Start your own school Tip 4: Get more Students with these Superhero Demo Lessons

Eventually you will have a waiting list of students desperate to join your school.   That’s your aim.  That’s your goal.

And if you’re not there yet,  or just starting out, then demo lessons can be one of the most powerful ways to get new students.   They’re often free, although sometimes paid, and give parents and kids – they both have to join AND the parents have to join in the activities too! – a chance to see how awesome and amazing you and your lessons really are.

Ninja Tip:  You get the parents to join in so they can *feel* just how different your lessons are.   Then, of course, they go away and tell all their friends about the totally amazing experience they just had.  If word of mouth is what you want, this how it starts!

One of my top tips is:

Don’t wait for the end, finish the lesson right in the middle of something really, really fun!

Say “Oh no, we’re out of time.  I hope you loved it and parents, the sign up forms are at the back!” and you’ll get the kids begging to sign up so they can come back next week.

So do a shorter than usual lesson, maybe just 30 or even 20 minutes.  My recommended order is :

  1.  Disco Warm Up,
  2. A content lesson such as How are you? (easy)  or What’s your name? (easy) or Pronouns ( impressive to parents!)
  3. Then finish the lesson with the Superhero theme.

Do all the fun stuff with the games & gestures, then time it so the time finishes just as you’ve finished the Superhero song.  The kids will be all pumped up and definitely wanting more. But tell them that’s all you have time for.  Human nature being what it is means they’ll want what they can’t have and start signing up for your courses!

Make sure you have an assistant ready with the paperwork (and payment forms) for parents to fill out right there and then.  (Pay a friend if you don’t have an assistant – it will be well worth the investment).  You want the parents to sign up right now whilst they remember what it feels like to be in your class.  People buy on emotion so don’t let them go home to “think about it” as everyday life will take over,  make it really easy for them to commit to your amazing lessons whilst their little darlings are feeling like they rule the world!

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...

21 Responses to “Start your own school Tip 4: Get more Students with these Superhero Demo Lessons”

  1. Margit

    I agree on the first part. So I always set my demo lessons on 40 minutes instead of 60.
    With the paperwork I do it the opposite way though, and pretty successfully. Maybe it’s a difference wether you are in a city, where life is faster and people don’t know each other so much or in the countryside.
    If I would put down forms to sign up right away some would pull back;

    I personally favor those places that tell me “Take your time, look around and try other schools before signing up here” This makes me feel that this one school is very mature and confident and won’t be beaten easily.
    So this is my tactic.

    I also tell the parents how important is it that their KIDS want to come and that it is not the parent’s wish in first place. So “please talk to your kids at home and listen to what they want”
    This also makes a good impression on the parents, as who wouldn’t be impressed about a person caring about their kids thinking and feeling.
    And of course I’m completely sure, that the kids will tell them “I want to go there”.
    1 out of 10 doesn’t want to, but it always is the one kid that was giving the group a hard time during demo lesson, so I know ahead, (and would suggest to the parents) that this kid probably isn’t right here now)

    Anyway, I really love these posts . talking about it makes me aware of things. So far I have done all this marketing stuff out of “intuition” / some feeling, of what works and what doesn’t. Not thinking professional at all. Knowing the professional tricks gives some more confidence. So can’t wait for the next one.

  2. richard

    Hi Margit,

    Glad you liked the post! With the signups, it’s not a case of “forcing” them to sign or anything, it’s just a case of giving them such an amazing experience that they’ll want to sign up there and then and everything is ready to go! They’ll be wanting to sign up!

    It would be cool to let people go away and think about it rationally, but unfortunately that’s not how people buy, the dads and everyone else will weigh in with their opinions and as they probably didn’t see your class then that’s where the cheaper competitors can pick up sales.

    Psychologically it’s a great goal for the teacher to expect sign ups right away, it really boosts your game, plus recent research is showing that people who buy from pleasure enjoy them more than those who shop around too much!

  3. sussie

    It probably depends, as Margit says, on whether you live in a city or a smaller town.
    Here in Milan everything is really fast and kids have lots of activities going on. Last year I used Margit’s approach and said “think about it” (because that’s what I personally prefer as well when I buy something!), but I had quite a few parents saying “I meant to sign my son up for your courses, but time passed and I just forgot”!
    So for this year I haven’t planned any demo lessons yet, but I make sure I always carry with me the info sheets and registration forms! A lot of my work is done at birthday parties or other social gatherings (for the kids of cours!) where you talk to other mums and create interest. And with GE I’ve had only 3 kids out of more than 50 that have not wanted to continue – and those were “problem-creators” anyway, so just as well!
    Anyway, I really love these marketing tips Richard, they really open up my eyes to things I didn’t think about before!
    Bye for now,
    sussie

  4. Stephen

    Another great tip I hadn’t really thought about! I fall into the right then and there sign up category, because I found a lot of parents who came to my lessons wanted to just try what an English lesson was like, and then shop around. In a perfect world, of course I would like prospective students to shop around and then choose my English school because its so good, but in real life….Actually, I would like to know if you guys have good ideas for model lessons and what ages you use them for? Richard, it seems like the disco theme or rock paper scissors song followed buy the superhero theme seems to be a winner. Is that what you recommend?

