As a personal trainer, you are only as effective as the clients you can interact with to create change. So when you are working your tail off to help your clients while trying to make a sustainable income, it can be a blow to your ego when a client decides to put their training on pause (or leave).
In 15 years as a Personal Trainer, I have seen this happen more times than I can count. When managing large training departments for Equinox, I saw this happen every day, multiple times per day, for the duration of my time there.
I say this to acknowledge two parts of client loss: it's inevitable and fixable.
So to drive this point home, I want to tell you how I closed a client in 24 hours last week. Yes, you read that correctly, 24 hours. Not someone I have worked with before, had on my lead list or has been on my waiting list for months. Someone I have never met and who I am now working with 2x per week.
I want to give you some insight into the steps you should take immediately after losing a client to replace their spot on your roster so you have no gaps in your business.
Keeping sharp at your craft means meeting with new clients and helping those when you have the availability to do so. So let me give you the step-by-step process I used to find a new client in one day.
Step 1 - Identify Ideal Time Slots for New Clients
When a new space in your calendar opens up, it can be used as an opportunity first. Instead of rushing to fill the same timeslot that just opened up, evaluate your calendar and see if any necessary changes need to be made for your sake.
Sustainability as a coach comes down to working hours that are realistic and achievable. Every person is a little different with preferences for work, such as:
Long Blocks or Split Shift
Mornings or Evenings
Weekdays or Weekends
All of these can factor into your sustainability of being a quality coach. So before you commit to the first opportunity, identify when the IDEAL time would be.
Step 2 - Reach Out to Existing Clients for Referrals
In my experience, I have always found It more beneficial to expand my existing network from within rather than looking at random places. Clients need to know you are there to assist them in their fitness journey first and foremost. This also means I want to help those in their immediate community before looking to take on any person who wants to work out.
So in instances where I am searching for a new client, I will reach out to my clients to the tone of something like:
"I wanted to reach out because I have a spot available for a training client and wanted to see if you have any family, friends, or referrals who would be interested. For the next 24 hours, I am prioritizing referrals before opening up my availability to the public."
It's similar to an early-bird entry for an event, except the priority is on your clients and people they may know who want to get involved in a fitness routine. There is no better billboard for your business than the people who work with you multiple times per week.
This is a reliable route unless you don't have a robust client list, which you can skip to Step 3.
Step 3 - Connect in Social Media Groups
Social Media groups are the local water cooler talk. Just about every township or county has a Facebook group to keep people up to date on what is happening. Additionally, this is where people go for referrals to restaurants, reliable electricians, and even personal trainers in the area.
I have been recommended enough times in Facebook groups in my town and neighboring towns that people will sometimes randomly reach out to see if I have availability.
In the times I haven't, though, I will reach out and message anyone who has commented or looked for a trainer in the past to send out a message and break the ice to create a further conversation.
More times than not, it is vital for the coach to break the ice. Most people aren't going to go out of their way to track you down and find out more information.
Step 4 - Set Up a Conversation (ASAP)
When someone is interested, set up a phone call as soon as possible. There is no better way to introduce yourself and explain your background than a phone conversation. Phone conversations can do way more in representing yourself than a DM or text.
You can convey personality, confidence, education, and empathy in verbal conversations more fluidly than in a random message to someone.
Especially when it comes to setting up a conversation, time is of the essence. Do not wait to talk to someone at the end of the week if they are interested in talking to you. If you don't prioritize them before they start, why should they have the confidence to be a priority after they start?
Step 5 - Schedule Them
Scheduling the first session set the tone for the entire process moving forward. My goal is to get you in ASAP so we can start working on your goals NOW! In your phone conversation, you need to identify their ideal times and make sure it fits into your calendar.
There isn't much more to it - get them scheduled.
Bonus - Step 6 - Create Immediate Referral Strategy
Most personal trainers make the mistake of waiting entirely too long for a referral. Honestly, clients don't need 3-6 months to know whether you are a competent, educated, and caring professional.
Creating a referral strategy with the new clients can be an immediate influx of new leads which wouldn't have been possible without meeting them.
The sooner you can explain your referral incentive or get a testimonial, the sooner you can continue to market for your business.
Getting clients can be daunting, especially if you are less confident than you should be in the sales process. From my experience, it all comes down to a systematic approach.
Do you have a clear checklist for when you need to adjust?
Finding a new client can be way easier than you would imagine if you know where you need to connect and what boxes need to be checked off.
It gets scary when you aren't sure what to
do and don't have a system in place.
If I can do it in 24 hours, why can't you?