Client retention tips from professional coaches

If you’re a gym owner, you know client retention is one of the most important parts of keeping your gym going.

Retaining current clients also happens to be much easier than having to rely on bringing in new clients each month. Not to mention they take up less of your emotional energy as a coach because veteran clients know what they’re doing.

Three MadLab School of Fitness coaches—coaches who all earn professional wages as full-time coaches—give us their best client retention tips:

Tom Sarosi

Fresh off his biggest month to date (Tom took home $10,000 in March 2017), Coach Tom explained client retention has been the single biggest key to his success in the last three years. And his key to retaining clients has been selling hybrid memberships to them—meaning memberships that include group classes  AND weekly or monthly personal training sessions. Hybrid memberships keep clients more committed to their goals, Tom said, and in the process they generate more revenue for both the gym and Tom.

“It means that if I don’t see a client for a week or two, I don’t panic if they’re on a hybrid membership as I usually have a personal training session lined up with them the next week. Personal training resets their commitment,” he said. “Also, if someone gets sick or goes out of town, sometimes they get scared to come in for a class, so a personal training session is easier to get them back in.”

Coach Tom

Trevor ‘TBear’ Lindwall

T-Bear has consistently been the biggest earner at MadLab School of Fitness for more than 10 years. He has nearly 100 of his own clients and finds a simple text message here and there allows him to stay in contact with all of of his clients.

“Texting, texting, texting. Especially if I haven’t seen someone in a bit. They usually write back and say, ‘Don’t give up on me. I’m sorry,’” T-Bear said. He added that coaches shouldn’t underestimate how much clients both appreciate a reach-out from their coach, who they feel responsible to, so a simple text message from their coach can go a long way in reminding them to get their ass in gear to stay committed to their goals.

Coach TBear

Don’t shy away from using humour in your texts, he added.

Colleague Andy Swartz, for example, once had success by writing an amusing Haiku to get a client back in. It said:

A single tear falls

Fat gathers around waistline

Return to what was

Emile ‘Chesty’ Connaughton

“Retention tip? Um, dick pics,” Coach Chesty joked.

Being serious, he added: “Ensuring your clients buy into your training philosophy is the key for me. Clients stick around when they trust your expertise and professionalism. If the gym is just a place to workout, then they might as well go to the community centre.” But when they see you as a professional coach for life to manage their health and wellness, they will stick around for years, he added.

Coach Chesty

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