When most school owners talk about their competition, they speak of other ITF Taekwon-Do schools, the Karate school down the street, the ATA school a few miles away or the Kung-Fu school across town. If you find yourself agreeing with this perception of your competition, then it’s time for an eye opener.
When your students quit, the majority of them don’t go to another martial arts school. They quickly fill that new free time playing other sports, they play video games, they watch television, they find other ways to exercise.
For most people, they know next to nothing about martial arts when they begin training with you. Taekwon-Do is lumped in with all other martial arts and as far as they are concerned, if they’re done with Taekwon-Do then they’re done with martial arts.
Other schools, no matter what style they teach, are not your competition.
Your competition is ANYTHING that your potential students could be doing instead of going to class. Everything including video games, television, little league, pop-warner football, music lessons, and on and on. Anything that could distract them from training.
As a Taekwon-Do school owner, you must find a way to separate yourself from the crowd and become noticed in the flurry of images, advertisements and offers that people deal with everyday.
An article on CBS News stated:
“Well, it’s a non-stop blitz of advertising messages,” President of the Marketing Firm Yankelovich, Jay Walker-Smith said. “Everywhere we turn we’re saturated with advertising messages trying to get our attention.”
Walker-Smith says we’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970’s to as many as 5,000 a day today.
How do you stand out when you have to compete with the 5,000 other ads people are exposed to everyday?
You do it by sticking to your guns. You do it by owning who you are and what you provide for people everyday. Then you get THAT message out and develop relationships based on that.
The worst thing you could do is try to compete with major corporations spending millions on advertising (and all the other schmucks trying to keep pace with them, who can’t afford it!).
You can actually separate yourself from the clutter fairly easily and inexpensively.
One of the best things we ever did was to start using lead generator ads, a free gift and an auto-responder to keep up with our leads without any work on our part. After they interacted with all that, we just have to call the prospect and schedule an appointment.
A lead generator is an ad that is nothing like you’d expect to see in a magazine or television commercial. You’ve seen them before, but you may not have noticed that is was just a lead generator ad. These ads are fairly simple looking, mostly text and have a specific message that speaks to a specific target market.
One I’m using now is, “Are you tired of fighting with your kids to clean their room, do their homework or to get off the video games?”
That one question tells me a great deal about anyone who answers that ad. Just because they answered that ad I now know that they are a parent, have at least one child who is probably in school and that the parents have difficulty dealing with the kids at times.
Notice that I didn’t mention Taekwon-Do in there anywhere. My intention is to get the attention of frustrated parents who are looking for a helping hand when it comes to instilling courtesy, respect and self-discipline in their children. Isn’t that what we do everyday?
Then it’s followed up with, “Face it. We both know that parenting is no easy task.”
That simple sentence tells the parent that I understand their struggles and that it’s okay to be struggling with being a parent from time to time.
Finally I say, “You don’t have to do it alone. A solution exists, and it’s easier than you think!”
Now they know I’m on their side and I’ve mentioned that there is a solution. This peaks their curiosity and they want to learn more.
At the bottom there’s a link to a website where they enter their contact information and our relationship has begun. Also, at this point I have separated myself from all the other clutter that is out there fighting for their attention.
Lead generation ads only work if they are part of a larger marketing system and I’ll be going deeper into lead generation ads and email auto-responders in upcoming issues.
What I want you to take away from this article is who your real competition is and that your key to separating yourself from the crowd is going to be your ability to create and maintain relationships with your prospects. Many aspects of this can be automated and you’ll be amazed at how many people come to your school who feel like they already know you!
About the Author:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org