This blog will cover much of what you will need to know.
When students inquire you will usually have two options for communication. Phone and email. It is best to phone them if possible but you can also follow up with an email. If they do not provide a phone number it is best to request one before giving away too much information as I will explain below.
Always begin by introducing your self and checking that you are speaking to the right person. If you have their name ask for them when you first call. E.g. “Hi, could I speak to John please?” Once you have the right person go ahead and introduce yourself. E.g. “Hi I am David and am the local G4 Guitar teacher and I am responding to your inquiry regarding guitar lessons.” Be sure to mention the word ‘guitar’ at least twice in your introduction and speak clearly so they can easily catch what you are saying.
Who are the lessons for? – Establish who the lessons are for. E.g. “Are the lessons for yourself or someone else”
History – Find if they have any musical background.
Interests – What kind of music/styles etc do they like.
Once you have a brief understanding of who they are and what their needs are explain how the G4 Guitar Method will teach them the skills needed to play their favourite styles of music. Always relate it to their musical interests. E.g. “The skills we cover will allow you to learn AC/DC songs”. Answer any questions they may have as you go along reassuring them that the method will cover what they need.
It is best to get a financial commitment. That is ask the student to pay online to confirm their time if possible. Offering a free trial lesson is okay but should never be your first option.
Be sensitive to their time. If they seem in a hurry try to cut to the chase but if they have time to chat then take your time but don’t over do it. Building up trust is the goal so make a judgement based on what you feel is right.
In the early stages of building your business its better to get a phone number if possible and make verbal contact but sometimes that is not possible. Keep your email short and to the point. When you give prices etc away via an email they may speak to another teacher who is cheaper and just go with them thinking all teachers are the same. Speaking to them on the phone will allow you to make a personal connection while pointing out the advantages of the G4 Guitar Method and your own teaching experience.
Offer to call them – Its best to ask for their phone number along with a convenient time to call. You can add your number below your signature as well so if they want to call you they have the option.
Questions – Try to ask a question or two. (no more). I generally ask if there are any bands or guitarists they like as this helps to build the personal connection. When I speak to them I can say for example “So what is your favourite Metallica song?”.
Add a thank you or two – Thank you’s help to make your email seem friendly. Guitar lessons are quite personal and a friendly teacher is important to many potential students.
Below is an example of an email I would send.
Thank you for your guitar lesson inquiry. My name is David Hart and I am currently the G4 Guitar Method teacher in your area. I would be happy to call you to discuss the details of the lessons and to answer any questions you may have so could you please email your contact phone number and a convenient time to call?
Just a couple of quick questions;
- Would you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or advanced guitarist?
- Do you have any favourite music (bands, songs, musicians)?
Thank you again for your inquiry and I look forward to your reply.
The advice that follows focuses on dealing with inquiries. Please read and re-read until you are confidently enrolling 95% of student inquiries.
How to turn 95% of inquiries into students
This might seem like an impossible figure but I can assure you its very possible. I spent over 20 years perfecting my initial interaction with inquiring students so it didn’t happen overnight but not that I understand it I can share it with you. So here is how its done.
Step 1. Respond quickly. The best time to speak to someone is when they are thinking about enrolling. The longer you take to respond the more likely they are to go cold.
Step 2. Talk to the decision maker. If the person you are speaking to needs to consult someone else then the call will end with “I will speak to my partner and let you know”. You can do this by asking who the lessons are for and then try to speak to them or at least the parent who will be making the decision.
Step 3. Build trust. What matters most the people is whether they can trust you. Telling them your prices, lesson times, course details are secondary to trust. Building trust comes from being genuine of course and this means taking a genuine interest in them. Who are they? What matters to them them? Why are they really learning guitar?
Step 4. Reveal yourself. When you share something a little personal (not too personal) people trust you more. For example I would sometimes mention to parents of teenagers how when I was 14yo playing my first public performance I was so nervous I literally felt sick.
Step 5. Get them to reveal their real motivation. Try to get to them to reveal why they really want to learn guitar. E.g. Teenagers want to become more popular (cool) or an adult might secret harbour a dream to be a successful singer/songwriter. When people share a hidden truth about themselves you become their confidante.
Step 6. Don’t ask if but when. This is critical. Once you have built a level of trust asking the question ‘Would you like to enrol?” shows a lack of confidence on your behalf. If you are confident that you and the student now trust each other if is not required. It is simply a matter of when.
This does take practice but most importantly you need to be genuine. You must truly care about your students and believe that you can help them reach their dreams. Learning guitar is not about getting a good grade so you get a good job its about pursuing a dream. We are dream makers and we need to keep that dream alive within our students.
How much is too much?
NO means NO and if in doubt ask them.
If you follow this simple rule you will rarely have a problem. To explain this better let me elaborate. When you get an inquiry you should simply keep following up until they ask you to stop at which point you do not contact them again. Let us look at the two different types of inquiries.
