12 days ago
9/20/19
Posts: 5418

Yeah, I’m starting to see why people don’t sign up after the trial. 

Edited: 12 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 39602

Funny, I've had that exact same moving excuse too...

"I'm moving out of town but just wanted to try a class to see what BJJ is like, because after I move, I was thinking about looking for a school there." --Makes perfect sense!

I too used to give almost a private to prospective students; tons of attention. I used to try to explain everything, be as welcoming as possible etc. They ALWAYS seemed to really "like" the intro class... and it made absolutely ZERO difference in enrollment.

I feel like some people who were curious about BJJ were satisfied by the intro. They liked it; it was fun & interesting and they never need to do it again. -Sort of like how skydiving is. Almost, EVERYONE who does a skydiving jump loves it and something like 97% never do a second jump. They got it out if their system.

Now, I just let prospective students do the class like everyone else. In terms of enrollment, that seems to work a tiny bit better.

Either people are gonna like BJJ or not. It's a just SUPER hard sell if it doesn't appeal innately to someone.
3 days ago
5/15/09
Posts: 6117

We have a specifically for people with less than 6 months of experience, to introduce them to Jiu Jitsu and to teach them a baseline fundamental curriculum that will help them better acclimate to a more intermediate so they know the basic, common techniques. It freed up resources from what we used to do which was basically teaching privates to brand new walk-ins, and stopped brand new people from stalling the more intermediate when they were in over their head and needed a lot of help (nothing wrong with being new and needing extra help, but this births a more appropriate place for it).

We do a free week long, no obligation trial, and I think it is important. Some people just try it out with no real intention of signing up, and that's whatever. It's bound to happen, and we have the resources because of the aforementioned to accommodate them. But if were asking you to sign a year long agreement, I want you to be damn sure you like it enough to commit to that. I want you to try different with different coaches and make sure the "vibes are right" and you're comfortable giving us money for that amount of time. I don't want any suprises. I don't want any headaches.

We also don't do a high pressure/hard sell at the end of the trial. Just explain pricing options and plans so you have a good idea of what works for you and what you're getting into...

Edited: 1 day ago
11/25/09
Posts: 4606
blabbermouth -
BTTMike -
blabbermouth -
The Maestro -
blabbermouth - 
The Maestro -
Calhoon -

To me a free trial is a way for someone to see if they are as interested in training as they think they might be or if your school is a good fit for them, etc. If a school offers free trials then they should have no expectations attached to them other than letting someone try out their gym.

 

In my experience though the school owners do not take this mindset and they theirs elf are not up front with the customers. Some school owners see the "free trial" as nothing more than a gimmick or trick to get people in the door where they can begin hard selling them with, often times, more manipulation. Anything they can do to get them to sign year long contracts whether the gym is a good fit or not.

 

My question becomes, it it ethical for gyms like this to offer free trials in the first place? 

Yes trials can be bad on both sides. There are definitely unethical practices from gyms out there. What you're typically referring to is the gym that hides all pricing info to get you in the door and hard sell you. I'm not defending that practice. 

 

My problem with the trial member is that I know that they can't afford it because I've already given the prices over the phone. There is no new pop-up price, so the trial member goes in knowing exactly what it costs to train at the academy. 

 

Some of these guys come in and they're kids; 19-23 years old. I can tell from what they're driving and their appearance if they will be afford to train there. I ask "Oh so you work close by?"

 

"Ya I'm not working right now. I go to school."

 

So how are you going to pay $200+ for a membership?  I'm not trying to get you interested in fitness. I'm trading you a free in exchange to potentially sell you a membership to MY academy. 

Are you losing anything? You're letting them sit in on a couple of and, if they literally have no experience with BJJ, you might spark something in them.

 

The resources of time and space for the mat.  If Im focusing on a new student, I have less time for paying members.  Trials are perfectly fine if the person has a legitimate shot at purchasing the service, but would you say that the Ferrari salesman is losing anything if I take an hour of his time and do a test drive?  There's no way in hell that I can currently afford a Ferrari

I get the sense that you value people's monetary potential over anything else. If other people get that same vibe from you, that could be costing you a lot of business. That would also explain why people come in for a trial and then tell you they can't afford it. I would do the same thing, then I would go find a school that I like better, even if it's more expensive.

I get the sense you’ve been to several academies over the years, and you’ve left them because of “the vibes”.

Well, I hope you're better at BJJ than you are at sensing things.

I've only ever left one academy due to "the vibes" and it was when they joined Team Lloyd Irvin and started doing things like having blue belts pay for training courses to take over teaching the regular A disgusting money grab from beginning to end which definitely resulted in substandard instruction.

 

I wish I had left the first academy I trained at because the guy was a complete shyster, but I was in my teens and didn't know any better.

 

There's a gym in this city that takes your money and ignores you, focusing on the a select clique of students while everyone else is left to fend for themselves. I've trained with several people who are pretty disgusted with their time there. Listening to these people, and other people with negative experiences in other gyms, it's pretty obvious that there are bad gyms out there and the consumer needs to be careful.

 

This guy has said a few things that would set off my radar and also the radars of many people I've talked to with negative gym experiences. Was there a better way to offer constructive criticism? I'm pointing out something that could be costing him business.

 

Now you know better, BTTMike.

Wow you really gave me a learnin’!!!11!
Your advice here was truly, profound. 

1 day ago
11/13/13
Posts: 801

Maybe be honest and ask. I know at my gym noone would mind. If anything we would take it as an opportunity to sell the place for down the road and word of mouth. My coach has always been good about this kind of stuff tho.

1 day ago
12/10/11
Posts: 1404
kennyfrommd -

Yes. For example, we sometimes have people drop in, that are clearly visiting from out of town that sometimes ask to do the "free trial" for prospective students to avoid paying a drop in fee. It's annoying and rude.

Doesn’t that benefit your current students though? They get to train with someone who has a totally different for a few days? 
 

11 hours ago
11/10/05
Posts: 7519
Muscle Vision - 
kennyfrommd -

Yes. For example, we sometimes have people drop in, that are clearly visiting from out of town that sometimes ask to do the "free trial" for prospective students to avoid paying a drop in fee. It's annoying and rude.

Doesn’t that benefit your current students though? They get to train with someone who has a totally different for a few days? 
 


we don't make them pretend to be in for a free trial. We just welcome visitors and I make sure that they are treated with respect and given good training rolls with nothing to prove.

The bjj community is one of the most valuable things to me in bjj. I hardly ever travel myself to take advantage of it. So it's not for my own training but just having that philosophy out there and knowing that this is something that I'm a part of and meeting others who visit.
4 hours ago
5/15/09
Posts: 6126
Muscle Vision -
kennyfrommd -

Yes. For example, we sometimes have people drop in, that are clearly visiting from out of town that sometimes ask to do the "free trial" for prospective students to avoid paying a drop in fee. It's annoying and rude.

Doesn’t that benefit your current students though? They get to train with someone who has a totally different for a few days? 
 

That is grossly overestimating the value of a random extra body on the mats, and any benefit is certainly cancelled out by the fact that they are doing something sketchy to try to get something for free, which I think is rude, and don't like. We have plenty of students that give each other plenty of different looks, and are not hurting for bodies that I'd welcome dishonesty. 

I do however waive plenty of drop-in fees after friendly conversations, repeat visits, or myriad other reasons. Sometimes I'm just in a huge rush and don't feel like ringing it up.