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We often get so caught up in generating new business that we neglect the relationships we have with our current clients. Whether you hold a book of clients in a gym or are an independent fitness professional or entrepreneur, nurturing the relationships with your current clients will not only lead to steadier, more predictable business, but will give you the opportunity to focus on the true passions of your profession.
Here are my "3 Rs" for reaching clients and keeping them for life:

Refer: One of the biggest mistakes many fitness professionals and business owners make is not directly asking for referrals. If you're giving your clients results, they already have a reason to rave about you to their friends, but they will likely refer their friends unless you ask them to do so directly. Ultimately, generating business through referrals will not just enable you to spend virtually zero dollars in advertising and marketing but will help you develop a dynamic of clients that are just as accountable to each other as friends as they are to you as their trainer. Many of you can attest, there are some clients who may want to "keep you a secret" so you may have to encourage them to help you grow your business. Get creative with your referral programs to create excitement about referring friends. Offer a rewards program, run referral contests or create a "done-for-you" email template for each of your clients that they can send to their friends.

Recognition: Everyone loves to be recognized for their effort and achievements. We know losing weight and changing to a healthy lifestyle is not easy for most people; recognize people for their commitment. Understand the personalities of your clients — they may not be comfortable with public recognition, but a genuine "congratulations" will go a long way. Most don't even get this much recognition in their daily life. Give a monthly "golden dumbbell" award to a client who exemplifies achievement or who has seen great results, share a client's story on your website or connect clients who may have similar goals or interests to be 'accountability' partners.

Retain: The lifeblood of your business is retention. A turnover of clients will get exhausting and not be as professionally rewarding as working with long-term clients who are truly committed to you and your program. Take a few extra moments each month to recognize a client; a simple action goes a long way in developing a lasting connection. Simply mailing a handwritten card, giving a gift card to a local sports store or a favorite coffee shop, cash bonuses for referrals or sending a fruit basket to a client's office (great for referrals because they talk about you!) are all great ways to show your appreciation. It's critical that you come from a place of abundance. Your clients invest in you, and investing back into them will not only save you from the costs of generating new clients, but will give you an incredible sense of fulfillment as a fitness professional.

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How much of your time would you estimate you spend growing your business?