Sheet music on a piano.

7 Tips to Increase Your Lesson Bookings

Over the years I have been asked by many teachers how to improve their conversion of enquiries to students. I have drawn together this advice into the article below to help maximise your chances of converting a new enquiry into a student. I would say all of them are common sense approaches, focused on providing great customer service to a new student. By following each of the 7 points I have seen teachers significantly increase the numbers of enquiries that convert into paying students.

1. Reply Promptly

Don’t make a new student wait. If a new enquiry lands in your inbox, you should aim to reply within the first 24 hours. Even better if you can reply in 12 hours or less. The quicker the reply the more likely you are to convert that enquiry into a new student, of all the advice if you can reply quicker then you will increase your conversion rates.

There is a behavioural element behind this. I have seen many students who will enquire for multiple teachers across multiple platforms and then talk with the first one who replies to them, booking in lessons with that teacher if they find the conversation agreeable. Indeed, you might have carried out a similar behaviour when looking for a local plumber, electrician or gardener – email a bunch of websites and talk with whoever gets back to you first.

If a student has left a voicemail, chances are their determination to talk with a teacher immediately is even higher. Meaning that their expected response time is shorter than for email enquiries. Ultimately, the speed of your reply will correlate strongly with how many student enquiries you will be able to book in for lessons.

2. Focus on the First Booking

When you get an enquiry, it is important to focus the conversation around the booking of the first lesson with the aim of having the fewest number of emails/calls to do this. There is a correlation between the number of emails/texts/calls made between a teacher and the student, being an important factor in whether that student books in for a lesson. The more emails that go back and forth the less lightly a student is to actually book the lesson.

Of course, answering any questions that a student has is really important in how helpful you sound as a teacher. However, if you are only answering those questions – for example, which styles you cover, without starting the process of arranging a lesson, then you will increase the number of conversation points by pushing that part of the conversation into another exchange, therefore reducing the chances of booking that enquiry in for lessons.

I have found giving students a specific time to accept or reject helps them to focus on the act of booking a lesson. A general “I have some slots on a Wednesday” leads to either more questions or a general response, so giving something firm to accept or reject helps guilde that conversation towards a booking, for example:

“I have a free slot this Wednesday at 7:30pm if that suits you? I also have a few other slots, but they get booked up fast so let me know what suits you and we can get something arranged.”

This direct approach will put the student in a position to accept or reject the proposed slot and gives them the prompt to provide further days that might suit them better. It also creates the illusion that your slots are in high demand and are being booked fast, even if no interest has been shown for that slot before.

3. Make it Easy for the Student

Make sure your reply contains all the information they need to know so that they don’t have to ask you anything in the follow-up. A great reply would contain everything needed to make the student say yes or no to a booking. It should remove the need for them to draw the conversation out with further questions.

“I charge £PRICE for a 60-minute lesson or £PRICE for a 30-minute lesson. I am based in the SPECIFIC area of CITY, not too far from LOCAL LANDMARK. If you’d like to discuss things in more detail, I can give you a call at a convenient time.”

Many students might want to gauge what sort of levels you may teach. This is also relevant information for this email. Let them know what ability levels, ages and genres you teach as well as any extras you may offer.

“I take on students from total beginners to more advanced performers so it doesn’t matter if you’ve never played before, I can certainly help you get things moving. I take on students from age 7 and up and I also offer graded exams which many younger students enjoy. My teaching style is student-focused and I teach a range of genres including blues, rock, pop, funk and more.”

4. Use Dual Points of Contact

Ever wondered whether your reply email has gone into a students spam folder? One of the reasons that teachers are never quite sure if a student is simply not replying or haven’t received their initial reply is they use one point of contact by sending a single email.

I have seen teachers who very effectively send a text alongside their first reply to a student, along the lines of:

“Hi {Student Name}, thanks so much for your enquiry about {guitar} lessons. I have just sent an email in reply to enable us to arrange our first lesson, I thought I would drop you a text so that you have my number. You are most welcome to reach out to me using this number if you have any questions at all or if you would prefer to arrange a quick call.”

This approach means that you can increase the chances that the student actually does receive your reply, as the text makes them aware that you have replied avoiding the dreaded spam folder issue where you never know. The text itself can also help to increase the speed of the booking, as many people reply quicker to texts than emails.

5. Follow Up

Following up with an enquiry can be as important as the initial reply. Create a schedule that you will work through for each enquiry, something that you have perfected based on your experiences booking in students.

For example, the schedule might be day 1 send the first reply, day 7 send a follow up, day 14 send a final follow-up and day 21 mark the enquiry as non-responsive.

Once the replies have been sent, following up on non-replies is effective. Sometimes this can take as many as 3+ follow up emails in order to book that lesson in. Send friendly follow-ups to see if the student is still interested, with the final follow-up being an open-ended invitation to book a lesson with you should they ever wish to with a small discount.

6. Know When to Stop

There is a point where your time investment in following up individuals is too great, compared to the chances of them booking in. Therefore, having that schedule and following it will also ensure that you are able to write off an enquiry as non-responsive at the right point, without over investing your time into a student who isn’t replying.

This will also enable you to focus your time on converting those students who are engaging, ensuring that you are providing great replies to them.

7. Things to Avoid

If a student contacts you for a lesson, you as the teacher should be aiming to make the process as simple as possible. Don’t reply with open-ended questions that could potentially put the student off as it is more work on their side. Your initial email reply should aim to provide the student with the most amount of information to avoid the need for them to ask further questions and draw the process out.

You should never reply to an email enquiry and just tell the student to call you or set up a call without having provided them all the information they need. This allows the chance for the student to read over everything before speaking with you on the phone.

Remember to be polite, professional and courteous at all times and provide the students with the same high standards of customer service that you’d expect if you were in their situation.

Avoid being too pushy about the student committing to book a lesson or sounding like you are rushing the process. By the same token, ensure that you have really listened to what the student has asked of you and reply in a way that it is clear that you understand them as an individual student.

There is nothing groundbreaking here, no super formula that will instantly improve the conversion of students to enquiries – often instead it is a lot of hard work by a teacher to grind out conversions of enquiries into students that might not have otherwise converted.

I see some fantastic examples of teachers across the country doing this, putting in that little extra work and injecting their personality into each communication with the student. That cumulative effort over time makes a tremendous difference to their teaching business.

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