Hey Fitness Pros.
I'd like to encourage you to have all your clients complete a Fitness Bucket Wish-List...all the fitness related adventures they'd like to do before they die.
And then help them train for these events and/or adventures. It will solidify your relationship with them, and create moments of magic that they will never forget which will drastically enhance client retention.
At Northwest Personal Training we like to get our clients together as often as possible. By doing this they feel part of a family or community. We host a variety of events to encourage them to mingle together such as running clinics, hiking clubs, biking treks or indoor rock-climbing events. By providing an environment that fosters the development of friendships, they will want to continue training with us because if they decide to discontinue our services, they just won't be leaving us as their training company but also, they will be leaving all the friendships they've developed. And on top of that, when they participate in a beautiful, magnificent hike or snowshoe or bike ride, when we get to the top of the mountain, they’ll always remember that we were the ones who helped them get there. In fact, when we’ve been invited to clients’ homes, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many framed photos on our clients’ walls were from events or adventures that we hosted. You know the memories have to be pretty special for them if they are going to frame and post the photos in their house. We create and facilitate these ‘Moments of Magic’ and that develops a sense of loyalty. These activities also give our clients the opportunity to get to know each other. It cracks us up to watch how the conversations always seem to eventually center on their workout sessions. They start to compare notes and we'll hear things like "Does your trainer make you do those crazy lunges too?" or "Don't you love that new piece of equipment" or "He really can't count can he?!"
In addition, hosting events and adventures can be a profit center for your business. For example, we just got back from taking 14 of our clients to Crater Lake for a hiking, camping and biking adventure. Each paid $149 to attend and that only included our organizing and fitness tour guide time - they were responsible for all other expenses including food, travel, rentals etc. So do the math - 14 people x $149 for a weekend of fun! At the very least, we get a wonderful free vacation out of the deal. Here's a video clip of that trip to give you some ideas for what you could do with clients. And remember, we were 'on the clock' for this trip - gotta love it!
So start by having clients write down anything they have ever thought of achieving with regards to their own individual health and fitness. Which goal, if they achieved it, would make this year unbelievable? Have they ever wanted to hike the Grand Canyon, complete a marathon or triathlon, cycle through France, learn to Scuba Dive or inline skate or rock climb, cycle the Oregon coast or would they just be happy with working out 4x/week consistently? What are their health and fitness wishes? The only rule with this wish list is that none of their goals can be related to their body. Have them stay away from listing a goal such as losing 10 pounds or 4 inches off their hips. Keep this list positive and focused away from body image.
Many clients take this approach – ‘As soon as I lose the weight/get fit, then I’ll start doing the things I’ve always wanted to do”. But we take the opposite approach. Let’s set the goal and in the process of training for the event or activity they’ve always wanted to do, then they lose the weight and get fit! And it’s such a positive, motivating focus. For example, let’s say a client sets a goal of finishing a 10km fun run. Setting this kind of goal, because it has a deadline, provides a compelling reason to stick to the program and not miss workouts. In contrast, if the goal is to lose 10 pounds in 2 months, if the client gets off track, they can negotiate with themselves and say, “Well, I guess I can wait an additional week or two to achieve my goals.” But if they get off track with their training program while preparing for an event, they can’t call a race organizer and ask them to postpone the event because they aren’t going to be ready. A client knows that every workout or skipped workout with either positively or negatively affect their performance and their ability to achieve their goal. In addition, once he/she crosses the finish line, that’s something no one can ever take away from them. They will always have their medal, t-shirt and photos crossing the finish line. Whereas, with weight loss, someone could lose the weight and then gain it all back next month and feel like a failure. There is a lot of status associated with conquering a tough challenge or finishing a event and so a client’s confidence and self esteem receives a huge boost providing them with the belief that they can achieve the next goal. We have also found when someone succeeds at a goal such as this, they then inherently look towards the next goal – it’s just human nature. So they make then desire to attempt a half marathon, full marathon, a challenging hike, biathlon, triathlon etc. It’s a positive spiral. Whereas, with weight loss, it’s a negative spiral. They lose the 10 pounds but they are still not happy. They then desire to lose another 5 pounds and get rid of this fat and so on and so on. Some of our clients who have had the most ‘perfect’ bodies have been those that struggled with their body image the most! For all these reasons, we try to keep the focus away from Body Image and instead focus on behaviors, events and actions.
When you have enough clients who want to do the same type of adventure, organize a group event. I encourage you to start with one adventure and see how it goes. For those of you who already do this on a regular basis, feel free to leave your comments for others to read and be inspired by.
Yours in health, fitness and business,