Clients are the lifeblood of a personal trainer. That statement is as true now as it was 20 years ago.
Without clients, who are you going to train? They help build your business and pay your bills. And that’s why when a client signs up to use your services as a personal trainer, you need to retain them at all costs.
For that reason, I thought that today, we would look a little into various ways that you can keep your clients coming back.. time and time again. And while yes, we all have both difficult clients and easy ones, we need them all, right?
Of course, it’s what you can offer as a personal trainer that goes a long way into client retention. But it’s not always about the overall knowledge you have. You could know all the latest techniques, have all the best certifications and still struggle to gain or keep clients.
Client retention has a lot to do with other aspects, most notably what it is YOU offer as a human being! So we going to delve a little into that as well.
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can. PT Pioneer is packed with articles to help you on your journey as a personal trainer, so don’t forget to check those out either.
What Makes A Great Personal Trainer/Client Relationship
Without a doubt, the best place to begin is to look into what it is that helps make a great relationship between a personal trainer and their clients.
It’s like a business partnership, that’s for sure. And what are business partnerships built on? Well, there are three core principles that I am sure you would agree on. And these we can definitely apply to the relationships we have with our clients.
- We need to have integrity in our relationships with our clients
- We need to have honesty in our relationships with our clients
- And we need two-way communication in our relationships with our clients
Integrity, honesty and communication are the foundation of a successful relationship between a personal trainer and their clients. Without them as a foundation, things can certainly fall flat.
And I am sure that you will agree with me, this is the best place to start in your attempt to ensure that you retain clients for a long period of time.
But we can build on that as well because if we operate with those three foundations pillars in mind, we can:
- Promote two-way communication between ourselves and our clients that is always honest
- Set a range of goals and expectations for both parties
- Show our clients that we are prepared to give 100% towards their sessions no matter what
If we hold true to the foundations I have mentioned above and always work towards the three points I have just mentioned, then the battle towards retaining clients for the long term is almost won.
But, of course, there is even more to it than that!
8 Sure Tips To Help Keep Your Client Numbers Up
I think its important to come up with a strategy that helps towards client retention. I think these tips will go a long way to helping you out in this regard.
#1 You need to determine client expectations from the get-go
Ok, let’s get it out there right away. Clients leave for a number of reasons. But perhaps the most important reason that moves on, either to another personal trainer or giving up entirely is that you didn’t meet their expectations.
And that makes your first meetings with them important, especially the initial meeting.
It’s here that you should ask them what it is they expect to achieve from coming to personal training sessions with you as well as what their overall goals are. Try to make them go as in-depth as possible.
This will not only help you build a relationship with them from the start but it allows you to put them on the right track if their expectations are a little far fetched.
For example, a bride-to-be might want to use your services to help her lose some weight and get into peak fitness before her wedding day. She might expect to lose 15 pounds in two to three weeks.
Now you know that’s not realistic but you can set her on the right path telling her that you can help her lose weight as well as help her tone up before her wedding.
So that’s an unrealistic expectation turned into an achievable one.
Remember, it’s important to write down the expectations that your clients might have to follow up on them from time to time and see if you are helping them meet them.
Also, revisit expectations every three to six months as they certainly will change over time.
#2 Build relationships and strengthen bonds
While your client comes to you to help them with their training, weight loss or for whatever reason they need a personal trainer, there is no need to keep the relationship strictly business.
By building a relationship with your client that extends beyond physical training, you help to strengthen bonds. And the easy way to do this is to learn a little bit more about your clients.
Start with learning about their families, their likes, dislikes or what it is they do. These are just some examples.
Like you, clients will have days when things go well and other days when they struggle. There might be reasons for that and the more you interact with them and learn about them, the more you can actually help them through difficult times which certainly can affect their training performance or sabotage their weight loss efforts.
In some situations, you may even need to tell them to take a break from training. The more you know them, the more you have a strong bond with your clients, the more you can read their moods.
Understanding your clients and building a relationship with them has other advantages as well. It shows them that you are not only about training, working out and getting paid for it. It shows you genuinely care about them.
