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a post by

Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS

Every trainer dreams of having so many loyal clients that advertising is no longer needed. There is nothing better than a consistent clockwork training schedule with training appointments set for weeks in a row. Now if we could all be that lucky! In order to have such a cushy training schedule you must retain your clients and keep them satisfied. Long-term clients are your best way to build your training business and market your services. Word of mouth from happy clients is not only free but an invaluable source when it comes time to recruit new clients. Asking your current clients to help you recruit is a way for them to feel valued since you trust them to bring new clients in. Don’t forget to put your most loyal clients first even when trying to recruit new clients. All it takes is one dissatisfied client to wash your reputation down the drain.

Build a Friendship

One of the best ways to retain training clients is to build a friendship and find common interest. This seems like a no brainer, but time to chit-chat can be scare during some training sessions. I generally save bonding time for stretching and warm-up sessions. Not only will your clients feel cared about, but you will learn extra information that might be useful for training purposes.

Finding common interest will keep clients interested in you and hopefully build loyalty. You will also be able to tailor their training to meet their needs better. I always like to ask about a client’s family life, hobbies, upcoming vacations and outdoor interest. If a client has young children I always incorporate activities that resemble home activities. Loaded carries can definitely help for toting kids around and deadlifts help when picking up children. I also like to ask about a client’s hobbies and outdoor activities. I have a few standard programs for my tennis players, golfers and cyclist. Your clients will appreciate your dedication to their needs and really thank you when their performance improves!

Also, find a way to relate a client’s non-fitness interest relate to your training services. Avid gardeners and farmers need a strong back, core, and hips for all the lifting and twisting they do. Sell your training skills as the way to make outdoor work easier and you will have an extremely motivated client. This will also help you sell your specialized skills, target a niche population, and gain your more clients in the future.

Be Selective

During your client consult session remember that you are interviewing your client just as much as they are interviewing you. Don’t be afraid to be selective and choose clients that will be compatible with your personality and training style. If you prefer to work with young athletes then why would you accept a 65 year old client with arthritis? Having a hodgepodge of clients will mentally wear you out, spread your skills thinner and muddle your marketing strategies.

Consider that your image and reputation as a trainer can be based on the clientele you keep. Accepting clients that are unwilling to work hard may negatively impact your reputation. I consider myself a walking billboard for my services and I expect the same for my clients. This doesn’t mean that I give a client the ax if they aren’t performing up to the group’s level. I will definitely spend extra time getting lagging clients back on the band wagon. If my clients are successful that makes me and my business successful. Accept only hardworking and dedicated clients that can achieve results and your business will prosper.

Keep in Contact

When working on building your client base make sure to keep constant contact with all of your clients. It is especially important to keep tabs on clients that you don’t see regularly. I always like to touch base with all clients post-holiday or vacation when their motivation may be at their lowest since they may have gone haywire during the time off. This is your opportunity to get them back on track as a dedicated long term client.

Don’t let a single client slip through the cracks! The last thing you need is a negative review such as “I never heard back from my trainer so I stopped going.” If you feel you are having trouble keeping in touch with all your clients it may be time to trim a few off the top. We always preach QUALITY not QUANTITY and that should be applied to your training business as well. Create multiple ways to keep clients informed and use a variety of a ways to communicate with them. Develop a website, blog, use email addresses, or separate phone line just for training clients. OR, Use your Personalized Fiteeza page to highlight client success, advertise promotional offers, and market your services. Click the link to get started now

Client Rewards

The rewards system has always been effective for keeping clients motivated and excited about your training. Let’s face it, some people will do just about anything for a free t-shirt! I like to offer a variety of rewards to my clients and I generally have a few promotions or give-a-ways per year.

Offering your training sessions in packages can be a great way to build in a reward. For example, purchase 10 training sessions and get the 11th session free. I also advertise a “refer a friend” discount to clients that sign up new trainees. If the new client buys a training package then the reference earns the veteran client a free training session.

During slower times of the year such as the spring and fall, I advertise training discounts to liven up my business. Even a 10% discount can motivate my clientele to purchase more sessions than they normally would. When trying to retain your current client base, it is imperative that you build lasting friendships, choose your clients carefully, always be in contact and reward your client for their hard work. This concludes my retaining clientele segment and I hope all my tips will help you maximize the cornerstone of every training business, the long term client.

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