Josh P.: Welcome to the Gym Heroes podcast. I’m your host, Josh Peacock. Today’s show is brought to you by Gymdesk, the easiest gym management software you’ll ever use. Take payments, create marketing automations, track attendance and much more. To try the software out free, go to gymdesk.com. No credit card or painful sales call required.

Our hero today is Hayden Kramer, a networking expert who has applied his lifelong work in government to helping martial arts and fitness businesses grow with unique, low-cost marketing strategies. Today, Hayden reveals to us how he was able to negotiate lower cost or totally free booths at local events for the purpose of marketing a martial arts school that we both used to work at. And he gives us several tips on how to maximize the effectiveness of these booths. Without further ado, Hayden Kramer.

All right, welcome to the GymHeroes podcast. Hayden, please introduce yourself to the audience and let us know a little bit about what you’ve done on the business end of things.

Hayden K.: Yes, absolutely. So let me first start off by saying I’m not a black belt, although I happen to be wearing one today. But my first exposure to being the dojo, the gym if you will was as a kid, I’m a firm believer everybody tries karate and piano lessons at some point in their life, and nobody sticks with either.

So I joined actually with Josh, he was my chief instructor about seven or eight years ago with the company. And that was my first real into the industry, I had always been in and around the community, in and around events, so my job again was not stuff on the mat, it was not instructional, it was more program director.

So following up on leads, signing new students, interacting with kids, their first interactions within the school. And then since then, I went back to my government roots and maintained an active presence in the community through parks and recreation. So that’s where I find myself now, and glad to be here, glad to share all these tips and tricks with folks to kind of further what people are interested in.

Josh P.: Nice, very cool. So we seem to be entering a recession right now, and instructors get particularly hit by that. I know you were on the back end of things, margins can be very slim, and when things get tightened up, one of the first things that goes is sports or martial arts.

So do you have any tips in mind for what gyms and martial schools can focus on to weather that storm in terms of outreach and marketing efforts, so that they’re not just bleeding money all over the place?

Hayden K.: Yes, you’re in business to make money, and don’t ever apologize for that. If someone asks for a discount or a break, don’t ever feel like that’s offensive. You have to ask, and ask it’s not a guarantee, and you can say yes, you can say no, you can you can negotiate something in between. I think for me, understanding what industry you’re in, so when you say martial arts, you’re talking way up here. I think sometimes, you need to understand who your client is.

And it’s different for everyone, right? So if it’s the three-year-old, so I’ll speak from personal experience. I have a child, her name’s Lainey, she’s four years old. When we’re looking at activities, I’m not looking for her to be a black belt, she just wrapped up soccer, I don’t think she’s going to be the next Mia Ham, you know what I mean. But what we’re looking for her is discipline, can she listen to an adult, structure, teamwork, physical activity.

So run that parallel to your industry Josh with martial arts, is when you’re looking at that three to six year old, do I really care how hard she punches? Do I really care how high that kick is? Now it’s cool, that’s cool to show grandma. But at the end of the day, you need to understand what problem or what niche you’re solving for that family.

So for me, if I’m a four-year-old dad, I want her to listen, I want her to become more disciplined, I want her to look forward to something, I want her to kind of gain a bigger sense of herself. So I think that that’s important. You are right, there’s only so much money on the table, and when it costs more to get somewhere, when it costs more to put food on the table, your insurance goes up, whatever the case may be, that discretionary income gets tight.

Now I will say kid’s activities are the last thing that parents cut, parents will cut their Starbucks, parents will cut their gym fees, they’ll cut their things, but at least when it comes to kids, that should remain on the table a little bit more. But what I will also say is from day one, from your first interaction, that is your brand that you’re selling.

So don’t wait until they’re a lifelong customer, don’t wait till they’ve been there six months. That first interaction, that first phone call, that first booth set up, your website, your Facebook, your email, your text, whatever it is, that’s your brand. So don’t wait until the hard time, don’t wait until the recession to boost your game, your game should already be at that level.

