Watch Mark Russo, COO of Amerikick Martial Arts, for a special holiday webinar. During this exclusive Championsway webinar, Mark will be sharing his secrets on how to get the most out of the holiday season, as well as showing us how to boost sales during this busy time of year.
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Championsway webinar, today we have Mark Russo who’s going to be talking about a tricky subject for all of us, about how to maximize our holiday sales. A little background on Mark, he is the COO of AmeriKick with over 25 schools across the United States, he’s a 7 th degree black belt with over 30 years of training, and he opened his first school at the age of only 20, an inspiration for us all. Without further ado, I don’t want to hold you guys up too much longer because we did start a little late here, the questions and answers section will be held at the very end, so feel free if you have any questions that come up during the presentation to enter them into the box, and we’ll try to hit as many as we can after the presentation is done. Without further ado, back by popular demand, I present to you Mark Russo. Take it away Mark!
Thank you, thank you Noah; welcome everyone and thank you for everybody attending, I wanted to just make sure that we have a good, clear sound check here, and everybody can hear me, okay so let’s dive right into it. Holidays sales and these are going to be some tips for you, and some ideas that will help maximize what we can do for this holiday season. So, I’m going to start off with, why holiday sales? In particular a holiday sale event, a lot of what we’re talking about today is an actual main event to generate the most, and maximize from your holiday sales. One it creates retention, because when your students invest into your holiday sale by purchasing memberships, by upgrading their programs, by purchasing retail and uniforms; they’re making a commitment to your school to continue to train. So, it kind of reaffirms and revaluates why they’re there, so it creates a lot of retention.
Another important point is that it creates additional revenues of course for yourself and your school. You can utilize those revenues in so many ways. Now, depending on the size of your school of course, it’s going to depend a lot on what you do for your revenues. Smaller schools, larger schools, can generate anywhere from 5,000 to as much as our large schools 50-70 thousand dollars in a one day sale. Now we’re talking about one day, but there’s also sales you have prior to post-sale day as we roll through the holiday season, but these additional revenues can be used for investments for yourself, investments into your staff, into your school, for marketing and promotions to really help build the success of your school, and bring it to another level. Also, you can use the revenues for school improvements; we all need school improvements and it’s great at least once a year you’re doing updates, you know new mats, new training equipment you should have at your school, a fresh coat of paint, everything to really give your school the best look. You really want your school to be the best looking school in your area, so you can utilize that as well.
Opening additional locations, if you have a goal, or step to that you maybe want to open up a second school, or maybe even a third school, you can utilize some of your revenues to help you with those additional expenses, and then of course it’s a service to your loyal students, and what I mean by that is your students that are dedicated, and have been there you’re kind of saying almost thank you. Thank you for being a great customer, and a great student, we’re offering special promotions, discounts, savings to you for being such a great, and loyal customer. So, you kind of wrap all of that together and here are some of the important points as to why we’re doing a big holiday sale event. Okay, here’s the plan this is an overall, but we’re going to go into more detail of all of these different events. Set a date and time, your number 1 priority, now I should practice this with, depending on some of you may already have a date set, some of you may not, so depending on where you’re at it’s not too late now, you know we’re in early November, to set a date for a holiday sale event, whether it’s a one day which I recommend, or maybe it’s a weekend or a week event, but either way you want to get that together, and you still have a good 4 to 6 ways to prepare and promote.
You want to have all of your advertising and promotion materials ready and together, to execute both internally, and externally. That’s really important because a holiday sale event is not only geared and focused towards our students, and our parent customers, but we’re also looking to bring in new customers, new members, and that’s very important that we’re also focusing some of our promotions externally. The other thing that we’re going to do is target students for products, and products sales, and also for upgrades, and for memberships, and it also depends on what you’re currently offering at your school. We’re going to be sending out customized programs to our students for memberships. Now, I want to just go back a second and talk a little bit about, our holiday sale is including not only retail sales, but it’s also including programs, memberships, it’s including special services like birthday parties, summer camps, private lessons, personal training.
