Part 5: How to stay in contact with ex-students
Let me introduce myself first, my name is Wouter Kostense and since two years I'm part of the Peter Lynn Kiteboarding team here at the HQ in the Netherlands. I love kiting but my professional background is actually sales & marketing. At PLK I finally got the opportunity to combine my hobby with my profession and I am loving it!
Here at Peter Lynn Kiteboarding we have many school partners around the world. Our survey shows that 83% of the kiteschools expects a strong growth, but I have also experienced that many are still struggling to keep up with the changing market and competition.
Honestly, I am surprised about the level of competition you guys are facing every day! One of those challenges seems to be sales, to my experience mainly created because kiteschools are looking at sales as a transaction...
Taking a better look at sales, why don’t we learn from other markets? My advice? Stop selling and start building relationships!
A common mistake being made in the kiteworld is trying to sell something every time you are in contact with your customer. Did you know it takes an average of 7 contact moments before a customer actually trusts you?
Why don’t you try to be different and build a relationship? Stay in contact with your ex-students by sending them relevant information via email and social media. Think about how you can get them to trust you, only then they will decide on other factors than just price. Such a way of going about sales will be developed in several steps. Nowadays only 29% of kiteschools are using an aftersales program while 53% are interested to start using it!
You can use the most simple email software and social media channels for these contact moments. Here are some examples that might help you to get in contact:
Make it special
Be the binding factor and organise something special for the student to remember. A bonus is when you can also include the local kiters in the spot to come and join you. Here are a few examples of easy (and less easy) events you can organise:
- After kite session drinks
- Guided downwinders
- A beach party
- A kite film festival
- Kite trips and holidays
- Kite/trick clinics
- A photo shoot
Make it more easy to get out
- Give advice on second hand kite inspections.
- Offer kite technique tips with how-to videos for intermediate ex-students.
- Send WIND ALERT updates to ex-students informing them about the expected perfect conditions to get on the water again.
- Write interesting blogs on techniques, material, special events, activities and offers and send them with a two-weekly or monthly newsletter.
And to wrap up, hereby my 4 main tips & tricks to improve your strategy
- Have patience; relationships are not the result of one email or one contact moment via Facebook. Don’t just give up after the first ‘no’. That is the most common mistake in doing sales worldwide.
- Maintain your relationship with your ex-students and customers.
- Be relevant and add value; send them something relevant by email periodically (once a month for example). Never try to sell something, but ensure that people buy from you.
- Listen when you try to sell something face-to-face; try to have conversations instead of sales pitches. Your customer must do 80% of the talking, you just ask the right questions. Only then will you be able to show your interests and to offer the best solution.
Do not expect any immediate results on these activities. Most of the suggestions as written above do require an investment in time and money, but some can also generate money or at least produce the income to cover the costs. The key is to keep people involved with your organisation and offer something extra.
I hope this might makes sales more fun for you! Feel free to contact me any time for any question!
Peter Lynn Kiteboarding team HQ