First, you’ve got to have teachers. We’ve found great success in finding new teachers from our existing teacher network. If you have created a quality lesson program that is fun for students and demonstrates respect and appreciation for your teachers, they should be happy to make the referral.
To help the teachers feel even happier about giving a referral, we use an employee referral program. It works pretty simply - the teacher must make a referral before we receive an application from the future teacher. If the new teacher is hired, the current teacher can earn a total of $150 - $75 if the new hire is still with us after 3 months, and another $75 if they are still on board in 6 months. We are happy to pay out this bonus, and the teachers are even happier to receive it.
In addition to the referral program, we also write a Red Hot Help Wanted ad. This ad should be written in a way that entices your ideal candidates, and dissuades the less desirable candidates. To do this, you are going to need to spend some time thinking about your company culture, who your ideal candidate is, and what type of teacher has success in your program. To help you do this, my friends at Whizbang are GIVING you their training course on how to write this ad (a $27 value)! Go to http://bit.ly/2Q8f1BY to download. Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want to miss this.
We then use this ad for the text of a Facebook (and other social media, such as Instagram) post, and we combine it with a picture of one of our teacher’s teaching a student (we usually use an angle that hides the student’s face - maybe shot from behind the student - to protect the student’s privacy). You can then boost this post on Facebook. When boosting, use the options to show to people that are in your geographic area (for employees), and use the demographic sorting options for the instrument teacher you are looking for. Boosting Facebook posts into ads is something that is easy to do, but is beyond the scope of this article. I’d recommend googling “Facebook Boost Options”, or feel free to email me directly for more information (Donovan@MusicRetailConsulting.com).
You should also print out copies of your Red Hot Help Wanted Ad and tape them to your front door, front counter, give to teachers and employees, and also post to Craigslist, local University message boards, etc.
Next, we want to fill the pipeline with students. Here are a few of my favorite tips.
First - if you have a retail sales team - consider giving them a spiff for each new student they sign up. This can be as simple as a $5 cash spiff, paid out weekly or monthly (in cash). I like to use a tiered system where they can earn more money by booking more lessons in a period. We do ours monthly, and for the first 5 students they earn $5 per student, between 6-9 they earn $10, and for 10 or more they earn $15. This system has been VERY effective in using your professional sales team to book new students.
Third - offer a discount on the first month if a customer purchases (or rents) an instrument from your store. We offer half off the first month when they get an instrument from us, and this special promotional rate is very effective at getting new students enrolled. We do require that they pay the deposit (the promotional rate) at the time of purchase in order to secure the deal. They can schedule lessons at a later date if they are not able to commit to a date and time and the point of sale.
Pro Tip: we will also contact customers who have purchased/rented from us within the last 30 days, and if they haven’t taken advantage of the offer, we give them one more opportunity to do so at the promotional rate.
These tips have helped us to create a strong lesson program in all of our stores, but I’d LOVE to read what you are doing to grow your lesson program! Share your ideas with me by emailing me at Donovan@MusicRetailConsulting.com.