It’s February. Another excuse has just been added to the list of each any every one of your clients. Four out of five people who make New Year’s resolutions eventually break them, but the real surprise is that a third don’t even make it to the end of January. So whilst the second week of January is almost always the busiest time of the year, it’s normally in and around this time of year that you’ll experience a noticeable drop in the numbers of clients regularly attending each class. And here’s another interesting fact: Eighty percent of those who end up quitting the gym within a year, do so within five months, with 4 percent saying they quit in January and 14 percent quitting in February.
So how do you keep your clients motivated after the January inspiration begins to wear off? Here are our top ten tips to avoid the February dip:
- People need to be constantly reassured that it doesn’t happen overnight. They should be striving for progress, not perfection. Counteract the fear of “Is this even making one bit of difference?” attitude with some progress reports on new members or regulars. Gain insights into your members via data analytics and pep talk them. Focus their attention on what they have to do to achieve your goal: exercise and eat better. Nothing else will get them there.
- People will be getting sore and tired, especially if they’re not used to it all. Try and promote more light and healthy recipes, quicker recovery techniques and ailments. Promote plans as a means of staving off injury & getting people to pace themselves and not over-do things… even promoting healthy eating rather than meal plans with links to some fabulous recipes you’ve had a go at preparing yourself.
- If you’re fearful that they might not turn up for class as expected this time next week, use an intuitive class scheduling software that reminds them to come in to their class in the days and hours leading up to it. If you’re not making an effort to attend your class, automatic notifications are gonna make you feel guilty when you read them.
- You’ll want to spread the word that the place is pumped and rockin’. That they’re missing out, whilst everyone else is working hard on their buns. Remember you want your gym and/or classes to look full and buzzing with activity.
- Given that roughly 12 percent of new gym memberships occur in January, it’s no wonder that some people detest the influx of new arrivals. Provide flexible alternatives to people such as off-peak discounts and advertising your class times as much as possible can help give those worrying about overcrowding an option for them to consider. Inspire your customers, giving them extra motivation to come in and try something new.
- You can’t manage what you don’t measure. It is an old management adage that is accurate today. Unless you measure something you don’t know if it is getting better or worse and therefore cannot make a educated decision as to how to improve the situation. Tackle this head on by recording how many have turned up for class, or even better, who has turned up for class. If you find from your data analytics dashboard that your early morning classes are beginning to wane, it might simply down to the “it’s too early” excuse. Therefore, you should be encouraging people to Go to bed early. Actively promote your morning classes ahead of the slump.
- Make people feel as if they’re not alone by using customer profiles. Like Jeanette who’s just started back in the gym in January and explain how she feels things are going for her.. We all know it might be a bit early to throw in a before and after photo, but if they’re a real customer and they’re seen in the gym they’ll be recognized and will be talked to and encouraged by other like minded people.
- The number one excuse people have is that they don’t have time to the go to the gym or prepare meals. Try to get your members to double recipes and put the extra in the fridge or freezer. Those small little things add up. Remember nutrition accounts for 80% of the work.
- Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail. From Benjamin Franklin to Roy Keane, they all knew the importance of planning. That once you’ve decided upon a course of action, like going to get fit this year, the next step is to develop a plan how to get there. Do your best to get your clients to embark on a plan you think is right for them. Market yourself as a person who cares about the results of your clients. Clients sense when a trainer has stopped caring and started taking them for granted.
- The most important ingredient in fitness is FUN!! Try and have a giggle with your clients (when and where appropriate of course), but do your best to create a fun environment for them to enjoy, especially so if you run group classes. Pay attention to how your clients feel before, during and after your training sessions and act accordingly. If you don’t think you’re up to the job, hire people around you who are bubbly, full of life and have an infectious friendly smile that you can respond to yourself.
You’ll want to Instill a philosophy of self-motivation wherever possible that “I want this so bad that I’m going to do everything that I can do all day to get closer and closer to making that dream a reality.”
Sources & references
International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)