An Easy Way to Grow Your Music Studio
Back in episode 27 I interviewed Eric Bourrassa, the owner of Fort Worth Guitar Academy based in Fort Worth, Texas. Eric built a business around group guitar classes. He does offer private lessons as well but he’s been able to come up with a program and a marketing strategy that has successfully encouraged parents to sign their kids up for his group classes.
The Benefits to Group Classes
The financial benefits to group classes are pretty obvious. One teacher, multiple kids, greater profits, lower expenses. Music studios that only offers private lessons has to focus on volume, high volume. You need a lot of students to be profitable. Many music studios are setting aside 30-60% of their sales to cover their payroll expense, not to mention all of the other expenses that come with running a music studio. Rent, utilities, taxes, insurance. You need a lot of private lesson students to turn a profit and yes, pay yourself. Group classes allows you to be considerably more profitable with considerably less students.
music studios that only offers private lessons has to focus on volume, high volume. You need a lot of students to be profitable.
How to Price Your Group Classes
Many music studios lower the price of their group lessons to entice people with a more affordable option. The message that you’re sending to your customers is that this more affordable option is of lesser value than private lessons. Perhaps you feel this way about your group classes. It makes sense. One teacher working with 5 kids is of less value than 1 teacher with 1 kid…right?
Parents want what’s best for their child. They want what’s best for their kids because they want their children to experience the full benefit that music and other youth enrichment activities provide. Parents aren’t interested in music lessons. They’re interested in the outcome, in the benefit, that music lessons will bring to their child. Whether that’s a more confident kid; a happier kid; a kid who discovers their own unique talents. They’ll pay whatever they have to pay for the feeling and that experience. It makes parents feel good to provide the best for their child. It makes them feel like they’re being a good parent.
What Makes Parents Feel Like Good Parents
Parents will cut their expenses when it comes to themselves. A parent who decides not to buy that handbag, but to spend that money on their child instead. makes them feel like a better parent because they’re making a sacrifice for their child. That’s what us parents do. We make sacrifices for our kids.
Your Studios Competitive Edge
One of the biggest challenges for studio owners is that they often feel like group classes are of lesser value than private lessons. They’re often selling something that they themselves don’t believe in. Therefore, they’re only willing to compete with price. They don’t value the group class. How can they expect their customers to value it? Their competitive edge becomes pricing as opposed to value.
What if the group class was positioned as not less than but more than private lessons? What if it was positioned as something that is of higher value than the private lesson? What if group classes could deliver an experience that exceeds the private What if you could persuade yourself that the group class is more beneficial to the child?
Are You a Believer?
You need to believe in your products and the value it brings to your customers’ lives. You have to feel like this is what’s best for kids. If you feel that way, you’ll feel confident and comfortable with charging more.
Music studios that offer group classes often throw it on their website and wait…[crickets]. They don’t really encourage incoming students to sign up for the group class. A mom calls about private guitar lessons; great, private lessons it is-no mention of the group class. Eric Bourrassa educates his customers and directs them to group classes. “ think this will be of greater value to your child. This group class will allow you to better achieve the results that you desire”.
What Mom’s Really Think of Group Classes
I thought it would be really interesting to talk to a parent who goes to Eric’s school. A parent who came into his studio wanting private lessons because that’s what you do, right? You start out in private lessons. Eric was successful in persuading them to do the group class and then ultimately a customer who bought into the group class and decided for herself through her child’s encouragement that the group class was indeed beneficial. If you can create a situation like this, an environment like this in your studio, it’s a win for everyone.
The kid’s happy and the parents happy. They’re getting greater value than what it is that they thought they were going to originally get. You’re happy because your bottom line is much healthier and you’re confident to charge a premium rate for your group class.
In this week’s episode, I connect with Beth Parkhill, a customer at Fort Worth Guitar. I ask her about what her expectations and desires were prior to starting lessons. We took a look at how Eric was able to persuade her that group lessons might be more beneficial than private lessons.
Persuading a customer to sign up for a group when they initially want private lessons is a sales and marketing challenge. It’s like trying to persuade a customer to order tonight’s special when they initially wanted a burger. The key is to remain focused and loyal to the customer’s desires. There’s no reason why what your customer most desire is also the most beneficial to your business. If you can bring value and happiness to your customer’s lives, they’ll be happy to pay for it.