sets you up later for success.

As martial arts school owner and Member Solutions sales expert Rick Ellis says, there are specific ways you can market and network yourself (and by default, your school) that build rapport, reputation, and eventually, profit. Create your guerrilla marketing strategy with Rick’s 5-step plan.

1. Get a School Contact List

Market to local families with children within your desired age group as early as February. Get a list of mailing addresses for prospective students within your school district. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Before Spring Break—Introduce yourself as a community leader to administrative offices. Communicate your intention to provide a safe, productive summer activity for kids and ask for a list of addresses. We promise it’s legal—under the Freedom of Information Act, you can request this information as a taxpayer. Expect to pay for the list of names you receive.
  • Starting the New School Year—If your local schools are not willing to give you addresses, avoid fighting it. Your reputation as a leader is more important. Instead, find out if your school district’s PTA distributes school phone books to students. Ask your martial arts students to bring in a copy of the phone book from each school. Reward the first child from each school who gives you the phone book with prizes like a free t-shirt, a free private lesson, or a raffle ticket into a larger prize drawing for an item like a game console.

2. Be Creative with Marketing Materials

Prepare marketing materials, like flyers and pencils, with your martial arts school name and phone number. Why flyers and pencils? You’ll be ready for any kind of situation—giving you the option to decide which is best for the moment. For example, schools may have rules about allowing you to pass out flyers but be perfectly fine with your passing out pencils (which they see as less aggressive in marketing intent). Because both are easy to give out to prospective students, you will never be unprepared.

3. Strengthen the Relationships You Have

Continue to build strong relationships with parents and current students. Your existing relationships with current students and their parents are your business’s stronghold. In fact, one great way to get in front of kids of your target age group is to name a “student of the week” during the peak sign-up season. Make the award lunch with an instructor. Winners can choose their favorite instructor at your school to eat with them in the cafeteria. Parents your program will be happy to advocate on your behalf to get this scheduled with administrators.


4. Network to Expand Your Connections

Offer to be “on call” anytime a teacher wants the day off. While demonstrations are a classic way to showcase the value of martial arts and your school, some academic institutions may be wary of allowing new visitors into their space. Take a different approach by connecting with P.E. teachers and others at the beginning of the school year. Introduce yourself as a community leader who specializes in personal development and martial arts. Offer yourself as a substitute teacher.

If you are able to set this up, don’t miss making this a memorable event! Invite other teachers in the school to watch your presentation. Bring your demo team to put on a big show.

Teach something that makes the adults in the school glad you came and feeling like you are a resource to them and the community (e.g. stranger awareness, bully defense, and courtesy). Ask for permission to send students home with your school’s flyer in place of getting paid. (If you’re approved to substitute but can’t give out flyers, this is where your branded pencils come in.)


5. Create Future Marketing Opportunities for Yourself

Don’t forget to invite yourself back next year (and schedule it right away!). At the end of an in-school visit, talk with teachers and administrators who said yes to your visit. Ask them if they were happy with what happened that day. Assuming you did a great job, and they say yes, ask if they would be open to setting up a repeat visit the same time next year.

If they say yes, book it right away on your calendar. Send everyone involved an invitation through email. Don’t wait until you get back to your school to do this—do it from your smartphone!


Remember, You Define Your Success

By creating a two- to four-week summer program available at a discounted price that includes a uniform, you can get families to fall in love with your school. Add in your 5-step guerrilla marketing plan now (with tweaks as needed for your needs), and you’ll convert new students by the end of summer.

11 Martial Arts Marketing Tips for Community Events

Looking for a great way to market your martial arts school to a new audience? Break free of your marketing routine by setting up booths at local community events. Festivals, fairs, picnics, and other celebrations are opportunities to share the values you teach on the mat with people who’ve never heard of your services. Sitting in your martial arts school, hoping new members will walk in is a recipe for disappointment. Instead, explore these 11 tips to market your business and attract new members at community events in your area.

11 Tips for Success at Community Events
1. Create an Event Calendar

Create a calendar that includes every community event in your area. Research events to secure invitations or reserve booths at each of them. Don’t be afraid to try new events. When you share what you love about martial arts with a new audience, who knows who you might inspire.

