4 Enrollment Killers and How to Solve Them

No One Home

Think. How many times do you call the cable company, customer service, or let’s just say the pharmacy. You hear: if you are a customer, press 1, a new customer press 2, and customer who wants to disconnect, press 3, a customer who wants to tell us to go to h**l, press 4, — you get my drift. Are you not just a little disgusted at not being able to talk to a human?

Your potential clients feel the same way. Which is why, when they decide to call you at 12 pm on their lunch break, and your answering machine tells them you aren’t there until 4 pm – (right in the middle of her status meeting) it is super easy to call another dance studio.. and much more convenient.

When a parent makes a decision to explore or enroll her child in a class she wants answers on her timetable, not yours. Ten of the studios we surveyed told us they had a 20% increase in enrollment by having a person, (themselves or a teen dancer) answer the phone during non-studio hours (pay her.) You might not want to be working 10-hour days, or you might have a second job, but several dance parents have reported, the number one reason they chose one studio over another was customer service and accessibility when they needed it.  This does not mean accessibility 24/7, but accessibility during what the normal person considers normal business hours.

Closing Out Enrollment

If you have space, don’t close out enrollment for the younger dancers (2-6) just because you don’t have staff. Instead, hire your 16+ teen dancers to become assistants. Train them.  And pay them by offering 1 free class/month. This is a great way to make sure your littles fill the space and your teens get training. And, this means assist. Not teach the class. That way you can have more in the class with additional aid from trained assistants.

Environmental Bomb

When your potential new client walks in the door, does she/he have a HOT or NOT experience? While we’d all like to have the most amazing open-concept studio design, often that dream is not a reality. However large or small your space you can make sure that:

  1. It is clean
  2. Great paint colors and design
  3. Floors shine
  4. Cute waiting room furniture: easy to find on Overstock.com, Pier 1, Ikea, and even stores like TJ Max and Target.
  5. Good front desk staff: even if it’s a cheerful teen assistant.
Here’s an example of an adorable painted wall and great photo arrangement – it makes a big difference in the WOW factor.

Overcoming the “buts”: Make sure you have a list of the most commonly used rejection questions and practice how to overcome them (without discounting your discounts!)

Lost Cause Parent

So, she’s taken up an hour of your time and still hasn’t registered. I know. Not all registrations are that easy. But don’t give up. Not everyone can be “low-hanging fruit.” What can you do to convince her that your studio is the bomb? Don’t just forget about her and say “done.” Follow up! It can be a small or grandiose gesture, but here are some ideas: (Make sure you have collected phone, email, and post mail addresses.)

  1. Send a follow-up email
  2. Just a handwritten note on a postcard.
  3. Mail her a gift certificate to a free class – or a $10 coupon for dancewear in your shop.
  4. Buy inexpensive tee shirts with your logo and a clever saying in her child’s size. Mail it to her.
  5. Call her to follow up
  6. Create a /brochure about the benefits of dance and handwrite a thank you note.
  7. SHHHHH don’t tell anyone- offer 2 free weeks of class – if she registers. Make it seem like it’s just for her.

I think you get the idea…. make sure you keep track of all “visits but never signed” clients so you can add them to your mailing list. It can be software like Salesforce ($50/year) or as easy as a folder of Potentials.

Hope this list helps you generate more ideas!