How to sell your lessons and get more students

This is the write up of the second part of this week’s business & Genki personal development workshops in Beijing. Have a read of the first part to make sure you are up to speed on all the new Genki rules, then let’s get started…

Want more students? Lots more students?

Open or closed?

To get more students you need to sell to them.  Either  English as a whole, or your school or lessons in particular.  Luckily it’s easy to sell anybody anything.

But many people have no idea how to sell their products, their ideas or themselves. So today I got each person in turn to try and sell me the easiest possible item: chocolate cake!

They nearly all failed in the first sentence. They let me say “no”.

As we are bombarded with sales people all the time we’re naturally conditioned to say “no” whenever we are given the chance. So the first person asked “Do you like chocolate cake?” “No, thank you, goodbye”. It took several people before they got why this wasn’t working. Any closed question i.e. one that can be answered with yes or no will always receive a “no”. Try it and see!

Although one girl did try hard by asking “With this chocolate cake you can get any hot girl. Do you want a hot girlfriend?” sadly we’ve all been conditioned to say “no” even though many of us would probably realise later we should have said yes!

So if you do ask any questions.they have to be open questions, i.e. where it’s impossible to say “no” because the language part of our brain won’t let us! What sort of chocolate do you like the best? Which of our gorgeous cakes would you like? How many lessons shall we book today?

Then one girl started down the “it’s very cheap, we have a promotion” track. This never works. The instant reaction is “oh, this mustn’t be good if it’s discounted. I don’t want chocolate cake that no one else wants”. Social proof, if it’s cheap other people mustn’t like it. Therefore I don’t like it.

Cost nor product matter at all!

The first thing is to realise that it doesn’t really matter what the cake is about nor how much it costs. All selling is is the transfer of emotion. Your job as a seller is to get the image of the feeling that the product will bring firmly into the buyer’s mind. They have to see it, experience it, feel what it’s like to have this gorgeous, delicious, moist chocolate cake gently crumbling as you move the fork, passing the soft, fresh cream and the exotic wild strawberry jam layers. They have to imagine the luxurious taste as the first delicate chips of dark, fragrant chocolate caress your tongue. If your mouth is watering now, you want it. You don’t care what the cake is made of or what it costs, you want that feeling now!

It’s the same with anything you buy. You don’t buy a car because you want a car. What you buy is the feeling of freedom.
Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee, they sell the energy and the feeling the ambience creates.

As a salesperson, or teacher, you have to figure out what you are actually selling. What feeling you are selling. Then you put the clear emotional image of this feeling in the customer’s head and you’ve made the sale. Every time.

Why students really come to English class

For example students aren’t buying English lessons from you. They aren’t buying the experience of sitting in a classroom for several hours a week. Nor are they buying your wonderful curriculum or materials.

I asked one of the students today what she was buying when she came to class.
“English lessons” she said.
“No” I said.
“Well, yes I’m buying money. If I learn English I can get a better job”.
“No, money’s not want you want. You don’t want a big pile of paper on the floor.”
“Yes you’re right, I want to buy things.”
“Really, the experience of buying things is what you want?”
“No, I want clothes.”
“Pieces of cloth?”
“To make me feel comfortable”

This is one of the feelings people buy for, to feel comfortable. You don’t buy a central heating system, you buy the comfort warmth brings. You don’t buy a lock for your door, you buy the comfort the security brings.

So then I said to her “But those high heels don’t really make you comfortable, do they?”
“No!”
“So…”
“To make people notice me, to be attracted to me”

These are two more feelings. Everyone wants to be respected. Everyone wants to be loved.

Comfort. Love. Respect. Freedom.

There are more feelings of course, some students just want the companionship an English class brings, but these were the 3 that were driving this girl’s, and many others, decisions to come to English class. They are the same reasons people want to pass exams. Eventually it’s because they want to feel comfort, respect and love.

Plus just like buying a car, buying English is buying freedom. The big companies don’t show pictures of classrooms or books in their brochures. They show you pictures of smiling, loving faces and exotic locations.

So if you are selling your school, that’s the image you have to put in people’s minds. Comfort, respect, love and freedom. Not whether they want your “basic conversation” or “premium business package”. Comfort, respect, love and freedom. English allows you to relax and meet other people, to know you can communicate with whoever you meet. In work people will respect your new skills and English will allow you meet new friends and acquaintances. Your English school is freedom to explore life and travel wherever you choose.

Once you get that and can communicate it to your future students, you will have an infinite amount of new, happy and motivated customers.

Look how good it makes you feel

It’s just the same with Genki English. You aren’t buying a big box of plastic or downloads of digital bits. What you are buying is the excitement of moving and singing and dancing, the freedom of choosing when and how and what you teach. The warm feeling inside as you see children smile and the satisfaction from seeing the twinkle in their eyes as they learn new things. It’s the comfort from knowing that you are doing a very, very special day’s work each and every day. That’s why you buy Genki English and the new CD9s for all your students.

As L’Oreal says, because you deserve it.

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

3 Responses to “How to sell your lessons and get more students”

  1. Carol

    You are so right… I hadn’t really thought about it in those terms, but it makes all the sense in the world. Thanks…

    comfort… freedom….. respect…. love….

  2. Liza

    According to Roy Chitwood of Max Sales Int. there are 6 buying motives: Desire for Gain, Fear of Loss, Comfort and Convenience, Satisfaction of Emotion, Pride of Ownership & Security and Protection.

    I guess if you are selling something, your product must address at least one of these points, be easily identifiable and have enough customers.

    What was your motive for buying something recently? Whatever you bought, you bought it to address an area or problem of dissatisfaction you are experiencing at present.

  3. Greg T.

    Hi Richard, had no idea you were into business training. Frank Kern is an absolute master if not THE master of this kind of sales… Can you tell us what you gave them in the negotiation to get a better room at the hotel? Was it mentioning the hotel on your site, and the amount of views it will get? Curious..

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