  5. richard

    Yep, those are good, and something like the “How are you?” monster game is great to finish part way through!

  6. Stephen

    These ideas are great- any suggestions about tweaking these for a one on one demo lesson? Or would you just teach this in the same way?

  7. Margit

    Stephen,

    what age are you talking about for these one on one demo lessons?

    Are these students who-if they sign up- will also have one on one lessons, or are these “demo lessons ” for them more like “seeing which level they are” on your side to put them into the right class?

    Sorry for all these questions, I think I could give you a few ideas, but maybe now you’re on the forum it might even be good if you’d open up a thread there?!

  8. Stephen

    I’ve got my under 5 lessons sorted. I’m looking at elementary school students. Ok, I guess I should post this on the forum!!!

  9. sabamunawar

    sir in Pakistan most of the teachers have no higher qualification and they adhere to teaching profession what can we do in this situation kindly sujjest me something thank you

  10. Richard

    Hi Sabamunawar, first of all don’t worry about the higher qualifications. Instead of hiring teachers or choosing people who have “qualifications” I would always say “Hire for personality, train for ability” So find people in the local community who have passion and great personalities, and then you train them up to be great teachers. In countries like Pakistan we have always found our Superstar teachers like this. I have a post coming up about it soon!

  11. Fanitsa

    Hi Richard and all,
    I am about to start my second year of my own school, and my nerves are only just a little better than last year. I had planned to get all the parents together and talk about the course, then get the kids to do a trial the following week. But after reading this post, I was wondering if after presenting the course then perhaps any kids that have come along with the parents could participate in a demo?? do you think that would work?

  12. Richard Graham

    Hi Fanitsa! Usually most people do it by having the demo class for the kids (with the parents joining in!) as the introduction and then once the parents have signed up, that’s when you start the yearly meetings with them.

    You could do something with the parents if you wanted first BUT you can’t do it at the same time as a kids’ demo lesson. (the kids will demand attention when you are trying to talk to the parents and if you split them up the parents will never see how amazing your demo lesson is!)

    So I would go for the demo lesson for the kids and get the parents to sign up there and then – remember you only have so many places available this year so you won’t be able to take everyone!

  13. Fanitsa

    Hi Richard,
    wow, thanks, I never thought of getting the parents to join in! Sounds like full blown fun! maybe I will think over the weekend and see how it could work. I have another delima…for the little ones 3.5-6, I usually do a slightly different programme and think the demo lesson may not be right for them. They will be there also. perhaps there could be a small demo for them before the bigger kids? Thaks so much appreciate your help!

  14. Richard Graham

    Keep them separate and on separate days. You want the parents focus entirely on the kids doing the demo and then signing up ASAP. If you have other age kids hanging around you’ll lose the focus AND your potential new students!

  15. Fanitsa

    Hi Richard, I have already advised everyone to come along, so I can’t quite separate them now. Perhaps I can give examples for the young ones first and show the parents what we do, then do a brief intro for the older kids and then invite them there and then to participate in some fun! I originally had in mind to get 8 kids to try, but if you think I should get everyone involved…I will really need to keep it tight and have the room well organized! wish me luck ! thanks angain!

  16. Fanitsa

    Hi Richard…tomorrow is D- Day…and I’m getting myself ready for it! I have a question though, some kids have already let me know they would like to join a class and I have put their names down on the lists so as to keep them a place…is this ok? And then on the day I guess others can add their names to the list. As far as signing them up, it’s first 8 on the list then?

  17. Richard Graham

    Hi Fanitsa: Getting excited! 🙂 Definitely put their names on the list beforehand if they are joining. This adds even more social proof to the parents who haven’t decided yet. Yep, first 8 on the list gets in. Or …. if you are feeling confident and say there are 10 you could start a class with ten. Or just put the others on a waiting list. You might end up getting 2 classes of 8 ready!

  18. Fanitsa

    Thanks so much Richard..all these ideas in my head and not sure how to make them work… I really like the idea of this waiting list too! Just goes to show never put limits on yourself or your expectations! I must remember that very important point! Thank you!

  19. haneen

    I want to ask you how many kids should have in one class and what the ages should involved in ?

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