female personal training client with a male personal trainer: she's doing a chest press with a cable machine

We’d all like our personal training clients to stay forever, but just like anything in life people move on. The reason behind it will be different for everyone and it’s rarely due to your prices or the town you’re in: it’s due to something deeper, the relationship.

Here’s how to retain your personal training clients and keep them for a long time.

1 – Understand the first 90 days are crucial

The first 90 days (12 weeks/3 months) a new fitness client is with you is a crucial time period. They don’t know you yet and, in all honesty, because they don’t fully know you they don’t trust you.

That trust (and that bond) will be developed over the first 90 days you’re together.

Their opinion of you and your ability to have a positive effect on their lives is important, and it’s sensible to encourage them with positive words during this period as well as clearly pointing out how far they’ve come.

You can also use the “yes” affirmation technique: where the client will verbally say “yes” to things that you have said to them (that should be true of course), but this is the period when they’re likely to say “yes” to a 12-month (or more) contract.

2 – Create a sense of community

When people are part of something (a group or a community) they will feel a sense of attachment. That means bringing your PT clients together once every quarter (4 times a year) makes sense.

One of these can be taken care of by a Christmas Party/get together for all clients. The other ones will work best when they’re themed too. This creates more of a connection with your pt clients as well as their family and friends, which can help you retain your current clients but also help you generate more referrals from them too.

3 – Provide a great service

A great service to one person might be different to the next person, so some of this is subjective. But, the important thing here is to understand that people hire a personal trainer to help them with their fitness levels, for motivation, and to be their friend/adviser.

If you have these things sorted, and they’re making steady progress (and you’re evaluating that with them along the way), then essentially you are providing a good service. If you take it one step further and create a real connection then you’ll be reaching a great level of service for your clients in no time.

4 – Create a deep connection

Creating a deep connection with your clients isn’t particularly hard, but lots of fitness coaches out there fail to do it.

Get out of the mindset of talking to your clients just when they’re there with you in workout sessions and just talking about you. Instead, ask questions, watch their body language and energy when they talk about something that excites them.

Then, gather 4-7 topics that they want to talk about and ask more about them. What’s better is to ask them to explain something that you don’t quite understand, and to then remember it and refer to it at a later stage.

Also, if something pops up in the news or media (or you read something that will be relevant to them) then send them a short message about it (via text or DM).

You don’t need to have a mind that is endlessly full of things though. That’s what a CRM and automation are for. You need to remember just enough (and set yourself reminders about things) to build a strong bridge with that client.

5 – Get their friends/family involved

Hiring a personal trainer is a big step for some people, but they’re most likely doing so because their motivation to go and workout isn’t great.

That doesn’t help if the people at home and in their social circles are on a different planet when it comes to nutrition, mindset and motivation outside of when they see you.

So, it’s important to get their friends and family involved. That could be through seminars, webinars, client events or even those individuals becoming clients themselves. The latter is going to be your best route to take because they will all encourage one another along their individuals’ journeys.

If you don’t have the option of their family/friends becoming PT clients then you can educate them through producing online content and finding out more about your client’s partner and what motivates them. Then, pass relevant information that’s linked to their interests and motivations: the message will get across eventually.

6 – Be the expert

You’re an expert personal trainer so you should make sure everyone in your local area knows that and your clients are able to refer to you in the press or through an online article, but don’t go about it in an “I’m THE BEST” kind of way shouting about it from the hilltops.

Take stories about your clients and share them with others, share your expertise with your audience, and deliver talks/speeches in your local community on topics you know about: public speaking will help you grow and connect with people much faster than you would believe (speaking on video is a great secondary way).

Then, when one of your clients receives a compliment from one of their friends or long distance family members about how great and energised they’re looking, it gives your client the opportunity to point them to an articles, a video or another resource that demonstrates your expertise.

That gives your client the confidence that spending money with you has been the right decision and pushes aside any buyers’ remorse. It can also help you see a rapid increase in referrals too.

7 – Get automated

You’ll forget things. You’re only human. That’s why it’s important to have a solid CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and some automation in hand.

You can setup yourself reminders about your clients, record when their birthday is, and have extended information about them and where they came from (important to understand what areas of marketing and advertising you should be concentrating on).

Automation can also help you when you’re on-boarding a client: when they first start with you and you want to ensure they stay with you for years to come. Automation can help you retain personal training clients and ensure you’re delivering the best service possible to them for years to come.