4 Ways to Retain Personal Training Clients
Many personal trainers remember the effort that went into finding their first client. It’s challenging work. Whether you’re a fitness professional looking to grow your business or one working at a gym, you know just how hard it is to find people willing to pay you for your services who also have the time and dedication to put into it.
Building a client base requires time and money. For instance, many businesses would prefer their customer service people give you discounts rather than outright see you cancel their service because it costs so much to acquire you in the first place. We can start by looking at these models, simply because that wisdom is especially true in fitness.
That being said, it’s all going to come down to communication. There are companies offering products worse than others yet still succeeding. How do they do this? They communicate. There are many factors in ensuring you have a proper retention model, but few things will be as essential as your communications with them.
So, let’s look at ways you can increase your retention rate, and keep those clients happy and satisfied with you as their personal trainer.
1. Let Them Know You Care
This might seem obvious, but you would be shocked to know how many personal trainers just assume right off the bat that their clients know they care. The fact is, you have to show it.
First off, you show this by helping them to actually achieve their fitness goals—or, at least, show progress in that respect. This should go without saying, but many overlook this. If all you’re doing is showing up and putting your clients through the motions in their workouts, there’s a much higher probability they’ll cancel.
Just like you program workouts for your clients, you should have a program for treating your clients right and showing them how much you care. And it isn’t that difficult to do.
For instance, it could be an excel spreadsheet where you track their success in metrics like performance or body fat loss. Keeping something like this and sending it to them periodically is a great way to show clients you have their success at the front of your mind.
You could also have a “check in” once every week where you spend the last 10 minutes of your session reviewing their progress and asking if they’re facing any challenges. This is a great way to build your personal relationship with the client and provide great customer service.
Social media is another way to both recognize your clients’ achievements while promoting your own success as a personal trainer. Get your client’s permission, of course, but these stories are great content that will encourage them and showcase what makes you special as a trainer.
There are many ways to show you care. The sky's the limit in terms of how creative you want to be, just make sure whatever you do will make them feel special and unique.
2. Put Together a SIMPLE Newsletter with Valuable Content
Newsletters aren’t just a great way to retain clients, but also to prospect new clients. It’s a fundamental piece of any business’ marketing strategy, and there’s a reason for that. Even people who don’t pay you for your services can benefit, and these people reading your content regularly will either be more likely to use your services or to share your newsletter with friends and family who can.
Now, this might sound like a daunting challenge to some, but, it is very achievable. And, here’s the secret—it doesn’t even have to be your own content! Curation of content is when you find other sources that have good information and share those. If you can produce your own, that’s great, and you should absolutely personalize the introduction of your newsletter. But that doesn’t mean you have to draft everything yourself.
Find quality sources with great articles you find useful and offer a summary with a link in your email to the article. One of the most successful newsletters out there is Tim Ferris’ “5 Bullet Friday.” This has succeeded because it’s short and simple. An introductory sentence, five bullets with each containing specific information Ferris found interesting, and that’s it!
Don’t try to shoot for the moon with this, just try to do something that’s brief yet useful to your audience. Send it to all of your clients, and have a way either on your website or social media pages to have new people sign up. Then, stick with it.
This takes less than an hour or two each week, and over time, it can be a great way to cultivate a following of prospects, improve your credibility, and, above all, provide additional value that other trainers aren’t.
3. Finding Little Ways to Add Great Value
Speaking of adding value, it’s important to note that in the world of business, perception is reality. You could be doing all sorts of little things to improve the quality of your clients’ training, but you also have to find ways to communicate that value. If they don’t perceive it, it doesn’t count.
We’ve already discussed two ways to add value—a newsletter and mentions on social media. But these are only value adds for clients who would use them. So, it’s important to listen well to your clients. Where do they spend their time? What are they interested in? Then, you have to ask yourself, how do they communicate? Does in-person communication matter to them more? Digital communications like social media? Perhaps they will respond better to texts? This is something that you need to know about your clients. If you don’t know how they communicate best, you are likely going to run into issues here.
So, once you’ve determined their communication preferences, start thinking about how to convey to them the value you’re offering. Sadly, the reality is that you must speak up about it. Assuming they know what you are doing for them behind the scenes means they are likely not going to appreciate it. This doesn’t mean you should brag all the time about what you’re doing for them, but it does mean you should periodically find ways to remind them.
Then, every other month or so, check in on the value adds that you’re giving. Ask them if they are making a difference in their training or not. When you find this information out, you can then tailor your offerings based on this.
4. Have Regular Check-ins Regarding Workouts
Communication is going to be one of the most important pieces of the puzzle in any sort of customer retention strategy in any business. By communicating properly with your clients, you will be able to really understand their problems as well as what they like about your services.
Whether you’re an independent personal trainer, working at a gym or health club, or any other training situation, you are in the business of client management. And, as such, you need to sharpen your communication skills.
Having regular check-ins regarding their workouts—especially once DOMS has set in—will let them know you are thinking of them even when they aren’t in the gym with you. It lets them know you’re concerned about their success at every point. Furthermore, it lets you know where their motivation stands, and from this, you can adapt your techniques for keeping them motivated and interested in achieving their goals.
When you do this, you are communicating that you care and are receptive to feedback. You show you’re thinking beyond just the day-to-day and are looking out for your client’s overall wellbeing. But there’s another component as well.
These check-ins allow you to really focus on what they’re looking for and to discover new ways to keep clients engaged. This is the sort of information that large marketing agencies pay top dollar for—and you can have it for free by just engaging with your clients.
Track their responses in a spreadsheet or in a document and look at them once a month. Put together the most common feedback and find ways to use that to better serve your clients. This is what it’s about, serving others. When you make this the focus of your fitness business, you will have no problem retaining clients throughout your career.
Questions to Guide Your Client Retention Strategy
Use these questions to guide your thinking when you are putting together your client retention strategy:
- What value are you providing beyond the “typical” personal trainer?
- What means do you use to communicate your value to your clients?
- How often are you checking in with clients to assess satisfaction?
- How often are you brainstorming more ways to add value?
- How are you keeping track of your feedback over time?
Read to do more? Add value in a big way—get certified with ISSA as a Nutritionist. Step up your services so you can offer clients a well-rounded health and wellness program.