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newsletter Feb 29, 2024

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Spreadsheets lack personal touch.

By Eric Bugera

  • The effort involved in finding a client is often disproportionate to the effort of keeping a client.
  • High client turnover may be indicative of a lack of engagement.
  • Treat every active client like they are still in the prospecting phase and not as a sure thing the moment they sign up.

The Honeymoon Phase

The first few interactions with a prospective client are always the most engaging. You’re on your best behavior, highly responsive, and usually as forthcoming as you’ll ever be. The main goal is to be attractive enough to entice a prospect to invest – to choose you amongst the masses of trainers inundating their inbox. What separates you from the pack is not the promise of  goals, gains, or championships, but the connection you’ve made with the human behind the screen.

Where It All Goes Wrong

The internet is a funny place. While it is the most powerful form of communication in the modern world – it is also quite sanitizing for human interaction. The fitness industry is rooted in genuine connection and relationship building. On the plus side, the internet allows a much broader reach, but on the other hand requires deliberate effort to fully replicate the in person experience. Although the product for many trainers is the program they deliver, the real value is derived from ongoing coaching, interaction, and the genuine feeling of importance a client receives.

For personal training to exist in a meaningful way compared to its in person counterpart, online services need to be cognizant of the gap that forms due to the medium of delivery. The same energy and engagement involved in finding, courting, and securing your next client must persist throughout the entirety of the training relationship. A spreadsheet is the vehicle for instruction, not the actual service being provided. Although it may seem like training is the purpose for your service, it’s the “personal” that actually produces results.

Tailored programming is the most obvious point of reference, but that is only one component of a high quality service. It does however represent the time and investment that should appear across all layers of your product. Each exercise, set and repetition scheme, and rest period is meticulously chosen to assure progress, yet communication, coaching feedback, and interaction is often the first thing to drop off (if it existed to begin with).

The honeymoon phase of courting a new client is actually the level of service and engagement that your entire business should be centered upon. Being highly responsive, interactive, informative, and (professionally) social with your client roster is how they feel the personal touch in an impersonal medium. This is what empowers your service to better deliver the physical results promised, but also lays the groundwork for a stable professional relationship. This goes hand-in-hand with the long term benefits your client receives from a lengthy training experience where previously it did not exist. Everyone wins.

Working More Means Working Less

Treating every client as though they are the only one on your roster will keep you from needing a roster that's bursting at the seams. High rates of turnover and the constant need for marketing, promotion, or sales is often indicative of a lack of quality relationships with the clients you currently have. The honeymoon phase should not just last until the payment comes through. Completely model the delivery of your service around the efforts needed to secure your first client, and everyone will benefit.