Workouts are secondary. They don't matter if you can't get the client to stay.
The following is a guest post by Jeremey DuVall.
Workouts are secondary. They don’t matter if you can’t get the client to stay. Don’t worry though, Jeremey got you covered.
Think back to the last time you had an amazing experience. Where were you? How’d it feel?
The other day I got an oil change with other work on my car. Those trips are a drag. Sitting in the waiting office poking around on your phone until they call your name.
But, I was surprised to find wireless internet for my laptop. Grabbing a cup of coffee, the area was well kept and the pot was fresh, not that kind that comes out of a machine. When they called my name, they didn’t present me with extra things wrong with my car, but informed me that my car was getting a complimentary wash before it was ready.
We’re an experience-based culture. Every interaction provides a specific experience.
When we have a good one, we’re quick to spread the word. The same holds true for a bad one. The success of your personal training business hangs on your ability to create amazing experiences – the kind that clients spread to their entire network. The problem is many trainers are looking at their day as an accumulation of hours spent with each client rather than a set of experiences.
Even before you even meet a client, your focus should be on building an experience that will lead to results and future referrals.
Clients are sent to me after signing up for a membership. They get a free consultation with a trainer, but they don’t have a clue what a consultation is.
For a client to have a great experience, they must know what’s going on. This starts with a reminder call the day before and continues throughout the initial meeting.
– Does the client feel comfortable?
– Are you actually listening and – more importantly – understanding them?
– Are you mimicking body language?
If the client has differing opinions on what they will receive out of a consultation, your “client experience” will be ruined from the start. Start all of your initial meets by asking the client what they hoped to get out of a consultation. Meet them in the middle by still gathering information, but also giving them a little of what they want.
Introduce and Involve
Your goal is to make the client comfortable in the gym. The more people they know and activities they are involved with – the better. Introduce your clients to other trainers and gym members that you know well.
Show them the different services your club offers. Have them try group fitness classes. Think of these services as value-builders in your business.
Stay in contact
No matter what happens in the consult or initial meeting, ALWAYS stay in contact with new members. Whether or not they pursue personal training, be their resource at the club. Always seek to establish a relationship with your clients.
Gym members typically see trainers as sales associates looking to push training. I realize time is money and you typically meet tons of members every month. Set up an e-mail that goes out every week with fitness tips along with a few articles.
The goal is to let members know you’re different. Looking out for their best interest and staying in contact is one main method of setting yourself apart.
Systems rather than workouts
I hate when I see trainers scribbling down workouts right before a session with a client. Not only does it seem rushed, but it also shows that the trainer is focused on writing individual workouts rather than the big picture.
Trainers should have set programs in place for different modes of training (strength, hypertrophy, etc.) rather than individual workouts. This ensures that each member receives the same style of training and creates a consistent brand for your services. Focus on the big picture with clients then plug and play the specific exercises as you go.
Alwyn Cosgrove uses the example of a referral to demonstrate the power of systems. If a client refers a friend to you, that new friend should receive the same style of training and the same results. After all, referrals are garnered through results.
Bottom line: All of your clients should know WHY you do what you do. They need to know that each program is selected with them in mind.
Education helps empower clients to make their own decisions when it comes to health and fitness. Eventually, they won’t need your help in picking exercises or selecting the right foods.
Send out e-mails with a topic of the week and a few articles to read that are both simple, yet effective in conveying the message. Go over the basics with them during the next session. It helps to build value in you as a trainer and builds confidence in the client – not just a good sweat session.
Evaluate in the same manner
Your clients need to see that they are having success – the kind of success that leaves them hugging, high-fiving, and just straight grinning from ear to ear.
All of my clients are evaluated at the beginning of each month using the same measurements. A month later, we go through the same evaluations and talk about our successes and areas of improvement.
Using that info, we develop a game plan and target areas of improvement for that month. By using the same protocols for evaluation, your clients know what to expect and can notice improvements from month to month.
We decide where our focus will be for the next program, which is important to make sure both of us are on the same page.
By focusing on creating a great experiences rather than just a series of good workouts, you’ll ensure that your clients will be coming back for more and referring others.
How do you create an “experience” for your clients?
Check out & “like” thePTDC’s Facebook page and find out what we’re all about.
Jeremey DuVall M.S., CPT, is a personal trainer and fitness writer based in Denver, CO. He contributes to Greatist, Men’s Fitness, and Stack among others. Find out more information at his blog or on Twitter.
photo credits: emelec, Express Monorail, lululemon athletica
If you’re interested in submitting a guest post please check out the contribution page.