You’ve done everything you’re supposed to do for your Personal Training or Boot Camp business:
You’ve found the perfect location at just the right price, you’ve bought all the equipment you need but haven’t spent too much, you’ve done the community outreach and cross marketing to build your mailing list and get the word out about your new business, you’ve created low-barrier offers to bring in tons of clients and sell them on long-term agreements, and your online marketing presence is absolutely kicking ass.
You’ve hustled, worked, and powered your way through every obstacle, problem and issue and your fitness business is perfectly set-up to be the next massive success in your area.
Fast-forward two months and you’ve lost nearly all your clients.
They abandoned you. They signed up for your classes, they were excited in the beginning, but the novelty wore off and nearly all of them, one by one, have walked out your door to never return.
Sound familiar? I sure hope not. But the sad truth is, I see this type of situation all the time.
And what’s most heart wrenching about watching a potentially fantastic fitness business crumble is that it is entirely avoidable! There are reasons why clients stay and why they leave. It’s up to you (with a bit of my help, if you’ll take it) to find out what those reasons are.
If you’ve had an experience similar to my example, what do you think went wrong?
Ever thought maybe those clients were just too lazy? Maybe none of them really knew what they were getting into, maybe your training was just too good, too advanced for so many newbies? Maybe they all ran out of money or your competition dropped their rates and your clientele all abandoned you for prices you can’t afford.
All of these reasons are surely possibilities, but there is one major factor we aren’t considering with each and every one of these possible explanations.
It’s pointless to find some outside excuse. It’s silly to scour the world for reasons and justifications when the true explanation is, undoubtedly, that it’s your fault.
Why do I say this? Because when it really comes down to it, when everything else is pushed aside and the most fundamental truths are considered, the only thing about your business that makes it any different from any other personal training or boot camp business, is you. It isn’t your location, it isn’t your decoration and it isn’t your workouts, it’s you.
You are how you stand out, you are how you succeed, and if people are dissatisfied or are leaving, it’s your fault.
Now listen up. Because instead of getting defensive, or offended, you need to keep reading and find out just what it is about you and your business that is causing all of your excited new clients to abandon you. And when you figure it out, when you identify the problems that are causing your clients to quit, and you fix those problems, your success will be attributed to nothing and no one other than you.
First of all, you work in customer service.
Your clients are your customers and they are paying you to provide them with a service. They are your sole source of income so you better make sure you are doing everything you can to keep them happy.
It isn’t about being right, it isn’t about winning arguments, and it certainly isn’t about getting personal or emotional. So the next time a client wants to dispute a credit card charge, the next time someone is asking for a refund or begging for a special request, do it. The small amount of money you might be losing in the moment is more than remedied by the positive impact these actions will have on your reputation and your client retention.
You and I both know that you are God’s gift to personal training. You are great at your job and your clients are lucky to have your help.
But (and this is a big but, by the way) you cannot act like this during sensitive client interactions. Sure, when you’re burned out, when you’re tired and don’t want to get out of bed, that’s when you remind yourself that Bedros says you are one of the best out there. But when you’re disputing with a client, winning isn’t worth it for your business (and I’m strictly speaking monetarily here, I’m not even mentioning how silly disputes aren’t worth your time, emotions, or effort).
When it comes to your reputation as a businessperson it doesn’t matter how awesome you are as a trainer, people are going to form opinions based on the way you handle situations and treat your clients.
Of course, you shouldn’t let people walk all over you or take advantage of your kindness, but for most situations you will be better off working to make your client happy rather than proving yourself right or making a point.
Now, as I said previously, you may be the only genuinely unique aspect of your business, but that certainly doesn’t mean that nothing else matters. Take a look at your facility, your setup, your training and your model and distinguish exactly what you can do to get clients to stay, or what you might be doing to make them leave.
Here’s a great example: Think of the last time you tried a new restaurant and absolutely adored it. You told all your friends about it, you went back twice in the same week, and your family is sick and tired of hearing you talk about how great the place is.
Think for a minute about what makes that place so awesome. I’m sure the food was great and the service was wonderful, but that’s hardly revolutionary, right? You can’t have a great restaurant without great food, but I’ll bet that isn’t what made such a huge impact on you.
For me, when I feel that way about someplace, it’s usually because of something simple and completely unimportant. It’s the awesome cutting boards they use to serve the bread or the unique cups that hold the cocktails.
In other words, it’s the small and minor details that turn a great place to eat into a memorable favorite that gets me excited.
And it’s exactly the same with your business. Sure, you’re serving muscles instead of mussels, but just like my favorite restaurant it’s the details that will keep clients on your roster for months and even years.
Think of ways to set yourself apart using minor but noticeable details.
Maybe it’s the quotes you have painted on the wall or it’s the fun swag you give away to new clients. Perhaps you have neon colored dumbbells and kettlebells or your battle ropes are bright pink. It can even be a promotion, a special themed workout, or an awesome free event. Maybe you begin and end each of your workouts with an inspiring and encouraging quote.
It doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it really shouldn’t be complicated. Think of those easy, simple little details that will really get people fired up.
If you’re having trouble deciding just what details to implement, think about your clientele and what attracts them, think about the image you want to project, and notice what makes other studios that you admire so special. With all that in mind you shouldn’t have a problem coming up with a few solid ideas.
Get your mindset and attitude where it needs to be, work on a few minor details that set you apart and make your place special, and you should start to notice that a whole lot more clients are making the decision to stick with you for the long-run.
Committed to your success,