2. Network with the Host

Anytime I’m a guest at an event, I aim to delight my host and be invited back next year. To do this, I make sure my message fits the goals of the event. I promote literacy and reading when at a library sponsored event. I promote health and wellness when manning a booth at a health fair. Before you leave, ask the host if they received any feedback on your booth. If that feedback is positive, ask to come back next year.

3. Dress Appropriately for the Event

Plan to dress similarly to the other vendors and attendees at the event. If you’re attending a business expo, a dry cleaned pair of slacks and a dress shirt might be perfect. If you have a booth at a local summer festival, appearing in uniform might help attract attention. If you’re not sure, ask the event host how most people dressed last year.

4. Bring a Team

Having the right team at community events can help make attendees feel more comfortable visiting your booth. Try to include team members that your audience can identify with. If you are attending a festival aimed at children, consider having a junior team of 3-6 do a 1-minute demo once an hour to draw families and kids to your booth.

5. Stand & Be Seen

Booths are not for sitting! As often as possible, you should be out in front of your booth ready to engage those who walk by. Bring comfortable shoes and prepare for long days by assigning shifts to team members to make the most of your investment.

6. Teach at Your Booth

What do you really want to be known for in your community? The guy who can split a watermelon with a Kitana? Not me! I want everyone to know I’m the best teacher in town.

I find every opportunity to teach the same techniques, skills, and values we practice on the mat. Sometimes we teach how to kick or punch. Other times, when interacting with kids, we demonstrate the importance of making eye contact when speaking with an adult or how to scan their environment when in a place for the first time.

7. Bring Fun Martial Arts Gear

I always bring bag gloves and a water-filled punching bag to community events. If things get slow at my booth, I recruit a passersby to put on the gloves and give the bag a piece of their mind. I’ve met very few people in my life that don’t smile after hitting a bag.

Similarly, blocker bats are great for little ones. I let them hit me first and only reverse roles with parental approval and careful observation of the child’s demeanor. Take care not to make a timid child uncomfortable. If done properly, the experience opens the child’s eyes to a new experience and gets them excited about martial arts classes.

8. Draw a Prize Winner

Pick a prize everyone likes and can use. (I use VISA gift cards.) A $50 gift card or prize is a small investment to ensure that you get maximum participation.

In addition to the first prize, choose winners who will receive free services from your martial arts school, which as: free week or free month programs, self-defense class for an entire office, or martial arts birthday party.

Be sure to follow up with prize winners right away if you won’t be handing out prizes at your booth during the event.

9. Bring Memorable Giveaways

Flyers, business cards, and other marketing materials are required, but these don’t often leave a lasting impression. With your other promotional giveaways, aim to create a moment or experience that people will remember.

What do I mean? When I attend a women’s empowerment summit, everyone visits my booth is invited to learn a beginner escape. While they perform the escape, my staff takes a picture with a Polaroid instant camera (I found this camera on Amazon). The photo is placed in a cardboard picture frame with my logo and contact info printed on it. Our visitor now has a keepsake to show others or hang on a bulletin board. These photos have a way longer shelf life than our flyers and they only cost about $1 each with film and frame.

10. Be Who You Say You Are

Earlier, I encouraged you to try new events to find new potential members for your martial arts school. This recommendation comes with one condition: you should attend events that are a good fit for the services you offer, the values you hold, and the culture of your school.

While you shouldn’t be afraid to break the mold, you have to stay true to yourself. Make sure your values align with those of the community events you plan to attend. For instance, if your main priority is maintaining a healthy lifestyle, then health and fitness events are perfect for you. If, on the other hand, you focus on teaching life skills to children and young adults, family-oriented events may be best for you.

11. The Fortune is in the Follow Up

If you invest in promoting your martial arts school at community events, you should have a plan that provides return on your investment. Before you step foot in your booth, decide who will make follow-up calls, write phone scripts, and prepare emails to send. To ensure you follow this process, try setting up an automated lead follow-up process in your martial arts software.

What’s helped you market your martial arts school successfully at community events? Which community events work best for your business? Share your experience in the comments below.

Rick Ellis has 25+ years of experience in martial arts school ownership and consulting. His passion is helping school owners grow and increase retention through targeted staff training and systems integration.