Email inquiry – Start with a reply to their inquiry and then a few days later if you have had no reply follow up. Follow up one more time and then place them on your monthly mailing list. Once a month email them with an offer and always include an ‘Unsubscribe’ option. Keep doing this until they ask you to stop.
Phone inquiry – When you call and get no answer call three times within the first few days, leave it a week and call again with one more call a few weeks later and then leave it at that. When you call and speak to someone use the above process but each time let them know you will call back. If they don’t want you to call again they will say. This can be done by saying something like “I will leave it with you for now and will give you a call next week”. I also recommend getting their email address if you do not already have it.
At the very least you want to be building up your email list not just for following up about lessons but when you hold a workshop you can notify the people on your list.
“Why don’t people respond to my emails?”
As most of you have experienced sometimes people go to the trouble of filling out our online form but then never respond to our emails and this can seem both strange and disappointing but here are a few ways to improve your chances of receiving a reply.
1. Your email address: When we receive an email from someone unknown our first response is to think ‘JUNK MAIL’. To avoid your emails being trashed there are three rules I stick by. 1. Use an email address with the word ‘Guitar’ in it. 2. Put ‘G4 Guitar Lesson Inquiry’ in the subject (Avoid using your own business name in the subject because this won’t be familiar to them. 3. Use their name in the email. ‘Hi James, Thank you for your inquiry’. Smart email is sensitive to whether the email is personalised or not.
2. Follow up: If you haven’t heard back within 48 hours send another email. If you have a phone number then call but only ever leave one or two messages. After your second message just call and hang up if they don’t answer.
3. Monthly emailing list: Send them a special offer or a workshop offer or a newsletter each month. I do this regularly and it always works well. Some people respond even after a year or more. The longer you are in business the bigger this list will become and the better it works. Every email address is valuable.
You could be missing inquiries
To ensure you don’t miss any inquiries double check the following points. I unfortunately learnt the hard way over the years and missed out on many student inquiries because I just wasn’t aware.
1. Mention guitar lessons on your message bank message – When people call and the message is unrelated to guitar chances are they won’t leave a message. Your message should be similar to this; “Thank you for calling Hendrix Guitar Studios. I am currently either teaching guitar or unable to get to my phone but your call is important to me so please leave your name and number after the tone.” Avoid a message like “Hey. Joe here. Just leave a message after the tone”. If your number is personal you can either get a second phone or just explain to your friends that its your business phone. Say the word ‘guitar’ clearly at least twice in your message.
2. Missed calls – Lots of people don’t like leaving messages for various reasons. Most phones record the number so if its an unknown number give them a call back. You may be surprised at how many students you get when you follow up on missed calls.
3. Call back quickly – If you miss a call the sooner you can call back the better. The best time to speak to them about lessons is at the time they call of course but failing that ring back within a few hours after they call. The longer you leave it the more likely they are to find another teacher or just lose interest in the idea.
4. Email address – Its good to include your email address on your phone message. Emma’s survey revealed most people prefer email contact. Try to create a simple easy to remember email address. Don’t feel locked into your email address. Just go to Gmail and make a new one.
5. Test and update your message – Make sure you try different phone messages and up date from time to time. Different messages will be better than others and you’ll only know by testing. Try ringing other companies and see what they say.
It pays to follow up on inquiries
Below are examples of a student inquiry follow ups. In each case I sent an email asking if they received my original email.
I received the emails and I was going to book it in.
Just wanted to make sure this is for adults as well? I’m 29 years old and used to play (not very well) when I was probably 11 – 18 years old. I’ve now been playing in rock band for about a year and want to progress and get some tips on technique and control etc.
Is the space in Reedy Creek at 6pm on Mondays still open?
Sorry David i totally forgot to get back to you.We would love to take a spot for Jack in the Wednesday 6pm slot if possible at Northbridge.
Let me know if this is ok.
Hi David –
Sorry for the late reply… my sister was going to arrange this for me as a birthday present, but she’s obviously not done that.
I am interested in the Monday session at Lane Cove at 8.30pm if it’s still available, starting next Monday if possible (9th May).
Thank you David for prompting me.
I am now retired after some fairly complicated medical problems over the last couple of years, the details of which are really of interest to the medical profession. Also my wife of 43 years passed away earlier this year.
I have owned an acoustic guitar for over 30 years but am only self-taught. I haven’t touched it(an emperador now held together with gaffer tape) for at least 20 years. I have always lusted after a Maton so I now have one.
I am keen to have lessons as I have never had any and I seem to have forgotten everything I have learnt.
I would prefer private lessons.
Please let me know what you can do for me.
Yes thank you and I hope you did too. I am sorry I have not responded as I am still thinking if I want to go ahead or not. I just had one more question actually – if I do it on-line I will need skype or a webcam? Is that correct? Also once I have done each lesson on-line, can I keep those lessons to refer back to whenever I want to?
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