This is all grouped into a holiday sale, so don’t just think it’s just selling merchandise; we’re selling everything, all of our services, and all our programs, and memberships as well. We’re going to be distributing catalogs and wish lists, some of us use the…and I want to give Century a plug, their holiday catalog is really a great tool to use and to utilize, and we also have in-house, and at our own AmeriKick schools a customized wish list or catalog that has our AmeriKick products. Everything in our schools is branded with our logo, the AmeriKick logo, and I know a lot of schools do that, and most of the vendors out there offer that now especially with your sparring gear, weapons, some of your other products like bags and apparel, but it’s very important to make sure that your students are not going elsewhere, and purchasing at the local discount martial arts market, or online somewhere, or they’re buying it from a friend who took karate from some other school, so that’s important, and then of course we’re going to plan an actual sale day, and then we’re going to execute.
Okay, date and time, we recommend and we’ve had great success for years with the Saturday; the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Now here’s the theory, or school thought on this, as you get closer towards the holidays and towards that Black Friday or Thanksgiving weekend, you really want to try and capture your market, and your students for purchasing at your school. The closer they get to the holidays, the more they’re going to probably spend, especially spend on other items like a flat screen, or a new computer, or the I-pad for their family, and they have less money, or on a budget to spend at your school. So, the idea here is to catch them early, the earlier the better, so we actually advertise even as early as mid-November, maybe the end of November to go for holiday sale, now very important. We set specific hours, depending on the size of your school with maybe a 100 students; maybe you’re only doing a 4 hour sale, or 3 hour sale event, if you have a larger school 300-500 students who have an organization then you’re going to need more time obviously, because you’re going to have maybe 150 people, 200 people coming in for sales, and you need more, 6 hours. We go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., so that’s a nice range. It gives them the morning and then afternoon time to come into the school. No classes that day, that’s very important, because we want to make sure that we’re dedicating our complete staff and focus to the customers, to our students, to our parents, and that is the day that we’re going to be really focusing on helping them with gift ideas, and really their martial arts training. We’re going to be answering questions; we’re going to be giving them ideas of what they should be looking at for their training, so we’re not going to have any classes that day. That’s very important, so note that!
We also do allow call-in orders that are acceptable that day, so if they can’t make that day sale they have information, and they have our catalogs and wish lists, and they can call-in and we’ll give them whatever discount that day. Now remember, all of these big discounts which we offer, anywhere from 10% to 50% off, and they vary across the board, that’s that day only, and it’s very important that our members understand that that is our biggest sales day, and that’s when we’re offering the biggest discounts, and promotions that day. Note, do not give your prices out early, you do not want to let your students know now that in 3 to 4 weeks on holiday sale that you’re going to be offering 20% off a one year membership, or 30% off a sparring gear package. You want to save that and you really want to create excitement, and create a little mystery, you want them to have a reason to come into your holiday sale today, so you’re not going to give out any prices. As much as you really want to, and they’re going to ask you, and ask you, “What are you going to offer, what are you going to have?” We just tell them there’s going to be a lot, we’re going to have a lot of great specials that day, but you have to come in and see it, so it’s really important because you really want to create that mystique, that reason why they’re going to come in.
Obviously on marketing, this is really a key to having a very successful holiday sale event; it’s the marketing, the promotions of it. 6 weeks at least, if not 8 weeks or more, you want constant advertising and promotion of the event. We’re handing out postcards in all of our classes over the time, you know the weeks before the event, we’re going to have holiday posters in our school promoting the event in our front windows, everywhere in our parent area, we’re also going to have them out…if you’re in a shopping center, if you have any local businesses near you, we’re going to have them out in those stores as well to help promote the event locally. We’re going to do a direct mail piece as well, we’re not only going to direct mail our students, but we’re also going to direct mail all of our database, Perfect Mind has a great, easy system to do that.
We’re also going to direct mail, we even go another step and we direct mail in our local community, and in our local town, so we do spend some money to advertise it, but again we’re looking for new members as well as existing members, important. Also, don’t underestimate the power of direct mail please, because when people get something in the mail it just kind of reaffirms to them not everybody is on social media, of course, everybody is reading their emails all of the time, so it’s just another way that you may want to hit them and make sure you’re getting the word out.
