How Fitness Professionals Can Get the Most out of Their Existing Customers
For many fitness professionals, the most acute problem is not acquiring new customers, but keeping them. Once the “honeymoon period” of the first month of training is over, they see less and less customers renewing their subscription. And even the loyal customers tend to stick to the basic package and resist marketing attempts to push them up the earning scale towards premium packages.
In all these situations, it is tempting to say that those fitness professionals do not offer quality, do not have a system and are simply not ready to run their own business. But my experience has showed that these struggling business owners are every bit the professionals and can achieve visible results for their clients. So, why can’t they increase client retention and turn their loyal clients into brand advocates?
Here are a few winning strategies you should apply in running your fitness business to get the most from your existing customers:
1. Continue to Add Value to Your Business
In the beginning, your customers were happy with the gym routine you offered them and saw the first results – losing some weight, looking more fit, feeling more energised. But what happens after the first stage, after the first 2 months? People expect more from you. They expect a different training routine, and they want supplementary advice in terms of diet, exercising at home and improving their lifestyle.
You should always plan ahead and ask yourself: what more can I give my clients once they’ve been through the basic training? How will you retain them as customers and motivate them to recommend their friends to join your gym? It can be anything from a proprietary diet plan, energy drink, or a one-week boot camp for intense training offered at the end of the initial one month program.
2. Connect With Your Clients between Training Hours
Build a solid, meaningful relationship with your clients by connecting with them on the social media, learning about their hobbies and interests, sharing anecdotes from your own beginnings in the fitness world, and so on. Find out what other sports they are interested in, what teams they support, how they enjoy spending their spare time, and offer helpful suggestions for including exercising in their routine to continue on their path to losing weight and building strength.
The friendlier your relationship with your customers, the more effective your retention program shall be. People love to do business with other people who care about them beyond collecting payment and providing basic services. When you take that extra step towards socialising with and befriending your clients, you lay a solid foundation for a successful business with lots of loyal customers.
3. Create a Transparent Complaints System
You cannot make every client happy and in some situations you may overlook a few clients’ expectations and make them very unhappy. In all these situations how you deal with it makes the difference between a strong business and a weak one. If you made a mistake, own up to it and try to offer compensation. If you believe your client is wrong, be courteous in dealing with them. And do all these things openly, completely transparently. Your other clients may start having doubts and second thoughts if they believe that you are trying to hush up complaints.
4. Build a Strong Referral Program
Loyal customers are your best advertisers. But in order to take advantage of the positive word of mouth they can spread, you need to make it easy for them to do so and make it worth their while. A lot of fitness professionals have built proprietary referral programs that work because of one critical aspect: they are very simple and straightforward. You bring in a new client and get a discount for your next month of subscription or a free product.
But you can do much more than this basic referral program structure: you can create a whole system of tiered loyalty programs for everything from social shares, newsletter sign-ups and programme enrolment.
These are just a few simple ideas gleaned from other fitness professionals and from my own experience working with fitness businesses. The most important thing to remember is that you must offer genuine value and care about your clients before you expect them to become loyal and become your brand ambassadors.