Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tutoring Lessons

Yesterday at 3 o'clock I had an appointment with a parent about lessons for his daughter. At 4 o'clock he called to say he would be at my office at 4:30. He finally showed up at 5. We talked about the school and his daugter's problems with math for about 40 minutes, before he finally decided that he would have to think about it.

Now it was nearly 6 o'clock and I had to rush home, shave, shower, and change so that I could rush back to my office to set up for the ESL in North York meeting at 7. All because of a 3 o'clock appointment.... (Of course, the subway was shut down from Bloor to Eglinton, causing everyone to come late, but I didn't know that at the time.)

This reminded me of Dont Answer. He was a gentleman who contacted me last March, asking for help with his English. He made appointment after appointment to come to my office to see me, not showing up each time until he finally appeared 2 hours late on the 5th occasion. Despite the fact I was in class at the time, I spent over half an hour to make arrangements for him to come in on Monday evenings for private English lessons. (You can probably guess where this is heading.)

Sure enough, the next Monday night he didn't show up for his first scheduled class. I called him that night and the next morning, but there was no answer. I chalked it up to a lesson learned: When someone is in the office and books a class, get the payment right away. Then, if they miss the first class I'll still get paid for my preparation & time.

But I hadn't heard the last of Dont Answer. Around 11 o'clock the following Sunday night he called to say he was coming to the lesson the next day. I asked him why he had missed the first lesson, & he told me he'd had "something to do." Once again, I was very accomodating, and told him I expected full payment for the next month of classes before the start of the lesson and that if he couldn't make it, to please call me.

"Yes, yes, yes," he said, but the next day was an exact repeat of the previous Monday. So, it was with some surprise, that I received a call from him the next Sunday telling me he still wanted lessons. At this point, I'd had enough, and told him as politely as possible, that I wouldn't be able to give him lessons. He seemed unusually upset, but thought I finally got him to understand.

Until he called the next day and offered to pay for the next 2 months of classes. I told him no, and that's when the phone calls began. No matter what I told him, he called several times every day. He was like an obsessed jilted lover. After a few days, I saved his contact name as "Dont Answer." He continued to call for over 2 months.

And I learned that sometimes it's better to turn down a customer, than try to help them.

Welcome To Our Blog

Hi, Everyone!

We're going to use this blog to keep you updated on events at the Canadian Academic Success School, and to supply you with some exercises and activities we've prepared for our various classes.

Tonight at 5308A Yonge Street, we're hosting our monthly ESL in North York Meeting (Get more information here: The topic for tonight's meeting is Idioms.

These monthly meetings are free, but of course we're hoping that some of the attendees will eventually take classes with us, or refer us to someone they know who is looking for classes.

So, with that in mind, I thought I'd post an exercise I've used on sales & marketing idioms:

Look at the idioms in the following sentences:

  1. Valerie tried to drum up business for the restaurant by mailing flyers and distributing menus.
  2. The pizza restaurant generated a lot of buzz for its new teriyaki beef pizza by giving away free samples to people on the street.
  3. He was giving us the hard sell. He almost forced us to sign the contract.
  4. Many authors plug their latest books by making guest appearances on TV talk shows.
  5. Because the children's toys were selling like hotcakes, the company was unable to keep up with orders.
  6. We decided to strike while the iron was hot and began to market the sportswear in time for the Beijing Olympics.
Now try to match the idioms with their meaning from the list below:
A. cause people to start talking about a product in a way that increases sales
B. promote a product
C. take advantage of an opportunity
D. pressuring a customer to buy
E. find new customers
F. sell very quickly

Circle the idiom which works best in the following sentences:

Exclusive contests for your online community will ____________ and excitement.
a) strike while the iron is hot
b) generate buzz
c) give the hard sell

During the power outage, candles ____________.
a) drummed up business
b) sold like hot cakes
c) gave the hard sell

The big advertisement in today`s newspaper should ____________.
a) drum up business
b) sell like hotcakes
c) plug

As soon as he heard about the opening, he decided to ____________ and quickly applied for the job.
a) strike while the iron was hot
b) generate buzz
c) drum up business

American Express paid David Beckham a lot of money to ____________ their credit cards.
a) give the hard sell for
b) drum up business for
c) plug

All I did was ask for a price list and a salesman started ____________.
a) drumming up business
b) generating buzz
c) giving me the hard sell