PalFish: Converting trial class students

One of the most critical factors which helps boost your profile and attract more students is how well you convert trial class students into paying customers. PalFish has a large number of leads coming through their marketing channels (particularly their free English reading app, which we will discuss further in a later lesson), however only around 10% of those who take trial classes actually sign up for the paid program.

They therefore have a significant incentive to boost those tutors who reliably convert higher numbers of trial students, and this is one of the main factors which is used to allocate you further trial class students going into the future. Most tutors find that after they have sold one class package, they will suddenly receive a significant increase in trial classes the following few days. Additionally, you receive a bonus 40 points for each trial class student who purchases a package of classes, helping you earn a pay rise in the following month (more coming on the points system later!).

Note: When you teach trial classes you are promoting the Official Kids Course program in general, NOT yourself as a particular tutor. PalFish has their own internal system (which we will learn more about later) for allocating OKC students to tutors, and indeed they actively encourage students to take OKC classes with several different tutors before selecting a few to sign up for regular classes with.

Before the class

It is really important to give a positive first impression, as well as to encourage students to turn up for their trial class. It is an unfortunate fact that the occasional student forgets they booked a free trial session – you still get paid 25 RMB for a no-show student (and can leave after 15 minutes of waiting), but that’s obviously not as good as receiving full pay and having the opportunity to sell the program to them.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to simply send a short introductory message thanking them for signing up for a trial class and emphasising how much you are looking forward to teaching them. This adds a more personal touch to the otherwise rather automated messages parents receive, as well as helping them get to know you as a tutor. Here is the standard message I send to all new students (feel free to copy-paste):

Thank you for signing up for a class on PalFish with me! I’m looking forward to teaching you soon 😊 谢谢你报名了我的伴鱼课程,我好兴奋尽快教你🎉

Most parents do not respond to messages, so don’t worry if you don’t receive any reply! For those who do though, it is a great opportunity to start to build that connection.

Once you are in the lesson space, if the student is late you can prompt them with a reminder message by clicking on their empty video box – I usually wait around three minutes into the class time before doing this.

During the class

The class itself is obviously the most important opportunity to impress! Be sure to apply all the key skills taught during your training while providing your student with the best learning experience. Here are some further top tips:

  • Be on time!! Launch the class at least two minutes early so you are ready to go.
  • Check the slides beforehand – you can launch the lesson at any time and flick through the slides, just as in your demo class.
  • Prepare your props and other teaching materials in advance, placing them somewhere convenient within easy reach.
  • Start the class with an enthusiastic introduction and ask the student for their name (even if it’s written on the screen anyway). Spend the first minute building a rapport by discussing simple details such as their age or what the weather is like.
  • Use plenty of props and AR filters throughout the class to keep the student engaged, noting which teaching tools they find the most enjoyable.
  • Feel free to adapt the material according to the child’s understanding and interest – for example, if they are really struggling to remember the words “apple” and “banana” in the Hello Fruit trial, just skim through the further practice words and focus on pronouncing the letters A and B instead.
  • Keep up your pace and don’t get hung up on repeatedly drilling parts the student found more difficult – there are plenty of further practice questions and games to help review at a later point.
  • Use plenty of praise and positive encouragement. Aim to issue one PalFish star per five minutes, and feel free to add in your own reward system, high-fives, thumbs-up, etc. too.
  • At the end of the lesson, spend time reviewing the core ideas on the review slide – this helps emphasise to parents how much their child has learnt.
  • Ensure you finish all the slides within the time limit, without skipping any – you can run over a little but any more than 28 minutes may then impact on your next class and kids will also start to lose focus.
  • After the goodbye song, congratulate them again on their great work and end with a positive “see you next class!”.

Feedback report

Immediately after the class, you must complete the trial feedback report. If you have a tight schedule before your next class, you can simply spend 30 seconds clicking on the key words they did well at and at least one to improve upon, then rate their engagement in the class. The feedback system will automatically generate a feedback message. Note that the class admin will use this to adjust their follow up message with the parents – they personally message or call with every trial class family to persuade them to sign up for the program. Knowing how well the student did in class helps them pitch their message appropriately, so it is essential that you complete and send the trial class report within a few minutes of ending the class.

If you have a bit more time, you can personalise the automatically generated message a bit. I always add in a short, personalised congratulations message at the beginning, include more detail on example sentences they did well at or where they expanded beyond the core lesson content, and add an enthusiastic message at the end. I also add in plenty of emojis as these are very popular in China! Additionally, I edit the wording of the automatically generated parts to sound a bit more natural.

After class

As soon as possible after the class (but without jeopardising any classes you have scheduled immediately afterwards), I also send a personal message via the PalFish messaging system to the parents. I include a vocab list of the key words or sentences and send short recordings of how to pronounce these, encouraging them to do some extra practice with their child to further improve their English. For students who are starting to speak in full sentences, I ask them to come up with some of their own sentences using the key structures and words taught.

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