This week’s question comes from Fiona in St. George, UT. Fiona owns a small dance studio, and has for several years. She said the past few years, she has been losing clients to bigger studios that just don’t offer the same quality, but have more competitive prices. Here is her question:
“My dance studio is a little more expensive, because we don’t have the big name attached to us. We have much more quality dance teachers, and offer a wide variety of small classes so people get the training they need. However, every year we have fewer and fewer clients because they end up moving to the bigger, cheaper studios. How can I compete with those studios, without losing even more money by dropping our prices?”
Fiona, this is a great question because it’s a huge problem that lots of business owners experience. Unfortunately, bigger businesses do have more wiggle room when it comes to pricing, because they have more clients, a big name, and possibly pay their employees smaller wages. Competing with price is hard for a lot of people, because unfortunately, lots of the public looks at price of quality when it comes to almost everything. However, there are things you can do to compete and stay in the game, without having to price-match your quality services.
Engage with Clients Frequently
Keeping in close contact with your dancers and their families will help build a trust that is necessary for keeping them around. Building relationships with your clients is key to making sure they have loyalty to you. I would recommend sending out monthly email updates about the studio, and highlight a specific employee. Letting your clients see a little more behind the scenes makes them feel more at home and willing to stick around. In your emails you can let them know of any upcoming performances, changes in the studio, or awards your dancers have recently won. This is a another great way to show them how quality your studio is, and why it’s worth continuing there.
Have Get-Togethers Outside of Dance Class & Performances
This doesn’t have to be expensive, but it keeps your clients feeling tight-knit and loyal. You can have small parties twice a year and invite all of your dancers to come to the studio after hours for pizza and a movie. Or maybe for a fun open-studio night where you offer several different types of dance classes for them to participate in. You could offer one in the middle of the year as a ‘birthday party’ celebration for all of the clients’ birthdays throughout the year. Another could be toward the holidays, as more of a Christmas party. Again, you don’t need to spend a bunch of money on this, but just something fun and different to keep people feeling like they want to stay there because they are close with you, your staff and the other dancers. Make the place feel like a second home!
This is a little more general, than just dance studio specific, but it works great in any industry:
Provide Friendly, Honest Customer Service
By making sure your clients feel welcome every time they call you or walk through your door, you are guaranteeing another client who feels happy when working with you and your staff. If you have an upset client for any reason, treat them with understanding and respect. Do your best to fix the issue as quickly as possible. Great customer service is the key to any successful business!
Thank you for writing in with your question, Fiona. I hope this helps you and any other struggling business owners!
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