Josh P.: Awesome. So with that said, event booths are based, they’re like bread and butter for martial arts places, and gyms and fitness, like a lot of business really, a lot of business that are into sports and activity. But especially martial arts, that’s the big thing is event booths. And usually, there’s the town and even private businesses, they have regular events throughout the years that you can go to. Those booths can be expensive sometimes.

So I know you’ve been able to negotiate, when we were working together, you were able to negotiate us reduced or even free booths from several popular local events that we used to frequent. So how did you approach those negotiations? How did you make your case for getting us a reduced or a free booth?

Hayden K.: Great question. So I agree, being out there is key. You can open your door every day at 9:00 a.m. and close at 9 00 p.m. and how many people are just rushing to get it? Probably very few. I can literally probably count on my hand how many people just walked in and said man, what do you do here, can I take a lesson? So you have to put yourself out there with those vendor booths. You’re right, it is a first-hand exposure to do things.

So typically, anywhere from dollars on the low side to man, I’ve seen hundreds of dollars or even a thousand dollars for a multi-day festival. Again, I’ll go back to what problem can you solve for the event producer? And I think that’s where I had the most success. So figuring out who that right contact is important. But then also just giving them a call, put a face to a business if you will, put a voice to that business, and let them know hey, look I’m not just another table business, I’m not selling scrunchies or LuLaRoe or hand soap or honey, here’s what we do, and this is where you insert your elevator pitch of or anti-bullying, we help with fitness, we’re family oriented.

But then say look, I understand that you have a kid’s zone, that should be the first perk of the event producer’s ear, because ooh kids, okay. And these are usually where you find your bounce houses, your face painters, your balloon twisters, your magician and all of those things cost the event producer money, right? So when I’m hiring a bounce house to have 60 kids per hour on average go through or a face painter that paints 15 kids’ faces per hour, that’s money shelled out.

So to say look, I want to provide an activity for your folks. I’m going to do board breaking every half hour and, on the hour, I’m going to do a mini lesson, so these are things that are going to activate a dead space for you. And guess what? I’m not going to charge you any money for it. Holy smoly, so now you’re giving them the proposition and telling them look, I’m going to give you something that you don’t have to pay for, but you can advertise and I’m going to be out there no cost, I’m going to staff it, I’m going to clean it up, I’m going to set it up and everything in between.

So as an event producer which I am now, I like that. Because think about it, you know just easy math. If you have a hundred kids at a festival, and obviously, just easy math, you’ll have more and you only have one activity, that’s a hundred kids in line at one activity. So now you can give them a second activity, I’ve already given your folks another opportunity and they’re going to have a better time because they’re exploring more things.

And once you make that sell, and if you do it correctly, you’re there. And then once you’re into the fall fest, when the spring festival rolls around it’s a simple phone call, hey Josh, it’s Steven from XYZ school, man we had so much fun, I got a lot of positive feedback, hope you did too, you know I love to do this again. And it’s yup, man, I’ll get you a bigger space because we heard a lot of positive feedback as well. And then I think it’s that that good partnership in between that time.

So that’s cross marketing, that’s every once in a while, dropping an email and saying hey Josh, how’s everything going? Don’t forget use me as a resource. If you have summer camp coming up, why don’t I give your staff a break. Why don’t I come in from noon to one and just lead the kids through a fun mini lesson, again, no charge. But you’re putting yourself out there, you’re becoming a resource to them, I think that’s what is going to lead to success for you.

Josh P.: Awesome, that’s great information. I remember that one time when you had mentioned that you got us a booth for free, I was like it’s like how did you do that? And I remember you mentioned also, I think that you said that you’d also pitched it as a sort of educational towards the community.

Because at the time we were doing a lot of like anti-bullying and predator prevention, so that was another way I think that we helped to get a reduced or a free booth to get in that information, because we were actually giving a real, I mean the information we had was good, it was good information. And we were educating the kids and the parents on that, helping them keep safe too.

Hayden K.: Yes. Well, and I think again, it’s one of those things that, you’re absolutely right. You have something that give me 20 seconds with your child to talk about bullying, or to talk about ”stranger danger.” And I think one of the things that hit home a lot of times was just saying to parents oh stranger, the parents oh, we know about stranger danger, and then hit him with a stat. Do you know that 85%, and again, I’m making this off, I haven’t reviewed this in a while.

