As vaccinations increase and the need for social distancing begins to decrease, people around the country are seeking new activities and new ways to stay active. That’s great news for the martial arts industry and even greater news for your business. Of course, to truly reap the benefits of this new wave of interest, it’s crucial to not only have a plan for generating leads. You must also have an effective plan for managing them.
As a school owner, you already know just how critical generating leads is to maintaining your desired student count. To be successful in reaching your desired count, a useful metric to look at is your historical conversion rate. Say, for example, you set a goal of acquiring 10 new students for next month. And maybe you know from history that you typically convert 20% of your leads to sign-ups. This would tell you that you would need to generate 50 leads to meet your new student goal (50 leads x 20% conversion rate = 10 sign ups).
However, generating enough leads is only the first step to your success. In order to truly reach your goal, you must have an effective lead follow-up process in place. You have to have a plan for reaching back out to every lead and keeping their interest – before it is lost to another school or activity.
Using our previous example, say you can easily generate 50 leads. But, since your follow-up process isn’t well managed, your conversion rate falls to just 10%. Now, you’ll only get five of the ten sign-ups you were counting on. Ouch!
If you’re a one-person operation, you have so many bases to cover that managing your leads likely falls below other responsibilities like teaching, collecting payments, dealing with your landlord, paying bills, repairing the bathroom sink and ordering belts and uniforms. If you’re fortunate enough to have a staff, lead follow-up may get delegated to an instructor or person at the front desk. But do they have the knowledge and tools necessary to do an effective job?
No matter which of these situations you find yourself in, we have the strategies to help you successfully manage your leads so that you can maximize your conversion rate. Here are six ways you can get the most out of the influx of highly-qualified leads streaming into our industry.
1.) Develop a plan. And consistently follow it
You likely have many ways in which you generate leads. You may use your website, social media, open houses and invite-a-friend events as well as other methods. No matter your source for generating leads, you should map out a plan for how you will reach out to your leads. And then you must consistently follow it. For instance, will you collect phone numbers and emails of attendees at the door and ask for their preferred method of communication as well as their most convenient times? That then becomes a roadmap for how and when you will communicate with them. No matter if you are doing it all by yourself or have a staff to help you, your efforts must be consistent. Hit and miss will not generate the results you want.
2.) Follow up quickly
With today’s technology, people have come to expect fast responses from businesses. And studies show that over 50% of customers do business with the first person to reach out to them. Remember, your leads may be considering not just your school, but your competitor down the street. Get to the prospect first to maximize your potential to convert them.
3.) Never stop at one-and-done
Your process should include multiple touchpoints with every lead. Too many of us get notice of an interest, call and leave a voicemail, then never do any follow-up. But people lead busy lives. While your leads may have genuine interest in signing up, it’s easy to get distracted by life. Continue to nurture your leads, no matter how old they may be. Just don’t be overly aggressive. Develop a relationship of trust over time. Studies have shown that it can take 7 or more touches before a prospect is ready to sign up.
4.) Tailor your communication
You should plan to tailor your follow-up to the specific interests of your prospect. This likely seems obvious. After all, why would you tell a prospect all about your Krav class when they inquired about Kickboxing? But sometimes it isn’t so obvious. Suppose you point a prospect to your website. Can they easily find the particular class they are interested in? If they have to navigate through several pages, they may simple stop looking, assuming their particular interest isn’t an area of focus for your school. A targeted landing page as well as targeted information is ideal.
5.) Use a lead management tool
With several different leads all at varying touchpoints, losing track of a lead is all too easy. So many school owners simply use a notepad or go off of memory. If you are a Kicksite user, we give you and your team a place to review the status, activity, and progress of every lead. This ensures the entire team knows where a lead stands in the sales cycle. Has a team member been assigned to this lead? Did they make contact? What was their response? Have they scheduled an appointment? Have they started a trial? All of these details exist in Kicksite’s lead management portal, making it easy to keep track of every single prospect – so a lead never gets lost.
6.) Consider everything you do lead management
Lead management isn’t just about your efforts to follow up on leads. Every aspect of your business is a form of lead management. Keeping your facility clean and organized generates leads. Regularly posting relevant content on your social media channels is another way to generate leads and maintain interest. Consider everything your school does within your community an effort to generate and retain interest in your program.
One final thought: While it’s tempting to look outside your doors for your newest prospects, don’t forget your most valuable assets: those you’ve already signed up. Your new students are great resources for generating other leads. If their experience is positive, they’ll share that with family and friends. Ask them if anyone they know would like to join. But, most importantly, ensure you’re doing all you can to keep them coming back.