Martial Arts Marketing–Getting Testimonials


Make it part of your weekly To Do list to look for any opportunity to get in front of audiences to speak, teach, and demonstrate your art. My personal record is 52 demos in 30 days.

I’ve done demos in bank lobbies, in cinema in front of the screen, and at parties where I stood up on a chair and asked everyone to quiet down so they could enjoy our demo. They did and I scored at least 3 long-term students out of that gig. One of them actually bought my school two-years later when I created NAPMA.

Last Friday, I taught two-hour a seminar on Presentation Skills to a group of estate planning attorneys.

When you teach a special class, appear on a media program, or even do a demo, always ask for a testimonial from the host. To make it easier on that person, write the testimonial for him or her. 

Here is what I wrote to the host attorney. “Would you be so kind as to provide me with a testimonial? To make it easy for you, I thought something like this might work…” I followed with a testimonial from him that I wrote. What I submitted is in lower-case below. He added the ALL CAPS test himself.

“John Graden’s presentation skills workshop was excellent. I loved it as did the other attendees I spoke with. He made learning fun with a great mixture of education and entertainment.  I HAVE ATTENDED OTHER SUCH WORKSHOPS, AND HAVE RECEIVED ONE-ON-ONE COACHING, BUT JOHN’S WORKSHOP ADDED MUCH TO MY CONFIDENCE AND FUTURE ENJOYMENT OF SPEAKING, AND INTERACTING WITH OTHERS. I MORE THAN HIGHLY recommend it for any professional.” Alan Gassman, P.A. 

When you write a testimonial to submit, go easy on the adjectives. After the event, the host sent me a note saying, “Great job! I loved it and so did the others. Come back and do an NLP seminar next time.”

Because, he used the words, “loved it” and “great” I was comfortable feeding them back in his testimonial. Had he not used used those words, I would have not included them.

Another martial arts business leader who uses demos and community outreach to grow schools is Greg Silva. He has special strategies to recruit new students on the spot at these events.

This is all part of his Pillars of Marketing program and it works. Listen to Greg explain it here:

Soliciting Demos

Often, when one thinks about a martial arts demonstration, the image of a parking lot or the concourse of a mall with crowds milling about comes to mind.  

And, while those large demonstrations make for great fundraising and promotional opportunities, there’s really no reason to limit your demonstrations to such a grand scale.

Demonstrations can be performed on a variety of scales for various groups of citizens.   Virtually any group that caters to members of your target market will make a good audience for a small, but exciting demonstration.

In addition to acquiring new students, demonstrations make a great public relations tool. With demonstrations, you’ll be able to create a sense of goodwill, and well as to convey the important elements that make up the black belt – including discipline, motivation, respect, and so forth.

Your students and their families will be involved with some of these groups.   They may be members of the Girl Scouts, or Boy Scouts; or perhaps they are part of a church or youth group.   These are all opportunities just waiting to be developed.

During your classes, hand a form to each student to take home to their parents.   These forms should invite the students and their parents to come up with a name of a group – or several groups – who may be interested in a martial arts demonstration.  

Ask them, also, to provide you with the name of a contact person, and a phone number that you can use to follow up the lead with.

Groups can include…

  • Daycare
  • Scout groups
  • Outdoor or wilderness clubs
  • Social clubs
  • Jaycee’s
  • Lion’s club
  • Hospital staff
  • Fire or police departments

Of course, this list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Be sure to tell the students, that each person that attends the presentation will receive two coupons for a free week of martial arts lessons.

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