It’s 9:15 am and you’re wrapped up your morning rush of clients.
You set down your lukewarm coffee and pull up your daily schedule on your phone. “Where did all of these holes in my schedule come from?”
Lack of gym traffic? Can’t nail down a sales technique?
No, the issue is your retention, and you need help.
When it comes to training success and longevity, retention is key.
Long-term clients essential. They’re your best source of new business (through referrals), are most likely to provide you with social proof (through testimonials), and are most likely to buy and recommend any affiliate products you may offer.
Retaining long-term clients allows you to focus on what’s important, namely high quality service and results-based training.
To maximize your retention rates you must have a well thought-out approach and find out what truly matters to your clients. The following tips make it easy to maximize retention and build long-term raving fans as clients.
1. The Mirror Strategy
People love to interact with like-minded people. Mirroring allows you to build rapport by using the same body language, voice tones, and facial expressions with those you’re engaging. You must find common ground with clients to build a prosperous relationship.
2. Create Excitement
Many clients come to you because they’re dissatisfied with their health or body. On occasion, you may even double as a therapist to your overwhelmed client.
Always be positive and create excitement with your body language, voice, and actions. Clients will absorb the positive nature you exhibit and improve their mood.
3. Use Their Name
Everyone loves to hear their name and it creates an individual message every time you speak. Write it down immediately and use it constantly in your initial sales pitch and future conversations.
4. Keep the Future in Mind
Talk about future plans and progressions through workouts. For example, in four weeks we’ll progress to this exercise, or your diet will be changing. Constant reaffirming and getting “yes” further validates you to your clients.
5. Find non-related interests
Do they like sports? What teams?
Reading? Fantastic, what type of book?
See where I’m going? Find out more than just your client’s fitness goals; find their interests and relate to them.
6. Create a Mission Statement
Mission statements are great for getting your principles and values down on paper. If you don’t stand for something, why would your customers listen? Chances are, a well thought out mission statement will have some shared values with clients.
7. Constant Contact
Reactivating old customers is one of the quickest ways to increase your revenue. Send an email, advise them to sign up for your email list, ask them how their dog is doing — anything to keep and/re-contact old clients.
8. Never compromise ethics
People do business with people they trust. Don’t recommend any product you don’t truly believe in.
Try things out for yourself and only supply your best recommendations. Anything less and you risk becoming known as a sell-out.
9. Set Goals ASAP
Set goals immediately when meeting with a client. This eliminates any uncertainty of the level of service you’ll be providing clients, and illustrates a clear, concise picture on how valuable you are.
Become the go-to expert in your area, specifically, through writing. Not only will writing increase your skill and knowledge, it will validate you as an “expert” to your clients.
When your clients get a compliment about their weight loss or improved sports performance, they can easily pull up an article or publication you were featured in, validating their investment in you.
11. Build Online Relationships
Social media is everywhere and your clients are active on multiple profiles. Your clients are online — you should be too! Tag clients in posts, comment on pictures, and send friendly messages telling them you are proud of their hard work and can’t wait to continue at your next session.
Set up a Facebook page, Twitter profile, and LinkedIn group — engage, engage, engage!
12. Develop an Online Training System
Clients move, have kids, have a financial fallout, and various other factors that limit their ability to train consistently. Develop an online training system to keep in touch with clients that have moved on but still value your expertise, even if it’s simply program design.
These clients often come back and/or refer you business because you kept that constant contact.
13. Seek Feedback
Asking clients ” How is your gym experience, or what else can I do to help?” goes a long way in showing your value and how much you care about helping them. Being open, receptive, and actually listening separates you from the other 90% in the service industry.
14. Verbalize what clients should be doing between sessions
Your clients need you — that’s why they sought personal training!
As soon as you meet a client, ask how their nutrition and workouts went. Before ending sessions, re-set the focus by having clients verbalize what they need to do to stay on track. With this strategy, your clients realize that you’re with them every step of the way towards success.
15. Go Above and Beyond
Do the little things, such as opening doors to members entering the gym, grabbing an extra coffee when you need your caffeine buzz, and write down important events like birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
These are prime times to surprise a client with a spontaneous reward for their business and loyalty.
Even better, find resources such as cookbooks that will help bring clients closer to their goals and hand deliver it next time you see them. It’s a small investment with a huge return.
Retention is the difference between struggling and prospering.
Take the time upfront to develop an awesome client retention strategy. Clients need our help, and maintaining a close, long-term relationship is the best way to create results.
About the Author
Eric Bach is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach (PN1). After working as a collegiate strength coach and training general population, Eric now coaches at the Steadman Hawkins Sports Performance Center in Denver, Colorado. He can be found at Bach Performance on Facebook. His website is http://bachperformance.com