Before going out and blowing a stack of cash on expensive (and often in-effective) advertising to get more people into your Pilates or group fitness classes, I recommend that you first focus on these12 essential items of service to make sure your cheapest and most effective business generator is working well, that’s word of mouth marketing and personal referrals.
The 12 basic service essentials for instructing are as follows.
1. Welcome customers at the door Introduce yourself and use your name
“Welcome, I’m (your name) please come through to the studio/room and find yourself a space to stretch”
Waiting for clients when they arrive and not hiding in a team room, chatting to reception or arriving late shows them that you’re interested in them and their class experience.
2. Guidance Tell them where to go and what to do….
As soon as customers arrive, tell them what to do. If you are getting them to do stretches specific to them then do so, if you want them to wait and chill out then tell them they can do this. Doing this simple procedure prevents new comers to your class from sitting there feeling uncomfortable.
3. Ask people some pre class questions
This helps you to gauge how hard you should push the client but most importantly it shows you really, really care about how their class is. This can be done really quickly as people enter the room and you’re welcoming them.
“How are you feeling today?” (This gauges energy and mood)
“How is your body?” (This gives the client permission to tell you about injuries without asking in front of others ‘how is the _?)
“Are you ready for a hard workout?” (Of course they are…but it’s nice to ask to set the intention)
4. Give a class pre amble
An important step and educates your class on what to expect. Include things like how hard to push themselves, what to do if they feel any strain in any muscles, what to do when you’re demonstrating, what to do if they want to ask you a question….
5. Make your clients feel special
Give encouragement and ‘pats on the back’ freely, let people know when they are improving. Tell them their posture is improving, they’ve toned up, that they’ve lost weight. You would be surprised how little encouragement most people get in their lives….give it to them and they will feel good about themselves as well as feeling good physically.
6. Correct and/or compliment every exercise, every time
This is simple, say ‘well done’ or ‘great work’ after every single exercise. If technique is not 100% – fix it (that’s what clients are paying for after all). Get ‘hands on’ if needed (appropriately of course), make the corrections to the technique and tell them ‘well done’ when they get it right.
7. Impart your knowledge and give advice
As an instructor you know so much more than the client about the body and getting results (even if you don’t think that you do). Share this knowledge with the client as it will help them to improve and get better results. Keep it very short and simple, don’t use big words and give them understanding of their body. For example: “this exercise/stretch is good for __” or “You should do more ___ to improve ______”.
8. Keep it positive and happy
Be happy, upbeat and motivating always. Customers will ask you how you are, if you’re feeling average…..fake it. Clients are paying you to have their problems heard and fixed, not vice versa. Sharing your bad mood only drives clients away in droves. I also recommend to be interested in your clients not to be interesting to them. Don’t give your opinions on a topic, always ask the customers for theirs instead. Keep all conversation (if there is any time to have one after all of your instructing, correcting and complimenting) about the client and their life.
9. Spread the love and keep it even
Give equal attention to all clients in your class they all pay the same amount of money so give equal amount of value to all. ‘Attention’ means conversation, correction, monitoring, congratulating, modifying exercises, motivating and encouraging. Also, treat other instructors participating in a workout just like a client, no more and no less.
10. Introduce your clients to each other by name
This creates a more friendly and more fun atmosphere and overall a much better experience for the client. People will enjoy your classes so much more if they see the friendly face of a class participant that they know and they will tend to catch up and chat after your class and make friends which increases client retention dramatically and enhances the clients results because they’re more likely to come more often.
11. Make newbie’s feel loved
A new client will be feeling scared and they will still be deciding whether to continue or not. This is your opportunity to change someone’s life by simply making them feel comfortable and giving them some encouragement.
Stand next to or close to a new person at the start of every exercise to help them with technique. Take a massive interest in them, find out how they are going, how many times a week they are coming, suggest a frequency, tell them what to do at home, tell them what to do next, how long till they see results, find out about them personally too if you can.
12. The post workout care factor and ask for a return visit
At the end of a workout, congratulate everyone as a group and then as people are packing up you can approach them individually or in small groups and tell them “well done”. If a client has a sore ____, ask them how it feels, suggest a stretch to do at home even if you’ve told them before (as people forget and need reminding). Also a very important question to ask is “When am I going to see you again”? This shows that you care and you want them to get results.
If you combine all 12 of these points, you will be well on your way to packing the room and sharing your kick-ass Pilates class with more people.