Edited: 22 days ago
5/30/03
Posts: 42964

To go to a free trial, regardless of length, knowing that you don't have the financial ability to pay for a membership?

 

I've always believed this to be unethical for the buyer. I liken it to taking a Ferrari test drive and wasting the salesman's time, knowing I can't pay for a Ferrari. Why do it? 

22 days ago
5/15/09
Posts: 6112

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.

Edited: 22 days ago
7/30/03
Posts: 9256

No

22 days ago
11/25/09
Posts: 4598
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.

First thing I always ask is for their ID. If it’s out of state there’s no free trial.

Edited: 22 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 39491
We offered a "free week of classes" for a while.

It mostly brought out local guys who were just trying to get more free mat time.

One weirdo did the free week, signed up for classes and quit 2 months later. A few months later he came in again and said, "Oh, you still offer a free week? Can I do that again...?"

22 days ago
12/26/02
Posts: 12194

There is a spectrum of wrongness. 

At one end is "wearing a fake moustache and signing up for another free trial at the same BJJ gym" and at the other end is having the Kirby vaccuum salesman steam-clean your carpets once a year.

 

22 days ago
7/30/03
Posts: 9257

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? 

Edited: 22 days ago
8/20/16
Posts: 807

"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."

 

This is what i see, also.

 

I remember one gym had me sign up for a free trial and go through the whole sales spiel just because I was visiting their city and they didn't allow drop-ins. They knew I didn't live there and wasn't moving there, but they tried to pressure me into signing a contract anyways.

22 days ago
7/30/03
Posts: 9258
blabbermouth -

"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."

 

This is what i see, also.

 

I remember one gym had me sign up for a free trial and go through the whole sales spiel just because I was visiting their city and they didn't allow drop-ins. They knew I didn't live there and wasn't moving there, but they tried to pressure me into signing a contract anyways.

I have done a lot of traveling and just pay a drop in fee. I imagine most people do this and most schools have no problem with this but I could be wrong.

 

The problem from the op I took to be that locals are taking free trial and then not signing up and when asked why they say they can't afford it right now which is more than likely just a generic excuse to end the conversation. 

 

 

Edited: 22 days ago
8/20/16
Posts: 808
Calhoon -
blabbermouth -

"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."

 

This is what i see, also.

 

I remember one gym had me sign up for a free trial and go through the whole sales spiel just because I was visiting their city and they didn't allow drop-ins. They knew I didn't live there and wasn't moving there, but they tried to pressure me into signing a contract anyways.

I have done a lot of traveling and just pay a drop in fee. I imagine most people do this and most schools have no problem with this but I could be wrong.

 

The problem from the op I took to be that locals are taking free trial and then not signing up and when asked why they say they can't afford it right now which is more than likely just a generic excuse to end the conversation. 

 

 

I used to do a lot of traveling for work and had no problem dropping in at various schools, except this one. It was very strange.

Edited: 22 days ago
5/30/03
Posts: 42966
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. 

Edited: 22 days ago
8/20/16
Posts: 809
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.

22 days ago
5/30/03
Posts: 42967
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

Edited: 21 days ago
8/20/16
Posts: 810
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.

21 days ago
11/10/05
Posts: 7490
not at all.
It's all about research into your interest. I look into shit all the time that I'd like to have or do at some point, but can't right now.

From the perspective of the school this should be considered a good thing as well. Give them a positive experience and there's good marketing value in that.
20 days ago
11/25/09
Posts: 4599
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”.

Edited: 19 days ago
8/20/16
Posts: 813
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.

19 days ago
9/13/16
Posts: 1743
maybe they don't like your school.

if this is happening often i'd think that is the most likely answer. i don't think there are a lot of people out there who are THAT interested in training at a dojo. it's definitely not as cool as driving a ferrari. so if people actually sign up for a trial they're most likely open to training. if, at the end of the trial, they don't sign up then they probably just weren't "sold" on your school. i don't think they are trying to scam you for a few days of BJJ classes.

i wouldn't take their explanations for not training that seriously either. saying you can't afford to train is probably just an easy way to say no. especially if they're facing a hard sell. it's a lot easier to say something like that instead of telling a dojo owner to his face that his school isn't good for whatever reason.

19 days ago
2/15/14
Posts: 992
tapnaporsnapbro - maybe they don't like your school.

if this is happening often i'd think that is the most likely answer. i don't think there are a lot of people out there who are THAT interested in training at a dojo. it's definitely not as cool as driving a ferrari. so if people actually sign up for a trial they're most likely open to training. if, at the end of the trial, they don't sign up then they probably just weren't "sold" on your school. i don't think they are trying to scam you for a few days of BJJ classes.

i wouldn't take their explanations for not training that seriously either. saying you can't afford to train is probably just an easy way to say no. especially if they're facing a hard sell. it's a lot easier to say something like that instead of telling a dojo owner to his face that his school isn't good for whatever reason.