And that will make them appreciate you even more!
#3 Always seek feedback and learn from it
If there is one thing I have learned in my time as a personal trainer is that you can really grow and improve thanks to client feedback.
The thing is, its not always easy. Why? Well, not all the feedback you receive will stroke your ego.
If a client has a legitimate complaint with the services you offer or points out areas they feel you can improve, it’s difficult not to let pride step in and think to ourselves that they are wrong.
So if you do have some negative feedback, go away, think about what the client says and most of all, be objective. Most of the time, you will find that they certainly do have valid points.
Then make the necessary change to improve the areas they have pointed out. What that means is that you are improving yourself all the time, improving what you do and making sure the package that you offer a client is the best they can get!
And that leads to client retention. Why would a client look elsewhere for a personal trainer when you offer everything they possibly need.
#4 Keep accurate records
Part of a personal trainer’s job is to keep the records of their clients progress. Without these, you cannot help someone through their fitness journey, that’s for sure.
These records need to be meticulous and kept on hand. Nothing is more unprofessional than a client asking what their previous weight was or the size of their chest at last measurement and you don’t have the answers readily available.
So even before you see a client for a session, pre-preparation is key. Devise a way to keep their records. Perhaps the easiest way is on a tablet or perhaps your smartphone. If you do use something like this, remember to back up their records to a cloud or another device in case your primary device crashes and you lose all your client records.
It’s also a brilliant idea to keep their end goals recorded here as well, for example, their target goal weight.
By using this method, you have the records and targets of each of your clients a simple click away.
#5 Keep the next goal in mind
As a personal trainer, it’s your task to drive and motivate a client towards their goals. But what happens when they reach those goals?
Well, it’s important for you to prepare for that moment by thinking ahead.
Of course, a client reaching a goal must be celebrated but if that’s all they ever wanted to achieve, they don’t need your services anymore and that means a client lost.
But you can overcome that problem by presenting them with other goals that you think could benefit.
As an example, take a client that wants to lose 20 pounds. Once they reach that goal, you could suggest that their program can now be changed to allow them to tone up.
It really isn’t difficult to come up with new goals for your clients and that means you retain them for long periods of time.
While a personal trainer knows a lot about the human body and exercise, there is a part of the job that many simply overlook. And that’s motivation.
Clients will feel like you connect with them if you continually motivate them and keep them committed to their goals. The best way to be committed and motivate your clients is to be present.
While they train, take the time to be with them, walking them through their routine, even if they are experienced and know what to do.
A personal trainer who wanders around the gym, talking to others while their client trains is not showing them any respect and certainly not motivating them at all.
Motivating your clients also helps them to improve, to push their limits and to become the best they can be from a fitness point of view.
#7 Offer more!
It’s easy to show clients that you care and are prepared to go the extra mile. And it doesn’t even have to cost you anything extra.
Wish clients for their birthday, ask about their families, send them holiday wishes or check on their health if they don’t turn up for a session due to illness. It really isn’t that difficult.
And you could even go further. Even now and again, meet your early morning clients, the ones that have dragged themselves out of bed at 6 am to come and train, with a hot cup of coffee.
It’s going the extra mile that can really make the difference in client retention. And it’s so simple to do.
#8 Loyal clients should be rewarded
Clients that have stuck with you and show their loyalty should be rewarded in some way.
The easiest way to do this is to offer them a discount on their fees but it’s really up to you to come up with a way to reward their loyalty. It could be a simple gift (for example a fitness book ) or perhaps even a discount on a session.
You could even offer them a ‘bring a friend’ session in which they get to work out for free and you can interact with a potential new client.
Let your imagination run free but loyalty should always be rewarded.
Without a doubt, the relationship that you build with your clients is one of the most critical parts of your journey as a personal trainer. Do it right and you will have clients that use your services over and over again even become your friends.
It’s not something that simply falls into place, however. You have to put in the effort from your side, that’s for sure. Just remember those three pillars of every client/personal trainer relationship: integrity, honesty and communication.
With those in place, you are certainly on the right track.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me by leaving a comment below and I will get back to you.