USKMA Affiliate; How to grow your program
Thanks for being part of the USKMA family. At our first krav maga gyms in Ohio we loved it when members told us that they feel like they are part of a family and that we really care about them. We want our affiliates to feel the same way. We care about you and want you to grow as quickly as possible. We took our Krav Maga gym from scratch to over 750 members in under four years. Below is exactly how we did it, we share everything!! A lot may need to change from what you are currently doing. Those who fight change don’t grow! Most who join us and want to add Krav Maga or want to run their Krav Maga program better contact us because they need to make more money, what they are doing now isn’t cutting it. Here is a view into the Class & Marketing System of the USKMA;
Get the biggest slice of pie; Look at your city’s population on a pie chart. Cut a slice that’s 1/3. That’s about how many are 16 to 40 years old, which is your target audience. So if you started with 200,000 we now have 66,000 to try to get into your gym. Of that group you can forget half….they are the lazy, those that can’t afford it, those that don’t have the time and those who just wouldn’t ever consider doing such a program. So we are down to 33,000 to try to get to join your gym. Why do anything to make that number smaller? If you don’t play the type of music that we recommend you lose a sliver, if you mandate being called “master” you’ll lose more. If you insist on uniforms you’ve probably cut the number in half. Run it like a martial arts class with all the above, and your 33,000 could well be down to 3,000! Don’t cut the number of potential members down any more than you have to!!
First and foremost take a look at the name of your gym. If it’s Smith BJJ & Hard Style Karate and you are adding Krav Maga, change the name to Smith’s Self Defense & Fitness. If you are mainly a Krav Maga gym, name it Smith’s Krav Maga & Fitness. Anyone who wants BJJ and Karate has found you…and will continue to. If you ask 1,000 people, “Who wants to learn to ground fight or to get out of a choke?” maybe 50 will say they do. If you ask that same 1,000 people, “Who wants to lose 10 lbs?” 950 will say that they do. Why aim your gym at 50 out of 1,000 when you can aim it at 950 out of 1,000? You need to run very fast paced classes (like we showed you in training) so that you can honestly tell people that it’s a workout, the workout that can save your life! We tell customers who compare us to much less expensive big box gyms “What are you learning there, how to walk on a treadmill? I learned to walk when I was 1! We have a workout where you wll learn a skill that you can use to protect your family.” If you think you can’t take the word “karate” or any other style-specific word out of your gym’s name, I ask why not? Are you the vanguard of that system? Is that system paying you to keep it’s name out there? Your family, and feeding them, is more important than anything else. Is this a sell out? If we believe that what we do is good for people and will keep people safe isn’t it better to help the most people possible? These martial arts names keep people away.
Add some fitness classes to your gym. CardioMMA, CrossFit (or Kravfit), etc. This is very important. You are now not only the “martial arts school” but a fitness and self defense Mecca!!
Start ’em out right; The biggest mistake gyms make? They throw new people into a regular class for their “intro”. You have seen the USKMA intro in your instructor training. Prospective members get a half-hour intro and stay to take a level 1 class right after. Then, while they are totally worn out because it was a great workout, you talk to them about signing. The intro isn’t teaching…..it’s selling. Don’t do the intro on one day and the class on another because they may not come back. If they leave after the intro they’ll think that was like a class and wasn’t much of a workout.
Charge $19 for the intro, class and a t shirt. Do not do free intros! Anyone who won’t pay $19 for the intro won’t pay $100 per month for the lessons. You can get t shirts made for $6. In the years we’ve been doing this, we’ve given out thousands of t-shirts. That’s thousands of mini billboards walking around the city! Put your web site on the back!! A trick to get your intro numbers boosted by 50%…..anytime you have an intro tell them they can bring a friend with them for free, that you are running a two-for-one this month on the intros!!
Keep treating ’em right; Be all about the customer! No matter how big you get have a family feel, let the members know that you care about them. Before and after classes, make your rounds and talk to members, shake hands and let them know that you are glad to see them. Everyone on your staff must do this….no assistants standing in the corner and talking with each other. All members must get attention in class. Make sure you or an assistant help every single person in every single class. One of our selling points is it’s like a personal training session without the high cost. Add some extras for them. We give a free weapon disarm seminar every other Friday evening. We also give a once a month Saturday morning free women’s self defense class for the community that male members send their significant others to.