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3 Ways to Use Social Media Contests for Member Engagement

hand holding mobile device with social media icons

You may be sick of hearing how social media has a significant impact on your outreach, but having an online presence outside of your website is not negotiable for your business’s current member engagement and lead generation. Running social media platform-specific contests, in addition to sharing student highlights and news, gives prospects an easy way to get an insider’s glimpse.

Use these three social spaces for your contest campaigns.

1. Facebook: The Community Builder

The basics: Facebook should be the foundation of your social media strategy. As you know, the multi-faceted platform has capacities for public and private groups, invitations, messaging, and more. Because Facebook is a dynamic community space, it may take time to build an audience if you don’t already have one. On the other hand, this versatility makes Facebook the perfect environment for social media contests.

Keep that dynamic element in mind when designing a Facebook giveaway that meets your business’s goals. Avoid running a contest that is overly complex and deterring participants. Set a timeframe with rules for your contest and stick to it—no exceptions. Examples include:

  • photo caption contests,
  • page likes contests, and
  • post sharing contests.

Level up: Use paid posts and ads to reach a larger audience.

2. Twitter: Be the Buzz Through Mirco-Messaging

The basics: Twitter is a more competitive social space that needs timeliness, relevancy, and frequency for success. It can be difficult to reach an audience due to these factors, but if you have a strong base of followers, you’ll see results.

Giveaways are particularly easy due to retweets, or Twitter’s re-blogging feature. An easy example of a Twitter contest is:

  • The first five people to retweet will receive a prize of your choice (pick something that is relevant to your marketing goals).

Level up: Reach out to your friends, family, and professional connections for retweets and mentions. Paid Twitter ads also are an option.

3. Instagram: Interactive Photo Sharing

The basics: The fitness and martial arts industries have a strong presence on Instagram. The visual element and the more personable feel of the platform are great for persuasive messaging—which makes Instagram our favorite place for social media contests. Common contests on Instagram include:

  • photo captions and
  • having contestants tag friends in the comments section.

Level up: Use “non-designer” graphic design tools like Canva to create your own images. Make sure you brand everything you create with your gym’s or martial art school’s name in case someone shares what you post. Because paid posts on Facebook integrate with Instagram, you have the option to run any contest promotions concurrently on two platforms.

Already social savvy and want more strategy? Take it a step further into forum spaces like Reddit. Being a regular contributor to threads relating to your discipline will help you network with others for additional ideas.

[Webinar] Sell Out Every Time: The Expert Event Guide for Martial Arts Schools

Sell Out Every Time: The Expert Guide for Martial Arts Schools

Thursday, September 28, 2017 | 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT)

Are you tired of stress-filled planning and disappointing attendance numbers at your martial arts events?

The best martial arts events set themselves apart by combining precise planning, compelling marketing, and unique attendee experiences. In this workshop, three industry experts will provide a start-to-finish guide for event success.

We’ll cover:

  • How to overcome top challenges martial arts schools face when hosting events
  • How to sell out every event in under 5 days
  • Steps to create unique experiences to boost attendance

WORKSHOP AGENDA: MARTIAL ARTS EVENTS MADE EASY

Event Strategy: Jason Morgan, Co-Founder, Hyper Martial Arts

  • Top challenges martial arts schools face when hosting events
  • Success tips for filling martial arts camps and events
  • Create the unfair advantage over other activities in your community

Event Planning: Adam Kifer, President of Level Up Music & Level Up Action Kits

  • The perfect martial arts event planning system
  • Turn each event into an experience
  • How to sell out every event in under 5 days using scarcity and urgency

Event Registration: Sarah McGeehan, Sales Manager, Member Solutions

  • Create excitement and urgency with your registration page
  • Optimize forms to increase registrations for martial arts events
  • Boost attendance by personalizing the experience

MEET OUR PRESENTERS

Jason Morgan, Co-Founder, Hyper Martial Arts

Jason is the co-founder of Hyper Martial Arts, an action-lifestyle brand that supports curriculum and media for the top martial arts schools and athletes worldwide. Starting his first martial arts school at 17 years-old, Jason quickly became recognized as one of the most successful and innovative instructors in the American Taekwondo Association. He is committed to elevating the level of recognition for martial arts athletes and developing high-level marketing and media campaigns to support the industry.

