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, we recommend that you first focus on these 12 essential items of service to make sure your 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
Waiting for clients when they arrive and not hiding in another room, or arriving late shows your clients that you’re interested in them and their class experience.
2. Tell your clients where to go and what to do
As soon as customers arrive, tell them what to do. Whether you want your clients to perform a specific stretch or wait and relax until the class starts, you need to provide guidance. This prevents new comers from feeling uncomfortable and not knowing what to do.
3. Ask clients some qualifying questions to gauge how their body is feeling
You should always check in with clients before the class begins to gauge how their body is feeling. This can help you to gauge how hard you can push the client but also establishes trust and creates a caring and supportive environment. You should aim to do this quickly for each person in your class.
4. Give a class pre amble
A good rule of thumb is assuming your clients have forgotten everything the moment that they walk out the door. As such, it is always important to educate your class on what to expect for their workout. Everyone benefits from a recap on how to activate their T-Zone (Transversus Abdominus and Pelvic Floor muscles), how to perform Pilates breathing and the different spinal positions.
5. Make your clients feel special
Give encouragement and ‘pats on the back’ freely. Let people know when they are improving. Tell clients when their posture is improving, when they are able to perform more repetitions, and when they are developing enhanced strength.
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. Share this knowledge with the client as it will help them to improve and obtain better results. Keep it very short and simple, 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
Always be happy, upbeat and motivating. A Pilates class is about helping your clients to become stronger and achieve their health and fitness goals. It is not a time for the instructor to offload their worries or concerns on the class. Remember that your clients are paying you to have their problems heard and fixed, not vice versa. We also recommend to be interested in your clients not to be interesting to them. 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.
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 clients. 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 newbies feel loved
A new client will be feeling nervous 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. 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 incredible Pilates class with more people.