Just like your students need to take action to study and do the work to be successful, you also need to take action to get clients and be successful in your tutoring business.
It’s not a mystery that you need clients. But sometimes we just get “stuck” trying to figure out what to do. Well I am here to give you some powerful strategies I have used to get tutoring clients. Decide on a method or two, and put them into practice.
1. Write a Featured Column
Write a column for the local newspaper, school newspaper, the PTA, neighborhood newsletter, or other print media. This will not be direct advertising, but will help establish you as an authority on a topic related to education and tutoring.
Consider writing a series on a topic to keep people looking for the next few
installments. Examples might be:
- 5 Tips for Helping Your Child with Math
- 7 Steps to Motivating Your Child
- 5 Methods I Used to Beat ADHD — Advice for You and Your Child
- 3 Priorities Every Family Needs To Balance School And Sports
At first glance, it might appear that this is not a “quick” strategy to get clients. And no, it might take some work and time to get this done. However, this strategy quickly propels you to the status of expert in your community, church, school, or group. In the minds of people this makes you the “go to” person whenever they have a problem in your area of expertise.
I still get calls all the time from people that want two things. Help in science and
math, or help with their computer or web site. This is because I have established
myself as an “expert” in these areas.
So what is “quick” is how quickly you come to mind when someone is looking for a
solution or a recommendation for a tutor.
It’s a powerful way to get your name out there and get clients calling you.
2. Offer A Free Seminar
This strategy is similar to the one above because it establishes you as an authority in the area of your expertise. It also gives you great exposure and “presells” your services to potential clients.
Putting on a seminar takes a little work, but can reap huge rewards if you are
targeting your ideal market.
As a tutor, you could advertise a free seminar for parents on helping their children
To do that you would need:
- A method to get the word out – think Facebook, flyers, word of mouth, or sponsorship by the local PTA or another community group
- A place to meet – a library, community center, church, or school may work
- An informational presentation
- A way for attendees to follow up with you
If you take the time to develop a short 30 minute presentation on strategies to help and motivate children, you will easily fill up an hour by the time you get done with question and answer time at the end.
Consider advertising that the seminar is limited to the first 25 people to sign up. Limited availability helps to get people to commit.
That’s the power of establishing yourself as the local expert. It works for speech
therapy, coaching, web design, ice skating lessons—you name it.
It will work for finding parents who are looking to better their child’s academics and they’ll choose you to be the one to do it for them.
3. Mention Satisfied Customers
You should mention satisfied customers on all of your marketing materials and in every conversation you have.
There’s a great saying I learned from Dani Johnson that says, “Facts Tell and Stories Sell”.
Mention your satisfied customers on your website, your flyers, and your business
cards. Use their words, not yours, when on your website or printed materials. Refer to them in stories about students who you have helped before.
Example: If a mom asks you if you have experience with students with ADHD don’t tell them you have taken 4 college courses dealing with Exceptional Learners, Learning Styles, and also have state certification for teaching. Instead tell them stories about students who had trouble focusing and how you were able to give them strategies to stay focused and complete their work.
Remember: Facts Tell, Stories Sell
Real life stories connect with people and their heart’s desires much better than lists of facts and qualifications.
Have a list of satisfied customers available for parents to call at any time to learn more about how other clients have been helped by your services. (Remember to ask any parents for their permission prior to putting them on that list)
Oh, and perhaps the most important part! Any time a client takes you up on your services because of a conversation with one of those satisfied customers make sure to send a big thank you for helping you get a new client. Some ideas: flowers, chocolates, gift certificates, a free tutoring session. They will love the fact they helped you out, love the fact that you thanked them, and love to do it again!
4. Have Someone Else Get Clients For You
Don’t feel like getting out there and selling your tutoring services?
Consider hiring a dedicated sales person to get clients for you. It might be a retired person who is always involved in the school and knows lots of people or even a student.
You can work payment out many different ways, but the main idea is they only get paid for clients that pay for sessions. You might pay them $10 for every session a client ever has, or even $10 for every session up to a certain maximum (say $100). Or consider paying them the amount of the first two tutoring sessions. Or pay them in gift cards to eat out, or ball game tickets.
You never know what some people may be willing to work for.
The bottom line is if you can create clients without actually having to do the work, how valuable is that person that is out there selling your services? I would say very valuable indeed.
5. Talking With School Teachers, Counselors, and Staff
Talk to school counselors and teachers at all of the schools around you.
Make an appointment and get your name and face in front of each counselor. You could either tell them directly that you have a tutoring business and are looking for clients and referrals, or see if there are any opportunities to volunteer/partner with the school.
Make sure and give of yourself and your time rather than just asking for referrals. Don’t be needy. Show what you have to offer and honor the students, teachers, and community by showing your desire to help.
Find out any school academic trends (e.g. “Because of our migrant community, we really struggle a lot in reading and language.”) or areas that are currently presenting problems (e.g. “We have a lot of student’s struggling with math this year because we adopted a completely new math curriculum, and frankly the teachers are not even real comfortable with it.).
Just a note: it may be hard to get this information from people at school. I talk to parents and grandparents and parents all the time and “get a feel” with what is going on at school. Even a school board member I know.
Make sure to thank them for their time, and of course leave a few business cards in case someone asks where they can get help in your subject. If you cannot meet with counselors personally, you might consider writing letters to them. In the letter, take the time to briefly introduce yourself and your business, and how you are able to help students best. Offer to meet with them if they would like. But also include about 10 – 20 business cards with your letter that could be used to hand out to parents or students that come in needing some help.
6. Create an Irresistible Offer
You see them everywhere…
- Free T-shirt with a course purchase
- Introductory price of only $19.99 for 6 months
- Free coffee mug when you sign up
- Free upgrade to first class when you join
These are Irresistible Offers designed to make you want to join, sign up, call, buy, or do something you might not have otherwise done.
And guess what? Yep, you need one for your tutoring business too!
Do you have an idea of what you can do for your Irresistible Offer? What will it be that will push clients “over the top” and say “Yes! I want you as my tutor!”?
Here are some ideas for you, just to get those brain juices flowing…
- Provide an evening workshop for parents of your clients to teach them how to help their children with their homework
- Provide a “support group” for parents to come and share their efforts to keep their children motivated and involved.
- Produce freebies to give away when someone pays for their first session
- How to get A’s in school
- Parent’s guide to motivating children
- Guide to using the internet for education
- Guide to using the internet safely
- Free session
- For signing up
- For signing up a friend
- For bringing a friend along
- For making 6 consecutive sessions
- Partner with someone else to advertise and provide services (also known as a joint venture)
- A free hair cut at XYZ salon when you receive tutoring…other person advertises a free tutoring session from you when you a student gets their hair cut
- A free session with another tutor who tutors another subject. In turn they advertise the same service for you.
- Free tickets to a local band (family friendly of course)
- Free movie tickets
Who knows what type of incredible offer you may be able to come up with.
Some are informational. Some are fun. Some can be crazy. Just remember they must be Believable, Low Risk, and Easy to Provide.
You can have lots of Irresistible Offers. Use a different one each month. Change it up a bit. See which one has better results. You just might find a winner that brings in more clients than you can handle.