Care For Your Clients To C(k)eep Them Coming To Class
Imagine this. You need a pair of running shoes, but you’re not sure where to get them from. So you go along to a few shoe shops to try on a few different pairs.
The first shop you go to is packed to the rafters with customers. There is stock strewn all over the ground, the music is so loud you can’t think and you can’t find a staff member to help you. You did, however, see a great competition to sign up to, so you put your details on the form.
Luckily, you know what you’re looking for, so you try on a few pairs anyway. You find a great pair, for a reasonable price – but alas, you can’t find a staff member to help you finalise your purchase, so you leave empty handed.
The second shop you go to has quite a few customers in store, but you can see there are staff members to help. After a few minutes of looking around, a staff member approaches, introduces themselves and helps you find the perfect pair within your price range! As you finalise your purchase, a free pair of running socks are gifted to you and you sign up to the store’s loyalty card.
Over the next few weeks, the first store chocks up your inbox with daily, spammy emails. They even text you every few days – but not with any offers suited to you, or worth following up on.
The second store, however, gives you a friendly call a week later to find out how the shoes are going and to offer you a free exchange if they are not suitable. They remind you of your 20% discount on your next purchase (with no expiry or time constraint) and let you know when that brand will be bringing out the next model of the shoe your purchased. They also ask you if you’d be willing to get fortnightly emails with information suited to you as a runner?
My question to you is, which store are you more likely to return to next time you need a new pair of runners?
People want to feel cared for, and like they are important. Your new clients are no different. Show you clients that you care about them and that they are important, right from the get go. And you’ll see your new client retention rates increase dramatically.
Here are a few tips to help you effectively onboard your new clients over their first month. These are the things I do with my new clients – pick and choose to suit you and your clients:
- Before they start:
- Week 1:
- Week 2:
- Week 3:
- Week 4:
Before they start:
1. Chat on the phone before their first session
Show a new client that you care before they’ve even started. Hopefully, by this point, they’ve already filled out their PAR-Q, so it will give you and them a chance to ask each other questions about it. You can check in with them about their previous experience with group fitness, and even just make sure they know where they’re going and that they have the correct equipment/clothing to get started.
2. Text a ‘thank you’ after their first session
Try not to be generic here. Tell them something amazing THEY did, or refer back to a positive/funny moment in the class. Show them that you paid attention to them.
3. Welcome them into your private (Facebook?) group
And ask you existing members to welcome them in also. Allow the new client to feel as though they belong
4. Follow up the day after their first class
They may be feeling the affects of DOMs, and maybe that’s a new feeling for them. This will give you a chance to reassure them that it is normal. But you can also direct them to your bank of Allied Health Professionals if need be. Show them you know what you’re doing.
5. Post a handwritten note
People only ever get bills in the letterbox these days – so imagine how your new client will feel when they get a handwritten welcome note from you in the mail!
6. Send a relevant email
The first one I send has a few handy tips and reminders – about booking in or cancelling classes, joining our private Facebook group, a reminder of my mobile number, etc. Really, just things that will help them have a great time in our sessions.
7. Free coffee!
I bought up a few ‘small coffee vouchers’ from the local cafe, and I give each new client one after their first week of sessions – just a little reward for coming back for a new week!
8. Send a video message
Record yourself giving your new client some positive feedback about their first few classes. Make it relevant to them, and refer back to their goals if you can.
9. Send a relevant email
10. Have a 10 minute chat on the phone
I don’t know about you, but the time before and after a class is not a great time for me to have in depth, private conversations with your clients. Instead, set up a time during their third week with you to have a ten minute chat on the phone. Use this call to discuss their progress on any goals they may have set, or really just to touch base with how they are feeling after two full weeks of classes.
11. Send a relevant email
After three weeks of sessions, new clients may start thinking about updating their active wear to better suit the classes – so my Week 3 email is full of hints and tips for clothing choices. This also gives me a chance to forewarn them about weather extremes, by reminding them about Sun Smart clothing and also layers of clothing for Winter.
12. Goal review phone call
At the end of their first month, set up a time with your new client to have a longer phone conversation, to go over their initial goals and to set any new ones as necessary. Knowing that someone cares enough to hold them accountable to their goals really helps new clients feel like they belong.
13. Send a relevant email
Again, most of my members are Mums. And after four weeks of working on improving their health and fitness, they start realising the importance of putting themselves first. So I have put together a short, ten step e-book to help them find more ways of balancing their own self-care with motherhood and career.
14. Celebrate their first month with you
I use my private Facebook group to do this, with a celebration post. But I will also celebrate their achievement during the stretching portion of the class closest to their first month. Often times, Mums especially, people don’t really get celebrated in their life. So, give your clients something to be proud of!
There you go. 14 touch points between you and your new client within their first month! I know it seems like a lot, but once it’s set up (email templates, coffee vouchers, etc), it really is easy to follow through with. I simply have a spreadsheet on the go so that I can track which part of the process I’m up to with each client. And I offer a $60 unlimited trial month to all new clients, and I rarely have any that don’t go on to sign up to a monthly membership after that.
As I said, you’ll find out what works for you. The important thing to remember is to just start, and make your new clients feel welcomed right from the get go.
If you do implement any of this, be sure to let me know in the comments.
Remember, where would you return to for your next pair of shoes?
Theresa Prior has a mission to bring Mums and women together in a safe and supportive environment that just so happens to have fun fitness sessions at it’s core. She has been running her own personal training business since 2013. Theresa helps her clients understand that all aspects of their health are equally important.
Niki Torres says
Thanks, Theresa, these are great. It’s heartening to see many hear that I already do, and inspiring to also see new and great ideas! Question – when a new client signs on, do you have a process for yourself to remember to move through all these steps? For instance, setting up calendar reminders or writing the emails all immediately and using schedule send?
Theresa Prior says
Thanks Niki – I really appreciate that feedback! I use a spreadsheet, with each of the steps across the top and the clients’ names down the side. Apart from the certain things that need to happen on the first day the client starts (ie text after class, etc), I sit down on a Monday and go through the next steps for each client. It’s old school, but it’s how I like to organise myself! And by doing it on one particular day a week, it makes sure I don’t miss out on steps.