Would you invite your mom?; This should go without saying…keep the gym clean and organized! I’ve been to some mighty messy gyms. If it smells like a sweat box or is a mess people don’t join!
Spin the right Web; Your web site has one job and one job only…to get people in to take your intro. Nobody cares who trained you, how great you are, or even what you teach. They want to know what it will do for them! Check out Newworlddf.com, Alaskakravmagafitness.com & SJkravmaga.com. There is a reason for everything on it. You need to put your intro special on there, tell them how they’ll lose weight and get into shape with a workout that could save their lives as well as their loved ones. Make it easy to navigate and figure out how to contact you. Stay away from detailed class descriptions (like “you’ll spend 15 minutes on combatives, then 20 minutes on a self defense technique, and we rotate the lesson plans every 14 days”)…some may read that and decide they know what classes are like and not call you. Another big thing is the word “fight” or “fighting”. Get rid of it! We are self defense and fitness. NOT self defense, fitness and fighting. Sure, we teach good fighting but if it’s on the site 90% of women who were going to call don’t!! Also, be careful of what pictures are on your site. Look at ours on the above listed sites. We don’t have anyone in martial art uniforms ever. We don’t have a picture of a guy getting punched in the face or kicked in the groin. We have a very attractive fitness model! Girls want to look like her and guys want to just look!!
Don’t talk dollars; On the site and on the phone NEVER tell them your prices. The only thing they hear is $19 for an intro. If they keep pressing give them a range: “memberships range from $80 to $130 depending on too many variables to make clear right now…I’ll go over it all in detail with you after the great intro class!” If you mention prices you will have your intros drop by 30%. People will think it sounds too high. After your awesome intro and class, they will be blown away at how cheap it is because you BUILT VALUE FIRST!!
Get help; Get a marketing person. When someone calls us they rarely get the voicemail, it is a live person answering. This person gets into businesses, figures the ad budget (you need one of those), answers phone calls and e-mails, talks to intros, signs them up, etc. The great thing about this is it costs you nothing. Give your marketing person $10 for every intro they get in and $50 for every sign up (we charge $19 for an intro and a $59 set up fee for sign ups). Don’t take the first person for this job that you find, in fact, when you hire tell them it’s for a month. If they do well, it’s permanent. We train the marketing aspect of gym operation in our instructor training. Get the right person in there and it makes all the difference!
Get more help; Enlist a billing service. This is a must. Don’t do this yourself. They can charge from 3 to 8 percent but they make you more than that in the long run. We recommend Member Solutions as their software will get your whole gym automated. We’ve got a deal for better rates than their off-the-shelf rates, so go through us to get into Member Solutions.
Advertising works; You must spend on advertising. We spent $2,000 a month for our three gyms in Ohio. If we sign 2.5 people to 12 month agreements in that month because of these ads, they paid for themselves. We sign many more than 2.5 per month! You have to spend some money on advertising but don’t waste money. You want to do the free (or near free) stuff, flyers, snipe signs, demos, etc. Definitely advertise weekly on Craig’s list and other such sites under friendly headings like weight loss, exercise/fitness and self defense instruction. I have run gyms since ’92 and have tried just about everything advertising-wise. The only thing we put money into anymore is car wraps and billboards (see update on advertising below). That’s all that seems to work. We’ve got a print ad and billboard creative available to affiliates.
Be the highlight of their day, not their whole day; Classes have to be awesome. You saw the USKMA classes. Keep them moving (it is way better to under talk than over) and sweating. Blast the heavy metal and put drills at the end so they leave panting and telling you what an awesome class it was! At our training you saw how to run a great class in 45 to 55 minutes. I see gyms with 90 to 120 minute long classes. This is a mistake. People have a life, most people do not have 2 to 2.5 hours (with drive time) to give up three nights a week. Long classes will keep people from joining!
Be competitive; Beat the competition by having a lot to do and charging only one price for it all. Affiliate with CrossFit or Monkey the like…..or teach KravFit. We recommend adding CardioMMA as well and at least one boxing, MMA, BJJ and Muay Thai class a week. Here’s our thoughts on pricing: Our Ohio gyms were as big as they were because people see the value and appreciate that we don’t try to take every dime that they have from them. We don’t charge for add-on programs, we have a “one price to do it all” philosophy. In Ohio we charged $96 a month for a 12 month agreement and $132 a month for month-to-month. We go against the “experts” who tell you to be the most expensive gym in town, to be the Rolls Royce. Anyone who has been to our classes know that we are the Rolls Royce AND we are affordable. They appreciate this and tell all their friends. Why have an exclusive clientele and small classes? Huge classes are so much more fun to teach, more energetic and prospective members think that you must really be the place to join because so many people are there!
