As a personal trainer or facility owner, your biggest need is getting clients through your door.
Finding and keeping new clients for the long run is a challenge we all face, and a skill one we must master to be successful.
I have a friend who comes into our facility about once a week and he always asks:
“How do you get new clients? Every week I come in you have 1 or 2 new people. For the life of me I can’t get new clients!”
But when I ask what he’s doing above and beyond for his clients, other than getting great results?
Getting great results is goal number 1, but that’s our job and the reason we’ve spend so much time on education and continued learning.
If you’re a good trainer, getting great results isn’t the most difficult part of the job. In fact, it may be the easiest!
To be a successful trainer, the devil is in the details. And those devilish details are what keep clients sticking and getting the word spread about your work.
Training is more than just a workout of performing x exercise for x sets by x reps. People come to you because of the environment you create, the atmosphere you demand, and because they have fun.
If your clients aren’t joking around, laughing, or smiling every day they’re with you, then you’re doing them a disservice.
Training doesn’t have to be all-serious, all the time. It needs to be fun, supportive, and enjoyable. Heck yes, you’ll get work done, but that work can and should be fun.
At our facility we’ve come up with a number of unique ideas for creating a devilishly good environment. We’ve seen a huge increase in our numbers and compliance since we’ve implemented these things. Have a peak at what we’ve found works like a charm.
At our facility, every time someone PR’s (breaks a personal record), they get to ring our PR bell. They ring the bell, and we all jump around, hug, and celebrate that PR! Nothing builds long-term progress like celebrating series of small improvements.
This may sound weird, but we have a dance mat. If you step on that mat, you must dance. Nothing lightens the mood like watching someone dance.
As a trainer, I’ll pop on that mat and start busting a move whenever I think the atmosphere needs a kick in the butt. I’m fine with looking like an idiot for the enjoyment of my clients. It also shows that I’m willing to get out of my comfort zone and be “out-there,” which helps people feel accepted when they do so as well.
Struggle with finding common ground to talk to clients? Get a library. I have a little library of books I keep for anybody to grab and take home for some leisure reading.
There’s nothing like recommending a book to a client to create something in common to talk about. You’ll be surprised how many great reading recommendations you get in return!
PB and Jelly
We work with a lot of athletes at our facility, and the only downside of creating an environment my athletes/clients love is they often stick around for hours after working out with no post workout nutrition.
I know this topic is of hot debate, but I want my athletes, especially those who need to gain weight, to get something in their systems after training.
Many don’t bring food or shakes, so I created the PB & J fund. I buy the PB & J ingredients and when they’re done working out, they get to chomp away. All I ask is if they have spare change to drop it in the fund (parents especially love this!)
If you want to find ways to make your training more fun, themed days is it. Take a big world event (Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, World Cup, Halloween, etc) and make a day dedicated to that event.
We divide people into groups, they pick teams (or countries) and make costumes, and that day’s workout is themed towards the special event. For example, during the Winter Olympics we had teams consisting of the USA, Jamaica, Mexico, and Denmark with such events as Sled Bobsled, Med Ball Curling, and the Valslide Biathlon.
The Big Board
The big board is our informational gold mine. Each month we have a theme (i.e., Feel Good February, Munchies’ March) and we put up all the information we can about that theme.
This might include everything from recipes, pre and post workout nutrition, sleeping info, how to warm-up, recovery techniques, weight loss info, and specific information about the back, knees, hips, and shoulders. Furthermore, we put up awesome motivational quotes, birthdays, and jokes!
Every 2-weeks or so we put out a Spotlight on one of our clients. We post this on our website, put in on our email list, and post it on our Big Board.
This is as simple as sending the client a quick 10-questions, attaching a photo of them in action, and formatting it all together. I guarantee if you do this, the spotlight you put on your website will be re-posted and re-tweeted for all that persons contacts to see. That means potential clients seeing the great results you get and how awesome you treat your clients.
You all have business cards, but you know who else does — your clients! Ask for your clients’ cards and put them up at your facility (ask for their permission of course).
We put them together on our front desk for all to see. It’s not uncommon for one client to find a service from another client at our facility. It’s just another step to help your clients in small ways.
Momma Always Said
Like it or not, being a trainer is more than just the training.
I love to read and learn about training techniques, program philosophies, and exercise physiology as much as the next guy but when you’re in the private sector, the Devilish Details we covered may be even more important than your training knowledge.