Upgrading Our Upgrade Process | ITF Taekwon-Do

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If “upgrade” is a dirty word for you and you feel that such things should not be discussed in association with martial arts, then do us all a favor and find something better to do with your time than reading this and complaining about it.

The word “upgrade” is like music to my ears!

In life, you upgrade your cable service, you upgrade your combo meal, your upgrade your phone, you upgrade… well, everything! Just about everything that can be sold comes with an upgrade. In Taekwon-Do, upgrades are simply, what’s next for your students.

There are many ways to do upgrades with your students and we’ve had to do some serious thinking recently as we have completely redesigned our upgrade process. With all the changes we’ve made at our school, and my father and I unable to be at the there all the time, we needed to find a simpler way to enroll new members into our program and to upgrade them.

The current sales program we had in place worked very well, but it was very dependent on my father and I being there…  and that’s a BIG problem! We’ve know this for some time, but never did anything about it because we were there. Now we’re not and our lack of preparation is biting us in the ass!

So we set out to create a consistently effective sales process that could be run by Homer Simpson. We figure, if he could do it, anyone could! And the good news is, our staff is far more capable than Homer Simpson so this will work beautifully.

As we’ve researched how to go about doing this, we’ve learned (or were reminded of) two things:

1. Simpler is better

2. It’s really hard to let go!

The basic structure of our previous sales process followed this path –

Generate Leads > Convert Leads to Intro Appointments > Enroll Members into Intro Program >  Upgrade into Regular Training or Leadership Program

Generating leads happens from all your marketing activities like walk-ins, incoming phone calls, demos, birthday parties, advertisements, opt ins to your site, grade school programs, etc. This is something that everyone is always working on in and out of the school and doesn’t change.

But what happens with them afterwards is now dramatically different.

Now, we’re set up with an effective direct response site so that people can register online into their 6 week intro program. We just got this up and running last month, and even before I could focus on driving traffic to our new site it generated 7 new members! I can’t wait to see what happens this month with a focused effort on driving people to the site.

The key here is that you must have an effective site that can sell for you. There are companies that do this well and for around $100-$200 per month. Email me or message me if you’d like more details on these sites.

Once they’ve registered they come in for their first class. It’s one on one and covers everything we covered in the intro appointment we used to do. However, now there’s no selling involved because they’ve already bought the intro package.

We go over with them what the next 6 weeks will look like and set them up for joining the regular program. Going from the intro program to the regular program seems natural, doesn’t it? That’s an UPGRADE.

We also get them active in our facebook groups so they can see what’s going on in the school. It works like a giant billboard of reviews and testimonials. They see real people liking and commenting and sharing their experiences. It’s what people REALLY have to say about us and it reinforces the new student’s decision to join our school.

Then the ball is in their court. The know that by week four they will know if they want to continue or not and we make it very easy for them to do so. There’s two options and all they need to do is let the instructor know what they’d like to do. 1st Upgrade complete.

Then, at green belt level we select students who show a great deal of promise and invite them to be a part of our Leadership Program. In addition to the extra Taekwon-Do training they are also taught about being a leader in and out of the Taekwon-Do school. This program involves more of a commitment and is more expensive. So we schedule a time to sit down with them and to explain the program in greater detail so they can choose whether or not to make the commitment.

Really, that’s it.

So now it’s –

Drive Traffic to Website > Generate Leads/Sell Intros > Schedule First Lesson > Upgrade to Regular Program > Upgrade to Leadership Program

The basic structure has one extra step, but all the selling is being done online and on the mat. The website gets them in the door and the your brilliance as an instructor will keep them there.

This allows you to focus less on selling and more of what you love to do, teaching Taekwon-Do!

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About the Author:

John HeadshotJohn Karstadt

Senior Instructor – Karstadt Taekwon-Do

Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt.  He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline,  leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world.  He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do.  He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy.  Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children.  Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at 1tkdinsider@gmail.com


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