This is a common worry for Personal Trainers just starting in the industry. So to remove some stress from these people's lives I decided to write this article.
Questions crop into young trainers like:
What if people undercut me?
What if other coaches approach my clients?
What if they want to train with other people 6 months into a 12 month contract?
What if they train with another coach in the same gym? And if they do what if people see!?
You can't really stop anyone from stealing your clients because they aren't YOURS.
As Personal Trainers it easy to begin feeling entitled. It can make you feel like you own a person and that they are subject to your will and are there to control and manipulate.
They are their own people and no matter what you do if they want to train with someone else then they will train with someone else. Never get into that complacent mindset where you assume you are too good for people to leave your services.
You should always strive to be the most expensive yet the most valuable trainer in your gym.
What do I mean by this?
You should be worth every single penny that someone spends on your services even though people are paying the most for your services.
This means being the best coach on every level in your gym, or if you're not, learning how to at least be as good as the better coaches in your establishment until you are the best in the building or at least equal so people consider you as an equal to top caliber coaches in your gym and local area.
The only way to prevent your clients leaving your services is to facilitate amazing experiences for your clients, to be as professional as possible and to be the one who goes the extra mile and even then you will occasionally lose clients and you won't have a clue why.
It will hurt like hell as I alluded to in a recent Instagram post.
But that pain shows you care!
I hope it always hurts you to lose clients as long as you use it to drive you forward positively to constantly strive to do a better job.
In order to keep your clients first of all make sure you are there before your clients for every single sessions with a smile on your face ready to give them a great session in the gym.
Never be seen running into the gym 5 minutes late for a session where you throw your stuff into a locker and get started as quickly as possible as people are always watching.
Turn up for every session ahead of time for a number of years then you'll be forgiven for like 1 traffic diversion you couldn't have seen coming.
Take responsibility of your schedule.
Always be happy to see people and always put your best foot forward even if your client is a difficult case or even if you don't like a particular client.
If you write programs for people make sure they are always delivered on time otherwise eventually you will be fired. There's only so many times a client will tolerate a program arriving a week late.
Talk to your clients regularly and reply to them as fast as you can.
Both myself and Coach V are always baffled by how many trainers will not reply to their clients for weeks on end rather than easing their worries.
Yes, they may pay for weekly emails or whatever but if you can help them sooner why not help them sooner? This business is about creating lifelong relationships.
In 20 years I want to be training the children of my current clients and lifelong meaningful relationships are one of the only ways to facilitate that.
If you go above and beyond what people have paid for you can have a client for life rather than a client for a month!
Care for your clients by correcting their technique and don't let them get away with bad technique.
People often struggle to teach a particular movement to a person and eventually just let them do the movement any old way but people are watching and people talk.
If you just let people get away with bad technique not only does it show that you don't care but it also influences how many clients you are able to get on the gym floor.
If an injury crops up multiple times on multiple people then your methods need to change until that injury stops occurring. Don't be afraid of change.
Don't shame your clients and communicate well. If a client says they feel ashamed while doing an exercise don't keep making them do that exercise!
Don't post people on social media without asking them.
Make sure everyone leaves the gym feeling better than when they came in.
Instead of being scared of people/coaches approaching your clients actively encourage your clients to talk to other trainers and to do their own research.
The more scared you appear of losing clients the more likely it is that you will lose them so tell your clients it's okay, prepare them for how to talk to other trainers and reassure them that they can tell you if they have been approached by another coach.
Confidence is king on the gym floor so put yourself in a confident light. Don't be afraid of your clients talking to people. They probably aren't looking to fire you at the drop of a hat.
And enough of the trying to tie your clients into contracts. They aren't worth the paper they are written on. You probably aren't going to want to take someone to a small claims court at any time so don't pretend.
If someone signs up for a 12 month contract and drops out after 6 months then it's a blow but move on and get another client rather than wasting your energy trying to chase them up or worse forcing them to train with you for the rest of the time period because that's not going to be fun for anyone!
And under no circumstances should you try to price match your competition unless that means taking your prices up. Prices should never go down because you should always be striving to improve both you and your services.
If you need lower prices introduce a lower price service rather than dropping the prices of your existing services.
Be there for your clients more than the competition. Care more than the competition. Be more consistent than the competition. Be more professional than the competition and most importantly be the happiest so see and work with your clients.
By doing the above you will still lose clients but you'll have the best retention in your gym, you'll have the happiest clients and your business will be the strongest and most able to deal with the test of time.
Chris is a Personal Trainer, Strength Coach, Writer and man of small stature and reader of The Discworld Series with a decade in the industry. He trains everyone from beginners to high level athletes. His favourite clients are people getting into the gym for the first time because they can make the biggest changes in their life
You can reach me through the email address email@example.com
My Instagram is Chris_Kershaw_Strength
Thank you for reading!