But do you know that 85% of the people that are going to abuse your child aren’t strangers. So when you’re perpetuating that myth of stranger danger, you’re taking away the uncle Jimmy or the grandpa Joe or whoever it is, so then again, parents think about that, and that’s your in. So on top of the fun board breaking, on top of the fun loud kias and everything and cool kicks and demo and flashy nunchucks and things like that, give them something to take away.

I think the other thing Josh that you and I did very well is just grabbing the list and learning how to turn out of that. That is a very simple 15 second thing that sticks with a parent. So telling the kid to yell fire instead of help me, because it’s been shown if you ask for help, people turn away and they’re not going to help. But if you yell fire, well geez now I’m at risk, and welcome to the selfish American lifestyle that we all live. But that simple thing, is going to live with parents, parents are going to reiterate that to their kids and it’s going to stick with them.

So then when you follow up with them, because at the event, you should be collecting who they are, how old their kid is, their phone number, their email, all those lead generations. Then when you give them a call, you then move into that next step. So you’ve met them, you’ve built your brand, you’ve built your tent as a welcoming area. You’ve given them that community education, and now you are reaching out proactively to take that next step in the journey with them, to invite them into a free lesson or a free class.

Josh P.: Excellent, yes. And that’s a perfect segue, are there any other ways that we can maximize the effectiveness of our reach of the booth, during an event you talk about positioning it in the kid zone if that’s what you’re targeting.

I know another place that I used to train at, his was in a different area where more of adults were being drawn in for like consignment and clothing and different things like that. So what can you do to increase the effectiveness of your booth training event?

Hayden K.: Yes. So I think staffing is a huge thing. So for example we just hosted a big festival where we saw like 15,000 people. Now do you think that you’re going to touch every single person? Absolutely not, that’s not the goal. But you want to have high quality communication with them. I’m not saying here’s a business card, here’s the business card, take the sea salt scrub shoe cleaning middle of the mall salesman out of this.

You want those high touch interactions, where you’re learning about the person, you’re telling them what you have, and then you’re actively listening. So yes, you have to have that pitch in your mind, but everyone is a little different. So if somebody says man, my child is maybe a little heavy set, okay, well maybe I don’t focus so much on the bullying there, I talk about maybe discipline.

So it’s discipline on how to eat a healthy diet, discipline on how to exercise. We had a student Josh, I remember, that had some muscular differing abilities if you will.

Josh P.: Exactly, I appreciate it. So understanding what we could do to help that. Now do I think we’re going to solve it? No, I don’t. But how can we give him the mental strength, the physical strength that he may need. So again, I think it’s being that solution to whatever those parents’ problems are, and if you can be the solution to everyone, you’re going to have more students.

Now everyone you meet is that kid going to sign up? No, but it’s a lot of numbers. If you talk to one kid, one family, you have all your eggs in one basket. If you talk to a hundred people, you’re spreading out. If you get 10%, man that’s pretty good. I think the other thing is it’s all about lead generation, because again, how many times do you call someone, and this is a honest question, or do you rely on someone reaching out to you or that word of mouth? And nowadays, I really think it’s people reaching out to you personally, and then that word of mouth.

So I think that being there, being seen at all the festivals at the schools, at the restaurants, at the PTAs, that gives you that trusted brand. And then I think just easy things of contesting, so talk about raffling. I don’t care if it’s a free pizza party and a lot of instructors and owners say my gosh, I’m going to spend $200 on pizza, I’m giving money away. But what comes with that $200 of pizza? It’s 25 kids that they have a one-on-one lesson with a fantastic chief instructor, that if you do your job, if I do my job, that rolls into great students.

Same thing either at the event or online, it’s all about that lead generation and then following up. So I think we’re going to talk a little bit more about that, I don’t know if this is a good time to segue into that. But truly it’s if you’re going to be out there, make it worth your time and understand what that is for you, and for us, it was leads. It was good to push your brand, and it was good to be out there and say this is why we’re good, but no one ever really followed up with us, it was always our job to then to go after.

