Promoting Advanced Open Water

As scuba instructors, we’re all quite familiar with the “barriers to entry” for the Open Water course.

“I don’t want to get eaten by a shark”
“I’m not a very good swimmer”
“I’m claustrophobic,”
…etc.

Students may not be so open with their feelings about Advanced Open Water. Listed below are common reasons students don’t continue their diving education – and ideas on how you can knock down these barriers.

I’m not ready to be an Advanced Diver
“Advanced Open Water” sounds a little intimidating. Describe the course as a “specialty sampler” or invite students to get started with the three-course Adventures in Diving. Remind students that the Advanced course is an opportunity for them to gain dive experience under the supervision of a PADI Professional.

I don’t have time / I just spent $300 on this Open Water class
Students might not be ready to invest additional time or money immediately following Open Water. Allow them to complete the class one adventure dive at a time and/or allow them to make payments.

Companies such as Household Beneficial or The Associates can handle the financing for you. Since they don’t like to finance non-tangible items (such as “training”) you’ll need to create an equipment + training package.

An Adventure Diver Package might include: AOW course training and materials, two dive lights, a compass and any other equipment required for the class. Instead of paying $500 up front, students can pay for the class in $40 – $50 chunks each month. Once you have this relationship established, it’s a great tool for selling dry suits and Master Scuba Diver packages.

You can also invite students to “earn” their Advanced course by referring friends to become Open Water Divers. Offer an incentive such as a $50 credit for each referred friend who completes their Open Water certification with your store.

I want to sign up, but not right now
Create a sense of urgency by offering a discount, t-shirt or other incentive for any student who enrolls in the Advanced Open Water course within two weeks of completing their Open Water certification.

Got an idea you’d like to share? Let’s hear it! Leave us a comment below.
(Megan)

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