There’s a sample right here of one of our promotional materials which lists holiday sale, the date, when it is, the pricing, the discounts and so forth. So, we’ll use a series of these, we have about 5 or 6 different ones, and every week we’re doing something new to really catch the audience, so it gets their attention. Continuing our marketing here, in all of our classes over the next 4 to 6 weeks, we’re making big announcements, in all of our classes our instructors are talking to the parents, they’re also talking it up, they’re talking to the students to make sure that everybody understands, we have it on one of our big announcement boards, we have flat screen TV in our school that are constantly playing promotions. We also do business to business cross promotion, so I mentioned this a little bit ago, that we are getting involved with any of our local businesses or students who even own businesses to help promote it as well, and then what we do is we cross promote them.
Our shopping center is very large; we have 30 stores in it so we do a lot of holiday cross promoting anyway, so this kind of really ties into it. You can do similar in your local market. Of course, utilizing you school website, make sure you have all of your information in your site as well, create an event page on your Facebook, boost your posts, we do paid posts to boost them as well, constant posts on all of your social media sites, and if you use them all then it’s really important that you should do at least, Google Plus, Facebook, Pinterest, that’s where all the moms are, every mom’s on Pinterest, Twitter and so forth. We film a mini-commercial and post it out socially, we email it out, we have it playing in our school, and it’s about a one minute, one and a half minute of what the event is about, what we’re going to be offering, why it’s important that you get there, so it’s a nice little infomercial and we’re utilizing that. If you want to check ours out, the Facebook page is AmeriKick Marlton, you can check it out and see what we have, and just pretty much copy it and do something similar.
We are constantly emailing out our students, and our lead prospects, once a twice or week, 6 weeks prior to it, keep it out, and we’re also posting gift ideas on our social sites, and this is a nice way to capture your audience, and create fresh, something new for them, so we will take pictures, and you can do this just with your I-phone and take pictures of products maybe it’s a package of your sparring gear, maybe it’s your weapons, or your uniforms, and we’ll take a series of pictures, real nice pictures of our products and then every few days, or at least once a week we’re posting up new items and or an idea, here’s a great holiday gift idea for the upcoming holidays, check us out at our holiday sale! We’re handing out those catalogs I mentioned, Century again has a great catalog that we utilize, also we have the wish list and we’re going to be handing them out now, 3 weeks, or 4 weeks prior to our holiday sale, and that’s a great tool because it puts something in the parents’ hands. We order hundreds of them, and in that catalog we actually take our wish list which has recommendations and it actually lists what each one of our students need at each belt level. For instance, an orange belt they need sparring gear, a purple belt they need to learn the bo staff, so it actually lists what’s required and what they should purchase, and we put that in our holiday catalog, so they can see where they’re at, and what they need.
And then of course we’re utilizing the Perfect Mind broadcast, where we’re using text messaging services to remind them a week or two prior, a voice broadcast if they like as well, so we’re just doing so much in terms of promoting it, and that’s really important, because you’ve got to get the word out and the message out. Here’s just a sample of one of our posts on our page, and again you can check that out, this was the combo package that the center is offering, that we already have preorders for now, people are really excited about that for athlete training. Full programs for memberships, here’s some of the things that we’re talking about, basic membership programs we’re going to be offering at the holiday sale, we’re telling our students this and then we’re making these promotions; black belt club, master club, leadership club, demo teams we have, competition team, if you have cardio kickboxing at your school, personal training and private lessons we do a lot of them at our school that’s sometimes an untapped market for yourself and for your staff as well, boot camp classes, if you offer yoga, MMA, again supplemental programs, a lot of schools are now offering these programs as a supplemental training to their core curriculum programs, if you’re offering some kind of tricks, gymnastics, or XMA class or program, and of course camps, a lot of schools offer one day camps, or they’re doing break camps.