Adam Kifer, President of Level Up Music & Level Up Action Kits

Level Up Music and Level Up Action Kits are leaders in providing essential services to help martial arts school owners save time and to add a new layer of professionalism to their schools. A martial artist since age three, Adam has worked his way through the industry as an instructor, program director, and chief instructor. His experience led to the development of Level Up Action Kits, an innovative service that has helped more than 1000 martial arts schools improve how they run a Parents Night Out. Adam’s expertise in audio production, sound design, and the music business led to the launching of Level Up Music, a service that streams clean music mixes to martial arts schools and fitness centers across the country. Adam continues to innovate to make a positive impact in the martial arts industry.

Sarah McGeehan, Sales Manager, Member Solutions

With extensive experience in customer service, support, and sales, Sarah is a true jack-of-all-trades. She is highly knowledgeable about connecting businesses with their ideal solution. Sarah draws from her own experience planning community fundraisers to help event planners, business owners, and camp directors create optimized online registration forms that drive attendance for their events.

WEBINAR PARTNERS

Hyper Martial Arts Level Up Logo

Hyper Martial Arts

Hyper Martial Arts is an action-lifestyle brand that supports curriculum and media for the top martial arts schools and athletes worldwide.

Level Up Action Kits & Level Up Music

Level Up Action Kits is an innovative service that has helped
over 1000 martial arts schools improve how they run a Parents
Night Out. Level Up Music is a clean music streaming service
for martial arts schools and fitness centers.

Member Solutions

Member Solutions provides the complete software solution for martial arts and fitness businesses. The product suite includes membership software, managed billing services, and event registration.

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Guest Post: Improve Your Website Ranking with Video Marketing

Improve Your Website Ranking with Video Marketing - hand scrolling through martial arts website on tablet device

How to Utilize Videos to Your Advantage on Your Website

Did you know that implementing video marketing on your website will help improve your search rankings?

That’s right! Since Google owns YouTube, all you have to do is have a video hosted on YouTube and embedded on your website. This increases the likelihood of your website ranking higher and improved conversion rates. Here are some tips on how to add high-quality video content to your website to boost your rankings and conversion rates.

Focus on the Details!

Having your video perfectly filmed and edited is awesome, but the best way to get more views and to help your SEO optimization is to focus on those keywords when you upload the clip to YouTube. This means utilizing keywords in your video title and description.

Your video should have a brief title (making it easily searchable), letting your description provide more details (using those keywords to generate relevant searches).

Use Quality Keywords

When adding a title and tags to your video, are you using terms that are clear, defining and searchable?

Be sure to pay attention to the words you use in your titles – with back-linking and embedding, they will boost your website pages by having great titles and tags. You can always try out new keywords and even use https://trends.google.com/trends/ as a tool to help you word things in a better way.

Think About Your Audience

If you’re planning on creating a new video to promote your fitness or martial arts business, try to incorporate something that will both grab the attention of the viewer and encourage them to share it on social media. The more shareable your content, the more views you have and ultimately, you end up with more opportunities to send viewers back to your website/lead box.

For more information or help utilizing videos on your 97Display website, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your incredible support team!

Author: Kelsey Condon. Originally posted on 97display.com.

Webinar: Uncover the Hidden Profit Center Inside Gyms & Martial Arts Studios

Can you turn a profit on your billing expenses? Expert sales consultant and school owner Erik Charles Russell says yes.

Members love convenience. In this webcast, Erik Charles Russell shares how to create a new revenue stream by appealing to members’ desire for convenient billing options. Through this model, you can generate higher income from fewer members as you reduce administrative costs. What you’ll learn:

  • How to create a profit center from service and transaction fees
  • How to raise prices and retain current members
  • Why low prices do not lead to more members

Presented by Erik Charles Russell.

Erik Charles has been in the Martial Arts and Fitness industry for more than 25 years and is the owner of Premier Martial Arts and Fitness in Watertown, NY. In 2015, he published a book based on his successes called The Art of Selling Memberships. The book became an international best seller—hitting number one in three categories in the US, Australia, and Germany on Amazon.com.

