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Over Delivering For Retention and Referrals

With the Holiday season among us, it’s hard not to think about January right around the corner! Getting clients during the New Year usually isn’t that big of an issue, so lets talk about keeping those clients all year long, and for years to come.

In order to run a solid personal training business, you need to have more than just good training programs.  There are lots of training facilities out there and it’s extremely important that you set yourself apart by providing an exceptional experience.  This method of getting tons of referrals and having a ridiculously high retention rate with our clients is one of the foundational principals of Smart Group Training.

Basically, we try to look at our businesses from the outside in.  If we were clients of ours, or potential clients, would we be satisfied?  The better question should be…”are we so thrilled with our experience we need to tell someone?”

When you can create a client that is so happy with what you have provided them, they have to tell someone else, you’re on the right track to creating a powerhouse of a training business.  This is what we call Raving Fans, or RF.  We have been using this term very regularly lately and it seems to be catching on in both of our businesses.  Most of the emails I get from our team lately has some mention of “RF”.  Gotta get that RF!  By simplifying the term, we have created an unconscious thought toward improving our image…with a little humor too.  After all, who wouldn’t want to be getting RF???  However, creating raving fans, or RF, is a mission we don’t take lightly.

Here are a few ways we like to over deliver to our clients:

Training Systems:  Being the Smart Group Training guys, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we are always improving our training systems.  We look at each aspect of training and analyze what we can be doing better…from screening, to warm up’s, to exercise selection, to soft tissue work, to cardiovascular fitness…no stone goes unturned….no part of “training” gets neglected.  Being a master at your craft is a MUST if you want to blow people’s minds with your training business, and fill your schedule with referrals.

Nutrition Coaching:  Providing a game plan for people to follow with nutrition is key for success.  In order to achieve results that create a buzz around your community, nutrition has to be a key player in getting those outstanding results.  We provide a meal plan at minimum, but also create several other opportunities to improve nutrition habits when someone comes in to work with us.  We have done webinars, provided meal plans, set meetings to discuss downfalls, and work with each person on being consistent with journaling.  These are some of the ways we attack nutrition and we’re always looking for ways to get better.

Mindset:  Each person coming into our business has a series of communications with a coach in regards to mindset.  We want to get our clients thinking ahead.  We want to work on consistent goal setting.  We want them thinking about the roadblocks they’re going to encounter (most people never get here without guidance).  After identifying roadblocks, we want to find ways for them to beat those potential setbacks.  Our coaches are always on the lookout for improving mindset and making our clients more aware of their surroundings.

Member Perks and Giveaways:  Along with each area above, we really try to make our clients feel like they’re more than a number.  They really do matter to us, so why not show we care?  There are several ways to give your members perks.  One of our favorite ways is to give something away.  I’m all for giving.  Is one of your boot camps clients struggling in class and needs a little extra help to lock down a specific movement?  Why not give them a free training session to work on those goals?  Is it their birthday?  Why not give a T-Shirt with a plastic gift card to give a friend?  Everyone loves getting something for free and being recognized, so this simple step is one of the easiest ways to generate more RF for your business.

Client Appreciation Events:  This is one of our personal favorites.  After all, we’re all human and we all love to socialize.  We take advantage of this and make the process easy for members to socialize with each other.  We shoot for an outing about every 4-6 weeks within our business.  We plan different outings and take all the planning out of their hands.  We’ve had BBQ’s, brewery tours, bonfires, sporting events, Christmas parties, and so many events that I can’t start to list them all.  They are a blast!  Honestly, I work a lot.  With the increased workload, my social life hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. So, why not combine work with play?  Works like a charm.  I get to enhance my social life, and in the process, we create a family that nobody ever wants to leave.

Think about the ways you can improve your business and enhance the experience you provide.  This is just a handful of ways we create RF within our businesses, and we’re always looking for ways to improve.  If you feel we left something out that is glaringly obvious to you, please point it out.  What is your favorite method of over delivering?

The Training Continuum

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Training is Rehab, Rehab is Training”?  I believe it was Charlie Weingroff that coined that phrase, and it’s perfect for explaining what we do with Smart Group Training.  Our mission with Smart Group Training is to improve the standard of group training, and a driving force behind this involves using a training continum allowing us to place an individual precisely where they need to be.