Like holiday break, spring break, holiday summer time; we do camps every week in the summer. So, these are all a part that we are going to be offering, we’re going to be offering them discounts and they will vary anywhere from 20, 30, 40 even 50 perfect off, and it depends on how much they’re purchasing too, so we have a graduated scale. I have details on that too, so you can reach out to me later afterward and I can give you more specific numbers if you’re interested in that. For holiday sale orders, these are some of the things that we’re focusing on and selling at our school, of course weapons and weapons packages, and as I mentioned earlier we have built into our curriculum, students must learn certain weapons at different belt levels. We teach the 4 main weapons, adults learn 2, as they make their journey up through and to their black belt, then after black belt we have different weapons as well, but it’s built in so they have to purchase because they have to learn the curriculum. We also package them together, so they can purchase all 3 or 4 weapons from white belt to black belt and we give them a discount on that, and that does really nice. Sparring gear and a sparring package as well, we package our whole sparring gear into one and we offer them a discount. Of course apparel, everything is logoed with AmeriKick and we offer the hoodies, the zip ups, the crew necks, everything you can think of, so we just give them a lot to make them purchase. You want to have a lot to offer. Accessories, uniforms, of course we have some that are program based and you may have the same, we have specialty uniforms as well, designed uniforms, so there’s a lot that you can offer depending on what you do at your school too. Then training bags, the at home equipment, that’s kind of what we promote at home training, because they’re coming in and they’re using our equipment, but we know that there’s also equipment that will help them at home. So we are also promoting the heavy bags, the mitts, the targets, the shields, stuff that they can use at home. Mats too, we sell a lot of the mats because a lot of the parents they want to create a little area for their child to work out in, or they’re working with them maybe together, working out together, so that’s another untapped item too as well, and then of course we have the wish list items, the specialty items, belt racks… So, really the sky is the limit, you can really come up with a lot of different retail items that you can use.
Okay, here are some rules for retail for you. Only order and stock what you’re going to sell year round, and what I mean by that is, uniforms, weapons and sparring gear are what we sell all of the time, so we’re going to heavily stock up on them. So, I’m going to have a lot of uniforms at my sale, a lot of weapons, sparring gears. Some of the other stuff that we don’t sell as much, we will have a few as samples for them to look at, and we’re going to do orders for that, so don’t spend a lot, especially if you have a budget keep your order small. So, if you’re on a budget with a smaller school, maybe just use the catalog, and maybe order one or two of some of the items that you’re going to offer, so people can see it. We’re going to do that now too, we actually have several of the items in that we’re going to be offering at the sale, in our pro-shop now, even though we’re 3 weeks out from our holiday sale, just to create excitement and buzz. Try and target how many students need any of your retail items, for example for sparring gear package, it’s very easy for you to go and look at your students, and if your students spar at a certain level, ours happen to start sparring at orange belt level and purple belt level, we’re going to go in and we’re going to look, and we’ll do an audit of our students and see how many are attending sparring classes, how many are not and do not have sparring gear, and we’re going to focus, we’re going to go right up to them, we’re going to talk to the parents, we’re going to talk to the students themselves, and explain to them that sparring is part of the program and it’s a great time now with the holiday sale that they need to take advantage of it. We do the same thing with the weapons as well. So, you’re really kind of just focusing in on the needs of your students, and then you’re going to capitalize on that by letting them know, what they need and what’s available. It doesn’t take a lot of time, you can do it relatively quickly; your staff can.
Here’s a sample of our sparring gear package. I’ll have 20 of those at my holiday sale, packed and ready to go so they just purchase, and they walk with it. So, we have it ready, all sized up and ready to go, and that’s like stacked on tables creating a nice little look of it, so there’s a whole part that goes into your display. More rules of retail, make new students gift baskets and have them wrapped up and ready to go, and mainly what we offer here is our martial arts, our kids’ karate, our adult martial arts, our cardio/fitness kickboxing, we’ll have gift baskets or gift packages made up, and we’ll have them ready to go, we actually use them all of the holiday season but they’re great item to sell. We sell the three class pack for $19.95, we also sell a one month for $99, and we include different things and items, but they’re all wrapped up and ready to purchase, and they really motivate. People will buy what they have in hand more than just a paper gift certificate; you need to give them a little something. Order samples of everything that you’re not going to stock!
I mentioned this earlier; target special groups in your schools like your fitness students, if you have a cardio kickboxing program, or an MMA program, or a yoga program and offer them products as well. For example, we have a very successful cardio kickboxing program at our schools, so we’re also targeting on those, mostly women that take the class, so we’re working on gloves for them, so mats and training equipment, we use power bands in the class as part of it, we’re looking at some special workout pants, Century again has some nice equipment, I’m plugging them a lot, although I’m not getting anything from them. So, we’re targeting that market and some items that we can sell as well, because that’s not that market that we can really utilize. Here’s a sample of one of our holiday gift baskets.
