First off, I’m not commenting about the quality of the instruction or students…only the “business” idea.
So, driving home last week, I say the standard sign that’s out about every other month offering a “$29.95 for one month and a free uniform” Trial offer for “Karate Lessons”. I’ve never understood this. I can see the marketing/promotions thought but how does this really benefit the school?
So, I give you a uniform and get you to come in for a month. Then what? I sell you a contract for 18 months? Two years? Four years? Then, when you don’t want to sign a contract, my uniform ends up at the local thrift shop.
Yea, I gained some income for THAT month but is it worthy of an industry that is supposed to be teaching honor and respect? It feels too much like quick cash to me. This is one business method that I don’t see as beneficial to my “brand”. It also baffles me how the thrift shop uniform that would fit an 8-10 year old has a Black Belt Club patch on it.
Personally, I don’t believe that one month is enough to figure out if you like the art taught at the school. You will like or dislike the instructor or atmosphere almost immediately but that’s not the art. Often, trial memberships end that don’t work out leave the student thinking that it was the art they didn’t like and go off in search of anotehr style. It may not be the art. It may be the focus of the school, the relationship developed with the instructor or the way the school did business.
That said, anyone reading this who wishes to find out about classes should feel free to stop in and try a couple. If you like the art, curriculum, atmosphere and the instructor then you can sign up. You’ll be “asked” to commit three months before making a final decision but there won’t be any contract to cause problems. You can ask any questions you wish and you’ll get straight answers. After chatting, I have even suggested other schools that may have more of what the student is looking for. There are several quality martial arts instructors who have my respect. I have no problem referring a student to them, besides, if they don’t get what they want, they will leave anyway. Its better to have them training where they want and build a strong community.
Author: Master Robert Frankovich
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