Sound about right.

I don't think new white belts and prospective BJJ studetns starting out are trying to scam an insturctor for a few free BJJ >

 

"i don't think they are trying to scam you for a few days of BJJ /> 

This sounds more like something blue belts and up would do 

18 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 3628

I used to dedicate a ton of time to people who came by for a free trial, like a private while everyone else was training, but too many people just took advantage of that.  I remember one guy laughed and said he was moving away the next week.  After that, I just let people do the but didn't give them any more attention than anyone else, sometimes even less.  It's surprising how many people will do a free without any intention of joining.  

There are some guys I know who have been training for years without ever paying for a just doing free trials and open mats at various clubs.  Then they become enraged at the idea of having to pay to be in a tournament.

18 days ago
3/10/11
Posts: 206

Its not wrong, its your job to sell them on your product so well that they find a way to pay for it.

Gym memberships are pretty cheap, I would say most people in countries like the USA would be able to find a way to pay for a membership.

Rejection is a big part of sales.

18 days ago
5/30/03
Posts: 42976
tapnaporsnapbro - maybe they don't like your school.

if this is happening often i'd think that is the most likely answer. i don't think there are a lot of people out there who are THAT interested in training at a dojo. it's definitely not as cool as driving a ferrari. so if people actually sign up for a trial they're most likely open to training. if, at the end of the trial, they don't sign up then they probably just weren't "sold" on your school. i don't think they are trying to scam you for a few days of BJJ classes.

i wouldn't take their explanations for not training that seriously either. saying you can't afford to train is probably just an easy way to say no. especially if they're facing a hard sell. it's a lot easier to say something like that instead of telling a dojo owner to his face that his school isn't good for whatever reason.

It's not happening often at all. It's always from the same type of person. I can tell as soon as they walk in that they won't be able to afford it. Membership is $200+ a month. If you don't have enough discretionary income to pay for that, you shouldn't be going to a trial imo. 

 

There are plenty of people who try to get over for free of everything. This isn't specific to jiu jitsu. It's disgusting behavior imo. 

 

 

18 days ago
5/30/03
Posts: 42977
wombat -

I used to dedicate a ton of time to people who came by for a free trial, like a private while everyone else was training, but too many people just took advantage of that.  I remember one guy laughed and said he was moving away the next week.  After that, I just let people do the but didn't give them any more attention than anyone else, sometimes even less.  It's surprising how many people will do a free without any intention of joining.  

There are some guys I know who have been training for years without ever paying for a just doing free trials and open mats at various clubs.  Then they become enraged at the idea of having to pay to be in a tournament.

This!  This behavior isn't specific to jiu jitsu. They are the same people who will line up to get a free breakfast somewhere.  

 

If you are in your early 20s, it's unlikely that you have $200+ for a gym membership. The first months payment is a quarter of the value of your car. How stupid would you be to invest that much money in Bjj over your vehicle, at this stage in your life. 

Edited: 18 days ago
5/30/03
Posts: 42978
SportScience -

Its not wrong, its your job to sell them on your product so well that they find a way to pay for it.

Gym memberships are pretty cheap, I would say most people in countries like the USA would be able to find a way to pay for a membership.

Rejection is a big part of sales.

We don't want some kid scraping by so he can pay for a membership. Finding a way to make that kid pay is unethical imo. There are plenty of other gyms he can attend that are far cheaper. 

18 days ago
7/30/03
Posts: 9262
The Maestro -
wombat -

I used to dedicate a ton of time to people who came by for a free trial, like a private while everyone else was training, but too many people just took advantage of that.  I remember one guy laughed and said he was moving away the next week.  After that, I just let people do the but didn't give them any more attention than anyone else, sometimes even less.  It's surprising how many people will do a free without any intention of joining.  

There are some guys I know who have been training for years without ever paying for a just doing free trials and open mats at various clubs.  Then they become enraged at the idea of having to pay to be in a tournament.

This!  This behavior isn't specific to jiu jitsu. They are the same people who will line up to get a free breakfast somewhere.  

 

If you are in your early 20s, it's unlikely that you have $200+ for a gym membership. The first months payment is a quarter of the value of your car. How stupid would you be to invest that much money in Bjj over your vehicle, at this stage in your life. 

Honestly this whole thread doesn't make sense to me other than a scenario where potential customers are trying out your school and then giving the excuse that they don't have the money when pressured. 

 

Are you saying when you see a young male you assume they won't be able to pay? That's a very high percentage of customers.