Create a Script
Meet with every client with a prepared and rehearsed script. Plan out how you want the interaction to begin so that you can make the clients feel comfortable and to also demonstrate your professionalism. Gathering the following information from your clients will help you to better serve them and it will also help you gather important data that you can use to improve your business.
Ask for Contact Info
This entails getting the name, address, phone numbers (of parents and student), zip code, and email addresses (of parents and student). Ask whether or not you can text them, find out what their preferred mode of communication is and what the best time to reach them is. This information is required to keep in touch and also for mailing any gifts or advertisements.
Asking for the student’s date of birth is also important because then you can send a birthday card with a thoughtful, hand written note and a gift card. This is an awesome way to build karma points and to increase the likelihood of getting a referral.
How Did you Find Me?
This question will help you to refine and focus your marketing efforts. If you discover that most of your clients are finding you through craigslist and few are finding you through your fliers, you can stop wasting your time with the fliers and start working on writing a better craigslist ad. If your client was referred through word of mouth, make sure you reward and thank the person who referred your new client to you.
Privately Ask the Parents
Find out if your student has any diagnosed learning disabilities so that you can properly accommodate them. Research techniques for teaching people with the disability and use them during sessions. Also find out if there is specialized instructional support at school, such as a note taker.
Ask the Student
Here is the list of questions I ask my new students to start getting to know them. Obviously, you should adapt the wording of the questions so that it’s appropriate for the student you’re speaking with.
- What are your favorite subjects and why?
- What are your least favorite subjects and why?
- What are your academic strengths?
- What are your academic weaknesses?
- What factors are contributing to your academic challenges?
- Do you complete and turn in homework assignments regularly?
- Are your test taking skills strong or weak? If weak, what are your biggest challenges?
- How do you organized your school materials (notes, assignments, due dates, etc.)?
- What are your short-term educational goals?
- What are your long-term educational goals?
- Do you do any extracurricular activities? If yes, what are they?
- What are your hobbies and interests outside of school?
- What do you hope to gain from our tutoring sessions?
- Do you have any questions for me?
Always be sure to ask if the student or parents have any questions for you and answer them honestly. If you don’t know something, say so, research the answer, then provide the answer as soon as possible.
An important thing to note is that this exchange should be more of a conversation and less of an interview. Try to speak naturally and share your own thoughts and experiences without dominating the conversation.