Have you ever experienced this?
You make a seemingly insignificant change in your martial art school operations… maybe it’s a small change in your schedule, or you change the fee structure, or you change your hours, or you hire a new instructor to help you out with the class load.
Regardless of what it is you’ve changed, you suddenly are on the receiving end of a ton of resistance from your students. All at once, it seems like everyone is complaining and your students on the verge of mutiny…
Resistance Is A Common Occurrence In Businesses Like Ours
I see this often with the people I provide online business coaching to on my member site. They start off following some of my advice, notice some growth in their school, and then they start implementing the ideas and advice they get from me left and right.
Before long their school is growing at a much more rapid pace. Out of necessity, they find themselves in the position of having to change some policies here and there to accommodate the growth. And that’s when it happens…
Suddenly, the grumblers and complainers show up. If you run a school, I’m sure you know the type. They are the first and loudest to complain about everything, no matter how good your overall customer service and actual classroom instruction may be at the time.
Now, there’s a reason why we’re more likely to hear this sort of grumbling and complaining directly. In businesses like ours (including martial arts schools, gymnastics centers, personal training facilities, boot camps, dance schools, and so on) we tend to develop our business relationships with our clients on a very personal level.
That’s not to say you should get personal with every single client; on the contrary, the more professional (yet friendly) you keep your business relationship, the less likely you are to be on the brunt of this type of abuse from your clients when you have to alter your policies.
Enter The High-Maintenance Client…
Even so, there is a certain type of client that seems to suck the life out of a school. These are what I call “high-maintenance students.” They’re sort of like driving an old British sports car – you do derive some benefit from the experience, but the frequent problems that constantly require your attention make it almost not worth the trouble.
They tend to be only a small percentage of your enrollment, but they can take up the bulk of your time and energy… if you allow it.
In previous articles I’ve discussed how these types are a cancer in your school, and how it may be your best policy to find a polite way to fire these types of clients (read The 4-Hour Work Week by sometime MMA practitioner and full-time globe hopper Tim Ferriss for more on this topic).
However, what I’d like to discuss with you today is that when this happens, it is a good thing – a very good thing. Let me explain what I mean…
Here’s The Paradigm Shift: Resistance Is A Sign Of Good Things To Come!
That’s right… think about it a second and it’s not all that hard to reach that conclusion. Here’s the breakdown:
- Complaints are a result of Resistance
- Resistance comes from Fear
- Fear comes from Change
- Change is a (necessary) result of Growth
And, growth means your school is showing definite signs of health. This must mean that, when you meet with resistance, it’s a good thing – because good things are happening in your school!
Look, people are always going to complain and grumble when things change. It’s a fact of being in business, so get used to it. And, you know what I’ve found about this? When you simply reply with, “That’s our policy… now, is there something else I can help you with?” in a very matter-of-fact, unapologetic manner it tends to squash it in short order.
Sure, some of those people will leave; but then again, that’s the nature of the business, too. Students leave all the time for all sorts of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with being disgruntled. So, if a few grouchy students leave of their own accord – well, that just means the issue resolved itself, right?
And chances are good that those students will be replaced by others who don’t complain about every little policy change you make… which is yet another positive thing.
You see, resistance really is a good thing.