In my 18 years of owning my own martial arts school I have been through many paradigm shifts. So it comes as no surprise that there was another decision that I had to make and many more around the corner. Coming from a background of traditional thinking, I had to decipher what was good for my art as well as the business that I ran to preserve the art that I taught. I sat in heavy meditation when I came up with the decision that would be the best thing I ever did for my martial arts school.
For about 8 years I debated on whether I should make the switch to just EFT, checking debit, credit card EFT's or hiring a billing a company and the resistance that I received every time I tried to sell and EFT to a client was not helping me make my decision. The end result is that I offered many options to my clients. For over 5 years I offered monthly billing, coupon booklets, credit card EFT and direct checking EFT’s. The two EFT’s where the least requested, the monthly billing being the most. I needed to reevaluate why people were choosing one over the other.
Resistance and loss of control -
Many people in the world we live - chose the path of least resistance. Understanding the things that make a person tick, and the human desire to avoid pain and feel pleasure it was obvious that a client would make the decision that made them feel the safest. People want to have control over their lives and especially their checking account. Even after relaying to my clients how easy it was to do an EFT, they still opted to choose the monthly billing. I tried to ease their concern by explaining it was a discipline. Wow, that was a no, no. No one wants to be told they don’t have discipline. Then I went on to tell them how I do that with all of my mortgages. I really struck a nerve when they found out that I had more then one. They replied with sometimes you have no money in the account and then they try to debit and it really becomes a problem. To say the least they didn’t go for EFT’s.
I needed to make a change and get people to realize that the EFT was the best choice for them as well at it being the best choice for my school. What I needed to do was make a decision on whether I was behind it one hundred percent. After I did that it was all smooth sailing. Well, not exactly.
I had a meeting at Comstat – our Command center for Statistics. We got this from a book most of my staff and I read called “Leadership” by Rudolf Gulianni. This is our annual weekly meeting where my entire staff gets together and we talk about all the stats from my 6 locations. Then I told them of my decision to take nothing but EFT’s. Of course the staff asked the question, what if a student absolutely flat out says they are not going to do it. Is it worth losing a student over? I then asked everyone’s opinion. We came up with the solution of having people pay in house or monthly billing with a 10% increase in tuition. I also spoke of the option of people paying up front and receiving a 10% discount of pay in fulls.
We then agreed and put the plan in action. In two months we have renewed at least 60 people in my main location. Out of which we had a handful of people that were resistant. What we did was remove the other options. The minute I told them that they had a choice of either EFT Checking or EFT Credit card, they thought which of the two they prefferred and said okay and took the path of least resistance. Plus, they didn’t want to pay 10% more and realized that it was best for our school. So it has been easy sailing ever since. I will keep you up to date on that.
sure that you are 100% behind the decisions that you make. Find
different reasons to back up your decisions clearly to the client.
Remove all the fear that the client may have about the change.
Educate the client why it is good for your school as well as for them.
Give them a guarantee that if things go wrong and they are unhappy that you will back them up by taking care of the issue immediately and remove them from the EFT. Also, make sure you clearly state that it must be a problem on the school or banks end. Not a lack of organization and checkbook accounting skills.
Make sure that you ease their decision by helping them to understand that it easier than they think and that they still have full control over their checking accounts and can cancel at anytime.
The benefits are endless from an accounting stand point, as well as reducing the amount of delinquent accounts your billing company may have to deal with monthly. You won’t become the bill that gets paid last or put at the bottom of the pile. You will be right up there with the top of the heap.