Hire the best people; Let your staff know that you expect them to be sharp. They should be studying extra things like Muay Thai, boxing, etc. We get members who are masters from other systems and competitive MMA fighters who see Krav and want to know it. If they are watching a class deciding whether to sign up or not and see my instructors hitting focus mitts or sparring, you want them to think, “they really know what they are doing!” not “they aren’t very good on the mitts,” etc.
That’s not all… If you are a gym who has not yet started operation please contact us about lease negotiations and grand openings. E-mail me any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for being part of the USKMA!! We look forward to a long and successful relationship!!
SOME BLOGS I’VE WRITTEN FOR AFFILIATES OVER THE YEARS;
THE USKMA SYSTEM
When I talk of “the system” I am referring to exactly what we did with Ohio Krav Maga & Fitness to grow to 750 members and sign an average of 48 adults per month over a two year period. Here is exactly how we are doing this:
-It starts with getting people in the door! Advertising is a must. Do all the free advertising you possibly can such as demos, “deal of the day” internet promotions and snipe signs. The only two things we recommend spending advertising dollars on are social media (big time) and car wraps. There is much more about these two things towards the bottom of this “Start Here!” e mail.
-Another part of getting people in the door is answering the phone and e mails. Hire someone to do this! They have the gym’s phone forwarded to their cell so anyone that calls talks to a real person. They check e mails a couple of times an hour and get right back to people. They get paid only on who they bring in and sign. This is a must!! Everything (phone calls, your web site, e mail answers, etc.) is geared towards getting people in for an intro. Prices are never, ever given out until the customer has done an intro!
-Your web site has one purpose…to get people in for an intro. They don’t care what you have done, who trained you, etc. You must highlight losing weight and getting into shape. No pictures of people in uniform, people getting punched or kicked, etc. but only of a fitness model. See previous articles on what your web site should be. Also, see SJKM.com to see what a site should look like.
-When the customer comes in for an intro the person who they talked to is there to sign them up for the intro, give them a tour and introduce them to the instructors. After the intro they are there to show them the schedule and sign them up.
-People who want to try our gym have one option and one option only…an intro and a class with a t shirt for $19. No free class, no bringing them back for a second visit, etc. If we do our intro and class correctly they will never be more ready to sign than right then! BTW, if they won’t pay $19 for the intro how do you think you will get $100 a month out of them? The intro has two purposes. 1) We show them some basic skills. We don’t throw people into a class without an intro as they will feel lost and stupid…lost and stupid do not equal signing up. 2) It is selling! They will hear how scientific Krav is, how it makes sense for them (great for the small female, great for the muscle head, etc.), what a great workout it is, etc. Pair them up with a member who has been there awhile who will help them in class.
-Our classes all follow the same template. We keep classes moving and fun. They sweat and smile! They should be huffing and puffing by the end…“the workout that can save your life”. Even if your class is mostly new people run it the same…full bore. Tell the new people to take breaks when they need them, that it is our job to get them into shape.
-We offer Krav Maga, Crossfit, CardioMMA and one class a week of boxing, MMA, BJJ and Muay Thai at our gyms. We are a Krav gym but if that’s all we offer we are competing against only other martial art gyms. IF we have fitness we are now competing against LA Fitness, Gold’s gym, etc. We offer all of this for ONE price. People are amazed at all they can do for one price and we get a lot of sign ups because of all we offer.
-Customer service is a must! We are competing against the big box gyms who charge $19 a month. We can beat them by overwhelming our customers with service! The big box gyms sign people and hope they don’t show up. We want people to know that we are happy that they are there. Everyone gets greeted and talked to. We give everyone personal attention in class. We answer questions patiently and happily. If you see ego in an instructor cut them quick!
GOTTA HAVE FITNESS
In the last section we talked about adding fitness classes to your gym. This is something we preach on often and really believe is a must. If you don’t have fitness classes you are basically a martial arts gym with a cool Krav class. You are competing against other martial arts gyms for adults…who are running from martial arts anyway! When you have fitness you are going after a whole different crowd, and it’s a huge market. You are then competing with Gold’s gym, LA Fitness, etc….and we do a much better job with customer service than they do.