Josh P.: Right, yes. That’s excellent right there at the end, we had to follow up on them. We will talk about that in a second. But on gym desk, mostly me, but we have some writers that write us some excellent, help me write excellent content for gym desk too to educate gym owners, martial arts school owners, yoga studio owners.

And one of the things that I’ve stressed personally is really combining your content marketing with your outreach, even your traditional marketing like brochures and stuff. Because Coca-Cola, McDonald’s they can all afford to spend millions of dollars on general marketing that gets their brand out there, and people kind of already, they have established habits of visiting those, so you remind them to go back, they don’t have to have a direct response, they don’t have to have a call to action, they don’t have to have something there to entice your attention in order to get you to buy through that marketing or to get an Roi.

But small businesses are not that way. So you had mentioned before about offering information to get people over to listen to that as well, to go and listen and get interested at the booth. Then there’s, I think there’s even additional levels of useful information that you can offer in exchange for email, phone number, things like that.

Like hey, we will give you this cheat sheet for how to make these healthy meals if you’re a gym or we’re going to give you this managing stress, helping your children manage stress like it’s a big thing after COVID, helping your kids manage stress. We’ll give you this pdf of you give us your email or your cell phone number or whatever.

Those are great ways to actually get people’s contact information, so that you can generate leads from people who are genuinely interested in what you have, if they’re not interested, they’re probably not going to give you the information.

Hayden K.: Yes, exactly. I think one thing that is good is strike when the iron’s hot. So example when you just led that four-year-old through the board breaking, and their smile is as big as this or you showed them the wrist grabber, you gave them that information about healthy eating, ask. Hey mom, what does next week look like to get Josh in here for a lesson? I see how happy he is.

And it’s hard again coming from a dad when it’s this, just say no. And again, to then say we have class on Tuesday and Thursday, we got a class on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday whatever it is, strike when the iron is hot. Get the commitment, and then follow up again.

Josh P.: Yes. And you talked with a lot of parents, while we were there, you talked to prospective members. You just mentioned one way that you were able to help generate those leads and that was to ask while they’re excited. Are there any other tips you have for convincing people to give the information, or to get interested in maybe coming in for a trial lesson?

Hayden K.: Yes. So again, I think it’s just listening, so I think it’s ask and listen. So again, you have to have those built-in answers. Again, it’s what do we do? So again, whether it’s yoga, fitness, martial arts, anything, you have to be the solution for them. So when they’re saying hey, you know what? I’ve tried dieting in the past and it just doesn’t work because I’m all alone.

Okay, well let me tell you about the programs we have where it’s group fitness, we check in on each other and it gives you that that sense of camaraderie. Did you know that leads to an increased length of the diet, and more exercise yada yada. When you’re talking about man, I don’t have time, it’s just time and I can attest to it, I’ve used that excuse, the next question should be well, what do you do that eats up your time? And when they say well, our kids are really into sports, really into soccer, really into whatever the case may be I say man, that’s great.

I did a lot of different activities as a kid and I think it’s a good thing to try it all over, because you never want to pigeonhole them in. But here’s how martial arts helps out with that, do you think, and I call these the yes questions, do you think having your child be more disciplined would be good? Yes, absolutely. Do you think your child being a better listener? Yes. Do you think expanding the range of motion and muscular abilities of your child? Yes.

Well, these are the things that martial arts brings, or this is what yoga brings, this is what Pilates or insert your industry here. Again, because if you get them saying yes, ask and say when can we get you in to show you these cool benefits? And if they’ve already said yes and yes and yes, they’re more apt to say yes on that next question. And just understand what those objections are sometimes, and you’ll see it the more and more you do it, and it’ll become more routine and natural for you.

I think when you’re out there, yes you are a martial artist, you are a yogi, you’re whatever you do, but at that point you are a salesman, you’re not leading anyone through how to do a squat, you’re not leading anyone how to do a downward dog, you’re not leading anyone through a kata, you’re a salesman. But you shouldn’t be the salesman that we all think of.

