Rinse them for all they are worth, and don’t get too sentimental. Although we do get attached to our pupils, never forget they are our meal ticket, our way to make a living, so take the opportunity to sell them what you can. Now I’m not saying you throw your moral and ethical code out of the window and get them to take more lessons than they require, but rather UPSELL. If a student is only with you for six months, one lesson a week, then that’s only 24 payments. But if you offer additional services, such as online theory tuition, then make them pay for it directly or, if you want to be subtle, add the cost into the price of their lessons, then offer and market it as a free add on. But don’t stop there, multiply your income streams because once they have passed their test, they are gone.

What You Need Is…

Educate them about the need for insurance, both for private practice and post-test, and set yourself up with referral schemes that pay you a commission. Marmalade, Admiral (Vyego) and Collingwood spring to mind, but there are others too, and you can suggest all of them. Strike up relationships with local car dealers, both high and lower end price wise, and negotiate a referral fee with them. After all, they pay their own sales force commission on sales each month. I have lost count of the number of pupils who have said: “I want the same car as this when I pass”. With one nationwide dealer I work with, I receive £100 per sale. So, with an average of 50 students a year, that’s a potential cool £5,000 waiting to be paid directly into my bank account.

Service Is Extra

Once the referral or commission deals are in place, then passing on the details to pupils takes up no extra time at all – free income. Keep the referral cards or slips in tidy hand-out packs, perhaps along with other pre and post test driver training advice handouts. Your student sees it as a free added extra, you going the extra mile and doing them a favour. Coupled with the trust they have developed in you during your time together, they are far more likely to buy from one of the companies that you recommend.

Filling the Gaps

Every company that sells a service or a product in life tends to hit you with the ‘upsell’. But unlike say McDonalds (“Do you want fries with that”?), we rarely have repeat customers – once they pass the test, most fail to see any more use for our services, though upselling post-test advanced driver training is worthy, worthwhile, but only sometimes successful. But making the most of our customers doesn’t just mean selling them more. For example, whenever I have a new student start, I ask them if they would like to be on my ‘late cancellations list’. Then, if another student has to cancel (even though all my lessons are pre-paid online), then I offer the cancelled slot to students on the list, this way I don’t miss an opportunity to make money out of my professional time. All this is efficient, effective and sensible business practice.