We highly recommend both Crossfit (or Kravfit) and CardioMMA classes. Crossfit is so well known now that people are looking for it and your prices will be less than most Crossfit gyms (and you offer more). CardioMMA is for the women who are looking for ramped up Taebo as well as the guys who want “fight fitness” and we love that it’s only a thirty minute class.
The first step is to schedule the classes. You can start off with two weeknights and Saturday morning. You eventually want classes every week day and Saturday morning. We actually schedule classes: 5:45 CardioMMA, 6:30 Krav Maga and 7:30 Crossfit. This gives members several classes to come to all evening long…every evening. LA Fitness doesn’t tell members they can come in for class only two days a week during a specific one hour time frame…neither should we.
Go to Crossfit.com for ideas on Kravfit and to the affiliate page of our site for ideas on CardioMMA. We recommend taking Crossfit instructor training even if you aren’t going to be an affiliate to see how they run classes. At a minimum join a crossfit gym in your town to see how it’s ran.
Always have a “one price for everything” policy. People are used to having to pay extras for add on programs. They appreciate one price to do it all and it is a very good selling point.
Having these classes gives you a whole different demographic (a much larger one) to go after and to advertise to. At our gym those testing in Krav looked ten times better once we added the fitness classes. Fitness definitely makes your members safer!!
Be a Gym, not a Dojo
I have seen a few martial arts “dojos” add our Krav Maga class and get only a small bump in membership. I have seen several gyms add our entire system and double their adult enrollment within a month. If you are a martial art dojo who adds a Krav Maga class you are still going after the same people. You are competing with other martial arts dojos for those interested in martial arts. You are hoping that there are some people out there who have heard of Krav Maga and are looking for it. When you add our system with the Krav Maga, CrossFit/Kravfit and CardioMMA you are now competing with World’s gym, Gold’s gym, LA Fitness, Life Styles gym and all the other big box gyms. Your audience of potential members goes up tremendously
You have heard me say many times if you ask 1,000 people in your community if they are interested in learning to punch & kick correctly and how to defend themselves you will have 50 or so raise their hands. If you ask that same 1,000 in your community “who wants to lose ten pounds?” you will have 940 of them raise their hands. There are a ton of adults joining fitness gyms and very few joining martial arts gyms.
We aren’t looking for the twenty-something guy who wants to learn MMA. That is a small audience (without much disposable income anyway). We are looking for the same audience that the fitness gyms are going after…most every adult! We want the housewife who was going to join a gym and walk on a treadmill to come in and try one of our intros. That is when it is our time to shine and win her over. She sees that she can do it, that it is fun, that it is a much better workout than any treadmill and that we are professionals. We tell her “why go somewhere to walk on a treadmill, what are you going to learn there? I’ve been walking since I was 11 months. Come in and learn how to defend yourself and your family. What you learn here can save your life”.
Here is the cool thing. We charge five times more than the box gyms and have basically zero overhead. We actually brag about how sparse our gym is, how it is a real workout and how we don’t have a juice bar or Zumba or equipment. Think about it, the box gyms have to have multi-million dollar buildings, half a million dollars worth of equipment, extravagant locker rooms and showers, dozens of plasma tv’s, etc, etc. just to compete. We have basically a warehouse with some mats on the floor. We have plain locker rooms, maybe one shower in the whole place, no juice bars or any or that crap. But…we have a lot that they don’t. We have classes that actually teach something. We have professional staff with black belts and years of experience teaching CardioMMA, Krav Maga, etc. and not just jazzercise instructors who went to a weekend cardio Karate instructor seminar. We are experts who know exercise physiology and not just a staff member telling members how a piece of equipment is supposed to work. We don’t try to sign up thousands and hope that they don’t come but instead build relationships and look at members as family.
There are now over 760 members at OKM&F. The way that they have grown is to look like a fitness gym and not a dojo. Some things to think about as far as that goes:
- Look at how your gym is decorated. You don’t see a bunch of Asian motif or pictures of people in uniforms at our gyms. You see MMA posters, CrossFit posters and pictures of us with fitness big wigs and UFC fighters.
- Box gyms don’t have kids running around, neither should we. We attempt to schedule kids classes early in the evening so our adult classes never see them. We for sure try to schedule our intros during kid free times!
- Box gyms don’t tell members they can come two days a week during a one hour time frame. We have something that members can come to every week night and Saturday morning all evening. We may have a CardioMMA at 5:30, a Krav Maga class at 6:30 and CrossFit at 7:30 during weeknights. We want to fit people’s schedules, not make them fit ours.