You shouldn’t be that snake oil salesman with a clipboard in hand and give me your credit card, let me sign you, it has to be done in a tasteful way, because you are competing against soccer, baseball, basketball, kids activities, grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, Netflix, your phone, cleaning the house, walking the dog, so you have to be enticing to some level and trustworthy. So I think that’s key there as well.

Josh P.: Yes. I didn’t want to hear that when I was an instructor, I wanted to just teach but you do have to learn, you do have to learn to be a salesman. But the good news is that you don’t have to be a pushy, sort of like a used car, the stereotypically used car salesman.

What you just brought us through is like really excellent sales advice and that is, ask them questions to get to the bottom of what it is that’s actually in the way, and then explain to them how martial arts is going to help them or even potentially be a better substitute for them. That’ll be really helpful.

So we’ve talked about getting people interested, getting their information, making them into leads, once we’ve got leads, what did you do to follow up on them and convince them to come in for a trial?

Hayden K.: Yes, so I think again, it’s a lot of time, commitment you know so typically take the average Saturday, we would start off at the school, we’d run our morning class, right? After classes, then we’d go and do that outreach. So you’re getting the leads, you’re getting the information. For me, it was how can I streamline everything.

So we weren’t doing things paper and pen, we had the iPad. And to spin our prize wheel or enter our contest, it was all digital. That way I wasn’t trying to decipher is that an l or is that a set? Is that a at sign or did somebody just hit the key whatever the case may be.

So that day, I leave the event you’re tired, you’re hot, you’re sweaty, you want to go home, you want to see your family you want to see your friends, you want to get your own training in whatever, this is where that sales mentality comes from, it’s a simple email. Hey, insert name, it was great meeting you at insert festival, the Wacksaw family fun day or whatever it was.

And this is where those notes kind of come in handy. When we were talking, you indicated that your young seven-year-old Josh was having some struggles with school because of bullying, I just wanted to attach this one sheet that talked about our bullying program I’d love to invite you in. Set the next expectation, I think this is key. Either reply to my email, and maybe you set up one of those, and again, times have changed in eight years, where they can automatically register for a class or give them some classes.

Click the link below, and register for your class or again, set that next expectation. I will give you a call this week, my phone number is this so when it pops up I’m not a spam call, look forward to discussing this further after you had the opportunity to look it over with your husband, your wife and your family. Again, take away that objection, because one of the biggest objections I heard is I have to talk to my husband, I have to talk to my wife.

So a you’re telling them hey, I’m going to call you, b here’s your homework, talk to your husband, talk to your wife, get that off the table, right? So that when you call them, it is just a natural flow. Hey, I hope you had the opportunity to review that sheet does that seem like something that could help your child, fantastic, it sure does, let me get you in here on Tuesday.

Now if you’re anything like me, I don’t answer the phone the first time, probably not the second time, probably not the third time. So if you call and you’re one and done, you’re going to close your doors at some point. I’m not saying call them at 9:01, 9:02, 9:03, 9:04 but what I used to do is call them in the morning, call them in the afternoon and repeat that all week.

If they answer the phone and get angry, again, that’s the pivot of oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, I’m just so passionate about anti-bullying that I wanted to give you your son that ability, that tool in his toolbox, so that he can squash this issue and be successful for the rest of his life. Do you have 30 seconds to talk about this? So again, preemptively understand the pushback you’re going to get. Emails work great too, it’s just a, it’s a good mass communication out to everyone.

And then one of the things that we started to do later on was text. Again, how do you receive your information? I text a lot more friends and family and co-workers and people that I do call on a given day. So I think it’s a good idea to meet people where they’re at and that’s texting. I think again, in those emails, invite them to take the next step, follow you on social media, do whatever they need to do.

At some point, you are harassing them. So if they don’t respond to your text messages, if they don’t respond to your phone calls in that week and a half, throw them in your cold leads, understand where you met them and then follow up with them I’d say every quarter. And then it’s nice that they are reintroduced to you, maybe soccer season’s over and they’re looking for something new.

