By Robyn Caruso, Founder & President, Stress Management Institute
As a trainer, you wear many different hats during a typical work week. In turn, you are pulled in many different directions among family, friends and clients. If you are focusing on too many topics at once you cannot be in the moment, which can lead to a lack of client retention.
Being in the moment.
There is a lot of competition in the studio market and potential members/clients like to belong to a gym – and stay with a gym - where they feel comfortable. That puts the limelight on personal trainers to generate the positive client experience that is so important to retention.
This is why being in the moment is vital to gaining new clients and retaining current ones. If trainers are distracted this may be apparent through body language. Members may perceive being distracted as receiving bad customer service.
Members decipher up to 93% of what is said through body language.
When you think of excellent customer service, which companies come to mind? What makes them stand out from their competition? The employees that work for these companies are mindful and in the moment. They anticipate the needs of the client and help them accordingly. Being in the moment means that your body language and what you say conveys the same message. This is important to note for customer service and member retention.
Do you know what message you’re conveying?
Nonverbal communication involves facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, voice, and touch -and is actually more important then what is said verbally. Trainers are communicating non–verbally with clients and members all of the time and when mixed signals are sent, clients have to try to figure out how you actually feel. You may be speaking to your client and sound present and in the moment but is your body language is communicating otherwise?
When you and/or your staff have better self-awareness you are able to anticipate the needs of your members easier. You will also notice that more clients would like to train with you.
The importance of not ‘zoning out.’
Members are constantly making decisions on how they want to spend their money. When trainers work with clients they should be mentally and physically present for each session. If a trainer zones out the trainer leaves their client wondering if the session is important to them. Trainers also miss out on potential new clients who may have wanted their services.
Clients will typically get your attention first by asking if there is “something else you need to do”. This should be a clue that they know you are not in the moment. You want to fix this quickly before the client stops training at your facility. Potential clients also watch to see how focused and attentive you are. I once had a member watch my training sessions for 5 months before deciding that he wanted to hire me. He said that he was looking at my training style, personality and attentiveness. He passed up two other trainers because they seemed uninterested.
When you and/or your staff have better self-awareness you are able to anticipate the needs of your members easier. You will also notice that more clients would like to train with you. By being in the moment every day your clients feel like they had an experience that they want to share with friends and family.
Robyn Caruso is the founder and president of the Stress Management Institute for Health and Fitness Professionals in New Jersey. Robyn is also a certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor through The American Council on Exercise, Certified Health Education Specialist from the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Compassion Fatigue and Resiliency Educator through the Traumatology Institute. Robyn has been in the health and fitness industry for 15 years.