Name one tool that improves client’s outcomes, creates a stronger, longer-lasting relationship with clients, and improves overall revenues..?
Go the Extra Mile
Creating a thorough process for communicating with clients on an ongoing and regular basis, is not only good for business..but great for client success. Client “check-ins” allow the fitness professional to go the extra mile and show he or she cares. They provide opportunities to reassess goals or overcome any hang-ups that the client might be experiencing with their program. Much like any good business, more contact points with a client raise the perceived value of the coach’s services and increase the opportunities to actually be valuable to the client.
When planning regular communication with personal training clients the fitness professional can leverage attributes of sales techniques, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and team-building practices. Professionals with a long-time client base or those trying to build their business should consider employing the following into their regular practice.
1. Schedule regular outreach
Like any well-planned routine, laying out when, where, and how to communicate with clients in advance is great for reinforcement and rapport. Types of outreach or frequency of communication can be applied to different offerings or be part of the standard purchase of each client. Lifestyle and fitness coach Brittney Carbone uses a variety of tiered packages to help meet the needs of a variety of clients. “For daily communication, I use the messaging feature on my custom Trainerize app and/or Voxer, which is a voice note app. If it is a 1:1 coaching call, I use Zoom!” says Carbone.
2. Address new or existing obstacles
Regular check-ins are great opportunity to address things like the nutrition, or scheduling woes of clients. This will genuinely help the client realize more successes, but as a bonus it is another opportunity to show real value, and create more appropriate bonding experiences with client.
Professionals can take cues from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by using Socratic questioning, a method of lightly probing questions that help clients realize rational solutions to many real and perceived barriers. For example, if the client is having a hard time making their workout after work because they get too distracted by emails, the professional can help them come up with solutions like switching workouts to the morning or set up new incentives like recruiting a friend to meet them for the workouts.
3. Celebrate and acknowledge successes
Regular, constructive feedback is an imperative aspect of behavior change, and recognizing accomplishments is an even more important way to keep a client on track. Fitness professionals usually make a point to compliment and congratulate clients during sessions or meetings. But regular check-ins allow for yet another opportunity to remind people of their successes. Texas personal trainer and boot camp instructor Barbie Stone Brown provides an example of one of her recent text messages to a client that ends with some positive recognition:
“Hi Debbie! Last time we set a goal to track your food 3 times/week. How is that going? I know you have really struggled with that in the past, but it is important to you and I know you can do it! Remember some of the strategies we talked about last time. I’m around if you need to troubleshoot more ideas. You are doing great with your lifting–you went up this week and I am so proud of you! I’ll see you next week on Tuesday at 1. :)”
4. Old-fashioned encouragement
Sometimes people just need some words of encouragement and a reminder that they have a “support team” that’s rooting for them. That doesn’t just apply to novices either. Long-term clients and even fitness professionals themselves need a pick-me-up every once in a while.
“A fitness journey can be lonely if no one else in your social circle is on the same path. It is easy to fall back into old patterns when someone isn’t holding space and helping you step into who you want to become.” says health coach Carbone.
Most fitness professionals are juggling a number of clients, types of jobs, and personal & family obligations so adding another task to the workload can be tough. But the return that can be realized from simply sending a text, an email, and checking-in one extra time a week might be well worth it.*