A long and happy client-trainer relationship is a crucial part of the business of personal training. Having clients that swear by you for years, are willing to pay you your price and get you referrals are dream clients — and you can have them!
No matter what, some clients will leave, but the majority will stay. The secret lies largely in the overall experience you create for them that keeps them hooked, not just your subject knowledge. The client wants that one hour with you to make them feel awesome! Here are some applicable tools to help you create exactly what clients want, divided into three parts: Before training, during training and after training.
Part 1: Before Training
- Prep, prep, prep! Do not go into a training session and wing it. Refer to the notes you made in the previous session and use them, always keeping their end goal in mind. Prep an amazing workout. When you are prepared it gives YOU a plan of action, making you look forward to the workout, coming into the session with inspiring energy; AND you will be putting out a workout that is well thought of.
- Understand your clients preferred style of training and make that the basic layout, peppering in what must be done as well. Do they like free weights more, slow reps, intervals? Remember, their bodies are telling them what feels good, so we must appreciate and work with it.
- Give the client what they love often, even when they don’t ask for it. This may not be in line with what they need to do, but do it anyway. Whether it’s breath work, a challenge, a dance-y warm up or their favorite exercise — put it on the schedule.
- Drop in a motivating message the previous night like, “Hey Jane! We are going to work on sculpting the thighs tomorrow with paper plates and you are going to feel it right away. I’m eager to get you onto this new tool. See you at 9:00 am!”
- Being flexible with clients occasionally cancelling class or slight delays goes a LONG way! It shows you understand. See how you can best adjust this to what works for you.
- Give more than expected:
> Add creative tools, not just gym equipment, but try footballs, cleaning dusters, paper plates and let them know because they get intrigued and eagerly look forward to the next class> Change the workout location. Take it outdoors or into the pool.> Finish 10 minutes early and use that as a bait (for those who are always wanting to rush off). “Shirley, if you hold the plank for 15 seconds longer today in both sets, you get to finish toady’s workout 10 minutes earlier!”> Add extra time for eager beavers, but let them know a few days in advance. Do a 20-minute bonus.
Part 2: During Training
- Show up on time. Never make your client wait. Greet them with enthusiasm.
- Recap the last workout, reminding them what they achieved.
- Introduce today’s workout and give them a brief. “Today we are sculpting your thighs. After your warm up we’ll dive into to the paper plate exercises and round off the session with some relaxing stretches.”
- Be genuine! This is the make or break of your client-trainer relationship. A client can immediately sense when you are not being authentic and come across as rehearsed. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out as a trainer, be your unique self. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. You can always correct it. Laugh it off, but always show that you are in control.
- Be dependable. From body language (strong yet friendly) to reassuring words, encouragement and flexibility; show the client you care and that they can rely on you.
- Be respectful and never get personal or argue. Limit information about yourself or your achievements. Sharing a bit is good but not too much.
- Be smart with use of compliments or corrections. Give appreciation when it is genuinely required. Let go of some mistakes that don’t potentially harm, saving correction for those that do. Space out your corrections over different sessions in order of priority.
- Don’t feel compelled to talk all the time. Give your client time to feel the exercise in silence.
- Make it fun! Think of ways to make this the best part of your client’s day. Chatting a bit, cracking a joke, using music they love lightens up the mood. Be warm. Show them you love to train them.
- Finish your session by telling them what they accomplished and if they must watch out for any soreness or fatigue. Also tell them you look forward to seeing them for their next workout and what they will be working on.
Part 3: After Training
- Check in with your client in the evening or morning after, to see how they are doing.
- Send them a high five or give them tips to relax the sore muscles. Send them information they are interested in or were asking for, even if it isn’t fitness-related.
- Celebrate! Birthdays, Christmas, other holidays are a great time to show the extra care. Send them a card and a small gift. Use the holiday theme in your workouts. For birthdays, do exercises that spell out their full names. As an example, for “Jane Smith” you could do jumping jacks for the J and alternate lunges for A… and so on. Do their favorite workout or skip the session & take them for a tea or coffee! For Christmas, do a stretch segment to Christmas music.
- Send them an annual thank you note and gift. Get creative, make your own swag!
Soon you will see — applying these tools will make all the difference in the world. Your clients are going to love you!