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Business aspects of being a Teacher of Stretch Therapy or any other ‘new’ training method


Olga

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I think there is a community of teachers here already, some of whom have already encountered problems relating to ‘selling’ what you deeply believe in and teach to people who may have never heard of it and therefore not sure if they need what you are teaching:

- Explaining what Stretch Therapy is, in an area where no one heard of it

- Explaining how the potential clients with low body awareness and limited exercise experience (eg NOT athletes or dancers who know exactly what their body needs) would benefit from it

- Explaining why they need to pay money to someone to get them do things that are painful to them

- Moving them from awareness and interest (‘good idea, I’ll stop by’) to action – ie actually joining a class

- Making sure they come back again, and again

Although I am currently teaching not Stretch Therapy but Group Pilates Classes on Equipment, these are equally unknown and unfamiliar in the place where I decided to open a studio. So in the first couple of months I have tried a few things and I wanted to see if such a conversation would be beneficial for the ST Community (teachers mostly). I started it here because I like the friendly folk here. And may be Kit or Olivia could bring their own extensive experience in.

If there is interest, I would share my own limited experience. If it is not an appropriate topic for this forum, then feel free to remove the thread, or reposition it elsewhere.

Hugs to everyone from Vienna xxxxx

Olga

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Hi Olga

Im sure you will get lots of input from ST teachers who have built up ST practices.  I can give you a little insight from a Swiss perspective, that shares some cultural similarities with Austria, where there is a strong respect for titles, degrees and certificates.  My experience is outside of the international community, or some very niche local groups, I have found people very closed and slow to adopt new training concepts.  Language is also a factor, the flood of writing on these newer ideas is heavily in English and resources in German, French, Spanish whatever tends to lag years behind.

Daniel

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Hi Danny, thanks for the comment! Yes I have encountered this already - "what the farmer does not know the farmer does not eat" )))    So the challenge for us in those parts of the world (very beautiful though!!) is a bit harder than for those in Australia, UK, US.

I am mastering the language issue: I taught my first class entirely in German last Monday, answer cllient enquires promptly on the phone in German, and my website, booking system and Facebook page is in German and English. What I thought would be a big issue at the beginning turned out to be nothing that I could not manage.

The 'years behind' lag I am trying to turn to my advantage, since what I offer - information-wise and lesson-wise - is more effective and more advanced then what the current established market has to offer. I know this :-). The challenge is how to communicate this to prospective clients using their language and looking at it through their lenses. Hard to me!!!!!!

There are marketing models, funnels etc etc but I am hoping to pick up some ideas from this very specialised circle of friends. 

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Hi Olga,

My two cents. 

Personally, the best way I have found to raise interest in what you do (be it stretch therapy or anything else) is to create the need (or make people aware of the need) and then show them the immediate benefits of what you are proposing. If you have seen the Wolf of wall street movie, this would be identical to the answer to the "sell me this pen" question. What is the best way to actually sell your pen to a person ? Ask him to write something for you. Create the need. 

Applying this to Stretch Therapy, my idea would be to go to places where you will most probably find people with mobility/flexibility limitations that are causing them troubles in their daily life. Try to get speeches during lunch times in some local companies (we have a few of these in our own company) and then make them aware of their limitations and issues e.g. ask the question "who suffered from back pain in the last ... months/years/..." (you shall probably get a significant number of yes) or ask them "ok now squat down" (significant number will probably struggle) and then explain them how what you are proposing can help them. Usually a PNF demonstration works quite well to get the interest given that the improvement in ROM is almost instantaneous. A bunch of other things can be done (actually show them the time they spent sitting on their butt vs the time spent doing activities even if they are sporty people and the harm this is doing to their body).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Speaking analogies that the person can relate to is the best way.

What is stretch therapy?
It's a basic training mode where the principles apply to an old person as it would a professional athlete. Image if you had a Honda Civic and took it to the mechanics. Would you be more impressed if you saw other bombed out cars in there? What if you took the car in and you see all sorts of cars being working on, classic muscle cars, sports cars, Bentleys and regular family cars. Would you have confidence in letting these people work on your car?

Hustle get things started. Culture and community is the magic pill multiplier that starts with your own consistency.

There are a million ways to get started. Attach yourself to another club/community. Cold approach business' (sports clubs, crossfit gyms, schools, offices, health proffessionals) and offer free work time classes that opens up into semester teaching (reconnect with their new and old clients, letter bomb and door knock introducing yourself as a community ST coach) and 1on1. Leverage, they pay you for your classes, and your efforts to build the classes and their clientèle while you develop your own list of contacts (winwin situation).

Prospecting is about relationships and being a top persona. Converting prospects into traffic is about consistent giving value. Communicating on their level.

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On 19.2.2017 at 11:44 PM, SwissDanny said:

 I can give you a little insight from a Swiss perspective, that shares some cultural similarities with Austria, where there is a strong respect for titles, degrees and certificates.

