When something you’re doing isn’t working anymore, do something else. When things that worked last month or last year have stopped producing this year, move on to another strategy. This is especially true when it comes to your fitness marketing.
I talk all the time about the invaluable potential of Facebook marketing, the importance of getting out into your community and many other marketing tactics. But I want to share with you one really effective but seriously underutilized strategy for bringing in more clients. I and my mentoring clients have used it pretty regularly and with great success, without spending a dime on marketing materials. If there are some marketing campaigns that just aren’t performing for you right now, maybe you should switch one of them out for this one: Recycle old clients.
I know you’re focused almost 100% of the time on bringing in new clients, but you have a potential goldmine already stashed in your office somewhere. This is your list of clients who have left your fitness business. If you don’t have a list, make one. Then commit some time to calling these people up on the phone.
If the idea of calling someone who has “rejected” you makes you want to throw up, you need to look at things realistically rather than emotionally. Most people don’t quit a personal trainer, gym or fitness program because they were unhappy with their training. The majority quit for other reasons, like a new job that requires crazy hours, a new baby that takes up all their free time, a new house that is sucking up their budget and so on.
The fact is that if you’re giving your clients the best training and results you can, if you’re treating them well and being attentive, then probably very few of your “old” clients left because they didn’t like you and your business. So don’t be afraid to call them up. It’s no more difficult than overcoming objections during a sales presentation. In fact, it’s easier, because you already have some type of history with and knowledge of these prospects.
1 – Compile a list of all of the clients who were with you for at least a few weeks and then didn’t come back. On this list, make any notes you have from their sign-up paperwork that tells you what they’re goals were when they first came to you.
2 – Commit to calling 3-5 of the people on this list every day. Let them know that you miss seeing them and wanted to call and find out how they were doing. Listen to how they’re doing. 9 times out of 10, they’ll tell you why they left before you even ask, but ask them if they don’t volunteer the information. Whatever their reasons, be understanding and empathetic. Make sure they know they’re not being judged or “guilted” in any way.
3 – If that one person or two says they don’t like you, your fitness business, exercise and everything else, thank them for their time and wish them well. Cross them right off the list with a Sharpie so you don’t accidentally call them at some point in the future.
For the other nine out of ten, once you know why they’re not coming to your business anymore, ask them how they’re doing with their 20-lb. weight loss, their abs, getting back their pre-baby body or whatever their goals were when they first came to you.
4 – Now that you know why they left and which goals are still unmet (there are always unmet fitness goals), let them know about the things you can offer that are workarounds for their obstacles. They started a new job that has them working nights? You have an awesome sunrise session they can get to before they go home. They got married? You’re starting (have started) a couples class. You get the picture.
5 – Always follow your solutions with a great low-barrier offer. Tell them how much you appreciate and miss them (even if they were only with you for a previous low-barrier, short-term offer) and how much you’d like to help them reach their goals. Let them know that you have XX offer going on for returning clients or just invite them to come for super-low cost transformation challenge that you’re doing.
There are a few reasons why this fitness marketing strategy works. First, if you approach them with friendliness, respect and genuine interest in how they’re doing, people usually respond very favorably. Second, you don’t have to sell these people on your training; they’ve already been there. They left because of money, lost motivation, lack of time, change of circumstances and what have you. Give them something that works around the circumstances that made them leave and about 50% of those people will take you up on your offer.
Last but not least, some of these people will lie to you, mostly people who came in for a short time. They’ll say they have money or schedule problems, but the truth is that they left because they felt out of place, unattractive, uncoordinated, and ill at ease for some other emotional reason. If they ran into you at the grocery store, they’d probably expect reproach or disapproval from you. But when you greet them warmly, show true concern for how they are and urge them to come back, many of those people will do so, because you’ve made them feel more comfortable and you’ve shown yourself to be genuine.
As an added bonus, people who left you once are typically less likely to leave you again. Why? Because you invested yourself in bringing them back and they invested themselves in returning.
Take the next two weeks to focus on something really productive and profitable – turning old clients into new clients. There are a ton of “YESs” waiting for you among all those “NOs.”
Committed to Your Success,