How to Answer the Phone in 2020

How to Answer and Follow up to Martial Arts School Phone Calls in 2020

One of the best compliments I’ve received was when Joe Lewis said, “Whenever I call your school, it sounds like the most exciting place.” That was not by accident. That was the result of many hours doing role plays with staff on everything from a new prospect inquiry to an upset parent calling about a test or a bill.

I used Sam Horn’s excellent Tongue Fu lessons as a guide to help make sure we gained control to help turn a negative into a positive.

As much as we email, text and message today, people still use the phone to conduct business. Make sure your team is actively rehearsing the following phone sales and follow up scripts. They must have this memorized and delivered with enthusiasm. 


This has to be delivered with enthusiasm. Just make sure that the person recording this message sounds like he/she is happy and excited to make contact.

Tip 1: Do NOT turn your message into a commercial 

Would you want to sit through this just to leave a message?

 “Thanks for calling Pete’s Karate Shack. If you’re calling about our Little Ninja class for age 3 – 6, our kids class for age 6 – 12, our family class for the entire family, our adult class, our fitness class, our after-school program, our self-defense class or our summer camp, please leave a message after the tone and one of our Martial Arts Teachers’ Association certified instructors will call you back as soon as our governor reopens our school. For all other calls, umm…., leave a message. Thanks for calling Pete’s Karate Shack in the Tyrone Square Plaza at the corner of 56th and Elm street in St. Petersburg. Or, visit our website at”

Tip 2: Keep it short and strategic with some subtle social proof.

“Thank you for calling Empower Kickboxing. If you’re calling during normal business hours, we’re on the other line helping parents/students/people enroll for our [offer]. 

To save your child’s spot, please leave a message or feel free to text us for faster service. A member of our team will contact you as soon as possible. Thanks again for your call and have a great day.”

When you say, “helping other parents enroll into our…” That provides social proof that people are enrolling.

Tip 3: Keep it current.

I called a school recently and the message was that they would be open again in May. It was August. Not good.

Throughout the year, you’re going to be promoting different classes. Be sure to change the recording to match your offerings. For instance, If you’re calling during normal business hours, please know that we are on the other line helping parents enroll in our [after-school program]. 

Tip 4: The Fortune is in the Follow Up

Call everybody back as soon as possible. You’re going to have different types of calls. You will have sales calls and you’ll have student service calls that all go to the same phone number. 

For student service issues, make sure your staff knows the 24-Hour Rule for resolving student issues.

Call everybody back as soon as possible. You’ll make more sales and you’ll make more of your students happy. If you put them off until the end of the day or event worse, the next day to call them back there is a good chance you are going to lose them. So call them back. 

Make sure you call back every single call, even if they don’t leave a message. 

Once you get them on the phone, mention how busy today has been with new enrollments. This is more social proof. 

For instance, “Hi this is John Graden from Empower Kickboxing returning your call. Thanks for your patience. Today has been crazy. We’ve had so many new enrollments. I’m glad that I was able to reach you. How may I help you?”

Social proof is reinforced by saying it’s “been crazy with new enrollments.” 

Text replies are good for initial contact, but use them to set a time for a tour of your school or to talk on the phone. Do not do business through text. Use it to get people to the next step for a tour or phone call.

Be relentless with your follow-ups. If you miss a phone call, that is a lead that needs to be called until they tell you to stop. Busy families do things and have the money to invest in activities. That’s why they are busy. Your goal is to make your school one of those activities.

Whether you’re teaching kung fu or Empower Kickboxing, how you handle the prospect on the phone is critical to your success.