9 Ways to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse with Your Martial Arts Students

remorseAs a martial arts instructor or gym owner, you know just how much classes can cost. For eager and committed students, the investment is almost always worth the return; unfortunately, this may not be the case with every student on your roster. You want your clients to feel they’re getting a great value for their time and money, so making an effort to help them avoid buyer’s remorse is a wise business decision.

  1. Explain Training Costs Up Front – One of the fastest ways to make your clients regret signing on the dotted line is to be vague or cagey about training costs. If you’re signing up a new student at a promotional rate, make sure you’re making any impending increases in pricing clear from the outset. No matter how much a client loves your program, they will encounter some buyer’s remorse if they’re later made to feel as if they’ve been scammed a bit on pricing.
  2. Include Equipment Breakdowns – Training costs are one thing; parents and adult students alike expect to spend a reasonable amount of money for classes, but the cost of renting or purchasing equipment on top of those charges can quickly add up to sticker shock. Make sure you’re outlining not only training costs, but also the expected cost of equipment before accepting payment.
  3. Offer Contract Transparency – It’s no secret that some students come to their first few classes full of enthusiasm, only to realize that martial arts isn’t as good a fit for their lifestyle or tastes as they first imagined. Buyer’s remorse doesn’t necessarily set in when they reach this realization; more often, it comes when they’re not able to understand an exit strategy. Make sure any cancellation policies in the contract are carefully spelled out before money ever changes hands, and you can stave off some dismay down the road.
  4. Use Realistic Language During a Sales Pitch – An enthusiastic, gregarious salesperson can make martial arts classes seem like the most exciting and rewarding expense in the world, which is great for your bottom line and class roster. That enthusiasm becomes a problem when it starts to veer into the territory of unrealistic promises. Assuring a parent their youngster will be a black belt in a year might make them fork over the initial costs, but will make them feel serious buyer’s remorse when they realize just how unrealistic those promises are. This can easily come across as an unscrupulous sales practice, so make sure you’re using realistic language when you’re discussing classes with a prospective client.
  5. Invest in Your Facilities – No adult student or parent wants to shell out what they feel is top dollar for martial arts classes in a rundown, shabby or dirty gym. Make sure you’re investing in your facilities, and at the very least are committed to keeping things clean and in good repair.
  6. Match Instructors Carefully – If you have more than one instructor on staff, take the time to carefully match new students to their teachers. Even a seasoned vet can be a poor choice for kids’ or beginners’ classes if they have little patience for repetitive, low-level instruction. A bored, disinterested or unpleasant instructor can quickly sour a new student on not only your gym, but martial arts altogether.
  7. Offer Trial Sessions – For the same reasons you’ll want to be transparent about contract terms with new students, you may also want to consider offering a few no-strings-attached, no-obligation trial sessions to brand new students. Within three or four lessons, students will have a good idea of whether or not martial arts training is right for them. If not, they’re free to explore other interests with no obligation, and won’t feel buyer’s remorse, which all too often translates to poor online reviews and word of mouth advertising.
  8. Cultivate Your Brand Reputation Carefully – Your brand reputation can make some otherwise satisfied clients feel some buyer’s remorse, especially if they discover dozens of terrible online reviews or hear horror stories from past clients after signing a contract. This is why it’s so important to always cultivate a brand reputation carefully, and to address issues as soon as they appear. The last thing you want is for a happy client to decide your gym isn’t for them based not upon their own experiences, but on the bad word of mouth from disgruntled past students.
  9. Make Yourself Available – Adult students and parents are the ones most likely to feel buyer’s remorse; kids don’t necessarily have a concept of money spent versus value in these situations. They can, however, cause their parents to feel very strong buyer’s remorse if they’re not happy. Many students, especially those in group class settings, need some one-on-one attention and nurturing to stay confident and happy. Even if you don’t have time for individual attention in a group class, you can make yourself available for questions and comments after the session.

Buyer’s remorse isn’t the result of sticker shock, though high prices can and do make people think twice about renewing an existing contract or signing on the bottom line. True buyer’s remorse happens when your clients or their parents don’t feel that they’re getting a good value for money spent. The best way, then, to avoid buyer’s remorse in your students is to make a point of focusing on great value and always managing expectations.