Maybe mom just got a promotion, and she has some more dollars to spend on something. Maybe time has changed if you went from second shift to first shift, you never know, so don’t make the assumption. But follow through with them every quarter, same routine. Call in the morning, call at night, send them a text. And at some point, they’re either going to tell you to buzz off, or you’re going to win them over, and take them to that next step. But it is a lot of time, it just a lot of time to get there.

Once they’ve committed to that next step, they are the most important person that’s coming to the door that day. Now I’m not saying you can ignore your customers that have been there since your grand opening and things like that, but when they come in, and we used to do this and I don’t know, we didn’t do it at a start, but we did it probably about halfway through we were working together. Our kits was two free lessons and a free uniform.

So we set up the uniform right there, where you walk in, it had your name on it, it was crisp, it was starchy, it was nice. Why? Because we want you to feel important, we are here for you. So again, knowing your market, when that kid came in I knew their name, I knew mom or dad’s name and I was expecting that. So you could do this with a chalkboard too, welcome Jimmy or whatever it is. And then when they come in, you’re not talking to mom and dad first, you’re getting on the knee, you’re talking with that seven-year-old and that makes them feel important.

Because ultimately yes, it is mom and dad’s credit card that’s paying for this, but who’s making the decision to go there? I would argue from what I saw Josh, 75% of the time it was the kid. When they get off the mat and they said I don’t like this, well, mom’s not pulling out 150 bucks a month to give you for something that their child doesn’t like. If they come on, beaming with a freaking smile, because you did your job as an instructor and said when can I come back?

When can grandma come and see me break my board? I can’t wait till I get a yellow belt, how is mom and dad going to say no? And I grew up in a single-family Josh, money was tight with my mom. If I wanted something, guess what? Mom figured out how to make it work. And I saw it, same thing with the Christ school you and I were part of, mom paid part of the tuition, aunt would call in and grandma would call it, that then became birthday and Christmas for that kid forever, so I think it’s making them feel important.

Now understand that we didn’t arbitrarily pick two as the number of free lessons you got, but the first lesson was introducing them to the program, giving them that two-minute speech, but letting them watch their kid out of the mat. We then gave them homework, and what was the one thing we left out of that bag of the uniform, Josh? Do you remember?

Josh P.: The bag and the uniform, the belt.

Hayden K.: The belt, why? They didn’t earn it, you know we don’t give anything away, yes, that’s the culture we’re in today, but that’s not the culture we have. You have to earn everything you get here. And as a parent man, I like to hear that. Because guess what? They had to come back and we had the seven magic words you know yes, no, please, thank you, because again as a parent, that’s what I want them to live on.

If they complete their career as a martial artist and get a black belt, I’m all for it. But manners, anti-bullying, again paying attention in school, more discipline, those are the things that white belt, black belt whatever are going to carry on and bring you through. So then that second lesson was let me get you your belt, and again, when you come off the mat beaming, mom, why don’t you step into my office and let’s talk about this a little further and square the deal away.

And I think that is kind of full circle understanding where it is. So if you come in there and you’re just talking about kicks and punches and demo teams, and we’re going to go to the state fair and do that, I don’t care as a parent, that’s not important to me right now. My child is important to me, those short-term things are better than the long-term wins that we’re going to have.

And I think that is where I think, I think you developed Josh and I give you a lot of credit, when you first started you were all teaching, it was discipline, it has to be perfection and this, that. You’ll drive people away, and I saw that transition and you just say okay, if the high block is supposed to be here, I’ll take it here.

And I’m not going to harp on that kid because I know that they’re going to get it if they stick with it. But mom and dad are impressed, because they’re learning things, they are learning things and every time they go home it’s with a smile.

Josh P.: Yes. I came from that old background of got to have your horse stands, you got to be able to hold it, the knees have got to be bent so. And that first, I don’t know, I want to say the first two or three months was like I think the kids only like to come because they like to talk to me afterwards or before, and then the class was very boring.

And then I thought you know what? Why don’t we just get loud, why don’t we have fun, and the technique will kind of, it’ll follow when it’s ready to follow, right? We’ll give a little instruction here and there, and it’ll start. And that’s basically the way it went, the technique didn’t really suffer, most of the kids got pretty decent

So if you’re afraid to like not be traditional, because of technique and service no, it’s not the case. Like it’s just not the case.

