The economy is limiting the budgets of everyone. I can attest since I almost didn’t have enough money yesterday to fill up the gas for my lawnmower. I have spoken to several people about why classes are canceling, attendance is poor, and what to do to successfully schedule and host a class. Here is what I have heard:
- The market is tough out there right now
- People are not making the same amount of money they did before
- It takes too long to drive to the class
- No one will open up their email
- We can’t afford to host another class
I don’t think there is one answer to this question. In asking the organizations that have had great success have said the same thing, “Marketing!” A combination of effective techniques both traditional and non traditional will fill the seats every single time.
Here are the six ways to help fill the seats:
- Create value. Instead of dropping the course price add extra benefits the student will receive for attending. Add password protected PDFs online for registered students to access prior to the class. Ask a sponsor to donate a door prize, host a raffle, 50/50, or give lunch to the students. Help them save money by offering a limited offer discount on future classes.
- Find marketing partnerships. A company or association has several alliances, affiliates, and vendor relationships that can help spread the word faster, more effectively, and successfully than from just one group. Develop a spreadsheet or category in your Microsoft Outlook program to list the your marketing partners. From the list, mail merge letters, envelopes, labels, and to email notifying these partners of upcoming classes.
- Write effective sales copy. Written text must be short, to the point, and grab attention. Also, the text should state features and benefits that will contribute to the students’ bottom line. Avoid negative words or statements too. Be positive that your class will offer value over the cost of tuition and time commitment.
- Cross promote with other groups or schools. There are other real estate schools in the area offer similar courses. Double up your marketing efforts by cross marketing your classes to their group and they will return the favor by marketing to their members. Since peoples’ schedules are so tight they cannot always make every scheduled class.
- Take surveys. It makes no sense to schedule a class you may think people want to take no one would attend if it was free. Ask your members questions on a biannual basis. Take a survey during the annual conference or convention on a paper format and another by email. Make sure email addresses are current, accurate and updated. The last and most important part of surveys is offering some sort of prize for filling them out. This could be in a form of a raffle to win a big prize, gas card, or gift card for their favorite espresso.
- Ask the speaker to promote. The fee for teaching should be earned in the delivery and marketing of the course. Each professional sales trainer should have a database of people that would attend their presentation anywhere in the United States. The speaker could send out an email to their database, create a video introduction, create marketing materials, campaigns, and articles that attendees would want to see prior to the class.
There are many more ways to fill seats in the classroom and I urge to make comments or suggestion on what your thoughts are, what has worked for you, and what has not worked. We must emphasize value. Eric Hoeffer says, “The learners shall inherit the earth, for the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to handle a world that no longer exists.” Knowledge is power and action using knowledge leads to success.