15 Great Client Retention Strategies

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Consumer behavior in the 21st century fitness industry has evolved to a point where clients can change gyms and trainers as often as their wardrobes in a highly competitive and transformative marketplace. People are also becoming more and more aware of what’s good, and what’s not, due to an ever-increasing ability to source insider knowledge on all things health and fitness from the Internet. What has become apparent of late, is that people are not staying with gyms as long as they once were, due to more choice in the market and because inadvertently or not, false promises of instant gratification are present on nearly every gym’s marketing strategy in order to attract people to join. Posters of the ‘aesthetic abs’ of gym goers, or the sights of the ‘trimmed and toned’ group exercise fraternity can almost defuse any motivation that was once present upon entering, forcing people to quit early on in a membership, due to being constantly reminded of the need for-improvement. It can also create such a need for fast results that it puts extreme amounts of pressure upon the trainers tasked with transforming these demanding divas into celebrity shape, usually quicker than they can say Miley Cyrus. Analysis of these new-age trends of the fitness industry demands a call for more professional and certified trainers, however most courses cannot teach trainers how to be organized, or how to deal with difficult and demanding clients, and most importantly, how to build long lasting, mutually beneficial business relationships. The following 15 tricks of the PT trade, devised from my countless experiences with clients and trainers in the fitness industry are sure-fire ways to ensure client satisfaction and long term buy-in, in what is arguably one of the most challenging and rewarding industries in the world.

Transcript of 15 Great Client Retention Strategies

  • 1. fitness WRITTEN BY: STEVEN GILLESPIE 15 GREAT CLIENT RETENTION STRATEGIES M Consumer behavior in the 21st century fitness industry has evolved to a point where clients can change gyms and trainers as often as their wardrobes in a highly competitive and transformative marketplace. People are also becoming more and more aware of whats good, and whats not, due to an ever-increasing ability to source insider knowledge on all things health and fitness from the Internet. What has become apparent of late, is that people are not staying with gyms as long as they once were, due to more choice in the market and because inadvertently or not, false promises of instant gratification are present on nearly every gyms marketing strategy in order to attract people to join. Posters of the aesthetic abs of gym goers, or the sights of the trimmed and toned group exercise fraternity can almost defuse any motivation that was once present upon entering, forcing people to quit early on in a membership, due to being constantly reminded of the need forimprovement. It can also create such a need for fast results that it puts extreme amounts of pressure upon the trainers tasked with transforming these demanding divas into celebrity shape, usually quicker than they can say Miley Cyrus. Analysis of these new-age trends of the fitness industry demands a call for more professional and certified trainers, however most courses cannot teach trainers how to be organized, or how to deal with difficult and demanding clients, and most importantly, how to build long lasting, mutually beneficial business relationships. The following 15 tricks of the PT trade, devised from my countless experiences with clients and trainers in the fitness industry are sure-fire ways to ensure client satisfaction and long term buy-in, in what is arguably one of the most challenging and rewarding industries in the world.