Upgrades, okay so here’s what we need to be focusing on for membership upgrades. Depending again on the size of your school, you want to target anywhere from 20 to 40 students that are eligible for upgrades. If you have any other program besides basic, which I believe most schools do that I talked to anyway; they have at least one upgraded program which allows students more training, some type of tier 2 and 3. Master club, black belt club, if you have a special fighting program or fight club, demo team, tricks, AmeriKick extreme martial arts we have a special curriculum for that, cardio kickboxing, so they’re all people, students that we’re going to look to upgrade to these memberships that we’re going to include in our holiday sale. It’s important to know that each upgrade must have a sound reason, we just don’t upgrade students just to make the sale to make more money, that’s a great goal, but more importantly and this important for the integrity of your school, and the success of your school, is you want to upgrade students who are ready. Who are A level students, who are motivated, who need the extra training, who are at that level where they need something more, so when we’re targeting our students, we’re going through every student in our inventory who are active now, we’re going through and saying yes they are a potential upgrade, they would make a great candidate for our master club, or no they’re not ready yet, they need more motivation, their attendance is weak, or they need to get another belt level, so you really make sure that you keep that on point with your upgrades, the membership upgrades.
When you do target your students as to who may be able to upgrade, you’re talking to them, you’re contacting them weeks prior, 2 to 3 weeks prior to the sale you’re letting them know that they qualify from sensei’s, from you, from the instructor for a membership upgrade, for a black belt club membership, or for our master club program, and that there will be specials available if they’re interested. Again, we’re not hard-selling them, but we’re letting them know that A, they or their child is a potential candidate for an upgrade, here’s what’s involved, we give them a little bit of information and kind of tweak them, a little pre-sale, and if they’re interested then we’re going to follow up more and when we follow up with them it’s closer to the holiday sale, most of them are always yes.
For the students who are interested in your upgrades, that you have pre-sold and that you’ve talked to, you’re going to give them customized program options, so for every student that I’m talking to I’m going to work up some options for them. I’m going to work them up an option if they want to pay their year off in full; I want to work up an option for if they want to make monthly payments, or quarterly. If they have family discounts, if they go with a family plan, we have a lot of family programs here, and we give a special rate just for families, if they have 3 members, of 4 members, or 5 members in the family, so a lot of it is that I’m giving them options, you know 2 or 3 choices, and then they obviously choose which one they want, I also graduate the discount based on it. So, if they’re going for a monthly upgrade option it’s less of a discount, and I’ll give you an example, maybe it’s 5 or 10 percent discount versus if they’re going to pay the membership off in full they’re going to enjoy a bigger discount maybe 20 or 25 percent, depending on the program, basic program, mid-level upgrade, or a higher level program it depends. So, that’s how you graduate, you create value, and of course the old adage is the more you purchase, the more you save, and the more you spend.
Who are some students to target in your school? Absolutely the new students who just earned their first belt, our first belt after white belt just happens to be yellow belt, they’re so juiced up and excited when they get to the very first belt; they attend the belt graduation, and get the brand new belt after being white, and they’re super excited, so they’re huge to target for an upgrade and promotion. Any students who are getting ready to spar, like I mentioned at our third belt that’s when we start sparring, so we’re going to target them. Any students that move to your advanced class, so at a certain point maybe it’s 2 years into training, then they’re moving to a higher level class and an advanced level training program, we’re going to talk to them because at that level they’re learning more weapons, they’re learning more self-defenses, board breaking is involved, so there’s a lot more training, they really need the extra classes and membership to attain that black belt.
Students who are interested in tournament training, competitions, sport martial arts, sport karate style, that is also an untapped market for people who are looking to get better at competing or learning something new, and then of course students that you have nearing black belt tests, when they’re getting ready they definitely want extra training, they may want some private lesson packages, they may need new uniforms, whatever the criteria or curriculum that you have that they may need, so there’s some of your students to target. Again, you’re talking to them prior to the sale, weeks prior.