Same here in Germany. But we have enough doctors, therapists and whatnot and still most people have absolutely know knowledge and awareness about the thing they live in. We do not need more doctors. We need more people showing other people how to live a good life in their own body. How to take care of their bodies, learn to value themselves and take care of themselves. Only with this approach one can thrive physically, mentally and avoid many of the problems we face nowadays. ST does this perfectly.
It's saddening me that many people nowadays are so disconnected from themselves. ST is the perfect method for me as a Stretch Teacher to show people how to connect their own body again. I have yet to meet somebody to whom the method is introduced who does not like it or enjoy its benefits. And I think this is exactly the answer to the to the "how to market ST" question. I believe that once this method is introduced honestly to people in the right manner, they will come back. It just feels too good to not come back.

If you need some help with ST specific German language problems come back any time to me Olga!

Cheers
Markus

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Tones, my challenge is not about finding appropriate channels, it is about communicating the value of my method 'at their (client) level'.

Marcus, you are right, and it even worries me how little awareness of the body and its functions and how much reliance on medicine (chemicals and ops) exists in this in this part of Europe. And how un-holistic the treatment approaches are, one body part at a time. This whole view comes from the medical profession and affects the culture of the population. Perhaps I should try to network with some doctors ))) to understand better what they tell their patients and why :)

A small postiive development observed today, the second Vivo Barefoot store opened in Vienna! This is my fav brand of minimalist/barefoot footware and this increasing availability of the type of shoes that most of my clients have never heard about might help building up the culture of barefoot and body awareness. I am waiting for warmer times to go out barefoot on the streets of Vienna. I missed it so )))))

PS I have read an interesting quote yesterday from a guy who founded one of the most successful online platforms for medical doctors in Russia. He said, ' people won't pay money readily for medical help unless they start dying or it concerns their children'. How interesting, i thought, that both these motivations directly relate to the largest (IMHO) human fear of mortality. 

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@AndeL: if there was an "I like this very much" button, that is the one I would have pressed. You are talking about something called "co-breathing"; probably won't find it via a google search.

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:) years have passed since I last searched! This (co-breathing) was a technique used with the dying in a school I studied in many years ago. The internet has made many 'inner' teachings public. 

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My reading of Bandler/Grinder has Erikson rebuilding his movement up from virtually zero (due to polio) and simultaneously observing his sister's behavior over a significant period of time. This being foundational in his transformation into one of the leading instantaneous change instigators the world has ever seen. I have only read/seen/experienced bits and pieces, though found Trance-Formations (Bandel/Grinder, original edition) to be mind blowing. Read in conjuction with having been worked on by a couple of skilful practitioners. That book shows a super flexible approach to 'therapy' and ties in well with ST work, from my perspective. @Emmet Louis interested to hear you expand re Erikson, if you care to.

Since Kit's workshop I have tried to be creative in the flexibility, strength, mind and body work, which then is directly in line with Bandler's suggestions: to work creatively and flexibly from the start. Don't: wait until you 'know all the techniques', have the 'good' teachers, done the primary and secondary series etc, then be creative and flexible in your approach. So I am pretty happy that luckily this is my particular bent (and training), at whatever relative level of proficiency that might be: sub-beginner or wherever. The money is not yet rolling in, but the quality is on the rise which is my main concern & people are open to working with me. Olga, I find it rare for people to not want Thai massage, which definitely opens the door for some change, with whatever they want to do. Also, you cue the breathing in the first Pilates exercise (the 100 or whatever it is). The opportunity then is there immediately? My reading of 'Contrology' was Pilates was incredibly creative, flexible, and that motivated him, pretty much end of story for me, as the mat exercises are a bit meh.  

I think the verbal creativity is a huge area for me to explore, just being able to riff with people. Life: so awesome. ;) Having a last breath with someone... that's more like some workshop material Kit.

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Co-breathing is something I should try too. I just did a search, and found comments on mirrored breathing. I presume it works best in a one-on-one situation. However I should say my own experience in co-breathing, from when I was a university lecturer. I knew lectures were going well, when the whole room was completely silent (except for me, and the sound of students writing) and then, if things were going really well, I could hear them breathing in synchrony with the points that I made. One person may be quiet when breathing, but 250 breathing in and out in synchrony is quite noticeable. It was quite a heady experience, because I knew they were all with me then. I guess actors must feel the same thing. I should try mirrored or co-breathing more. My mentor always said not to try to control peoples' breathing, because people will find their own rhythm. I will see if I can somehow induce mirrored or co-breathing in a group class. It must however be natural and unconscious in those involved (except for the teacher, maybe).

Jim.

