How much am I willing to pay to live my dream? If it costs $6,000 to become a pilot (that is what I paid), it is only expensive if one is having a lousy time. If the experience is great, it’s a bargain.  The same is true in music, golf, cooking, or virtually any other activity.

So, what can all teachers do to increase student retention, especially among millennials?

#1 Certificate vs. Experience: Learning cannot be primarily the pursuit of a certificate or degree. Instead, the focus needs to be on the enjoyment and experience of each and every lesson. Most people take tennis lessons in order to enjoy the game, not to become Roger Federer.

#2 Cost vs. Value: Anything worth doing should be expensive enough to earn a commitment. The only way to offset the cost is to consistently provide value through a great experience. This means a professional operation (professionalism also communicates the sense of safety) with approachable but confident instructors and inspiring equipment. The price tag needs to work into a budget. The $6,000 I spent to become a pilot is equivalent to $500/month for one year. Many people pay more each month for their car. Imagine, a one year “car payment” to live a dream for a lifetime. All of a sudden, the value starts to make sense.

#3 “Anyone Can Do It” vs “You Can Do It”: I cringe every time I hear a teacher say “anyone can do it.” From a marketing point of view, “anyone can do it” is terribly short sighted. If I’m struggling and have been told that “anyone can do it,” my investment will soon feel expensive since I’m incapable of doing something that “anyone” can do. I’d rather be reinforced by hearing “you can do it.” A personal challenge is not a barrier to entry; it’s an incentive.

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In case you missed it, here’s a clip from a recent lecture about how teachers can better relate to their students.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3DTPR_JRTE