Okay, for your holiday sale prep, decorate your school at least one week, if not two weeks before the sale, and is this depends on when you’re having it, if you’re having it in early December, you probably already have your school decorated for the holidays. Spend a little money, and make your school nice and festive, the moment that week or so prior to our holiday sale, we have all of our holiday decorations, our lights are up blinking, our holiday tree is up, then the students go wow, they kind of really get in the mood like this looks great! We are kind of setting that tone, yep, it’s the holidays, so here we go, get ready! So you really want to create that in your school; that environment, that experience. Gather and train your sales team for that sale day, or that sale event, that’s very important because you want to make sure that you have enough coverage. Again like I mentioned for that time we happen to have, almost jeez 200 people come in for a holiday sale, and sometimes you’re having 3, or 4, or 5 in at once, and you want to have a team. So, we’ll have a sales team which is made up of some of our instructors, some of our moms, and our front desk and program directors as well. We’ll usually have 3 or 4 instructors floating that are helping to answer questions, taking orders, sizing up students for their equipment or their uniforms, then we’ll have a door greeter as well who will kind of walk in through the whole event to show them around, where everything is, and then we have somebody at our front desk, you know our pro-shop as well checking people out.
Email a few of your sale items and programs a few days before, okay so this is the sneak peak, so a few days, maybe 3 days before your event if you’re holding it on a Saturday, usually on that Thursday is a great time, or a Wednesday to email out just a few items to your students of what you’re going to offer. 3 or 4 items, it’s just to create a little excitement, and a little interest, and I’ll usually do maybe one of our birthday parties 50% off; I might do our sparring gear packaging as 20% off, and maybe 1 or 2 other little items, but just a sneak peak of what is going to be offered, and that creates a lot of excitement too. Set up your merchandise tables, areas with weapons, uniforms, gears all sectioned off, so what you want to do is you really want to create a whole look and experience in your school, so separate your weapons’ area from your uniforms from your sparring gears, so they have different areas that they’re going to see where all your equipment is. We’ll have equipment in one area; we’ll have all of our apparel in another area, and then again our instructors and our staff are floating around helping them make this little tour around our whole school to see everything that’s available.
You definitely want to have tables and chairs with refreshments out, maybe it’s in your parent area or some common area, and on those tables you have your catalogs, you have your wish lists for customers, what your discounts are going to be so they can place orders. They can literally sit down, they can place orders, you can sit down and talk with them as well, you’re also going to be talking probably about memberships or upgrade potential as well, so you want to have that so it’s comfortable, and you’re not standing all the time. When they sit, they have the tendency to spend, they’re there and they’ll order more. Have a door greeter, and floater like I mentioned to help you, our door greeter welcomes them and then they kind of take them on a quick tour of where everything is, this is where you can order your catalog, this area is where all of our membership and upgrades are available, this is where our sparring gear is available, and then they kind of walk them all the way through and then right back.
There are some samples here of some of our weapons that we use, again everything is logoed at our school, we use a great weapon vendor, Cochran’s Ultimate Weapons, and they logo everything for us because we want our students to purchase from us and nowhere else. Some of our apparel that we have that we’ll sell and display, and long sleeve T-shirts…we try and do everything. Other ideas for the holiday sale event, this is important, if you’re offering memberships paid in full for a one year or two year membership don’t oversell! Your recurring billing, your monthly automated billing that you have you want to make sure that it’s set and that you don’t chip away from it, in other words if you sell too many paid in fulls, let’s say you sell 10 of them or 15 of them because you get really excited and you get a couple of really nice sales there, that’s of course going to take away from your recurring billing. So, you need to set a limit, that way you don’t affect your monthly, residually, regular billing.
So, for example maybe you only say we have 10 master club programs paid in full that will be available, or 5, whatever the number is. Same thing with your other programs that you offer as well, so that will help put a limit on it but then what it will also do is you will be conscious of the fact that you need to replace that paid in full with a monthly recurring. So, that’s very important that either way you keep a balance. You don’t want to oversell too many paid in fulls, because then, and it depends on your discipline too, I know some people are very disciplined with their money and that they won’t spend it, and they’ll have it set off to the side which is great, because you don’t want to, but then again on the other note some people aren’t as disciplined, so that’s why it’s good to have a balance. So, just keep in that mind and with your staff and program directors as well. Another idea is to have discount cards to hand out for at that holiday sale event for your customers, good for a future purchase, so when they come to our holiday sale and after they make their purchase, we’re going to give them a discount card good for a future purchase, because we want follow ups, and you will have follow ups all the way through till the holidays, through Hanukah and through Christmas, so even though our sale event is at the end of November, we’re still making holiday sales and promotions all the way through.
