Your IKEA student enrollment process

I’m a big fan of IKEA. For those that don’t know of IKEA…where have you been?  I’m joking, of course. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a furniture company that is very cost effective and they really have some awesome pieces.

I went there the other weekend as I needed a new desk and chair at home for those days when I’m inspired to work from home and not go into the office.

The thing with IKEA furniture is…it’s “some assembly required.”  You have to put together the furniture yourself.  Now I don’t know about you, but I was never taught in dance class how to assemble things or read instructions.

So, it probably comes as no surprise that when I went to sit on the chair, it fell apart. You see, I didn’t think that a few screws and some wood sticks that were left over would make too much of a difference…but they did.

Skip forward to the next day. I had a call with one of our program members, Sarah from London, and during that call I thought to myself…my approach to putting together that chair is the exact problem Sarah is facing with her student enrollment process. She was going in with a very loose plan and missing parts along the way. Of course, the end result was similar to my chair experience – not exactly what we were hoping for!

If you’ve followed of any of my previous blogs, podcasts or video trainings you know that I’m very passionate about having a NO GAPS enrollment process in a dance studio.

What I mean by “no gaps” is that you have a sales process that you follow each and every time with the objective of getting that initial student enquiry through the process to become an enrolled student.

It’s not uncommon for my 18-step enrollment sales process to freak a few studio owners out when they first see it, but let me tell you…once they start using it and see the increase in enrollments, they don’t go back to their old, inconsistent system.

So where do you start…

The first thing you need to do is a sales process review. Become a customer for a day and go through your enrollment process with fresh eyes and ears. Go through the entire process – from the initial enquiry (phone, email, Facebook, etc.) through booking them into a class, attending the trial, a post trial review, the follow up email sequence, etc. etc., all the way through to enrollment.

Here are just some of the key questions to ask yourself during this review:

1. How long does it take to respond to new student enquiries?

You need to have in place a non-negotiable “we get back to people in X-hours” time component. This is for enquiries that come through via email and social media messages. Personally, I say no more than 12 hours. For phone enquiries, there should be someone answering the phone for you during normal working hours. If you don’t have an office person, then invest a small amount of money in a live answering service where a real person answers your number with your studio name and sends you the message. The thing is, your prospective student enquiry (parent or student) isn’t just ringing you – they are ringing all the studios in your area. Guess who has the likely chance of getting the enrollment?  Yep…the person who answers the phone!

2. Do you have an email enrollment sequence?

A big opportunity that many studio owners are not taking advantage of is implementing an email marketing system to help build trust and credibility for your studio before they even come into their class. Include a few videos in this email sequence to accelerate the “getting to know you” process.

3. What’s my objective?

You’re probably going to say that your goal is to enroll a new student. Sure, that’s your overall objective in the enrollment phase, but every step in your enrollment process needs to have objectives tied to it. For example, when they first enquire, your objective might be to get them into a trial class within the next 7 days. Each step should have its own objective – all of which get you closer to an enrollment.

4. Are you making it about the customer?

Too often I hear studio owners, office managers and receptionists making it about themselves and the studio – not about the student. Look at the sales/enrollment script that you use when you speak with people on the phone and when they come for their first class. Are you making it about them?  Are you sharing with them how they will feel and what they will experience when they come to class?  Or, are you telling them all about you and how amazing the studio is? You want to shift your conversation to what’s in it for them/their child.

5. Do you follow up?

The biggest area where studio owners drop the ball with enrolling new students is the follow up…or lack of follow up. You may have someone register for a trial or tell you that they are coming in and they don’t. So, what’s your next step? Do you have an air tight follow up system in place to ensure they don’t slip through the cracks? A mix of emails, calls and texts are best. We teach this in our program and know from the hundreds of studio owners that have gone through it that making a few simple tweaks to this part of your enrollment process can be the difference between 4 in 10 enrolling and 8 in 10 enrolling at your studio.

These are just 5 questions that will get you thinking about your enrollment process in a different way.  So, please take a moment and tell me on our Facebook page… What is your #1 challenge when it comes to enrollments in your studio?

Knock it out of the park with your enrollment process!


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