You’ve seen the boasts: “I Signed up 110 new students last month” or ” I got 500 leads last week!” . There have been hustlers screaming about their massive marketing and sales success since I first tied on a white belt 40 years ago.
When I see these kind of statements a couple of things come to mind…
First, what is a “new student?” and what is the LMV (lifetime member value) of that so-called “student?”
Is it a fitness member? A martial arts student? A year round summer camp/afterschool student?
It’s clear that the LMV of a fitness member is worth a few months at $50-150 a month, meaning that “student” is worth $200-800 to the average school owner.
A martial arts student is worth 12-18 months at $100-175, meaning they have a LMV value of $1200-$3150 to a school owner.
And finally, a year round summer camp/after school student is worth $5000-7000 a year and stays 2-3 years meaning they can be worth $10,000-$21,000 to the owner.
So when I hear “I signed up x number of students” I think to myself; is that fitness members, martial arts students or after school? Signing up 40-50 fitness s clients a month is no big trick, (Planet Fitness signs up 100’s a month at $10 bucks a month…) but getting martial arts and after care students is a much bigger deal, with a bigger upside.
What if I’m a martial arts guy. I do martial arts, I teach martial arts. So I’m just interested in martial arts. The fact that somebody signed up 125 fitness clients means no more to me than the number of fitness members the local Anytime Fitness health club signed up.
The second though is; although these “Marketing Master Guru’s” have been slinking around for decades now, why aren’t they running schools with 1000’s of martial arts students…? Hell, they’ve had forty years to figure it out, there should be 100’s of schools with 1000’s of martial arts students in every city across the country.
But there isn’t. Because it’s ALWAYS going to come back to the two thing’s that makes the big schools successful: service and the student experience.
Wheaton, Belsio, Cassidy, Holeman all run million dollar+ schools and they don’t do it because they have slick marketing campaigns, they do because they provide their students a great experience and great service.
Conclusion: Don’t get confused when you hear the claims of huge enrollments, ask “enrolled what?” Only then you’ll have apples to apples my friend, and it doesn’t matter how many apples somebody’s sells if you’re in the orange sellin’ business…