- Box gyms don’t force people into 12 month contracts or have a “black belt club” so neither do we. We do have a year contract that saves members money but we also have a straight month to month with no commitment.
- People wear shorts and t-shirts to work out in at the box gyms. This is what our members wear as well. We do not mandate a school shirt, a color that must be worn, etc. because the box gyms don’t. Why give people hoops to jump through?
- An instructor at a box gym isn’t bowed to or called “sifu”, “master” or even “sir” nor do they tell members to do push ups if they are late, etc. Why would we do this to adults at our gyms?
Is this a sell out and watering down the “art”? I don’t believe so. If you have seen our Krav Maga classes you know that they are real deal and real self defense. People are learning something that can save their lives. In the fitness classes they are doing things that will add years to their lives. If we are making people safer and healthier why would we want to put hoops to jump through in place to where we are only affecting a few dozen people when we can do the same for the masses? The only answer I have for that is “baggage from the way we were taught… and egos.”
RUNNING THE GYM
Here are our thoughts on how we run Ohio Krav Maga & Fitness.
-What do we pay people? We have a lot of instructors who teach a few classes a week for us at one gym or another. They get $25 per class. In each gym we have a manager. When we start a gym they are expected to teach all of the classes, make sure it’s clean and do whatever it takes to run that gym. They get $1,000 a month for the first on hundred members that the gym has. At one hundred and twenty five members they get $1,250, at one hundred and fifty members $1,500 and so on. This, to me, gets them involved in the marketing because they need more people in to make more money.
-We generally try to have someone to clean each gym ($10 an hour or so) and a have someone sitting at the desk to greet people, answer questions, etc., again for $10 or so an hour.
-Every gym should have a marketing person. This person has only one job, getting people to sign up. They answer all phone calls and e mails as well as be at the gym for intro night to sign people. The cool thing is that they pay for themselves as they get ten dollars per intro (we charge $19 per intro) and fifty dollars per sign up (our sign-up fee is $79).
-Classes are Monday – Thursday and Saturday morning. Nobody shows for Friday night classes but we keep this open for tests and seminars. Note: some areas are just different. One of our Florida affiliates can’t get people to show up on Saturday’s because everyone goes to the beach!
Intros are one week night and Saturday morning.
-We try to have locker rooms and a shower at our gyms. People expect this as we are competing against the big box gyms with their million dollar buildings. In the same breath, don’t try to compete with their building. We sell the bare bones, serious workouts only look. Don’t put a lot of money into decorating or looks but keep it clean and “serious” looking.
-In that same vein, do not put workout equipment in your gym…ever! I once had a manager of one of my gyms move a bench for bench presses into our gym, and another bring in a treadmill. I had them take them right back out! If we start putting in equipment we will look like we are trying to be a Gold’s gym or an LA Fitness. We will lose that comparison! They have million dollar equipment budgets. We must embrace the “bare bones” look. Brag about the garage type atmosphere and how it’s not powder puff (like the gyms) but serious working out!
-Start and end on time! You look unorganized when a group of people are jamming the hall because their class should have started but can’t because the previous one isn’t over yet.
-We absolutely want members to have many choices of classes every day we are open. LA Fitness doesn’t tell people they can only come to two classes a week and neither do we! Mon. through Thursday we have a 5:45 CardioMMA, at 6:30 a Krav Maga level 1 and at 7:30 a Crossfit class. We do the same thing on Saturday morning. When we talk to potential members it helps to have so many choices for them to attend class.
-We have an early morning class at one of our gyms and two days a week we have an 11:30 class at all three but our advice is don’t add these until you need them. You don’t want to be teaching day classes for one and two members when you can be out marketing. When we had a good ten people tell us they needed these classes to make membership worth it we added them.