I mentioned the new student packages that we sell a lot of the 19.95 packages, that’s quick, a lot of people will if they have 20 dollars in their pocket they will spend 20 dollars to purchase for a friend or a family member, it makes a great gift and it’s a new class special. Advertise your event, your sale event externally; I mentioned this earlier, so do a lot of it, local print, on any websites that are in your areas, and any of your schools, and anywhere there’s local media that you can do, because again you not only want to focus in-house, but you want to focus externally as well, you want to have new money coming in, new students coming in. A great idea, clear out sales to get rid of your old inventory, your old items, so any of those beat up paddles that are falling apart or the straps broke off, your kick shields, the bags need replacement, put them all on sale, really, really on sale so you can get rid of them, and you can purchase some new ones. Place your orders right away after the sale, so after you take all of your orders for your retail merchandise, you want to make sure that you don’t delay in the ordering; it’s very important as you get closer to the holidays, and most of the big vendors they’re going to tell you when it’s the last time that they’ll take your order to guarantee delivery. So, keep this in mind, and I recommend, that weekend after you should have all of your holiday orders together, by that Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest you are already putting your orders in from the holiday sale. So you’re sending out to your vendors, all of the uniforms, the equipment, and everything that people purchased, because you need that time for the vendor to come back to you and tell you that product is discontinued, happens, the product is on backorder, that happens a lot, because then you have to go to your student and let them know you know and get it ready in time for the holidays, and then ship back out.
Avoid non branded items, so AmeriKick the branding is there, but then again when we give them a catalog we’re telling them outright that you know there’s a lot of great ideas and products in this catalog, however you cannot utilize the weapons, the gears, or the uniforms mainly because it all has to be branded with the AmeriKick logos. We only utilize certain quality items that we’ve approved. So, we’re telling them that so they’re not going elsewhere to spend money, you want them to spend money, because it’s a business, and it’s only fair that they purchase from you, and that they didn’t purchase from anywhere else. The holiday sale is also a great time to launch a new program so if you’re looking to get a cardio kickboxing program, or an MMA program, or yoga, or some kind of supplemental program that’s a great time to start it, kick off with a membership drive, maybe even give out some really discounted…get the class schedule out, give a program overview, so it’s a great idea to do that.
The day of the sale, place lots of tables and chairs out for the parents to sit and place orders; I mentioned that a little bit ago. Have all of your catalogs out, snacks, refreshments for them; make it real comfortable. Music’s playing, you have coffee, you have bagels, if you have snacks and refreshments it makes them feel comfortable as well. Have an area if your school is large enough that you can do this, have an area for any of the kids that come with them because sometimes they have little ones that they have to bring because they don’t have a babysitter, so you have a certain area for them to play, again that’s a smaller item. Have a gift wrapping station, or a gift bag station, we actually use a gift bag now because it’s so much easier, but if you do gift wrapping you need a volunteer mom to help out, so whatever purchase they make you can gift wrap it, or gift bag it, depending on the size of the item. It’s just an extra little feature that we offer at no charge, and have plenty of catalogs and wish lists available at the day of the event. We’ll use boards, wiping boards, we use big large banners; we use our flat screen TVs, posters to list all of our specials that day. So, when they come in they’re going to see right away big giant posters, they’re going to see boards, they’re going to see everything that lists the discounts and what’s on special in addition.
So, it’s kind of we’re using the visual boards, of course all of memberships too, we’ll blow them up large size, we’ll have what our basic membership discount is that day, what our black belt club membership is that day, what our master club membership is that day. Another tip to keep in mind, try not to large run programs on a credit card machine. What I mean by that is, some programs, and I know some schools that do this but they’ll sell, pre-sell a 3 year black belt club membership, or a 5 year leadership or master club membership, 4, or 5, or 6 thousand dollars and they’ll swipe the card. Credit card companies now really favor a lot with backing new customers, and a lot of legislation in different states have changed to it as well, so depending on different laws in the states now with the Health Club Act, so if you pre-sell large amount memberships for long periods of the time, and the students decide they want a refund or quit, then sometimes the credit card companies will back the student and they’ll go give a chargeback and they’ll take it directly from your account, from you, and then like I said if you’re not disciplined with money, and you ran them for a 5,000 dollar large tier program you might be stuck there, so be careful. We limit it to a year or a year, year and a half at the most for memberships to do. That’s it everyone, so I want to thank Championsway, I want to thank everyone for attending…for any specific information or follow ups, please you can email me directly, and I know Noah is going to do a question and answer series right now as well.