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Recruit and Retain Personal Training Clients


22 December, 2014 | In: Business Hub, News

How to find the right balance when recruiting new clients and keeping existing clients happy

Incentives are a great way to drum up new business and it’s a tactic employed in all industries, but it’s not without its risks; get the balance wrong and it could rub existing clients up the wrong way.

And while securing new customers is a crucial part of growing any business, it’s just as important, if not more so, to retain your existing customers.

So once you’ve got your personal training (PT) business up and running, how do ensure your incentives are good enough to drum up business without alienating your existing client base?

Work out where your future revenue is coming from

This could be a tricky one to call, but the first thing you’ll have to do is try to work out the forecasted future revenue of your existing client base and that of any future client base over the next 12 months. Comparing these two figures can give some great insight into the current health of your business.

The reason you need to look a full year is ahead is because typically, over this time, your new client base will grow, while your existing client base will diminish due to natural churn rates – a problem that is particularly relevant to the PT industry as people drop out once they have reached their goal.

Finding the ideal balance

Although there is no finite figure you need to be working to, research has shown that companies with a 70/30 balance of existing/new customers are the most proficient at both acquisition and retention.

This highlights that while it’s important to bring in new clients – not to mention exciting, particularly in the PT industry where a new client means new challenge - it’s best not to get carried away with drumming up new business as this should always account for a smaller portion of your income.

So, how do you strike that balance? The important thing is to make every customer feel valued.

Keep personal training personal

The most important aspect of personal training is that it’s personal – and that means personal to your clients and not you as the trainer – so in order to retain your existing clients, you need to make sure the programs you are setting them works towards their goals, and regularly evaluate and re-set these goals to keep their motivation high.

And the good news is that being so ‘hands-on’ with your client base means that if you’re keeping your existing customers happy, you stand more chance of drumming up new business via their word-of-mouth recommendations – arguably the best marketing tool you have at your disposal.

That said, there’s no better way to acquire new business than to offer incentives, so if your existing/new customer ratio is looking a bit off kilter, it could be time to think up some way to incentivise new clients, such as offering the first couple of sessions free provided they sign up for six months.

However, you first need to work out whether this is financially viable – if you’re not in a position to offer incentive, don’t – and make sure it’s not too good a deal that will upset your existing clients.

And if you are in a position to push for new clients with special offers, it could well be worth your while offering similar incentives to existing customers – it could well be the difference between them staying with you or giving up once they’ve hit their goal.

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