Unfortunately as quickly as you gain pupils, you may lose them if your pupil doesn’t believe in you.

Here’s some tips to help you on your way to retaining your pupils.

  1. Don’t tell your pupils you have just qualified. You might think it’s being honest, which is lovely but do you want to earn a living? If you want to earn money then your pupils need to believe you are the man/woman for the job. Telling them it’s your first day doesn’t inspire confidence into anyone. Everyone want’s to learn with winners and unfortunately most people associate someone that’s just qualified as inexperienced with mistakes in them.
  2. Make out your busy. Everyone wants to learn with the man/lady in demand, the busy winner. If you tell your pupils your available any day, any time then they won’t appreciate your time as much as the busy winner. It’s phsycology and if you want to be busy, you will need to make out your busy. If your pupil say’s to you at the end of the lesson “Can you do 9am friday for 2 hours?” you shouldn’t say “Yes, of course, i’ll put you in for then”. Try saying something on the lines of “9am friday is a bit tight, I’ve got a lesson at 7am that finishes at 9am. (even though you haven’t) I’ll tell you what, I’ll shuffle my 7am pupil about a bit, they are as good as gold. I’ll get him to do 6:30am, so I can get to you for 9am. How does that sound? Don’t cancel on me though,  as I’m juggling my diary around to fit you in because I like you!” You haven’t harmed anyone by saying this, all you have done is created some urgency and importance to your service and on top of that your pupil thinks your great for squeezing them in. Everyone is a winner!
  3. Don’t read the riot act to pupils if they cancel via text. If a pupil cancel a lesson via text then don’t read/text them the riot act over text message. Get them booked back in and then once they are in the car then explain nicely the cancellation policy (if you haven’t told them) and explain when they cancel at short notice you are not earning. Explain your so busy, you can fill their slot ten times over. So you need them to be committed to the cancellation policy in the future as everyone wants to earn as much as they can on this planet. 48 weeks times a 2 hour lesson at £25 an hour (£50) = £2400 a year loss. It’s easily done without realising and that’s potential the cost of a family holiday you’ve just lost on cancellations. Be super nice about it and they will understand, Most pupils don’t understand if your not working, your not earning until you explain it to them.
  4. Brag about your pupils who pass. Forget to mention in conversation any pupils that fail. Every pupil wants to pass first time, so don’t talk about your failures very often.
  5. Talk about your success when you can. Now and again, when the time and place is right, let your pupils know about certain success stories like a pupil passing in just 20 hours with you or a pupil who failed 5 times with another driving school but passed first time with you. Zero minor passes are good to mention too. You don’t have to be critical of others, to make yourself look good either.
  6. Know the test routes in your area. This syncs with ‘How to improve your pass rate article’. If most pupils could cheat and get aware with it they would. So showing them test routes like for like helps and it’s not cheating, it’s helping them and you look like knowledgable tactician!
  7. Book the driving test – Give the pupil light at the end of the tunnel. Once your pupil can drive okay (without constant assistance) get them to book their driving test. Nobody wants to learn for ever, so ask you pupil about how many lessons they can afford each week and then agree a test date for them to book. It gives them something to aim for and they won’t be interested in learning with their mates instructor as you’ve given them something to aim for! Explain if they don’t stick to the plan, they risk the test being moved etc.
  8. Feedback and structured lessons. After every lesson you should record your pupils progress, discuss their strengths and weaknesses and then agree what you are going to teach them next lesson. If you are recording what they are learning and ticking off subjects in front of them, the pupil can see their progress on paper. It’s much easier to comprehend where they are and what they need to do to get to test standard.
  9. Test, test, test. Any reasonable person appreciates they have to compromise at times with their loved ones, friends and even customers/pupils. If you are saying to your pupils “You go for test, when I say your ready” then expect many of your pupils to leave you. Sometimes you will need to compromise and meet the pupil half way. If they are saying “I want to take my test, I don’t care if I fail” then your response shouldn’t be “Not in my can’t you won’t!” Try the saying the following “I know your desperate to take your test and I really want you to pass too but at this moment in time I don’t think your at a level that is safe for the examiner on test. So let me cut you a deal, If you can pass a mock test next lesson with less than 2 serious faults and 12 minors, i’ll let you go for test. That doesn’t mean your going to pass, it means your just at a level which I believe you can get round the test route without me getting told of by the examiner for bringing someone down who isn’t ready and the risks of the test being aborted should be minimal. If you don’t meet the minimum requirements 2 serious, 12 minors then you have to trust me, put your test back or get a second opinion from an instructor that’s probably sitting at home doing nothing – I can’t be any fairer than that?” There’s a high chance your pupil is going to exceed 2 serious faults and 12 minors but at least you have tried to compromise and helped them understand what test standard is and what would happen if they took their test tomorrow.
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