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September 12, 2007 - 5:43 pm
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Although Coach Al might be a business hollogram in that he never responds to any banter and never really writes about yoga, his articles are still very useful for yoga teachers. This last one was full of business tips. I would be wary of big discounts for yoga classes. This tends to send the wrong message.

Below is an article by Paul, which I don't think he will mind.

Teaching Hatha Yoga: Discount Offers and Free Classes

By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Have you ever wondered what draws, and keeps, students in your Yoga classes? The answer is quite simple - All you have to do is look in the mirror. During the course of a week, I am lucky enough to speak with Yoga teachers from around the world, so I will give an inside story.

Recently, a Yoga teacher from the Midwest United States, mentioned that she received and extraordinary amount of "thrifty" students. Her students haggled over price so much that she almost closed the doors due to her overhead costs. She never was able to draw any income from her Yoga studio.

Her family had become intolerant of her choice of work. She was not able to go on vacation, had nothing left in savings, while her children had to shop at thrift shops or discount stores for food and clothing.

Upon further investigation, the demographics of her city were fine, and the neighborhood her Yoga studio was in was upper middle class. Was it the current economy? Was it the local economy? Other Yoga teachers in her area were doing fine, so what was the problem?

When she advertised, she gave deep discount coupon offers and free introductory classes. She unintentionally began to create a following of "discount shoppers." Instead of being appreciated for her discount offers and free introductory Yoga classes, her students were 2-5 months late on their tuition. When she asked for a payment - one parent who was five months late on tuition for his son's Kid's Yoga class told her, "You do not have a Zen attitude."

Apparently, she should have nerves of steel, while her family wants to disown her, and her finances were crumbling around her. How dare she ask for a payment from a person who is five months late? What you have read up to this point is only the tip of the iceberg. The atmosphere in her Yoga studio, no longer reflected a student / teacher relationship.

Her students became "discount customers." If there was a better deal down the street, her students would have evacuated in a "heart beat." Forget about student loyalty, she could not get customer loyalty.

What lessons have you learned from this? Never try to attract "customers" - instead cultivate Yoga classes with eager students who want to train with you, because they value Yoga. Yoga has many benefits, so why "sell it short?" Always remember how much your training cost you. You see a value in Yoga, so attract students who feel the same.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Bottom line: be careful what kind of a message you send to your yoga students. If you are cheap yoga, your students will have as much respect for you as any discount shopper. Look at Christmas sales, when clothes are all over the floor. There is no need for people to behave like that, but if you go after cheap customers you will find them and they will drive you crazy. :twisted:

Thank you Coach Al, even though you never respond to us.

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