It is holiday time! That means it is time to focus on retail sales. That said, retail sales shouldn’t be isolated to the holidays and specifically the month of December.
I spoke at a seminar in Las Vegas recently, and one of the topics was how to sell more product. I wanted to make the point that not only is selling product very important for making a profit, but it also provides opportunities to sign up new members and upgrade current students. The point of the seminar was that selling retail product in our schools happens in a variety of ways and can often help other aspects of your school. In the Las Vegas presentation, this portion of the seminar took more than two hours but I will try to lay it out in this 650-or-fewer-words column format.
The most obvious way to sell retail product is through a pro shop. Even though this often produces the least results, it is still very important that you have a pro shop. It must contain displays of both products you use in your classes that are for sale, as well as other items that people may “want” as opposed to “need” such as key chains, picture frames, extra uniforms and belt racks, etc. However, a better way of insuring retail sales is to package products at strategic times. A package deal is beneficial to the student and the school.
For example, when a student signs up they receive a new student package (square target, T-shirt, free class pass for family member, etc.) . Build the cost of the new student package into the cost of the signup. When a student upgrades to Black Belt Club/Training or Leadership Training, included with the down payment could be sparring gear or a weapons package. Additional package ideas are to have tournament teams with sparring gear and demonstration teams with special uniforms, etc.
Another way to generate guaranteed sales is Product Programming. Coach’s days are great examples of this. For the price of a target or a shield, you teach the parents how to practice with their student at home. I actually teach entire seminars on how to do this event correctly. This leads into the second opportunity: signing up family members. Once a parent is on the floor working with their child, they are effectively taking a trial class. This is a perfect opportunity to sign up the parent.
Similarly, on occasion, ask parents to help by holding targets in class. They are not teaching, just holding targets, but they are on the floor and this is a chance to tap into their interest in martial arts. So, on a daily or monthly basis, you can see that selling retail is more than just an attractive pro shop.
We still have one more retail avenue to explore, and that is hosting sales. Of course, there is a huge opportunity for a holiday sale as December rolls around. Focus on offering both the “wants” and “needs” items in your product selections. Because of the potential for schools to host incredible holiday sales, Century Martial Arts invests a great deal time, effort and cost to produce an annual Holiday Kit, designed to help you have a successful event in December. (For more information about the Kit, ask your Century Account representative. There is no cost to wholesale clients.) Keep in mind, as we focus on December, having a Christmas in July sale is another HUGE opportunity. Offer “Product of the Month” discounts and tie a sale into the theme of local festivals and community events.
As we approach the holiday season, on behalf of the Martial Arts Industry Association, we hope you have successful holiday season, and, more importantly, a happy, healthy Thanksgiving.
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