Are you offering your first lesson for free? Or perhaps a free consultation?
There’s no doubt about it, everyone likes the word FREE!
Unfortunately, “free” also sometimes equates to: “If I have time I’ll show up, otherwise I’ll reschedule — maybe.”
I'd like to challenge you to replace your free consultations with an Introductory Lesson.
When I moved to Colorado Springs, I decided to implement Introductory Lessons. After 10 years of teaching I believed I could jump-start a student’s lessons by offering more than just a consultation. I could prepare clients for a very positive and productive first lesson!
I also wanted clients to know that my time was valuable. I didn’t want to have no-shows and reschedules. (I once had a client schedule and not show up for three separate “free consultations” over a two-week period. What a waste of time!)
I believe that requiring a minimal payment weeded out the not-so-serious clients and created a meaningful initial meeting for all parties involved.
What is an Introductory Lesson?
I always schedule a 30-minute session for one student and add 15 minutes for each additional student in the same family. The cost and schedule is communicated clearly to clients during our initial phone call or email. (See Handling Communication From Potential Clients for more details.)
Here’s a typical Introductory Lesson:
Ready to dive in?
Now you just have to decide how much to charge, add a section to your Studio Policy regarding Introductory Lessons, and start informing inquiring clients of your newly established routine when you receive that initial phone call or email. (And you don’t need to discuss your abandonment of the “free consultation” model. Simply move forward!)
The benefits of having people show up when they say they will and pay you for your time, however small the fee, will be worth it!
Here’s the wording I use in my Studio Policy:
A one-time $xx introductory lesson of 30 minutes is available for new students, payable at time of lesson. During this face-to-face meeting a student’s abilities will be evaluated and all policies will be reviewed. A recommendation will be made of books and levels, as well as specific skills to focus on. It is important for parents of younger students to stay for the entire lesson.
What do you offer potential students for their first meeting with you? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below!