Hayden K.: Well, what I was saying is me as a lay parent, I don’t really understand technique. What a parent is judging is does the instructor have command of the classroom? Are all the kids rising their boats, if you will?

Because if I want that strict Korean school where you hold the horse dance for three hours on a Saturday and you feel good about yourself, I’ll go find that school, that school exists somewhere. But I think at the end of the day, it’s tempering the expectation, but over delivery.

Josh P.: Absolutely, awesome. Okay, so real quick, we’re running out of time here. I know that you, it’s kind of a big subject, but I know that you worked out some agreements with local businesses as well not just with events, I remember we had a thing going on with the pizza shop guy.

How do you approach those businesses? Is it similar with the event coordinators? How do you approach those businesses, and what were we looking for to get out of those partnerships, and what maybe should martial arts schools be looking for?

Hayden K.: Yes. So I think you brought up one of the most natural ones was our pizza vendor. So at the end of the day, we ordered a lot of pizza, because one of the things that we did as a school is when you signed up, you got a free pizza party. So again, we briefly alluded to it earlier of man, I might spend $200 a weekend on pizza, Friday, Saturday, you know and it is more instructor time.

But what comes with that is little Jimmy who just signed up, now gets to invite 20 or 25 of his friends. You also solve the solution for the parent of what are we going to do for a birthday party? So typically, birthday parties cost parents hundreds of dollars. They’re going to monkey Joe’s, they’re going to great wolf lodge, they’re going to the bowling alley or whatever it may be.

Now you’re answering that, again talk about being the solution, but you’re then exposing yourself to brand new fresh 25 new leads. Guess what? That 100 bucks and pizza on a Friday night, if we converted one out of those 25 students paying 150 bucks a month who’s the winner? It’s bingo man. And to me, that the more pizza parties we hosted the better off we were going to be. I love seeing that credit card built the end of the month for pizza and it being hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

But then what does the pizza guy get? Much like martial arts or any gym, I could go to a million different places to order food for a birthday party. Chick-fil-a, Publix, any pizza shop on any corner, sandwiches, subs, maybe I don’t even serve something. So when we were talking with the pizza guy, it was a conversation of hey, we’re going to order pizza every Friday, every Saturday.

It’s not going to be huge; we’re not going to be ordering 800 pizzas, but I can guarantee you, I’m not even going to call you. Every 2:30 and every 8:30 just have five pizzas ready for me, and if I don’t pick them up, give them to your staff, I’ll eat that cost. But what I’m going to ask of you is two things, what do you need help with? And again, sit back and listen. So our pizza guy was newer in the area, and like you said, profit margins are razor thin.

So we were talking and he said I’d love to help you out, I just can’t. So I said okay, what can I do for you? And he said I don’t know; you can advertise for me. I said look, I don’t have hundreds of dollars, to your point Josh, I’m not the host, I don’t have thousands of dollars to throw on the table. I said what’s a hard cost for you? He said what do you mean.

So I got to buy pizza, I got to buy dill, I got to buy sauce, I got to buy pepperoni, I said what do you do for your boxes? He goes oh yes, that’s a cost and he tossed out every 100 boxes was 10 bucks. I said can I buy your boxes for you? And he looks at me, so you’re going to be paying me for my pizza, and you’re going to be buying boxes whether it’s your pizza or not in it? I said yes.

So here’s what I want from you, I will design a co-branded coupon. So it will say, for the pizza guy, on Tuesday give us a call and you’ll get a free medium pizza for every large pizza you buy or whatever his deal is. But for me, let me put something on there about my school. Let me put the free lesson, let me put the whatever our current deal is, because every pizza that went out on a Friday or Saturday night, who’s ordering pizza on Friday and Saturday? Families.

So now without me lifting a finger, and for ten dollars, I’m getting in front of families? So again, it’s not a wide market, like you talked about Josh, it is a narrow market, I’m winning. So then you say what are some other things that you can do along those same lines, and one of the things we did was work with the PTOs that work with the PTAs. So similar thing is what do PTOs and PTAs need to the school? They need money.

