The importance of a client’s first day experience

Bringing a prospective client into your gym is just like a first date: If you don’t make a good first impression, there’s a good chance there won’t be a second date.

In the last 10 years, we have spent a great deal of time talking to hundreds of gym owners around the world to figure out what works best when you’re trying to attract new clients to your gym—First impression best practices, so to speak.

We have discovered one of the biggest mistakes many gyms make when trying to sell new clients is focusing on the workout. They throw a bunch of newbies together in a group and make them sweat!

Giving prospective clients a “good workout” should be the least of your worries, as most people don’t remember the workout they did, or the technical cue you gave them. Most people remember how they FELT at your gym. 

I repeat: How you make a person feel will dictate their decision whether or not to join.

So how do you get people to feel good and comfortable, so they commit to getting fit?

Here’s what we discovered:

90 percent of prospective clients sign-up for fundamentals if you focus on:

1. Establishing genuine rapport between the prospective client and a coach

This is next to impossible to do in a group setting with 8 to 10 clients and one coach managing a workout.

Which coach do you think you would connect with most? Seeing if you’re the right fit should be the number 1 purpose of a client’s first day.

2. Discovering the prospective client’s “pain:” 

In other words, when the prospect feels comfortable, he/she is more likely to become vulnerable and let you know the real reason he is there. We call this the person’s pain—his REAL reason for showing up. Usually it comes down to wanting to solve a problem in his life. Your job is to discover whether you can help him solve this problem.

3. Educating the prospect on how you’re going to help him/her 

In other words, showing her you can provide a solution to her pain.

4. Assessing the prospect’s individual physical abilities in a one-on-one setting

A short training session and workout to allow the coach to assess how the person moves, and to discover any glaring weaknesses. This one-on-one, personalized assessment shows people way more than just throwing them into a group setting and getting them to sweat.

The best way to do this is:

1). Set up an appointment for the prospective client to meet his/her coach (having an appointment with a coach lessons the chances of people bailing last minute)

2). The first day should be done in a one-on-one setting with the prospect and the coach.

3). Most of the first day (somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour) will be spent talking, getting to know each other, getting to know they client’s pain—the goal being to discover whether you’re a good fit to work together.

By the end of the first day, it should be clear if the person is a good fit for your gym. In fact, the purpose of the first day is simply to get a yes or no answer: Are you ready to join? Yes or no?

Our challenge to the gym owner:

Put the next person who contacts your gym through a one-on-one introductory session, where you go through the above steps. Tell him at the start of the session that all you want is for him at the end of the session is a yes or no answer. See what happens. What do you have to lose?

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