Foreigners in Japan
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The same can be said about Japan. What attracts foreigners is its uniqueness. It isn’t hard to see westerners go to and participate in local festivals, drink vast amounts of sake and carry miniature shrines through the street. Dress up in Yukatas and Kimonos. Take up Karate, Judo or flower arranging classes. As hard as we enjoy and try to blend in, in the eyes of the Japanese we will always be foreign. Don’t let this be a hindrance, embrace that fact and take advantage of it. In my case, not that I try to blend in, on the contrary. Being rather tall, wide and bald, I rather stick out like a sore thumb. But everyone knows me in town. Even though some of them don’t know me by name, they definitely know me as “MR. SMITH”. Why do they know that fact? It’s rather simple, down to Guerrilla Style Tactics.
Working it to your advantage
Not a day goes by that I’m not wearing my Smith’s Jacket, which is very eye catching. Add to that I always carry a bunch of flyers in my bag. Business cards are ok, but don’t have information showing how good the school is. As everywhere in Japan near the stations you will find a plethora of shops catering to our needs and I make it my mission to visit them as often as possible. I use a discrete approach. When purchasing something, whether it’s at the post office, butchers or at the convenience store. Whilst receiving my change I leisurely take out a flyer and hand it to the clerk. If I were Japanese, this would be rather distasteful and embarrassing for both parties, but being a foreigner they are already curious and dying to have a go at talking to you in their best English. There eyes light up when I give them a flyer. I encourage them to come along for a trial lesson whether it’s for them, their regular customers, friends or family. Upon my next return to the shop, they have proudly stuck the flyer on the wall behind them at their counter and are in some cases eager to ask for a bunch that they can give to other patrons. I gladly oblige by taking a batch out of my bag, which the clerk immediately puts on the shop’s counter. This is the same at my local gym, the customers and staff alike are eager to talk to me. Why, because I’m a foreigner and of course wearing a Smith’s T-shirt while exercising. Even the gym has my flyers on their desk now and that was without even asking them to do it.
Having a big smile, being foreign and wearing and carrying the Smith merchandise everywhere you go only ups the anti in getting our brand out there.
So take heed of my words and try it out, there is little effort and big returns to get those new students studying at your school.