I have found the following method of running a Discover Scuba experience to be extremely beneficial in converting the participant to an entry-level certification. I recommend the following guide for the pool or confined water experience only, not when including the DSD Open Water Dive.
If you run DSD’s, pool or confined water, free of charge, I would recommend that you rather give a voucher with a monetary value to it. To avoid any problems with the voucher, I would recommend that you include the wording, Not Redeemable for cash or any other scuba dives/experiences. This will allow you to approach hotels and other businesses to give their clients and staff the voucher.
Conducting the DSD Experience:
Allocate staff both topside and for the confined water;
The primary role of topside staff is that of sales, so they need the necessary skills to close the sale. I would recommend that they are familiar with our DVD “Positive Approach Selling”.
Make sure you have fresh, clean towels for any participants that may hove forgotten them. Have hot coffee or a cold drink/fresh water available for each participant.
Each participant needs a personal debriefing; make sure you have Crew-paks or a computer with internet connection (eLearning) to sign them onto the next stage of their next adventure.
Either you can use this opportunity to present them with their certificate or if you have a group of divers, it is better to have a small “certificate ceremony.”
Make sure that you have a photograph taken of each participant and tell him or her that they can pick it up from your dive centre the next day. If you do not close the sale the same day, you have a further opportunity to close it when they collect the photograph. Portable photographic printers are now reasonably inexpensive and worth having in you dive centre for this reason.
The key is to make the experience as enjoyable as possible and although this sounds obvious, many Divemasters/instructors who have been diving all day are sometimes reluctant to run these very important sessions. You need to find some way to motivate your staff to make this a once in a lifetime experience.
Make sure you have some toys to play with. Assist each participant with putting on his or her scuba equipment. Let the participants get comfortable as you directly supervise them breathing underwater and swimming around the shallow end before you take them into deep water. Unless you are taking the candidate on the DSD Open Water Dive, I would recommend that you do not teach mask clearing, as I have often seen DSD programmes with low conversion ratios to entry level because instructors try to go through too many skills when not conducting the DSD Open Water Dive.
Once your candidate is comfortable and they are smiling, it is my opinion that the experience is over, they are hooked and most susceptible to signing onto an entry-level course. Some participants may need slightly longer than other to get comfortable in the water.
You should now be ready to exit the water and join the topside staff in order to assist with personal debriefs, sign the certificates and register the DSD participants online.