- Learn the surprising financial impact of keeping even a few more clients each month
- Learn how to audit your existing client experience and what’s required to make it world class
- Learn the action steps that will have the biggest impact on keeping clients longer
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in serving thousands of fitness professionals and business owners, it’s that prospective clients either want the best or they want the cheapest.
There’s no middle ground.
Choose wisely: Because prospective clients who “want the cheapest” lack conviction and will soon fail to follow through on their health and fitness goals. They’re bad for your business. Personal trainers need to inspire these clients to make a serious commitment or, accept the consequences of betting the financial success of their business (and personal income) on people who aren’t serious about making a change in their life.
Meanwhile, people who want the best have high expectations of service. They want great client experiences. Personal trainers who want to fill their schedule with these kinds of clients–the ones they love working with–will need to sweat the details.
How can you deliver great client experiences for your best clients? Our most successful clients followed these steps:
1. Get Clear On The Stakes
First, let’s get clear on why keeping clients longer is so important.
Most fitness businesses fail to grow NOT because they can’t find more new prospective clients. They fail because they are losing existing clients just as fast (if not faster!) as they are finding new ones.
The attached table shows just how big an impact keeping a few more clients every month and adding just a few will have you drastically improving your bottom line over the next 12 months:
2. Watch What Clients Do, Not (Necessarily) What They Say
Next, let’s look at how you are doing right now.
Don’t guess, don’t count smiles in the studio, and don’t necessarily ask them (though you will later, hang on ). You can gauge client experience based on what clients DO, not what they say. Here are the first three questions to ask yourself:
- Are your clients meeting their health and fitness goals? Great client experience means people are making progress toward their goals. When clients languish, they leave. Clients who make progress stick around, and the longer clients stay, the more your business grows when you bring in new clients (and the more money you make).
- Are you getting more than 50% of new clients from referrals? This is where the rubber meets the road. Happy clients refer their friends and colleagues and unhappy clients don’t. Key: Ask! Too many personal trainers forget to ask for referrals. If you’re not asking, start, and then see how well you do. Few referrals mean clients are not getting the experience they expect.
- Are they buying more from you? You should be maximizing the value of your existing clients: Pricing, packaging, upselling, cross-selling - happy clients are engaged and interested in more from you. If they’re unwilling to do more (or pay premium prices), the client experience needs to be better.
3. Speak Directly To Clients
After you’re armed with data about what clients are doing, speak to them directly or ask them to fill out surveys. Get a mix, if possible, of current clients and former ones. You’re looking to find out:
- Do you have “good churn” or “bad churn”? Good churn comes from clients who aren’t a good fit, and it’s probably best if they leave. Bad churn comes from clients who you want to stay, but aren't.
What is the issue? Are they unhappy with their experience? Are they not seeing the value? Find out by asking them and address the issues as they come up.
- What do current clients like and don’t like about your programs and services? Ask for their suggestions on how you can improve.
The key is to increase your value proposition. Serve your clients better and you’ll keep them longer, and as the chart shows, it only takes a few more clients a month staying longer before you’ll bring in MUCH more money.
Of course, it’s easy to say, “Deliver greater value?” But what does that mean?
We have an equation that shows you the keys:
V = CE + R + R
Value = Client Experience + Relationship + Results
When you improve EACH of these areas, you’ll offer greater value.
4. Get Inside Your Client’s Head During Their Entire Lifecycle
What does a client experience during their entire lifecycle of working with you, from the very beginning to the end? Is it positive or negative? Where does client experience shine and where does it fall short?
Questions to ask yourself:
- What happens from the moment they contact you? Do you get back to them right away? Do you know what you are going to say? Are you welcoming? Are you prepared for the contact?
- What happens once they walk through your doors? Are they greeted and welcomed? Are you prepared? Is the facility organized? Many people get nervous walking in the door of a new place, particularly a fitness studio, and a warm, friendly greeting goes a long way, just to name one aspect of client experience.
- What happens once they walk out your doors? Do you follow up contacts? Does everyone know the next step? Do people take the next steps, when it still can make a difference?
Bottom line: Are you providing a WORLD CLASS EXPERIENCE?
5. Look at your level of care and the relationships you create
Dig deeper by looking at relationships. How do you ensure clients feel cared for and valued? How are they part of the community you’re building in your fitness studio?
- What “touchpoints” support your relationship with them beyond the workout? (Each “extra” and thoughtful act shows you remember them and value them adds tremendous value to the relationship.)
- What would they value? (Get to know them better)
- What’s one simple thing you can do to improve? (Could be a new recipe or a new workout that shows you care and are thinking about them.)
Remember: People love community and love to feel part of something greater.
6. Audit And Improve Results
Clients come to you for results that they can’t get themselves. How can you help more clients achieve their goals faster?
The more effective your programs are, the happier clients will be with their results, and the more value you will provide. Take a hard look at:
- Your assessments. Results begin with a baseline starting point. What is the person’s condition? What are the risks? (Injury, support systems, perfectionism, etc.)
- Your programming. What will they need? Is your program realistic, effective, long enough to deliver results, and does your program contain the necessary support?
- Your team delivery. Execution matters. If you have a team, is each coach aligned to needs of clients?
- Nutrition. What people eat is very personal to them. Nutrition programs need to be realistic and effective, and also contain enough support for lasting change.
Bottom line: Don’t bother trying to be cheapest. And “good enough” / the middle ground is a death zone for personal trainers. Sweat the details and create a world-class client experience. Your clients will thank you for it, and you’ll grow in your fitness coaching career.
Clients want the best or the cheapest. Avoid being “the cheapest” and instead seek to deliver the best, world-class client experience you can. You can dramatically improve your bottom line by keeping clients longer, and retaining just a few clients each month can have a huge impact over 12 months. Audit your existing client experience by looking at what clients do, then seek direct feedback and incorporate that feedback into higher levels of care. That all adds up to better client relationships, better results for clients, and a stronger bottom line for you and your fitness business.
Ready to improve your client experience and deliver more profits to your bottom line? Get FREE online training and discover the step-by-step strategies, systems, and secrets 38,000+ fitness professionals and business owners have used to grow their fitness business and create the life they want.
Ready to improve your client experience and deliver more profits to your bottom line?
Get FREE online training and discover the step-by-step strategies, systems, and secrets 38,000+ fitness professionals and business owners have used to grow their fitness business and create the life they want.