Business marketing 101: should you invest more in Customer Acquisition (getting new clients), or Customer Retention (keeping your existing clients)? Obviously, you need a mix of both. But did you know that, acquiring a new client can be from 3 to 30 times more expensive than keeping your existing ones?
A funny thing is that although most companies know about that fact, the greatest majority of them still prefer to invest in acquiring new clients rather then retaining existing ones.
Well, I know what you’re thinking, of course, you won’t have many clients to ‘Retain’ if you don’t have clients in the first place. That’s why you should always invest in client acquisition. Also, there’s no way you’re going to retain ALL your clients, even if you do an absolutely perfect job at making them happy. There are things you just don’t control, such as your client’s ability to pay, bumps and hurdles they may experience in life, or simple variations in their life goals. Another thing to consider is the fact that in personal training, the turnover (some call it the churn) is insanely high.
Think of it this way:
Out of 20 clients you recently acquired…
- 10% will leave you no matter how good you are. There’s nothing you can do about it;
- 10% will stay no matter what. They just love you that much. Your mom is probably in there;
- Now remains the vast majority of your clients: 80%. These will either leave or stay, depending on your actions.
Now let’s focus on this 80% of your clients. These people you’ve already acquired, who trust you and who are just waiting to see how good you are, before deciding to either move on to a different trainer, or to remain with you for the long run. These are the people you need to WOW.
By the way, needless to say that another huge reason for Wowing clients is this: referrals. Surprisingly, 65% of new business comes from referrals. This number may be even higher in the fitness industry. But don’t make the mistake of assuming your clients will hand out your business card to friends out of generosity. They’ll only do it if they’re truly, greatly, Wowed.
Enough said. Here are 7 ways to Wow your clients:
1. Be Extremely Responsive
When a client has a question, you have an opportunity to be outstanding both with the quality of your answer AND with your response time, since your clients are likely struggling with an exercise or a diet choice at that very moment. They’ll be thrilled to know you care enough to answer their emails or text messages on the spot.
For example, in the case of IT websites like the one you’re currently visiting, industry response times for questions average at 20.1 hours. We see that as an opportunity to Wow our visitors. For that reason, we proud ourselves in answering most requests in less than 4 hours. You should do the same
2. Post Client’s Success as if they were your own Children
Brag about what your clients have accomplished in the same way you would for one of your children. When they see that you are proud of their success, they’ll become more loyal to you as a result. They’ll also be more motivated to work hard and accomplish even more.
3. “Like” what they do on Social Media
This will help you show yourself as a friend to them rather than a contractor. Clients are more likely to give their best effort for a trainer they view as a friend than to someone they only pay money to. The odds of them returning the favor by recommending you to a friend are greater as well.
4. Keep up with Changes in the Industry
These days, fitness advice is everywhere. If you want to truly impress your clients, you must keep up with the latest exercises, and constantly be learning new information about health and fitness that you can share. By providing useful, up-to-date information, your clients will continue to view you as an expert in your field.
5. Learn what Motivates your Clients
A “one-size-fits-all” approach to personal training can be disastrous, because not everyone is motivated in the same way. Some people prefer cheering or clapping, while others may want you to perform the exercises with them. Your clients will greatly appreciate the fact that you took time to learn what motivates them and then tailor their workouts accordingly.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to be Tough
I often use http://kino2.ca/ as an example. The guy’s an asshole (not really, but he can often come off as one). But he’s actually one of the Personal Trainers with the highest retention rates I know of. His method is particularly authoritative. He sets very clear guidelines for his clients. They HAVE to provide clear feedback about what they do for training, how they feel during a race, etc. He goes as far as requiring each client to write a relatively long summary and post it on a team forum after each race. If they don’t comply, they get in trouble… really.
This attitude of his, although it may sound on the hard side, actually comes out as if he was emotionally attached to his clients’ success. Clients love it!
7. Use an Online Training Software
As the owner of TotalCoaching, of course I’m biased. But I’ve always experienced personal training with the help of some kind of software. Staying on top of creating workouts, developing meal plans, and evaluating your clients’ progress, can be extremely time consuming. To help you keep up with everything, consider using an online training software. No need to go for TotalCoaching. Try them all, pick the one you prefer and use it to your advantage. Just don’t kid yourself into thinking technology is not for you, or that it won’t really help your business.
Finding Wowing time
In order to make sure you remain well balanced in your Acquisition VS Retention efforts, I recommend you do a 50-50 split. First you need to allocate a few hours of your weekly schedule into marketing efforts. That includes everything that will build your brand. Basically everything you do to drive indirect or deferred income. Let’s say you invest 5 hours per week into marketing.
Within that time-budget, spend 50% of your time prospecting new clients. This means making new contacts, actively asking for referrals, producing and distributing promotional materials, etc.
The other 50% should go into nurturing your existing clients. Keep in mind that this is an EXTRA bank of hours ON TOP of the hours you already invest building your programs, answering questions, etc. These are extra efforts you invest, just to show your clients that they’ve made the right decision in choosing you.
Anything to add to this article? Leave your comment below!