-We don’t nickel and dime people. There is very little gear that they need to buy. We have a package for level two including gloves, headgear and shin guards and that’s about it. We do come up with new t shirts often, and these are big sellers but our gym shirt isn’t mandatory. As long as they have sleeves, any shirt will do. I have seen Krav gyms that have mandatory pants (crappy nylon ones) and mandate their gym shirts. Gold’s gym doesn’t do this and neither should we…people appreciate this
Quite a few of our affiliates have changed their web sites after joining the USKMA and hearing our advice. There are a few out there that still aren’t great…and that is costing those gyms money! Your website has one job and one job only…to get people in to take your intro. Nobody cares who trained you, how great you are, or even what you teach. They want to know what it will do for them! Yes, you need two sites if you have a kids program. The stuff on your kids site is a turn off for adults and vice versa. The cost isn’t much…and it makes you much more than it costs! On your adult site get rid of any pictures of uniforms, people hitting and kicking or being hit or kicked, classes standing in strict lines, etc. On Ohio Krav Maga’s site our pictures are of a fitness model. Men are interested because she looks fit and beautiful and women are interested because they want to be fit and beautiful.
There should be a reason for everything on your site. You need to put your intro special on the home page and tell prospective members how they’ll lose weight and get into shape with a workout that could save their lives and help them protect their loved ones. Make it easy to navigate and figure out how to contact you. Stay away from detailed class descriptions…some may read that and decide they know what classes are like and not call you. Another big no-no is the word “fight” or “fighting.” Get rid of it! We are self defense and fitness. NOT self defense, fitness and fighting. Sure, we teach good fighting but if it’s on the site a large percentage of people who were going to call you won’t!!
IF you want a site to be used by your members for communication, schedules, etc. get yet another site or a special page. Your site isn’t used for them, they are already in and paying! Your site, again, has only one purpose… to get people in the door to see your way cool intro and class! For the love of Pete, do NOT have any price on the site except that of the $19 intro!
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Look at Ohiokravmaga.com and steal our ideas. I will be glad to critique your site, just e mail me and ask!
THE SYSTEM OF KRAV MAGA
Another system to talk about is our system of techniques and philosophy. We want to keep the system pure and our affiliates do a pretty good job of doing this as they are teaching Krav Maga the way they were taught. We believe in the system and absolutely know that it has saved lives. In keeping Krav Maga pure:
-It is your gym and you can certainly teach other techniques that are not Krav Maga. Always make sure your students know that the particular technique you are showing isn’t in our system but is just something cool you want to show them.
-In whatever level you are teaching make sure every technique gets tested on. During a test it’s tempting to skip a few of the easier or less useful techniques but don’t. They are all in there for a reason.
-Make sure you aren’t teaching that the techniques are magic. Techniques save no one. Philosophy is what will save someone in the real world. Specifically the philosophy of go off, go forward, go hard, go mean and destroy. I’ll take someone with an “I won’t lose, I will hurt you” attitude over a Master of any martial art any day!
-With the above thought on philosophy trumping technique always keep classes fast paced. Slowing down and teaching techniques is merely teaching self defense techniques and not self defense!! I don’t care if their block is a few degrees off of a perfect angle if they block and then go right into six punches, a kick in the groin, a clinch with knees and then stomp the idiot into the ground. Absolutely run every technique, after just a few reps, to the end as if it were a real attack.
-Always run drills in class. This will be the best thing we do for people if they are ever attacked! Again, a technique will not save them but going hard out lasting the attacker will. You are conditioning them to not quit, ever. This is gold! One thing that I see that I am not a fan of in drills is pushups, jumping jacks and other calisthenics. I understand that these are to wear people out but I would just as soon wear them out fighting…throwing punches, kicks, sprawling, etc.
-Teach and talk about avoidance. We should, in this order, 1) not be there (stay away from trouble), 2) run, 3) de-escalate, 4) pick something up to use as a weapon and finally 5) Krav Maga. Self defense is a limited number of techniques and tactics that might save your butt after you’re already screwed!
-Train to fight with the adrenaline dump, being exhausted and wanting to quit, a realistic attacker and not a statue holding a weapon, with an arm tied to your body simulating injury, etc. Those that only train techniques and are always fresh and comfortable in a gym freeze when real violence finds them on the street.
-I hope that all of your instructors are looking at the technique dvd’s at least once a month and train together as a group a couple of times a month. It is very frustrating for members if one instructor is teaching them one way and another tells them that way is wrong. Instructors should also be the most in shape person in the class!
EXTRA $$ IDEAS
We make money for the gym from member payments, intros, pro shop and testing. What else can we do to bring in some cash? Here are my ideas;
-First off, make sure testing is done right. Gear everyone towards testing up. We run these every six weeks at our gyms. Those that have the three months in and are ready can test and those who aren’t quite ready don’t have to wait three more months since tests are ran every six weeks. Make sure everyone is invited to the workshop part of the test whether they are testing or not. We charge $15 for the workshop and another $40 for the test.
