This might sting a bit, but can I tell you something, dear Piano Teacher Friend?
Your piano clients aren't just buying lessons from you. They are trading dollar bills for the idea that investing in what you are offering is worth it.
And for it to be worth it, they have to trust you.
Think about it. Don't you shop at certain stores because you trust them? For instance, I shop the big nice grocery store because I trust their fruit will be delicious and their loss leaders will be worth the trip to that store. I shop at the discount grocery store because I trust I'm going to get a great price on cereal and probably find some interesting things while I'm there.
Your piano students are the same way. They can always find another piano teacher. But, trusting you is why they are staying with you.
Here's how you build that trust:
1. Be a consistent teacher
2. Be a professional teacher
3. Be a giving teacher
Be a consistent teacher
Consistency breeds confidence. Confidence in you. Confidence in their decision to take lessons.
The last thing you want is for your piano clients to "wonder". Wonder if there are lessons this week. Wonder when their lesson payments are due. Wonder if you are going to show.
Or how about this: wonder if you are going to be ready for them? Wonder if you are going to teach with excellence. Wonder if you are going to give them their full lesson time.
Don't make your students wonder what is happening. Be consistent. Communicate consistently and teach consistently. They will trust you for it.
Be a professional teacher
I know this might seem a little bit like "duh", but I am always surprised at how often I see piano teachers missing this a little bit.
Years ago, my daughter had a piano teacher who struggled in this area. Sweetest woman, lovely personality, great person. But, every time we arrived for the piano lesson, the teacher was rushing around like a whirling dervish, gathering materials and muttering under her breath. She didn't even look us in the eye when we arrived, hustling us into the piano room. Then throughout the lesson, she seemed distracted and overwhelmed.
Would you want to visit your doctor if she was acting this way? Think about it -- your doctor enters your room with a wild eyed distracted look on her face, and asks YOU if you know where she left her stethoscope? Um, no thank you.
So, let me ask you this: Are you prepared for your lessons? Do you know where all of your necessary supplies are?
Do you act exasperated with your students? Do you greet them with a smile, ready for their lesson, ready to serve them?
Of course, you want to be real and relatable, but remember that your students are paying you to be their piano teacher. When you are professional, your students will see you as a professional. And they will trust you for it.
Be a giving teacher
I have very clear and consistent piano lesson policies. In them, one of the policies is that students are responsible for buying all of their own materials. I don't have to keep books in stock, they purchase them at the price they want online, and its all good.
So, when I hand them a music book or resource in a lesson and say "just keep it," my students are often surprised. I don't charge them for these extras (when I'm able to include them in my lesson budget) because I want to be a giver. I want to bless my students.
Giving flashcards to the family that is already on a super tight budget is a blessing to them. Giving that student an extra theory book just because I want him to have that resource is a way that I give. Giving a make up lesson even though I don't have to is a way that I am generous.
When you give of your time, resources, encouragement, you build a rapport with your students that shows them they are more than a paycheck to you. It shows them that you genuinely care for them and want the best for them. And they will trust you for that.
Be consistent. Be a professional. Be a giver. Be these things, do these things, and you will build trust with your clients. You'll be glad you did!