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Webinar: Lead to Member: Thinking Long-Term with Your Website

Your website is a direct tie to your business’s bottom line. If it’s not converting your leads to long-term members, you’re losing out on important opportunities to grow. In this webinar, you’ll learn strategies from experts on how to:

  • Generate leads more effectively in your area
  • Use best practices for selling trial memberships
  • Overcome common sales objections
  • Convert leads into members

Presented by Tim Sarazen, Director of Operations at 97Display & Erik Charles Russell, Membership Sales Expert

Tim Sarazen is an expert in internet marketing at 97 Display, a fitness and martial arts website and marketing agency.

Erik Charles Russell has been in the fitness and martial arts industries for 25 years. Erik has coached, instructed, sold memberships, served as a program director, and owned multiple facilities. He has perfected a new method for membership sales and marketing that he has published in his book, The Art of Selling Memberships.

Bold Vision, Bold Behavior: A Success Formula for Selling Martial Arts Memberships

Words "Think Outside the Box" written on top of box drawn on chalkboard

You offer your students a bold vision of possibilities in both physical empowerment and inner strength. You teach students to boldly try new best practices. On the mat, you subscribe to the formula: bold vision through bold behavior.

Do you bring the same approach to your business development—identifying prospective students and enrolling them in your program? Or do you switch to “social selling,” which means observing social niceties versus building your business?

One way to know: Look at the results. Are you having any of these problems?

a) Not enough leads

b) Not enough leads converting to intros

c) Student attrition

Let’s discuss how you can solve these problems through bold vision and bold behavior.

Consider the student attrition problem. Could students be leaving because parent’s expectations are met or exceeded? For example, let’s discuss a case history in student retention:

The problem: A child is isolated at the bus stop and won’t interact with other kids. Your martial arts school builds confidence. In 3 to 4 months, the parent withdraws the child. Mission accomplished. But is it?

If parents see the mission is accomplished, there is no sense of urgency to continue.

What is urgency? For parents, it’s a compelling reason to act now, to keep the child in your classes. What bold vision do you offer parents?

Do you teach parents there are “levels of martial arts consciousness,” which can include:

a) The Martial Arts Mindset

b) Empowerment

c) Leadership

d) Personal Responsibility

e) Inner Strength

f) Technique vs. Power

Do you tell them (in advance) about the journey? If they leave, whose responsibility is this?

Perhaps this is an approach you can use to increase student retention; you might create a brochure to help parents visualize the journey.

Let’s consider lead generating next. Do you have enough leads? What bold vision are you using to generate leads for your Martial Arts school?

Here’s a thought: You may just use a brochure created for student retention (mentioned above) to generate leads. Mail them out and drop them off at places where parents can take one. More importantly: Your best lead source is happy parents. They are a prime selling asset. Are you maximizing this asset through getting:

1) Testimonial letters from satisfied parents?

2) Having them recommend you through social media, e.g. post a message on Facebook about your martial arts school?

Let’s say you have set an objective of 4 intros per month. It’s the second week of the month and you have one intro. Should you be concerned? After all, there are almost two-and-a-half weeks left to the month.

On a do-or-die basis, you want to stay on target of one intro a week. This calls for bold behavior―enrolling satisfied parents to be our advocates, to extend our good reputation. If the month is over, and we only have one intro, it’s too late to affect the results. We need to act now, on a “do-or-die” basis to hit our results.

Finally, let’s consider the conversion of phone call inquiries to intros.

Let’s spend a moment on examining the incoming phone call:

Social Seller

Customer: Hi, could I get some literature.

Martial Arts School: Sure, why don’t you come down for a demo.

Customer: First, let me see the literature, then maybe I’ll come down.

Martial Arts School: Sure, look forward to hearing from you.

Business Seller

Customer: Hi, could I get some literature?

Martial Arts School: Sure, glad to. Tell me, why are you calling us today?

Customer: I’m thinking of having my child take martial arts lessons.

Martial Arts School: Great! Any particular skill or character quality you want your child to develop?

Customer: He’s kinda shy at the bus stop.

In the second case, we used some boldness to learn the urgent need, and move from social selling to business selling. By focusing on the urgent need, we can increase our conversion to intros. Once they visit, we can give parents the brochure we designed with student retention in mind.