-Seminars. Special seminars every quarter are a good money maker. We have lesson plans for Home Invasion, Women’s self defense, handgun, knife, stick, long gun, advanced techniques, etc. seminars on the site. We usually run these two hours and fifteen minutes and charge $39 per person…bring a friend and it’s $35 a piece.
-Private lessons. Most of us just let our assistant instructors run their own private lessons in our gym. We are running a business and we need to have all of the income sources that we can. We need to have ALL private lessons scheduled at the desk. Charge $55 (or whatever) for an hour private lesson and pay staff $35 an hour to teach them.
-CCW permit class. Find an NRA instructor who is willing to teach a large class of your members and have him kick the gym back 25% of what he charges. This class is mandatory for anyone testing for black belt.
-Nutrition seminars. Bring in an expert to talk to your members about nutrition or any other topic you can think of.
-CPR classes. Our instructors must have this anyhow so bring in an instructor instead of sending your people to other places. Charge a bit more than the instructor charges for the gym’s share.
-Do some leg work for a one time seminar or an ongoing class at local businesses. Real estate agencies are one place (they have a lot of female agents who meet strangers at houses), security guard companies, bars (bouncers love this stuff), bus drivers, taxi drivers, etc. A lot of large corporations bring people in for health and fitness seminars, etc. Go find them!!
-We’ve been approached by many instructors (dance, yoga, pilates, etc.) about renting space at our gyms. Make it worth your while money wise! Have them clean up after themselves and don’t schedule during a time you need or eventually may need. This can bring in a couple of hundred bucks a month.
-Offer the free monthly self defense for women seminars and even free law enforcement seminars. They are free at the time but they always bring in members in the long run!
Some of us are probably into Facebook big while others of us probably hate it and avoid it. For your business to grow to its full potential we have to use Facebook, but use it correctly. Here are some great ideas (shared by one of my affiliates) that you should implement as soon as you can.
-Set up a personal Facebook page. People want to connect with people, not with your gym’s Facebook page. You will then set up two separate groups. You will want to make these “secret” groups rather than those that can be found by just anyone.
-Group one is your gym’s group for members, potential members and staff. This is a positive, cheering section that brings members together with a family feel! You get members excited about this and posting daily. “Shout” people out by name and encourage. When anyone calls you to schedule an intro you ask them if you can friend them on Facebook and add them to this group. They look at this page before ever stepping into your gym and already see how positive the gym is and how much of a family atmosphere it has. After their intro you post and mention them by name and talk about what a great job they did. Make posting at least twice a day part of every staff member’s job on this page (encouraging a member by name, talking about the great class they just lead, a cool uplifting video, etc.). This is farming, not hunting…don’t try to sell anything on this page or seem like you are after any money whatsoever. The cool thing is whenever anyone “likes” anything on your page it posts on their page and thousands of people will see your gym’s posts! BTW, if anyone posts a gripe or complaint e mail them direct and ask to discuss it between just you and them.
-The second group you start is a staff only group. This is where communication with your staff takes place. Schedules, questions, positive messages, problems, drill ideas, etc. all go here. For example, staff can ask for coverage for a class they were supposed to teach on this page. You can post things like “Weapon Disarm Seminar a week from Saturday, bring up and push at the end of every class” or whatever else needs announced.
MORE ON ADVERTISING – UPDATED; Times change…we all know this. Therefore, we don’t want to keep doing things that are no longer effective when it comes to running our gyms. The USKMA has advised for years that, as far as advertising goes, the only things worth using are 1) all the free things (groupon, craigs list, snipe signs, etc.), 2) billboards and 3) tv ads. Technology is changing the way we need to market our gyms! Think about it, the groupons of the world have over marketed, I don’t even click on them anymore. When you see someone stopped at a red light do you see them looking up at billboards? Nope, they are looking down at their smart phones! DVR’s make it so that we can skip commercials. There is really only one form of advertising that is increasing in popularity…a bunch! Social Media, especially on mobile. Over 1 billion people are now on Facebook and YouTube reaches more U.S adults 18-34 than any cable network. We absolutely spend our advertising money on Facebook and the likes now. We boost posts and target them to the audience we pick. This is how to grow your business, how to connect with people today. We have one of the best in the business advising our affiliates, Andy Taylor. Andy is the USKMA’s advisor for social media. He’s also agreed to design web sites, social media sites, etc. for our affiliates at a much reduced rate compared to the corporations he handles these things for.
