January can be a great month for picking up new clients, giving your personal training business a welcome surge of income. However, once the excitement of the New Year has worn off, you need to have a strategy in place to ensure you retain as many of those new clients as possible, otherwise, you’ll be back to square one!
People who start new fitness regimes in January tend to have an “all or nothing” mindset. They want results fast. Preferable by February. And when they don’t quite achieve what they set out to do, they quit. Resigned to the fact that most New Year’s resolutions fail anyway. For a Personal Trainer (PT), this presents a real challenge. But keeping hold of your new clients beyond the January boom isn’t mission impossible. It can be achieved by following a few simple steps, which I’ll now share with you.
Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a short period of time, but underestimate what they can achieve in a longer period of time. As most clients in the New Year arrive with bucket loads of motivation, it’s easy to keep the momentum going. The problem starts when that motivation dwindles (which, I guarantee, it will!)
With this in mind, I cannot stress enough how important it is to plan ahead and communicate effectively with your clients so that they know exactly what they’ll be doing in upcoming sessions, and, most importantly, why. This is a vital aspect of keeping them coming back for more. Remember that in each client’s initial consultation, you’ll be able to identify their goals, so use this to your advantage. Rather than writing a couple of sessions, why not write 12 weeks of training? Then, you can show them how the sessions will progress and the results they’re likely to see. This will provide a road map they can follow, giving them a sense of direction and purpose.
As you train your clients, refer to their goals on a regular basis to ensure they remain focused on the end result. This can also help to remind them why they started, keeping those motivation levels topped up.
When they achieve their goals, it’s time to put some new ones in place. For example, if your client has achieved their weight loss goal, and, along the way, discovered that they enjoy lifting heavier weights, why not move on to a strength goal instead? Constant goal setting can really help clients to maintain their exercise levels and remain on your books.
For some reason, the fitness industry hasn’t really moved on from single sessions or paying for blocks of 10 or more. Blocks of sessions are slightly better, but you really don’t know if your clients will buy more at the end of them. If they’re a January starter, there’s a high chance they won’t!
Instead, your best bet is to sell packages. We know that you can’t really achieve much in the space of 10 sessions; change is hard and it takes a long time to achieve meaningful results, so selling packages of a minimum of 12 weeks, rather than relying on clients to keep turning up to individual sessions, can help them to achieve more, which aids your retention. Plus, if someone buys a 12-week package, you know they’re mindset is in it for the long haul, meaning you’re starting with much stronger foundations.
In these packages, you could include extras like nutrition or habit coaching, providing additional value to your clients and giving them even more reasons to stay with you.
Selling packages means you can charge more than your standard rate because of all the extras in there. Clients don’t see the per session price as much. They’re now paying for coaching and support rather than a standard PT session. Packages are also a great way to appeal to the younger generations, namely Millennials and Gen Z, who take a more holistic view of health, seeing it as a combination of physical fitness, mental wellbeing and healthy eating. These generations simply don’t believe in a ‘one-size-fit-all’ approach to achieving good health, so anything you can do offer them a more personalised experience that takes into consideration the different elements of their lives will certainly sit well them, helping you to achieve better retention rates amongst these age groups.
Another option is to sell monthly packages instead of longer 12-week products. We’ve all got ongoing subscriptions, like our mobile phones, Netflix and Amazon Prime, so why not apply this to personal training as well? You could combine the two. Sell a 12-week package, but clients pay monthly. That’s a win-win for both parties. You get regular income and the client has a more manageable payment structure.
Do an amazing job!
This is a given for any business, but, particularly at busy times, it’s possible to lose sight of this. Every time a client comes in for a session, they should leave thinking, “This PT is awesome, and I feel amazing!”
Sometimes, a PT session can the best part of a client’s day, so making it extra special means they’re less likely to stop paying for them.
As the well-known saying goes, “People will never forget how you made them feel,” so give your clients compliments (as well as the tough love when needed). Tell them how great they’re doing. Remember what they told you a few sessions ago; it shows you listen, and, more importantly, that you care!
Use your skills of emotional intelligence to look for clues in body language and to empathise with how your clients are feeling at different stages of their journeys. Recognise problems and adapt your training methods where required to iron out any niggles before they snowball into something bigger.
If you have a social media page, instead of it being you all the time who’s demonstrating exercises and sharing tips, why not make your clients the star? We all like attention, especially when we’re doing awesome things! Showing the world how great your clients are will make them feel on top of the world and turn them into advocates of your business, growing your tribe. Client workouts and success stories are also fantastic forms of social proof. In other words, content that encourages other people, just like your clients, to follow in their footsteps.
Most of what I’ve said comes down to the simple principle of always making sure that your clients feel valued and doing the small things that can make a big difference to their experience. And by constantly thinking one step ahead, you’ll ensure that they never reach the end of the road, but, instead, always have a new path to follow; one which keeps them engaged and motivated, turning January’s newbies into loyal, returning clients. Beating the New Year drop.
By Mark Fox, Health and Fitness Tutor at The Training Room
For more information about The Training Room, its coaches and health and fitness courses, visit: www.thetrainingroom.com/personal-training-courses