As leaders within the fitness industry we spend a large amount of time and energy deciphering numbers: budgets, revenue, expenses. When in reality, its people, not numbers, that require our focus and attention the most.
Behind the BMIs, body fat percentages, health ages and RMs are people; living, breathing people with jobs, families, hobbies and goals. In order to effectively and successfully train these people, we must first discover what makes them tick. What are they passionate about? What experiences, health related and/or personal have led them down a path towards healthier living?
Asking questions, listening to the responses and developing an ongoing dialogue will help build rapport — a relationship built on mutual understanding and trust — which may be the single most important component to your business model.
During the initial stages of rapport building, fitness professionals should use questions to find common ground with their clients. While we know the “why” behind the decision to seek professional guidance on most health and wellness journeys is relatively the same (improve health, prevent chronic disease, maintain body composition, etc.), the path towards achieving the “why” varies.
Thankfully, we all love to talk about ourselves: the good, the bad and even the ugly. We love to share our stories: where we come from, where we’re going. Use this innate human nature to your advantage. Ask questions that create conversation. “You said that you used to work out in your 20s but have been inactive in the last 10 years, what happened?”
In order to cultivate a long-lasting, successful client-trainer relationship, it’s important that clients feel and know they are not alone along the way. They have an expert trainer who commiserates, empathizes and challenges them to be the best version of themselves.
The bottom line is simple: It will always be easier to retain a current client than to acquire a new one because the hard part is over. The relationship is already there. Building rapport, providing professional expertise and genuinely caring about each individual’s health and wellbeing, will help develop loyal clients whose references will supply all future clientele, sans expensive marketing gimmicks.