Another idea brought to us by Andy; Reward your members for coming to the gym. For every check in at the gym on facebook, you donate 35 cents to charity. The more check ins, the more exposure. Instead of paying 70-90 cents for ads, you can have your members promote the gym at a third of the cost. If you get 300 check ins in one month, that’s $105 and thousands of people will see it. Put up a white board and flyers announcing you will donate to whatever charity for every check-in & then remind them at the end of each class as well.
As for billboards, I still believe that they can bring people in but we have a less expensive and probably more effective method we recommend now. Car wraps. Our Jacksonville, FL affiliate (and co lead instructor for the USKMA) Brannon Hicks is using them and they pay for themselves…within two days he’s found! Wrap your vehicle with a fitness model and what your gym can do for its members along with web address and phone number and you have a permanent, rolling billboard. Brannon paid $1,400 for his and signed two people (who only heard about his gym from the car wrap) to a year agreement each within two days of having the wrap done. Drive it all over town and, when you are out of town or not needing your vehicle that day, park it in high volume parking lots and along high volume streets. Affix a slot that will hold flyers somewhere on your car as well. Pay for the art once and don’t have that monthly charge for a billboard. It works!!
CRAIG’S LIST; There are 3 categories on Craigslist and each week I rotate the listing from one to the other. Craigslist does not allow multiple postings in different categories at the same time. The categories are all under community…classes, events, and general.
Your write up should be something like this:
Want to lose weight? Get in shape? Learn how to defend yourself? Krav Maga will do it all and you will have a blast training with us! Learn from one of the top Krav Maga instructors in the country, Mark Slane. (Here you can put in a little of your bio.) Contact us today for more information or to schedule your intro! (Put in phone number, email address and/or Facebook page.)
I usually include a picture as well and I change the picture each week.
We are competing against the big box gyms, not martial art schools! The Gold’s, LA Fitness and Bally’s of the World have million dollar buildings, close to that in equipment and big advertising budgets…and charge only 1/3 as much as we do. How do we compete? We have two things going for us. First off, we are teaching something valuable. Getting in shape while learning to defend ourselves and our families is big. The other thing…customer service. The box gyms sign people and hope they don’t show. We are the opposite, we treat people like family, talk with them every time they come to class and care about them. As big as my gyms in Ohio got I still heard “this is like family” from members. That was music to my ears. When someone does quit give them an exit survey. They will always say “I just don’t have the time” or something like that. If they loved it and wanted to really do it they would make time. Let them know that they won’t hurt your feelings if they tell the truth and that you want to make the gym as customer service oriented as possible. They are doing you a favor by telling you every little negative thing they can think of because you can then fix it. Swallow your pride and listen!
When you do get complaints there is only one way to handle them. Whether the person has a point or is just a negative jerk who is being difficult they get the same answer. “We are totally about customer service, we love and appreciate our members. We apologize that this happened. We will fix it immediately. Please take this ______ as a gift from us and let us know what else we can do for you.” Even if you are right and they are just a trouble maker, be nice and take care of it. If you get a negative review on a social media site you type in this same answer and get hold of them personally with the same message. Even if they remain negative anyone who reads or hears your answer will be on your side. Again, don’t argue, justify what you did, say that it is policy or anything else. Show yourself to be all about the customer to difficult members and that is the perception everyone will have.
GEAR WE USE; Most from Century, call to set up a wholesale account. Most wholesale prices are close to half off.
Head gear we use; http://www.centurymartialarts.com/Sparring_Gear/Headgear/UFC_MMA_Headgear_14369P.aspx
shin guards we use; http://www.centurymartialarts.com/Sparring_Gear/Shin_Guards/Krav_Maga_Shin_Instep_145006.aspx
boxing gloves; http://www.centurymartialarts.com/Sparring_Gear/Gloves/Krav_Maga_Boxing_Gloves_145003.aspx
focus mitts I like (Longview martial arts give these out if a person signs the night of their intro…good idea); http://www.centurymartialarts.com/Targets_and_Shields/Targets/UFC_MMA_Punch_Mitt_14350P.aspx
Ring 2 cage has some good mitts as well.
Shields for knees;
For the curved kick shields and tombstone shields we use revgear. Revgear will give uskma affiliates 10% off wholesale. Tombstone shields are item 41002, curved kick shields are item 41110