During this tough economic climate, Pilates instructors find themselves with a smaller client base than they did two, even three years ago. For instance, at our New York studio, Pilates on Fifth, our numbers are still down about 30% from what they were two years ago. Ouch!! But we are not alone. We are fortunate to know Pilates studio, Yoga studio, and even spa owners around the country, and most are experiencing a similar situation.
So then, the big question is “how do we Pilates instructors retain our clients and thus maximize our revenue?”
Let’s start with what NOT to do!
1) Take your discouragement with your personal financial situation with you to the studio, the home of your clients, the gym, etc. After all, it’s PERSONAL training, and your personality is a large part of what helped you retain the client in the first place! So remember, it’s your personality that could lose them as well.
2) Talk about yourself and your personal life. Now is the time to make sure that you are focused entirely on your client or the students in your class in their hour. Phoning it in will not gain you clients or help you retain them either!!
3) Raise prices unnecessarily in your attempt to make up for the decrease in clients. While it might be necessary to raise prices due to increased costs you might be incurring, make sure you know exactly why you are raising the prices, and if you do, make sure that the service you are delivering eclipses the percentage increase tenfold!
That being said, let’s talk about the more positive side of what you SHOULD do!!
1) Be completely invested in your clients’ progress in results. If you don’t invest in them, how can you expect them to invest in you? Take a moment to ask yourself if you’ve seen them make progress in the past two months. If the answer is no, then think of what you can do to program more effectively.
2) Mutually re-evaluate your clients’ goals. Let them know that you want them to reach their goals, whatever they may be. Additionally, by setting goals together, you can motivate your clients to make their appointments and show up both in body and mind to each and every lesson. After all, we don’t want our clients phoning it in either! Goal setting also allows you, the instructor, to create benchmarks which you can then use to chart your clients’ progress. Once they see their own records of improvement, they’re more likely to keep at it.
3) Bring your A++ game to the table every lesson or class, every time. No excuses! We recently had a conversation with our top instructors at Pilates on Fifth, and across the board, we noticed that regardless of teaching style, our best instructors are the ones who are excited about the hour, keep the energy up, and keep their clients moving. Ironically, in doing so (and we all agreed on this!) the hour FLIES by… and that’s never a bad thing, right?
4) Make it ENJOYABLE!!! Exercise is one of the BEST forms of stress relief, so keep that in mind!
All in all, we’ve noticed that our best instructors have not only retained, but GAINED clients, even with this crazy economic climate. Hopefully these tips we’ve provided will help others gain and retain lots of clients, both for group mat classes and for private lessons!!!