As school owners and instructors, you really have only two main jobs: enrolling new students and keeping the old ones. Imagine how much more business could result from increasing your retention by just a few percentage points.

So, how do you keep students coming back to class? Here are four strategies I’ve used across my locations to successfully improve student retention and grow my schools.

Four Ways You Can Improve Student Retention

1. Offer Great Classes: By far the most important thing we can do to keep attrition low is to teach high-energy, benefit-filled classes. There are a lot of components to a great class, but by far the most important is a well-thought out class plan based on a strong mental benefit or life skill.

Long gone are the days of teaching off the cuff. Pick which kick, punch, or technique you’re going to focus on ahead of time and what life skill you plan to emphasize.

Emphasizing drills that develop both physical and life skills help ensure students leave having smiled, sweated and learned something.

2. Do Consistent Progress Checks: A lot of schools do a good job of knowing why a student first walks through the door. A key to great retention is knowing six months later what that student still needs to work on.The best way is to sit down next to mom or dad and strike up a conversation. For example, you could start with “Johnny has been working really hard the past few months. How have things been going at home and school?”If there is a challenge in one of these areas, the parent is going to appreciate you going out of your way to help.
3. Build Stronger Relationships: This is huge! The schools that keep students the longest know not only the student, but also know the family. Make it a point to learn the names of any siblings. Know what mom and dad do for a living.Remember the small things—maybe that family is house shopping or just bought a new dog. People like to do business with people they like.By being genuinely interested in your students’ families, they’ll begin to feel like part of our family.

4. Create a “Third Destination”: Make your school an exciting and fun gathering place for students and families. Starbucks introduced the idea of making their stores the third destination for its customers after home and work.

The the idea being that Starbucks isn’t just a place you go on the way to somewhere else, it is the place you are going that feels just as comfortable as home.

Your martial arts school should have the same type of environment. Your school should be the place that your families want to spend their time.

Consider hosting special events as another way to make your school the place to be, such as “Bring a Friend” Days, Board Breaking, Special Weapons Seminars, etc.

Making Retention Stick

Incorporating these retention techniques to grow your martial arts schools is easier than you think. Start with focusing on one of these tips before adding more changes.

So what have you done to maximize student retention? What is your biggest challenge to retaining more of your martial arts students? Send me an email or comment below. I’d love to hear what’s working for you.

Best Regards,
Master Brenner