When an individual joins a gym or decides to consult with a trainer, what do they expect to get? Generally, they expect to receive an exercise program or workout, and they expect to begin to look and feel better. If you want to excel as a fitness instructor or trainer, your goal should be to exceed these initial expectations and give them much more than they ever imagined. This is the “WOW” factor. In everything you do or say, you should attempt to “WOW” your participants or clients.
In order to achieve the “WOW” factor, it doesn’t necessarily have to cost any money or take huge amounts of your time. All it really involves is an attitude shift and a belief that you must treat your clients or participants like royalty. Making them feel this special every time they see you will ensure they keep coming back.
Put on Your Game Face.
No matter what’s going on in your life, when you leave your home and enter your gym or training studio, be ready to perform. You’ll need to be positive, upbeat and energetic and ready to give and serve your clients. Be ready to do the little things that make a participant’s experience the best part of their day.
Meet and Greet Constantly.
Remember, you are in the Hospitality industry: Be early to sessions and classes. Be accessible. Chat with clients and participants about their lives. Ask questions, state facts, give an opinion and generally, just take the time to connect and develop a relationship with clients. This will go a long way with regards to people feeling really good about you. Remember this – people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care! This is so true!
Avoid the One Size- Fits All Approach.
People are different and they want to know that you acknowledge their unique traits, characteristics and bodies. When teaching group fitness, give people lots of options, give the permission to take breaks and modify movements and acknowledge an individual’s need to try different things for their body. When training, be sure to assess clients and ask them lots of questions so you can provide them with a custom-designed program that takes into account their postural deviations, fitness level, goals and interests.
Praise and Recognition.
Clients need you to hold them accountable. So be sure to notice when they haven’t shown up for a workout and let them know that you really missed them. But they also need you to tell them when they’re doing really well. It’s human nature for people to love to be acknowledged when they’re doing a really good job. Always look for success (ie. "Last week you did 12 reps and today you did 14. Last week you did level 3 and today you did level 4. Last week you could only manage 8 minutes and today you did 12 minutes"). So take the time to write a note or make a call when a participant or client is really exceeding your expectations. Our clients like to please us.
Cards and Letters.
Cards are such an easy and cost-effective way to demonstrate to clients and participants that you're thinking and care about them. We send Birthday, and Special holiday cards. We also send Get-Well cards if our clients aren't feeling well. We also like to encourage our trainers to send their clients postcards when they're away on holidays. It keeps them in touch with their clients and maintains their relationship even if they're not around. Use your client files or a notepad to record the names of the individuals in your clients' or participants’ families or the dates of special events. For example, record their kids' and spouse's names. Record their anniversaries, dates of their kids' graduations or any other important event in your clients' lives. And then remember to ask them about it. For example you could say, "Hey Sue, how was Jonathon's graduation this weekend?" They will be impressed that you remembered.
Provide an Experience.
What can you provide during a class or session that is above and beyond just the workout? Can you tell them a funny joke or story or leave an inspirational poem or quote in their gym bag? Can you light candles or provide aromatherapy during a stretch segment? Can you arrange for live piano during a stretch class or live drums during a dance class? Can you stretch your clients out at the end of a session or provide a ball massage? Can you bring them an article you think they’d enjoy? Can you fill up their water bottle or grab a sweat towel for them. Service, service, service.
Parties and Events.
Get your clients together as often as possible. By doing this they feel part of a family or community. We host a variety of events to encourage them to mingle together such as running clinics, hiking clubs or indoor rock-climbing events. By providing an environment that fosters the development of friendships, they will want to continue training with you because if they decide to discontinue your services, they just won't be leaving you as their training company but also, they will be leaving all the friendships they've developed. And on top of that, when they participate in a beautiful, magnificent hike or snowshoe, when they get to the top of the mountain, they’ll always remember that you were the one who helped them get there. Often, when we’ve been invited to clients’ homes, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many framed photos on our clients’ walls were from events that we hosted. We create and facilitate these ‘Moments of Magic’ and that develops a sense of loyalty. We also host parties for our clients. We may have a BBQ or a wine and cheese party and just give our clients the opportunity to get to know each other. It cracks us up to watch how the conversations always seem to eventually center on their workout sessions. They start to compare notes and we'll hear things like, "Does your trainer make you do those crazy lunges too?" or "Don't you hate that new piece of equipment" or "He really can't count, can he?!"
The “WOW Factor” is easy to achieve. Just understand how critical it is to your long-term success in the fitness industry, and then make the commitment to pay attention to the small things.