January inevitably creates an influx of new personal training clients looking to shake off the indulgences of the Christmas period and get to work on their New Year’s resolutions – hopeful of fresh starts and creating healthier lifestyles moving forward.
While this all sounds great, the age-old conundrum still remains… How do you retain your clients after the initial excitement of the New Year has worn off? Here are some of our top tips to make 2020 your best year yet…
Back to Basics
Our first point is a simple one… The role of a personal trainer (PT) is to deliver a personalised service to your clients to help them train towards their health and fitness goals. The emphasis here is on personal.
Everything you do for your clients should be based upon their individuality; not just what works for the majority.
By giving your client the level of care and attention they deserve (and expect), they’ll have a much more positive experience which will result in greater satisfaction and success.
It also means that your clients will be more likely to lower their guards, allowing you to develop more personal relationships with them. This connection can’t be underestimated in the battle to keep hold of your clients, leading to increased accountability and adherence to programmes, while reducing resistance to potential changes.
For existing and potential clients, the first rule is always to adopt a ‘client-centred’ mindset and adapt your service to each personality type. After all, it’s about them; their goals, experience, happiness, and, ultimately, their health. Even if you have a tricky client (and we’ve all come across those), engage in conversation to find out what they like and what makes them tick. In most cases, there’s something you can latch onto and create some common ground. From there, you’ll have a firm footing on which to build.
Communication is Key
When it comes to communication, Business CEO, Dan Oswald, perfectly sums this up: “Communication must be HOT. That’s Honest, Open and Two-Way.” In line with those enlightening words, it’s vital that you develop an honest and positive relationship with your clients. This way, if a client is slipping up or isn’t heading in the right direction, you need to tell them. Don’t just ignore it and convince yourself they’re doing well. Speak to them about their progress and address the problem before it cascades into something bigger and you potentially lose that client. But be careful not to lay blame on them; perhaps they are sticking to their programme and working hard, and, instead, adjustments need to be made your end.
Also, remember that communication isn’t all about speaking. Listening and emotional empathy are just as important. Encouraging your clients to talk openly with you – and explain how they’re feeling – can reveal important information about their personalities, lifestyles and stresses. This insight allows you to put yourself in their shoes and further develop your clients’ experiences, turning them into loyal, returning clients.
Using the Right Language
One of the most important aspects for retaining clients is showing that you truly know what you’re doing. You’ve studied, you’re well-read and you move with the times, which is very appealing to prospects and gives existing clients confidence in your ability.
With this in mind, instructing your clients simply isn’t enough. You need to take things one step further, explaining to each client – in a way they’ll understand – how the different exercises are taking them a step closer to their goals. Obviously, you’ll need to gauge how interested they are in this extra information, but, where possible, take advantage of opportunities to add value to their experience. Share the benefits of making small changes to their diet which will have a positive effect on their progress and results. Talk to them about other aspects of their life that contribute in a more holistic way to their wellbeing, such as getting more sleep or taking time out from work to stretch their legs. But make sure you avoid technical jargon, as this can leave a client feeling baffled, confused and feeling as though they lack understanding. Keep it simple, unless, of course, they’re one of the savvy, ‘speak-the-lingo’ type of clients.
Keep in mind that your goal is to enhance your client’s comprehension, develop their confidence, and encourage them to become more autonomous so they understand their respective programmes and can follow them, regardless of whether you’re stood by their side or not. Again, this will help to keep them engaged and on board in the longer term.
Furthering your Education
As we say to all our students, it’s essential to keep on learning, otherwise you’ll be limiting your potential.
You don’t have to like every exercise method, but becoming more qualified in more areas will add further strings to your bow and open you up to even more clients; especially those looking for specialists.
By shutting yourself off to alternative strategies for exercise and nutrition, you’ll not only be limiting your own personal growth, but also your clients’ - certainly not helpful for retaining clients. Don’t get stuck in a particular camp, thinking it’s the only way forward. Instead, always leave space to expand and vary your skillset, remembering that every client is an individual and wants something different, so, the more expertise you have, the more you’ll stand out from the crowd. It also opens the door to a more diverse and expansive clientele which can financially benefit your business. All in all, the more you invest in yourself through continued professional development, the better you’ll fare in keeping clients engaged and on your books.
To remain relevant, it’s imperative to have a strong web presence. After all, 67% of the UK population are social media users – that’s a huge shop window! But it’s not just about posting, it’s about engaging too, otherwise, you’ll have a tough task building an online community of followers and advocates. Our advice would be to base your posts on three words: educate, entertain, inspire. You could share workout tips, nutrition tips, training philosophy, client achievements and case studies, news about fitness trends; anything you think will be popular with your target audience.
To round this up, much of what we’re talking about is common sense, but it’s also what separates the bad PTs from the good ones, as well as low retention from high retention. Now that you’re in the know, go smash 2020!
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