We’re not saying we do “rehab”.  Trust me when I say that we do our job of reffering to proper medical professionals when necessary, but the phrase still relates perfectly to following a progression system.

What exactly is a training continum?  Simply put, the training continum is a series of progressions and regressions allowing an indivual to successfully complete a given task while moving toward a desired endpoint or goal.  It’s all about finding the proper level of training and progression that allows a challenging environment while providng a certain level of compentency or success.

All the way on the left, we have “corrective exercises”.  On the other side of the continum, you’ll see our more advanced exercises that require a certain level of strength, precision, control, and prior training to perform correctly.


The Training Continuum

<—Breathing—Mobility—Static Stability—Dynamic Stability—Strength—>


We currently use the FMS (Functional Movement Screen) to help guide us when choosing our exercise selection for an indivdual.  We analyze the screen before making a final decision on where to start.  If you can’t touch your toes and have the ability to shift your weight posteriorly, it’s probably wise to stay away from deadlifting.  The deadlift would be pretty far on the right, so we need to slide down the continum and choose the approriate exercise selection.  A more corrective based approach working on mobility is going to give that person a much greater rate of success improving long term results.

Choosing the proper level of training is going to enhance results, keep your clients injury free, and always coming back for more training.  By placing your client on the right level of the spectrum, you will create an environment that will allow them to have some success while still challenging them.  This environment is more condusive to improving adhrence and long term success with a program.  You may not always have to move to the far right of the continum, so just create a goal and keep progressing forward until you’re successful.

Great Training Means Great Systems

Good replicable systems are the backbone of a successful training business. Having a system for each major area of your business is must.  Without systems you have a job not a business, but what systems do you need?  Here are the system categories we use to run our businesses.

Training Systems – This is typically the system we as trainers spend most of our time on.  Developing and perfecting your training system is a lifelong journey that never ends.  It’s always growing and changing, but still needs to documented along the way.  The training system should be broken down into many other smaller systems like small group training systems, large group training systems, screening systems, corrective exercise systems, strength training systems, etc. The point is to make sure each aspect of your business is documented in order to make things clear for employees if you have them, but also yourself. The training systems are no exception.  Just because you know it well doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be documented.

Nutrition System – Training is just one piece of the puzzle.  We all know that nutrition plays a huge role in getting results, therefore having nutrition education in some way is a must.   Regardless of whether you hire someone, meet with people yourself, or just guide them towards nutrition education, you should be doing something if you want what is best for your clients.

Lead Generation System – You can have the best training and nutrition systems in the world, but if know one knows about it, it’s pretty pointless.  I recommend finding two or three ways to get leads and focus on those.  Make sure you are always sticking to your lead generation system. Have a plan and follow it, just like you tell your clients.

Sales System – Once you get them in the door you have to get them to become clients to get them results.  Having a step by step sales system is a must to make sure you are getting the most out of your sales system and not wasting the efforts of the lead generation system.  I recommend the Fitness Sales Formula from Fitness Consulting Group for a done for you sales system that converts leads to clients almost every time.

Retention System – Your retention system could also be called a customer service system.  This system should outline the things that you do on a regular basis to keep your clients happy.

Referral System – It’s imperative that the systems we have talked about above be great for the referral system to be great also.  Referrals are the lifeblood of most fitness businesses, but you can’t just wait around for clients to refer people to you.  You need to have a system of asking for referrals in many different ways, and you need to ask often.  If this system if set up right and is working, you know you have a good business.

Employee Development System – Every system is an employee development system, but it’s also a good idea to have a system specific that addresses the education and complete development of your employees.

Personal Development System – You have to improve yourself to improve your business.  Never let the business and focus on your clients take away from what you have to do for you.  You can’t help others if you don’t help yourself, so remember to keep growing and stay stress free.

Those are the main systems that we document, but the list really could go on and on.  There are many aspects of business and the more that you document the better your business will be.  It may seem overwhelming, but just start documenting what you do each day and what your goals are with each area of your business and soon you will have rocking systems and a rocking business.