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 or after school 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 $1,200-$3,150 to a school owner.
And finally, a year-round summer camp or after school student is worth $5,000-$7,000 a year and stays two to three 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 programs? Signing up 40-50 fitness clients a month is no big trick, (Planet Fitness signs up hundreds a month at $10 bucks a month) but getting martial arts and after school 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 thought is that although these “Marketing Master Gurus” have been slinking around for decades now, why aren’t they running schools with thousands of martial arts students? Hell, they’ve had 40 years to figure it out so there should be hundreds of schools with thousands 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 things that make the big schools successful: service and the student experience.
Wheaton, Belsio, Cassidy and 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 with a great experience and great service.
Conclusion: Don’t get confused when you hear the claims of huge enrollments; ask “enrolled what?” Only then will you have apples-to-apples, my friend, and it doesn’t matter how many apples somebody sells if you’re in the orange sellin’ business.