We run Groupons and Daily Deals at Golf Evolution.
We also convert a good chunk of those people (some people are happy to get a "deal" and only care about that) because the quality of our instruction is high. We're indoors so we aren't running into people all the time, we aren't "seen" all the time. It's "marketing," except the only "expense" we incur is doing a lesson for $20 instead of $80 to $100. And our Groupon lessons are supposed to be 45 minutes (yeah, good luck with that… and by that I mean if we ever stop at 45 minutes it was probably supposed to be a 20-minute checkup).
I'll explain more later, but I'd have skimmed his email. Maybe printed it. I wouldn't have looked at his videos unless I was bored.
Time is money, and for the $14 the instructor got ($29 is what he paid, but $14 goes to the instructor), he wasn't paying for the time spent reading the email. You can say "a few seconds" all you want but Dave said he "skimmed" it which is all you can do in a few seconds. To really read it, take notes or commit it to memory, watch the swing, take some notes on that, etc. is already "real time" - you don't need multiple students.
Golf instruction, by and large, is an hourly deal. You pay for the instructor's knowledge, personality, and TIME.
While a student is warming up I'll be asking him the questions. If I print his email I'll skim it then and ask the same kinds of questions. Most of the time student emails are full of irrelevant blah blah.
And believe me, I go above and beyond for students, but emails and swings (which I record when they're there, almost always from better camera angles and with better cameras capable of high-speed video, etc.) are often not only a waste of time, but they're counterproductive. They don't result in the best communication. They mislead, and if I pre-judge a student based on what they THINK about their golf swing, it may very well cloud me from seeing what I would see on my own. So I would often be doing students a DISfavor by reading their email and/or watching a video.
Do I respond to current students (i.e. those who have taken a lesson somewhat recently) via email, text, Facebook messages? YES, all the time. But if you took a lesson a year ago for me, or haven't yet taken a lesson, my answer is often ably boiled down to this: "come in and we'll have a look."
Ask Mike about a certain "K-R H" person.
BTW, we don't spend a lot of time answering emails sent in to us via evolvr. There's very little margin there, and time spent "off the books" answering email is wasted time. If every student sent one email that required five minutes of thought per month, we'd either need to close evolvr or raise the price to $49/month. In other words, it ain't gonna happen. We occasionally respond, but sometimes our response is "film it and submit it," so at least the student is "using" one of their "submissions" to get their questions answered. It's not "off the books."
And yet I probably disagreed with a lot of what you think above.
I love email. But I avoid it like the plague when it comes to answering emails like the one described in the OP.
If Dave had come to one of our Groupon lessons, I'd have ignored the email too. However, my lesson with Dave would have been AWESOME, and probably lasted far longer than the 45 minutes or whatever the Groupon stated.
Long story short: I prefer talking to people rather than reading their emails, especially if I've not seen their swings (via my cameras from correct angles) lately.
It is. And if he just watched your video for 16 seconds, what do you honestly expect him to get out of it in those 16 seconds? So again now you're asking for 5 minutes of free effort, and that's just to watch the videos with a little depth and study. Five more minutes to read and note or memorize parts of the email. Now you're 10 minutes in.
The good ones have certain qualities in common, namely an evident excitement for teaching their craft, and an enthusiasm for students who demonstrate a similar passion to learn the craft. This guy demonstrated neither, and my disappointment was a compounding one based on previous experiences with PGA certified pros.
I have the same excitement. It comes across in my lessons.
It doesn't come across in email, because it's really difficult to be excited about spending hours a week typing emails, especially when you might very well be talking about something that's completely irrelevant to what the student actually needs.
Email tends to be a waste of time, for all involved. Talking on the phone isn't far behind.
I give more "free" quick lessons to people, more "free" supervised practice sessions to existing students, than almost anyone else I know. They're in person. I can see and communicate and judge the response to what I have to say. There's less chance of being misunderstood, less chance of a student relating a feel that isn't remotely what they're actually doing, etc.
For students who travel but live an hour or two away, an email will work if it's very short and asks a simple question, otherwise they know to send a video. They know I'm doing them a favor, and I know I'm happy to do that because they'll be back for more instruction down the road.
FWIW this is all about the email. The lesson sucked, it sounds like. If I were you, I'd have not sent the email to begin with, but if I had sent the email, I'd have judged the quality based solely on the lesson.
One other thing to consider: look at the "free" stuff Mike and I give away here. We help Drew out with his swing thread, or Shawn, or other people. Some pay for lessons (via evolvr or elsewhere), but there's a little "give and take." They are good members of the site, so we return the favor by helping them with their My Swing threads.
As a general rule I don't respond to My Swing threads from people who have 20 posts or fewer. I don't know who they are, and while I'm still VERY passionate about golf, I'm also passionate about my family, and enjoying a fine meal, or other things that I can do to spend my time.
I don't think someone like Drew - and he's free to disagree with me if he likes - will say that I'm EVER dismissive or that I don't go the extra step for him - but he's also never emailed me and demanded an answer. I'd probably respond, but again, ask Mike about K-R H… Drew seems to know that if he wants something done, he'll pay for it, and the rest - everything else we do for him - is a "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine" type of thing. They're favors. Most of the time, because Drew's a known quantity and a good guy and "current" or "recent" student, we're happy to do things for him.
I love golf, but it's my job, too. One of my jobs, anyway. :D
John I am in sales and deal with customers all the time that ask me questions about the product go through the motions and "waste" my time by never moving forward with me. This is part of business while you don't make money on the time you spent with the customers that dont by from you, you make money on the ones that do and it all evens out.
That's not quite the same. Sales isn't often a matter of selling a limited resource, and the limited resource is time. In most sales you can sell as much of the thing as you want. In golf instruction there are 8-10 hours a day or so for "sale" and it doesn't always work out that time is well spent looking at an email or a video.
I'll spend a lot of time with students, but again, it's IN PERSON, as email and/or videos are - again - not only often a waste of time but actually counter-productive. Existing students have more leeway as they are somewhat "proven" not to be wasting my time, but if I think it's counter-productive or something, they'll get a similar answer: "I don't want to say in email, so let's have a look at your swing and see what we see."