As a personal trainer your clients are your number one source of income. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, and yet the ability to retain clients and keep them coming back for more is an area in which many personal trainers routinely struggle. Let’s tackle this head on and dive straight in with 5 strategies for keeping clients.
Get to your client 15 minutes early
Being a personal trainer affords you a fair amount of freedom in terms of your schedule. However, your clients probably don’t live with that same luxury – showing up late and missing appointments are two of the most disrespectful things you can do. Not only will this sour your relationship with your client, but can actually encourage ex-clients to dissuade people from using your services. “No, don’t use him/her – they’re always late, if they show up at all” is hardly a ringing endorsement.
The worst thing about this is that if you’re late for your first appointment, the rest of your clients will suffer as a result. Seeing a personal trainer shouldn’t be like seeing your GP – your clients expect you to be on time.
Set out your policies before your first session…
If your client wants to run late, that’s their prerogative – if you’re going to bill them for doing this you need to make that abundantly clear before you start your first session. Sit down and explain your policies on cancellation, illness, rescheduling and anything else. Give them a written copy for future reference too.
…and do it before your first session
It’s very important that you take the time to get to know your client before your first workout. This doesn’t mean dinner and a movie – you just need to sit down with them and work out the kinks in your plan before you start trying to put your plan into motion. Go grab a coffee somewhere in town and ask them how they are and what goals they have. If they want to lose 2lbs, ask how they got to that number. Why not 3 or 1? Help your client work out what they really want. This may start wondering into sensitive topics, but that’s ok – it will show that you are both invested in their goals and a trustworthy trainer to have around.
Keep it professional
Clients are clients, they aren’t friends. If your clients were your friends you would call them friends, not clients. It’s important to have a friendly working relationship with your clients, but there is a thin line between being an emotionally invested coach and being drinking buddies with your clients. Keep a little professional distance between you and your clients – don’t be like Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy.
Don’t skip leg day
…or arms, back or chest day. Simply put, if you stop working out, eating healthily and taking care of yourself, your clients will lose interest. You are your brand, and looking the part is a big part of selling your services to clients, both old and new. Even if you have the best workout on Earth, if you don’t lead by example, you will come across as a bit of a fraud. Take the time to fit in your own workouts and look after your body. Clients are important, but your body and our brand come first.