Some things I've learnt after spending a cumulative $50,000 on shopping centre stalls over the last 3 years...

- Having a big bright crisp HD television screen (or two) is the BEST way to not only get people's attention, but also to "prove" your product and the quality of it immediately for potential customers. Concert footage is okay, but is NOT the most effective solution... what's better is a short two-minute repeating montage of AMAZING in-class footage showing your studio, showing your friendly teachers teaching, showing your different age groups doing awesome things and looking happy. Worth the effort of making, or the investment of outsourcing! And it can double as an online ad.

- Clear signage on the stall that says "dance studio". Sometimes our business names aren't perfectly clear in communicating what we do and what we offer. The goal is to make it obvious to every single passerby that you are a dance school, who you cater for, what classes you offer, and most importantly... the call to action (enrol now). Signage is good. Have more signage. Always have more signage. Make the branding of the stall memorable visually for people, and eye-catching in what is likely an already busy space.

- One staff member manning the stall can look a little sad. Having a few people there (if they are the right people) makes the company look successful and popular. Obviously the problem with having more is the cost investment to pay the staff, but I'd recommend one paid staff member who is friendly, smiling, bright, bubbly and AMAZING at customer service (and loves talking), then ask your senior students if they'd like to volunteer to help. Most will be happy to do a day if they can. It's fun for them. Have them wear their studio uniform, and put them in friendship pairs so that the day is enjoyable for them.

- It's also an idea to ask for younger volunteers to hand out flyers to people passing by (it's harder to say no to kids). Again, have them be in uniform. They are more "proof of product" for you. Happy, confident, well-behaved, polite children.

- Get the details of EVERYONE who enquires for your database. Offer to "send them a voucher and let them know of any upcoming events" to get them on your mailing list. Get their email address so that you can keep in contact, because most people who take a flyer - even if they have intentions of enrolling - will inevitably forget.

- Offer something really awesome if they enrol on the spot. It's better to get the enrolment there, rather than leaving it in the hands of the potential customer to do at another time. Maybe a free uniform or t-shirt?

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