Well, I can’t cut a check and send it to you and say thanks. But what I can do is give them a referral code. So they push it out in their social media, they push it out of their open houses. And then when someone comes in and says hey? Indian trail or Indian land 425 or whatever the code was, and they signed up.

I will happily write a check, I will call the PTA president and say hey Miranda, we just had another one of your students sign up, can I drop this check off during your next PTA meeting? And then the next PTA meeting, I go down with a crisp envelope, say hey guys, here’s who I am.

I want to present to you, open it, make it a big production. I want to present to you a check in the total of six hundred dollars to your PTA. Let me tell you how you all earned this. You did no work, you didn’t lay out any money, nobody volunteered their time, all you did was send out this, and holy smoke.

So the money that you were going to spend on pizza, is now spent in a different way if you will. And that got us into every school, because every PTA needed some extra dollars. And then I think just taking it from there, obviously, leads are very important, but keeping your current customer base is also important.

So celebrating when they get into the belt, celebrating when they’ve been with you for a year or two. When they stop coming to class, they’re on the verge of quitting. So sending them a card and saying hey Josh, we missed you today. I’m signing it, the owners signing it, the chief instructor signing it, so that when they get that in the mail, they feel valued just like they did that first day when they saw their uniform with their name on it.

Christmas time, what we did is we sent them a Christmas card again, everybody signed it, and then we had a little pro shop in the corner if you remember. And we gave them five free dollars. Now what does five dollars do? It means nothing to you and I mean, can you buy a tank of gas or a gallon of gas for that.

But for a seven-year-old, five dollars is a lot. So when that t-shirt is ten dollars, which is really costing me three bucks because I buy them in bulk, suddenly I’m moving that product off the shelf that has sat there frankly all year, but I’m giving them something that they look forward to.

So again, I think it’s a combination of how do you continue to grow, and you can do other things like bring a buddy day, t-shirts in the summer time, again, because then they’re going to wear their t-shirt out to the grocery store, out to the event or whatever they’re going to do. But I think as someone who was in that program director role, someone who was in that chief instructor role, if you don’t always think about growing your school, you’re not thinking appropriately.

And I think that that’s important, and I don’t care what industry you’re in. Again, think about it, you have food line and you have Publix, both do the same thing but there’s a reason people gravitate towards Publix. Chick-fil-a and McDonald’s, there’s the same thing. Why are people going? Customer service, you know what you’re getting, you know what that brand is.

So again, it’s so important that your website to your table, to how you answer the phone, to how you greet someone, is that Publix? Is that chick-fil-a standard? And guess what, people are going to be able be willing to pay more for it than somewhere else.

Josh P.: Absolutely. That is excellent advice. I got to run here, but if anyone wanted to reach out to you for any reason, you don’t have to give any contact information if you don’t want to. I know you work for the city, so you’re not really like running a business or anything.

But where can they find you if you’re willing to, or you can plug the cities information or any of that kind of stuff.

Hayden K.: Yes. So what I’ll say is I am currently the director of park and rec for the town of Indi trail. So Indi trails in a union county just outside of Charlotte. If anyone wants to chat, and I’ll send this over to you, Josh, so you can throw it wherever you need to do. But my personal email is probably best.

My first name Hayden.Paul.Kramer@Gmail.com Hayden h-a-y-d-e-n dot Paul p-a-u-l dot lasting Kramer k-r-a-m-e-r @gmail.com. I love having these types of conversations, I’ve kept in communication with some of the owners that I used to work with, and some of them are in the game, some are out of the game, but I think that’s always a good thing.

Yes, I think always keeping your eyes open in whatever industry. I’ve used things that I learned in the martial arts industry in the park and rec world, I have friends that manage hotels and venues and grocery stores. I’m constantly picking and stealing ideas from them on how we can get better here.

Josh P.: Yes, awesome, incredible. Well, thank you again for coming on.

Hayden K.: Absolutely man, always nice seeing you.

Josh P.: Yes.

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