Do you encourage and reward your Pilates clients?
Retention is an important part of maintaining not only your Pilates business, but consistency is also how your clients receive the benefits of The Pilates Methods. Keeping the interest of your clients as you know requires some additional effort.
It would be nice if we could totally depend on clients to show up for their weekly slotted appointment(s), but that may not happen as often as we’d like. Do you call those clients weekly and check in with them? How do you foster the instructor/ trainee relationship? What happens the minute the client pulls into their parking space? How do you conclude the session? You are the expert. You know your client’s body inside and out. Once you are able to observe them walk through the door, your intuition kicks in and you know exactly what work they need to balance themselves out. However, their experience begins even before they lay on the reformer/mat or sit on the chair and continues past the conclusion of their session.
Let’s discuss three activities you can do prior to and after your client’s sessions to keep them addicted to your workouts.
Before they enter the studio
What is your parking situation? If your client has to pay the meter, is that cost configured into the price of their class? Even if they don’t have to pay a meter, can your client find a parking space? How far do they have to walk to get to your door? Do they need to climb stairs? By putting yourself in your client’s shoes you may be able to accommodate them better. For instance, if you know that they need to make a trek from their car to your door, you may want to make sure you schedule an extra 10-15 buffer between each private training client so that you can get in a full hour if they become challenged with the parking situation. If they are chronically late, then that’s a different story. If they have to pay a meter, you could have change readily available at all times at the front desk.
Immediately prior to or after each session
How do you schedule them? Are your clients able to call and speak to someone at the studio or do they have to leave a message each time? It amazes me how simple scheduling can be when there is someone at the front desk to answer and field questions over the phone or with walk-in traffic. This front desk person can be hourly during the busy times or you may be able to recruit a volunteer who will trade you their time for Pilates sessions. Or you could encourage your clients to text or e-mail you if you have a phone that will allow for that type of quick communication.
Another thing to consider is the timing of when you ask for payment. If money owed is discussed immediately following their entrance into the studio, it may change the dynamics of your relationship and how they will then go on to interpret the work you about to give them.
Lastly, do you give your clients something to look forward to for next session? “We’ve run out of time for today but next time I’d like to go through what we did today in less time and add more work on the ladder barrel. These are two exercises we’re going to learn. Let me show you what they look like.” This is what I would say to my clients following a session to pique their interest and keep them excited about learning.
Do you know how they like to receive encouragement?
Prior to their very first session with me, I would ask clients on their client questionnaire how they like to receive rewards. Positive reinforcement is necessary part of consistent behavior. I would reward for the following:
- Completion of a 20 and 30 package
- When a recruited friend of the client’s bought a package
- When the client found something different during the work
All three of the above are grounds for celebration and they can all be rewarded differently. When the client completed a large package, I would take a picture of them and their newly found alignment and shape. I would also give them a gift certificate to the nearby salon/spa. Both of these rewards cost the business $0. You may find that if you team up with a nearby business, they may offer your regular clients a gift certificate to get them in the door. It’s a win-win for everyone!
When the client recruited a friend, I would give my client 20% off their next package. Before I knew it, I had my clients working on bringing potential business in for me.
When the client found something different in their body in a session, I would verbally give them words of encouragement. I would take time to briefly discuss how it made them feel and then ask them to transfer that feeling into something they’ve had trouble with before. I helped share in their learning experience which is enjoyable for both of you.
You’ll find that the energy in your space where you teach will change once you start to take care of the client and treat them as you would like to be treated.
By Alison Bodi