As a class instructor or studio owner, you face a familiar dilemma: You spend time and effort getting your marketing in place so new students walk through your door. But what do you do to make their first class a welcoming experience?
I've been that new client, and I'd like to tell you what you can do to make newbies like me come back to your studio after a first visit.
On your website or via email, make sure to provide the rules and expectations for class.
Do I need to show up early? What should I wear? 👟 Is there anything special I should bring? Are there any special instructions about the location?
Giving me that information up front will help mitigate any fears I may have about showing up for the first time.
Usually when it's my first time visiting, I will arrive early -- whether you've told me to or not.
Take this time to make sure I'm comfortable with the space by providing a quick tour.
And please let me know where the bathroom is! It can be embarrassing to have to ask during class, especially when I don’t know anyone’s name.
Which leads me to...
Go around the room and ask everyone to say their first name at the top of every class. It only takes 30 seconds, and you’ll eliminate a lot of stress for your first timers.
Most people (including me) do not want to be singled out in front of the class. It can be a scary prospect for a new client! Introducing everyone quickly will put the whole group on the same footing.
This policy also helps your instructors get to know your clients’ names so they can provide a personal touch and make everyone feel welcome.
Regulars appreciate it too! After 6 months of small talk, they may feel embarrassed to ask someone for their name again.
The more your group senses an inclusive community spirit, the more likely they are to want to come back regularly to see each other for your awesome class.
I always appreciate it when I'm asked how I felt about class afterward -- a simple "How did it go?" is great.
It's true that I'm likely be positive regardless of the experience. But you can ask exploratory questions as a follow up and get a better feel for things. I recommend asking “do you feel like this class was at the right level for you?”. That will lead to a better discussion and you’ll have the option to talk about other options and help me pick my next class. 😀