By bringing the bold vision and bold behavior that you employ on the mat to your business development, you can ensure a growing, profitable martial arts business.

About the author: membersolutions has taught selling skills for 17 years. He started three businesses and has made approximately 4,000 sales calls, selling both B2B and B2C. He invented a selling process, Urgency Based Selling®, with which he can typically help companies double their closing or conversion ratio.

10 Ways to Reduce Your Delinquency Rate & Increase Cash Flow

Business charts and graphs

In the 26 years that Member Solutions has been in business, we’ve discovered that there are ways to alter member payment behaviors to ensure prompt and predictable cash flow to your facility. Here are 10 tips to reduce your delinquencies and facilitate collections with our managed billing services.

1. Avoid statement or coupon billing methods whenever possible.

Customers that pay by statement or coupon are 23% more likely to become delinquent than those who sign up for auto-pay. Enroll customers for bank draft or a credit card option. It’s a double-win for you: Customers are more likely to pay on time and electronic payment options save you money.

2. Get email addresses from every customer.

Email is one of the fastest ways to communicate with your customers. It has become an effective tool in delinquency management. When we send email reminders as part of our payment collections service, we provide a direct link to our customer-only website where your members can make payments and update their billing information.

3. Provide a contract copy promptly when requested.

Your agreement is legal proof of the customer’s obligation to pay. The quicker we receive the agreement, the better chance we have in recovering your funds.

4. Select due dates early in the month.

If a customer does miss a payment, has a declined payment, or a returned payment, Member Solutions has a better chance to recover your funds within the same billing cycle when payments are due when a new month starts. We recommend setting the 1st or 5th of the month as the due date for all of your members.

5. Know who’s delinquent.

Our most successful clients know how and where to find this information online. Here are ways to stay informed:

  • Review the delinquency report at least twice per month.
  • Sign up for Email Alerts. We’ll email you and any staff member you designate whenever a customer has a returned or declined payment.
  • Examine the Activity Report on a weekly basis. Not only will it provide you with a list of new accounts and funding activity, but it also will list any customers with an active follow-up that is preventing or delaying billing.

Member Solutions Managed Billing Solution - Software on Monitor

6. Work together with Member Solutions.

The clients we see with the lowest delinquency percentages work with our team to make it easy for members to manage their accounts and make payments. Some clients prefer to be direct with their members, while others prefer a subtle approach. Either method will increase collection results, so long as you’ve communicated your preferences to our team.

Once you know who is past due, you can simply hand your customer a Member Solutions’ business card and say, “Member Solutions has informed us that they have been unable to contact you. Here’s a card with their website and contact information.”

Once a customer is aware that you may know that they have a billing issue, they are more likely to pay on time to avoid embarrassment.

7. Ask your customer to provide you with their most accurate billing information.

Have them provide it to you directly rather than obtaining it from a driver’s license or previous billing account which may be outdated. Ask the customer to verify their vital billing information when they are signing the agreement.

8. Make sure that your customer knows that Member Solutions is servicing the billing portion of their agreement to avoid having payments charged back.

Your endorsement of Member Solutions provides your customers with the reassurance of your professionalism and commitment to quality service. Place the Member Solutions decal in your business and hand out contact cards, both provided free of charge. Talk about our customer portal, designed specifically for your customers to make payments, update their billing information, print payment history, or contact our customer service team.

9. Offer settlements to members who have trouble paying.

The longer an account remains delinquent, the less likely you are to receive payment. When a customer is no longer attending class or using your facility, they are more likely to stop paying altogether.

Once an account reaches 90 days delinquent, we recommend automatically offering the customer a settlement for a percentage of the remaining balance. This could bring you income in the form of a lump sum payment and leave the customer on better terms which could result in new customer referrals or re-enrollment in the future.

10. Don’t accept payments at your business.

Generally, we discourage our clients from accepting payments at your place of business. Accepting payments creates more work for you and increases the likelihood that your customer will receive delinquency phone calls and correspondence when they are not past due.

Worse yet, it also increases the chance of double billing your customer when the payment is not reported immediately to Member Solutions. Finally, once you accept that first payment, chances are it will occur again and diminish our authority when the customer decides not to pay.