A certain amount of customer churn is inevitable with any business and, as a personal trainer, you will no doubt find that clients come and go. However, to keep your business running strong, you need a plan of action to retain the balance weighted in your favour and ensure that you’re not losing more clients than you’re keeping.

Personal trainer showing a client her programme

Attracting and retaining clients are two disciplines that you will need to master in order to achieve long-term business success. When it comes to attracting clients, personal trainers need to be making conscious and creative efforts to effectively market their offerings and get new recruits signed up. And when it comes to retention, the name of the game is to constantly create added value for your clients, beyond your standard offering of weekly workout routines.

None of this is easy. However, the good news is that a personal trainer only needs about 15-20 clients to work a full-time 30-40-hour week, given that many clients will be training about 2-3 times a week. 15-20 clients may sound like a lot when you’re first starting out – but when you compare personal training to other businesses which will usually need many, many more customers in order to survive, maintaining about 20 should be doable.

Why Personal Trainers Lose Clients

A common reason many  personal trainers lose business is because clients can no longer afford their services.

In addition, time constraints and not being able to commit themselves to training schedules as well as  clients ceasing their training because they felt they’d reached their goals.

Building long-term relationships with clients is clearly a challenge for personal trainers but awareness of the fact will enable them to put retention strategy in place as well as a solid marketing plan to attract new clients.

Attracting and Retaining Clients

So, how should personal trainers go about attracting and retaining clients? Well, the first rule is to of course, do a good job and the second is to make sure everyone knows about it – and this comes down to good marketing.

Affordability can often be an issue when when trying to retain  clients as  people may feel  they can’t afford a personal trainer. Whilst we can’t control other people’s finances, there are ways to make personal training more affordable and  demonstrate value for money.

Taster Sessions:  This is a great way to attract new clients and encourage anyone that has been thinking about getting a personal trainer to get in touch.  It provides an opportunity to understand the motivations of potential clients and explain how personal training is tailored to support their individual needs and goals.

Pricing Options:  There are a number of ways you can encourage people to sign up; offering a free session if a they commit to buying a pack of sessions or rewarding regular clients with a free session after they complete a pack. Offering incentives is also a good way to create a value for money offering; sign up to a pack of six sessions and receive a free gift/another service you offer free of charge.

Keep stretching their goals: When people sign up to a personal trainer, they do so with a set goal in mind, maybe to lose weight or to tone up for their holiday.  The achievement of these goals is often the point at which the client then drops off and stops the sessions, which makes no sense after all the hard work they have put in.  Challenging their goals and introducing new ones as they progress will encourage the client to take a longer term approach to their health and fitness and achieve even greater things.

Now what you need to do is get out there and start promoting your services and there are a few ways in which you can go about this. Here are a few ideas:

Get Writing

Writing will position you as an expert in your field – and when you’re an expert, people want to train with you.

You don’t need to write a book or get published in a fitness magazine in order to achieve this goal. A regular blog will do the job perfectly – especially when it comes to attracting new clients – as will a weekly email that you send to your existing (and past) clients.

Writing can be daunting. But, the trick is not to worry yourself with trying to be an expert writer – instead, focus on positioning yourself as an expert personal trainer. Write about what you know. Keep your sentences and words short, and avoid jargon.

Use your blog and emails to give advice and tips on healthy living and eating, and you will immediately create additional value for everyone who already does business with you and help to persuade those who are considering signing up that you know more than the next personal trainer.  Write case studies about the clients you’ve helped and the results they have achieved.  This is a great way to showcase your skills and experience and give confidence to prospective clients.

Social Media

Now that you’re blogging, you need to make sure people are reading it – and one sure fire way to do that is to promote your blog on social media.

Beyond blog promotion however, social networks are great platforms upon which you can really start to build a community around your brand. From celebrating your clients’ achievements to posting health tips of the day on Facebook and Twitter, to sharing how-to videos on YouTube and Instagram – social networks provide a ready-made soap box from which you can shout loud and proud about the benefits of staying healthy and exercising every day.

What’s more, you can use social media to promote the advantages of having a personal trainer to help people meet their fitness goals, and will no doubt generate some wonderful promotional comments from your existing clients, which your whole network will be able to read.

Engaging and Utilising Community Influencers

Word-of-mouth is often the personal trainer’s best marketing tool – which is why you should follow rule number one the most stringently of all, and ensure you’re always doing a great job for your existing clients, as happy clients spread the word.

But in every community there exists some important influencers, and personal trainers should identify these people and take advantage of them. Doctors, for example, can be a great resource for referrals. So make contact with your local surgery, explain to them about your business, and that you’re ready and willing to take on people who may be being advised to exercise to improve their health.

Community influencers can also be found on social media, of course, so seek out the fitness enthusiasts in your community, and engage with them publicly on (for example) Facebook. Anything that helps get your name out there in association with health and fitness will aid you in attracting new clients – and it’s all part and parcel of being in business for yourself, so don’t be shy.

Boost Your Career with EMD UK’s Personal Trainer Courses

A career as a personal trainer will be a rewarding one – of that there is little doubt. However, it will take a lot of hard work and dedication, and you will need to be willing to go the extra mile if you are to build up a strong reputation that will help both attract and retain clients for the long-term.

In order to give yourself the very best chance of making a success of your personal training business, EMD UK’s Streamlined Personal Training Pathway course is the perfect, all-in-one solution – combining the Level 2 Gym Instructing Qualification with the Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification – for those either at the start of their careers, or looking to hone their skills and give their business a boost.

The EMD UK Streamlined Personal Training package homepage

(Image source: emduk.org)

The course has been specially-designed for personal trainers looking to make headway in the fitness industry. In addition to the qualifications, EMD UK will also help get your career moving faster by providing you with practical business advice and tools, including how to register as self-employed, advice on tax returns, how to keep financial records and expenses, and advice on marketing your business in the age of social media.

A full year’s insurance is included in your qualification, and you will also receive ongoing support from EMD UK’s dedicated instructor support team, have access to online business and session resources, brand discounts, and much more besides.

The next Streamlined Personal Training Pathway course begins in October – and, for a limited time only, you can access a £500 bursary for this qualification (subject to our Bursary Terms and Conditions). Check out the details here.

To find out more about how EMD UK can support your career as a personal trainer, or for more information about our Streamlined Personal Training Pathway course or any of our other Personal Trainer Courses, get in touch with our friendly team today.