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On 11/03/2017 at 0:35 AM, AndeL said:

"pretty much end of story for me, as the mat exercises are a bit meh"

That's exactly what I am trying to work with, this misconception, Mat Pilates is only 10% or less what the Pilates method is about. The face of a woman who did Mat Pilates for many years and got on the Reformer for the first time in my class and have made many discoveries about her body she did not expect - priceless. That's what keep me going in the end. I can imagine the Stretch Teachers experience something of that sort.

(just bringing the thread back on the topic and away from the co-breathing... I do that all the time in privates... nothing new... the harder the client gets the exercise, the louder my co-breathing is, until it's almost co-exericing and co-suffering :)... but perhaps someone would like to start a new thread on that to keep this one on the original topic)

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Yeah I was only stirring, a good friend of mine has given me some Pilates tuition and I immediately kept a lot of it, definitely brings a huge amount of whole body connection to movement. I see the value definitely. I think Pilates and St are a great combination. 

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My strategies this year include:

-connect with people of influence via Stretch or Massage work ie discussion is great, but mostly actually work with them deeply. This elevates my game to work with folks (studio owners, movers, teachers, creatives etc) who have good embodiment, knowledge, influence etc. I sometimes offer free to certain folk and 1/2 price to others (for initial appointment) - I know this is a contentious issue, however I only do this if the value both ways is massive. If not, then full price because the value and offering I have is definitely not common in the market. Work with people I want to work with & who I connect with. 

-develop the depth of my skills... massively, as much as possible, but not obsessing or killing myself :) walk the walk. Be the change. High focus on one to one interactions, on the actual interaction/being/results/relationship.

-keep my desired goals (working hours, practice hours, income, quality of life) now as I build relationships & business etc. eg not get super busy and lose ability to meet any other goals (I think 90%+ of population does this) to build a busy business and then hate life. 

-the unique offering is depth of stretch work and minimalistic physical cultivation, paired with connection and relaxation with the bodywork. At a lot of levels I am beginner (always student) at this work, but I bring some genuinely higher level and innovative ideas to the table.

-upskill on longer workshop level work. At a personal practice level I have been doing this for a decent level of time, but doing this and building up to 2 days by end of year. I already am confident with 1/2 days, so 2 days is really already there though not done by me yet.

-upskill on becoming/being seen as expert, currently work in progress for whole year on Thai. Currently working with several practitioners on their approaches/techniques etc, assistance with teaching on workshops. Taking teacher training later this year.

-soft launch this year, with more time next year for full launch: regular long classes, workshops, private work: depth, change etc.

So with a more coherent strategy which I can articulate, then this filters down to my actions, talk & life.

Not sure if this is more on topic? 

Olga, always keen to hear more.

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On explaining complex topics in simple language

One thing I did was to collect customer reviews from my own customers and from other Pilates studios with a similar profile to mine (bonus if they are from German-speaking customers) and used exactly these words for my advertising texts. From April, I will have a big UBahn poster near my studio that says, 'Pilates on Equipment. Discover the muscles you never knew existed' because this was how a couple of sharp thinking customers explained why they liked Pilates classes.

Once a guy asked me if he could get 'more muscles' on my machines - I am thinking to use this as a tagline for marketing to men :-)

So my current tactic is: Listen to what people say about your work, and talk to prospective customers in this language and in these terms. Let's see if this works, I am just starting.

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I also made a website www.andelim.com.au which gives some basic info. It is easy to give out a card and say check it out. I usually do some journalling in the morning with positive affirmations/mantra/art/whatever. More mantra as these are actually things I know but want to connect with more or do in my day eg "I give an amazing Thai Massage." "I am a friendly, sociable and attractive guy." "I connect with, support & love my community." etc. 

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@AndeL: that little site of yours says a LOT about you; it's excellent. That image of the two of you hand-standing together needs to be all over the net. The sub-texts are the gold.

@Olga: do you have a site yet? if so, can you advise (PM fine)? Liv and I can look at it and feed back, if you wish: a site has a weight and accessibility 24/7 that no other communication form has, and that allows people to 'see' you in a way that's impossible to emulate any other way, IMO.

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About social media... This guy, Hank Norman's job is to make people famous. https://twitter.com/hanknorman Check his creditials here http://2marketmedia.com He has an online course buff.ly/2nnUlYd  Discount Code: 10X. (iirc it brings it to 99USD)

Isn't experience the best method to teach? Kit gave very actionable advice, talk with them about their issue, and get them to class.

People believe what they feel and see not what they hear. Kit and team has created a ton of resources. Follow up what you say with a few source resources. Even pulling up resources to show them instead of talking to someone about it. SMSing it to people while you're on the phone, and have them briefly watch or read it while you're with them. Also to reinforce particular points when you follow up with people.

All of us here tend to be very detail orientated people here. Not everyone else is.

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Love the site, @AndeL. I'd book a massage if you were near Brisbane since I will be there for Kit's workshop in May, but looks like you're not close at all!

8 minutes ago, Tones said:

People believe what they feel and see not what they hear.

Great point and very true!

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