Marketing lessons from the master (Master Yu, that is)

A few weeks ago, I finally got my twin daughters and myself signed up for Tae Kwon Do with Master Yu in Calgary. I have been active in martial arts for years – but got out of it 5 yrs ago when I broke an ankle (not broken in martial arts – broke it jumping out of the back of a truck with sandals on – not smart).

Since then, the weight was adding up and I was really missing my martial arts.

But I didn’t want to go back to the place I used to.


• it was too rough for 6 year olds – it was Kickboxing and Muay Thai which is quite hard for 6 yr olds

• their teachers were more ring fighters than teachers for kids (Team Canada trained there – and they won 90% of their battles across the world as the training was excellent)

• they only offered 1 kids-only class per week

So, off I went in search of a new school.

This time though, the girls (my daughters) got to pick. At that age, it is tough to keep them interested – so I had to make sure the school and teacher were going to be a good fit for them.

The first couple places we went to were awful – nasty teachers with no real concept of being a decent human being towards children. While I understand the need for discipline in martial arts – there is a point where you draw the line and say enough is enough.

Critical, downright nasty statements out of the teacher was enough to scare the girls, and me, away.

Then we found Master Yu.

He has some excellent marketing techniques in use here:

1. By appointment only. No dropping in to see what they are doing – you must book an appointment and stick to your appointment (they called 2 times before to make sure we would be there)

2. Must bring kids and myself – not just me as he wanted to meet the kids to see if THEY would be a good fit – turning the tables on us, in essence

3. He let them try some lessons – and made it easy and fun

4. He showed them all the other kids in his regular classes (kids have 4 classes a week – plus 3 family classes they could go to as well). NOTE: he has (on average) 30-35 kids per class – a sign he is doing something right.

5. He explained how they can get different colored belts

6. He refused to let us sign up for less than a year (too easy to quit after a month or two – give it a year and you are hooked)

7. He charges a big premium over others

8. Has a print monthly newsletter

9. He caters to his ideal client (the kids) – make it comfortable for them and fun – and they are customers for years to come – AND, ultimately, he can get their parents in as well!

And, YES, he did get us all in – and took a sizable donation out of my bank account!

The girls LOVE the class (once they are there anyhow, they give me grief getting there, but once there they have a blast! There are also 2 other identical twin girls in the class about the same age, which definitely helps).

And I love it as well! Lost some weight already… that in itself is great for a month. My classes are great – during the lunch hours there are only a few people in the classes so I end up getting some excellent one-on-one training with black belts.

The big lessons I took from his marketing systems:

1. YOU, the business owner, should be the one setting the rules for your clients – if they want to do business with you; it is on your terms, not theirs

2. DO NOT make yourself too accessible – make them work to do business with you (Dan Kennedy preaches this one religiously)

3. Give a test run – something free they can try – then they can decide if it is for them

4. Make the decision hard enough on the price point, but with ample reasons why a premium price is better

5. Constant communication with students (and, in this case, their parents)

6. Explain all the different offerings (belts) and what it means to you personally

7. Definitely NOT competing on price – a no-win battle – the market for upper end products and services is THE FASTEST GROWING market segment in North America.

Overall, I am really enjoying the martial arts – and in watching a master marketer at work! And of course, I will be finding a way to offer him additional marketing help in trade (got to always be looking for opportunities!)

Find a few ways to make these lessons work for your business…