  • 2. NO. 1 BE ON TIME. PUNCTUALITY IS THE MAKING AND BREAKING OF ALL TRAINER AND CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS, ITS AS SIMPLE AS BEING THERE EARLY FOR THE SESSION, ACHIEVING THE GOALS WITHIN A DEADLINE OR FINISHING WHEN THE SESSION IS MEANT TO. RESPECT AND ADHERENCE TO TIMEFRAME IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF THE PT GAME NO. 2 SERVICE COUNTS. HANDING YOUR CLIENT A TOWEL AND A BOTTLE OF WATER AT THE START AND DURING YOUR SESSION DOESNT SEEM LIKE MUCH, BUT IT CERTAINLY SHOWS THAT YOU CARE ABOUT THE DETAILS IN A WELL ROUNDED SERVICE. THINKING ABOUT THAT ONE THING THAT COULD MAKE SOMEONES DAY AND FOCUSING ON THE SMALL THINGS WILL MAKE CLIENTS STICK TO YOU FOR LONGER NO. 3 UNDERPROMISE AND OVERDELIVER. WHEN WE FIRST MEET A CLIENT AND THEY TELL US WHAT THEIR GOAL IS AND WHEN THEY WOULD LIKE TO ACHIEVE IT, HOW MANY PTS ARE GUILTY OF INSTANTLY SAYING YES? QUITE A FEW ID IMAGINE HAVE AGREED TO AN UNREALISTIC GOAL JUST TO MAKE THE SALE. AN HONEST AND MEASURED RESPONSE IS BY FAR THE BEST RESPONSE IN THIS SITUATION AS CLIENTS WILL EASILY START TO QUESTION YOUR EXPERTISE IF THINGS START TO GO SOUTH. GIVING CLIENTS EXPECTATIONS THAT THEY CAN EASILY OVERACHIEVE IS A FAR BETTER APPROACH TO CLIENT SATISFACTION NO. 4 PRE-MADES. HAVING PRE-MADE NUTRITION PHILOSOPHIES, WORKOUT GUIDELINES AND GENERAL TIPS READY TO BE EMAILED OUT PERIODICALLY AFTER A NEW CLIENT STARTS THEIR PT JOURNEY WITH YOU CAN EASE THE PAIN OF REMEMBERING AND EXPLAINING ALL OF YOUR RULES AND DOCTRINES IN DEPTH EVERY TIME YOU MEET MR OR MRS NEWBIE. A LOT OF TIME ON THE GYM FLOOR CAN BE WASTED WITH UNFOCUSED CHIT CHAT, THIS NEGATES THE ISSUE AND ALLOWS GYM FLOOR TIME TO BE SPENT ON THE WORKOUTS AND IMPORTANT STUFF. THIS BY NO MEANS ADVOCATES THAT WE GENERALISE EVERYTHING AS PROGRAMMES ARE STILL WHAT WE SHOULD SPEND A LOT OF OUR TIME ON, BUT ITS NICE TO HAVE AN EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIVE JOURNEY SET OUT FOR CLIENTS OVER A YEAR PERIOD (OR MORE). MAKE IT SHORT, SWEET, NICE TO LOOK AT AND NICE TO READ AND THE CLIENT WILL SURELY BE IMPRESSED THAT YOU ARENT JUST A MEAT HEAD THAT COUNTS REPS. YOU SHOULD ALSO QUIZ THEM ON YOUR INFO-EMAILS TO ENSURE THEY ARE READING, UNDERSTANDING AND APPLYING YOUR ADVICEPROVIDING OF COURSE THAT ITS WORTH READING AND NOT FULL OF BORING PT JARGON FJ IF YOU AIM AT NOTHING, YOULL HIT IT EVERY TIME NO. 5 MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. PTS THAT DONT EMAIL ALL OF THEIR CLIENTS AT LEAST ONCE PER MONTH ARE MISSING OUT ON A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO REINFORCE THE FACT THAT THEY ARE THE EXPERT. MONTHLY NEWSLETTERS INCLUDING TIPS, WORKOUTS, NEWS, ARTICLES AND PROMOTIONS ARE SUBTLE WAYS OF GETTING YOUR CLIENTS MORE ENGAGED WITH YOUR SERVICE AND SUBCONSIOUSLY MORE WILLING TO RENEW WITH YOU. WE SEE SO MANY ADVERTS IN THE RUN UP TO CHRISTMAS FOR KIDS TOYS AND NEW GAMES ON THE MARKET, BECAUSE MARKETING EXPERTS KNOW THAT THIS WILL INCREASE THE PROBABILITY OF A SALE. THE SAME CAN WORK IN THE PT GAME IN THE BUILD UP TO A ROUGH PATCH LIKE CHRISTMAS, RAMADAN OR EID NO. 6 DONT WING IT. IF YOU DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR CLIENT FROM ONE DAY TO THE NEXT, ASK YOURSELF THESE SERIOUS QUESTIONSAM I REALLY PROVIDING A SERVICE THAT SOMEONE WOULD PAY GOOD MONEY FOR? HAVE I PLANNED THIS TRAINING FOR THE CLIENT TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS, OR AM I JUST HOPING FOR THE BEST? SESSIONS SHOULD ALWAYS BE FOCUSED AND HAVE A CLEAR OBJECTIVE WITH CONSTANT REGARD TO AN OVERARCHING PERIODIZED PLAN. REMEMBERING THIS FAMOUS QUOTE PUTS IT INTO PERSPECTIVE: IF YOU AIM AT NOTHING YOULL HIT IT EVERY TIME (ZIG ZIGLAR) NO. 7 PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES. SOME OF US TAKE THE TIME TO WRITE INCREDIBLY ELABORATE OR INTENSE SESSIONS THAT SOUND GOOD ON PAPER, HOWEVER IF YOU HAVENT TRIED IT ON YOURSELF FIRST, HOW CAN YOU BE SURE THAT THE SESSION IS SAFE, EFFECTIVE AND THE CLIENT IS CAPAPBLE OF DOING IT NO. 8 STANDING AT ATTENTION IS FOR THE ARMY PICTURE THE SCENE, THE CLIENT IS DOWN ON THE GYM FLOOR BUSTING OUT ENDLESS REPS OF PUSHUPS AND THE PT IS STANDING DISINTERESTED, LOOKING LIKE THEY ARE MADE OF WOOD. GET DOWN THERE WITH THEM AND ENCOURAGE THEM. HAVE A DYNAMIC AND INTERESTED STANCE AND ACT LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN. IF YOU DONT THEN IT SHOULDNT BE A SURPRISE WHEN THEY START TO ACT THE SAME
