Perception, Image and Their Relation To Your Bottom Line
Many martial arts school owners are oblivious to the fact that the public’s perception of a business can be drastically different from that of the owner.
Saying that this can be problematic is an understatement, because image is what makes a first impression on your potential clients. Make the wrong one, and you’ll lose them forever.
In light of this, I’ve prepared a different, slightly tongue-in-cheek post for you today. In it, I poke a little fun at the many ways we’ve all been known to, shall we say, not put our best foot forward.
And yes, I’ve been guilty of every single one at one time or another – mostly in my early days of teaching, but occasionally I’ve been known to slip in an area or two when things got really busy.
But, even allowing a tiny slip in your business image can have huge consequences in your bottom line. One lost student can represent an overall loss of thousands of dollars in potential revenues over the life of your relationship with that client.
So, have a good laugh at the following scenarios about the public’s perception of our schools… but also think about whether you’ve been slipping in any of these areas in your own school as well.
What You See, What They See…
|Your School:||What You See…||What They See…|
|Your Advertisements…||A very impressive picture of someone doing a flying side kick, or a flying armbar, or flying through the air in the midst of an impressive throw…||“I’ll never be able to do that. Yoga looks safer. Maybe I’ll just stick with golf.”|
|Your Website…||A list of your many accomplishments, trophies and awards you and your students have won, your umpteenth “Hall of Fame” award, you doing a really impressive move on your student, and pictures of you with every martial arts luminary you ever met for 2 minutes at a seminar…||“What’s in it for me? This guy looks intimidating. Am I going to get beat up like that? Who are all these people this guy is posing with? I don’t recognize any of them. I still can’t figure out what I would be doing in their classes…”|
|The Front Entry To Your School…||Trophies, awards, certificates, a spartan seating arrangement (to discourage parents from sticking around, of course)… and that’s about it.||“This place is filthy – no way I’m letting my kid take classes here.
This place is kind of dark and creepy. What’s with all the trophies – I don’t want my kids to be pushed into competing – is that all they do? Lawn chairs… are they getting ready for a picnic?”
|The Training Floor…||Mats to fall on, pads and bags to hit, and mirrors to check on your form… what else do you need?||“The mats are filthier than the floor in the waiting area. What’s that smell? Those pads are all torn up – looks dangerous. When’s the last time they cleaned those mirrors? Awful dark in here – must be a ‘ninja’ school…”|
|Your Bathroom…||(Honestly, when’s the last time you really paid attention?)||“This is the most disgusting bathroom I’ve seen since that rest area outside of Tulsa. Where are the paper towels? Bar soap in a public restroom – gross! What’s that sticking to my shoe… never mind, I don’t want to think about it. My kid is going to be barefoot in here – and then they walk back out on the mats and roll around on them? Ugh!”|
|Your Office…||Those certificates sure are impressive.||“With all the stuff scattered all over, where do the rats sleep?”|
|Your Classes…||My instructors, classes, and students are the toughest around.||“Yeah, I think I’ll pass on the getting yelled at, the bloody nose, and the endless push-ups. What was that golf pro’s number again?”|
|You…||I’ve got this one wrapped up, for sure. What an end to a great day of hard training!||“He sure doesn’t look like a martial arts instructor… I thought they were supposed to be in shape. Looks like someone forgot to use a napkin at lunch, to wear a clean uniform, to shave, to shower, to comb their hair, and to use deodorant this morning. I wonder if he’ll take a breath mint if I offer it? I’ll just tell him I have to speak with my husband about it…”|
Yeah, I know – funny in a slightly painful sort of way. The moral of today’s article is, always consider how things look from the customer’s perspective – because doing so can increase your enrollments drastically.