The Black Belt Business Podcast

Why Aren’t People Showing Up For Appointments?

Sep 18, 2023

If your marketing is working well, you should be getting new online leads regularly throughout the week. However, it’s not uncommon for someone who shows interest one day to not show up for their first class the next day.

Frequently, somewhere between obtaining contact information and class day, the connection to a lead can sputter and dissolve. 

Maybe you’re getting people to sign up for the free class, but it ends there. The day of their appointment comes, and they’re a no-show.

Often, this happens due to simple oversight of a few key systems you can implement within your staff’s process to ensure that you keep a tight net to mitigate fall-out.

Beyond simply amassing contact information from potential prospects, you need to put special care into nurturing the lead up until the very moment they step into class and the coach takes over.

From re-evaluating the way you engage with your leads to taking the time to build rapport and develop strong communication channels, the more you tighten up on your end, the more likely prospective students will show up, and also truly enjoy, their appointments.

Generic or impersonal engagement

What’s your approach? Let’s say you’re running a marketing booth like on a university campus or a neighborhood festival. Are you just trying to get as many leads as possible, shouting after people until they pay attention to you and then barely interacting with them before you call on someone else?

Generic or impersonal interactions can leave people feeling devalued or uninterested, leading to quickly losing motivation to follow through.  Take the time to connect intentionally with each person you interact with, and the same applies to phone leads and walk-ins while you’re behind the desk. You’re there as a guide to help lead them through the doorway and to the next level; take your responsibilities with honor.

In some situations, such as a marketing booth, people may just give you their contact information and never come to class. That’s just how it goes.

They may have felt a spark of curiosity in the moment, but maybe they just wanted to chat or kill time. Even if you don’t know which of your leads will end up showing up for a class, treat them all with equal care. Humans need a human experience.

To ensure keeping a solid thread of connection to your leads, as soon as you get their contact info, plug it into your customer database and schedule a follow-up message. Remind them who you are and how you met, and ask what day works best for them to come try that free class.

Begin nailing down their appointment date as soon as you can – while the lead is still hot. The sooner you do this, the more likely they will stay engaged and excited themselves. Reach out while it's still fresh in their mind. And remember – don’t sound generic; a touch of personalization goes a long way.

Lack of effective communication and follow-up 

One common reason people fail to show up for their appointments comes back to insufficient communication and follow-up. Establishing effective communication channels with leads, like phone calls, emails and text messages to remind and confirm their appointments, can make a huge difference.

Neglecting consistent and timely communication can lead to misunderstandings, potential scheduling conflicts or plain forgetfulness, resulting in no-shows. Left to their own devices, unless they’ve already set their minds to starting something, people may not always follow through with a class they sign up for – especially if it’s a free trial class.

This means you and your team need to get more proactive about staying on top of appointments to make sure those leads don't slip through the cracks and opt out before they even start.

Set up a reminder and confirmation system, and have your staff reach out the day before to confirm each appointment. For those who don’t reply, reach out again the following morning, the day of the appointment. 

This means it becomes extra important to always obtain the contact information from every lead that walks through the doors or contacts you. You can’t reach out if you have nowhere to reach them at. 

A good rule of thumb includes always grabbing these three things: the prospects name, number, and email address. We always take two forms of contact just in case one of them doesn’t work.

Some people may schedule appointments quite far in advance and forget entirely; they’ll be grateful for the reminder!

Putting the cart before the horse

One of the biggest mistakes martial arts schools make comes back to discussing membership costs before the student even comes in. 

For many, the cost/reward ratio of something they’ve never tried is relative. They don’t yet know the value of martial arts, but a concrete amount of money does evoke a preconceived value. Without truly knowing what they may miss out on, they may decide it’s not worth the cost before even trying. 

That said, you certainly don’t want to lie, dodge questions, or create a frustrating experience for potential members. If you’ve already deflected the price question a couple of times and they won’t let it go, it may serve you best to share. However, do so with great intention.

Let them know the program cost, or cost of your trial month, but make sure you also imbed the value in there. For example, if you offer an unlimited membership for $200 a month, phrase it so they understand that even if they only attend three times a week, it costs less per class than most academies’ drop-in rates (often between $20-$35.)

Must you have this conversation before they come in, focus on the benefits. Perhaps you have a suspension policy that ensures they’ll never lose any money or training time if they have to pause their memberships. 

Be honest, but sweeten the deal by mentioning perks and what sets you apart. Clearly communicate the unique value and benefits of your martial arts academy throughout the nurturing process. Use compelling messaging, testimonials, success stories and your own personal experience to showcase the positive outcomes they can expect.

Along with communicating value, make sure to set realistic expectations about the appointment, providing detail on what the leads will learn, experience and achieve during their visit. 

If leads are unsure about what they can gain from attending an appointment or have unrealistic expectations, they may lose interest or feel hesitant to come in. 

Poor timing or inconvenient scheduling

If your academy’s available classes don’t align with the lead’s preferences or scheduling is too complicated, it can discourage students from committing to their appointments.

While you can’t please everyone, if your leads consistently fail to show up or have trouble scheduling classes, it may serve you to conduct some market research. Gaining a better understanding of your market audience and optimizing your schedule to offer flexibility and convenience, you may find leads start booking appointments (and showing up) with ease.

Always keep the pressure minimal. Nothing scares leads away faster than an over-eager and pushy salesperson. Be genuinely happy for them even if they just try the class. You don’t need to sell them, the experience will speak for itself. 

By addressing these key points, keeping the human element front of mind and implementing tweaks to your system, you can significantly improve your trial class attendance rates. 

In the end, you can only do so much by sharing your enthusiasm, information and the school’s value. The final decision ultimately falls on them.

Check out our free Follow-Up Guide and get your leads in class today!

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