  • 3. NO. 9 SMILE. NOBODY WANTS TO SPEND 3 TO 5 HOURS PER WEEK WITH SOMEONE THAT STANDS AROUND SULKING, WAITING FOR THE HOUR TO FINISH. REGARDLESS OF HOW YOU ARE FEELING, REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE ON STAGE AND HAVE TO PERFORM 10 MANAGE INTENSITY. THE OLD GYM ADAGE IF IT DOESNT HURT THEN IT DOESNT WORK ISNT ALWAYS TRUE. IN MY EXPERIENCE I HAVE LEARNED THAT YOU DONT HAVE TO BE A QUALIFIED PT TO GO ONTO THE GYM FLOOR AND DESTROY SOMEONE, ANYBODY CAN DO THAT. THE REAL PROFESSIONALS ARE THE ONES THAT CAN ACCURATELY MANAGE TRAINING INTENSITY TO THE NTH DEGREE TO GET A MULTITUDE OF END OUTCOMES. IF A CLIENT IS NEW TO EXERCISE THEN THEY SHOULD BE GIVEN THE APPROPRIATE INTENSITY FOR THEIR LEVEL, NOT YOURS OR YOUR PREVIOUS CLIENT, AND THE SAME RESPECT SHOULD ALSO BE GIVEN TO INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED TRAINEES. IF YOU FIND IT HARD TO MONITOR OR CONTROL, THEN USE ONE OR A COMBINATION OF THE FOLLOWING WAYS TO MONITOR INTENSITY; USE THE BORG RPE SCALE, USE THE TALK TEST, USE AN APPROPRIATE PERCENTAGE OF THEIR 1 REP MAX OR USE A HEART RATE MONITOR LIKE MY ZONE TO KEEP THEM IN AN APPROPRIATE TRAINING ZONE. IF WE ARENT CONTROLLING THE OUTCOME, THEN YOUR CLIENT WONT GET THE RESULTS THAT THEY DESIREAND DESERVE NO. 11 LEARN LIKE A SAILOR. PTS OFTEN WONDER WHY THEIR BUSINESS GOES IN THE RED AND WHY OTHER TRAINERS SEEM TO BE DOING A BETTER JOB THAN THEM IN THE SAME GYM, GIVEN THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES. THE ANSWER IS THAT SOME PEOPLE HAVE A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO LIFE LONG LEARNING AND HOW THEY APPLY IT. CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD) IS LIKE A SHIP IN THE OCEAN, IF YOU KEEP YOUR SHIPS SAIL DOWN AND STAY WHERE YOU ARE, SOONER OR LATER YOU ARE GOING TO GET HIT BY A STORM OR ROUGH WATER. KEEPING YOUR EDUCATIONAL-SAIL UP WILL KEEP YOU MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND YOUR CLIENTELLE ALWAYS ON THEIR TOES. LIKE OTHER INDUSTRIES, FITNESS IS EVER EVOLVING AND IF PTS GO AGAINST THIS TIDE, THEY RUN THE RISK OF BEING SWEPT UNDER BY IT. CHECKING THE REPS WEBSITE FOR APPROVED TRAINING PROVIDERS IS A GOOD PLACE TO START, OR ALTERNATIVELY FIND OUT WHAT COURSES OTHER PTS ARE DOING TO KEEP THINGS FROM GOING STALE F UNDERPROMISE AND OVERDELIVER NO. 12 GREAT EXPECTATIONS. ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS I EVER ASK MY CLIENTS AT THE BEGINNING OF THEIR PT JOURNEY WITH ME IS WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FROM PERSONAL TRAINING?. ASKING THIS KEY QUESTION EARLY ON IN THE GAME CAN CUT THROUGH A LOT OF WORRY THAT SOME PTS HAVE PERHAPS 2 OR 3 MONTHS INTO TRAINING THINKING WHETHER THEIR CLIENTS WILL RENEW WITH THEM OR NOT. HAVING BOTH PARTIES SETTING AND AGREEING ON CLEAR EXPECTATIONS AT THE START OF THE JOURNEY CAN HELP THE PT STEER THE OVERALL APPROACH TO BETTER SUIT THE NEEDS OF THE CLIENT, AS OPPOSED TO PLAYING THE GUESSING GAME AT THE END OF EACH SESSION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE CLIENT LIKES WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND IF THEY THINK THE SESSIONS HAVE VALUE. IF YOU FEEL THAT A CLIENT IS STRAYING FROM YOUR FLOCK, RE-EVALUATE AND DISCUSS THEIR GOALS AND PERHAPS TAKE THINGS IN A NEW DIRECTION IF NEEDED. DONT ASK THEM WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO DO DIFFERENTLY, YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE ANSWERS TO THESE STICKING-POINTS AND BE DECISIVE ABOUT WHAT YOU BELIEVE THE CLIENT SHOULD BE DOING NEXT TO SPICE THINGS UP AS YOU ARE OF COURSE THE EXPERT. THE MOMENT WE START ASKING THE CLIENT ABOUT WHAT THEY WANT TO DO IN THE GYM IS THE MOMENT THAT WE LOSE SIGHT OF PROFESSIONALISM AND DE-VALUE OUR INDUSTRY NO. 13 TRAIN. THE BEST RETENTION TOOL IS YOUR OWN BODY. CLIENTS WANT TO ASPIRE TO BE LIKE THE TRAINER THAT LOOKS AND ACTS LIKE THEIR END RESULT. IF YOU DON