You’ve worked very hard to build up your personal training client base. So it’s especially frustrating when a client disappears (more so when it’s a client who’s been with you for a long time!). Not only have you lost the regular income from this client, and also the referrals they send your way, you now have to spend time and money replacing them. Much more.

In fact, experts state that it costs almost seven times more to acquire a new client than to keep an existing client. Which means you can’t afford to lose your clients (especially the VIPs!).

And get this: Increasing your client retention by a mere 5% usually translates into profit increases of between 25%-95% (according to experts at Harvard Business School). Which makes sense, right? Long-term clients cost you less and they’re more likely to refer their friends and family to you too.

The bottom line is that a sound client retention strategy is one of the best investments you can make in your business. Here are 10 tips to help you improve your client retention.

1. Identify your VIPS…

Your VIP clients are not necessarily the ones who spend the most money with you. They’re usually the clients who are loyal to you. They believe in your offering, they spontaneously sing your praises to their friends and family. They don’t mind paying more for your services (when you increase your fees, for example). Take them time to get to know these VIPS: Where they live, what work they do, what their goals and dreams are, whether or not they have children, and so on.

2. And now take care of them

Make sure your offering meets the needs of these VIP clients. If the majority of these VIPs want to get fitter, make sure you can get them those results. If they want healthy diet plans as an added extra, make sure you research and suggest healthy meals for them.

3. Define client expectations upfront

Remember that your client hired you with certain expectations in mind about what you will help them achieve. But you also expect your client to fulfill certain requirements, such as attending a certain number of sessions with you each week. Make sure you both verbalise and understand these expectations upfront.

4. Record progress and give feedback

You know what the client’s goals are. Now make sure you track their progress regularly, and give them feedback about this progress too. The frequent reminders of their goals, and also how much work is still left to achieve these, will keep them motivated (and also remind them of your value!).

5. Keep them committed and motivated

Keeping your clients motivated – and committed – is important. Remember, they won’t get the results they want if they aren’t committed. And this will reflect on you as the personal trainer.

So don’t let your clients cancel sessions too often, or bunk sessions because of a headache or a long day at work. Remind them that if they are tired, gentle exercise will help them feel more energised (and will encourage sound sleep later too!). Try to re-create the excitement they felt in their first one or two sessions with you.

Be flexible with your sessions and consider home training for clients who appear to want to exercise but can’t seem to get it together to get to you on time regularly.

6. Be more than just a personal trainer

Building a great relationship with your personal training clients is paramount. And this means you need to invest the time to find out more about them. Talk with them about their challenges outside of the gym, their goals, their hobbies and their interests. Make a note of their birthday and make sure you get them an appropriate card/gift.

7. Go the extra mile

Make your personal training clients feel special and valued. For the working mom who gets up super early to get to your sessions, think about greeting her with a coffee. Or gift your long-time client (who’s a budding chef) with a healthy foods recipe book when they reach a weight-loss target. Send them a get well note when they’re down with the flu.

8.  Reward loyalty

Loyal personal training clients – the ones who’ve trained with you for a long time – are worth their weight in proverbial gold. So now and then, reward them with say, a discount on their fees or a free session with you.

9. Surprise and delight your clients

Clients have a basic expectation of what a personal trainer does. Think of ways you can surprise and delight them, to make your offering far more impressive than that of a competitor. If you know a client loves dancing as a hobby, plan a fun dance-based workout for her, or get her tickets to a dance show to congratulate her for reaching her milestones. When a client arrives, have a bottle of water and a sweat towel ready for them. Or a free coffee. Make them feel like what they get from you is so much more than “just” personal training.

10. Make sure your offering is competitive

Everyone wants to earn good money. But if you price your personal training services too high, you’ll lose clients to the competitor who charges a little less. So make sure you’re always researching the competition to find out what they offer, what they charge for this offering and what sort of added value they offer clients. If you’re not offering something seriously competitive, you will slowly lose clients to the competition.

You may be a superstar personal trainer but you still need to think carefully about your client retention strategies to up your game!

Another way that you can up your game as a personal trainer is by adding other sought-after skills to your repertoire. So why not do our Personal Training Certification specialising in Pilates? You’ll get a world-class personal training certification and an in-depth knowledge of Pilates. Follow this link to find out more.