As a fitness owner, there is so much on your mind when clients first enter your studio. Will they be a good fit? Do their expectations match your offerings? Is their fitness budget aligned with your prices? Before diving into all your gym has to offer, pause and work through these questions to help your new client start strong.
Before you ask your new client to tour your gym, ask them, "what brings you in today?" Chances are, the prospect will tell you everything you need to know to make a sale, and you'll be able to present your studio in the best light for that person.
If you get "oh, I'm just looking" in response, give them a moment to connect with you by telling them how you got into fitness, and then ask differently. It may take a pointed question like, "tell me about your _your modality_ experience" or, "do you belong to a studio currently?" to help them open up about what they're looking for.
Each individual walks in looking for a different solution to their specific problem or pain point. If you don't know, you won't be able to show them how your studio can (and will) be the perfect solution. Based on what you find out in the first 30 seconds, you can tailor the prospective client's experience to fit exactly what they're hoping for.
For example, if your new client is looking for a relaxing break from their daily responsibilities, you won't want to highlight your high-impact cardio boot camps. Instead, you'll direct them to the classes, teachers, and programs your studio offers to help them unwind after their day.
On the other hand, your tour would look drastically different for a new mom hoping to feel at home in her body again. For her, you could point out your supportive atmosphere, instructors who specialize in pre and post-natal fitness, or your studio's modifications and levels for each exercise.
Important differentiation: Your goal is not to talk a potential client into your studio if your gym is clearly not a good fit. That wouldn't do either of you any favors in the long run. However, you do want to put your best foot forward and show off the parts of your gym that directly align with your new client's expectations.
"What are your health and fitness goals?" or "What are you hoping to achieve in your new fitness routine?" Any variation of that question will help you dive deeper into your client's purpose for visiting today. We're taking the first question and carrying it a step further, which communicates the following:
Especially if your client is hesitant to try out your modality or hasn't worked out with a trainer in a while, asking this question, listening for their answer, and authentically connecting with their story presents that you are not only an expert with a solution; you care about their success.
Asking about their specific goals isn't just for the feeling it evokes. You also want specifics so that you can help your client choose their ideal classes, schedule, and teachers. It might look something like this:
"I hear you saying that your goal is to build strength and tone after a few years out of the gym. I remember how I felt coming back to the gym after the pandemic closures, so I understand. Our __specific class__ is a perfect place to start because __specific reason__."
Now that you're taking the guesswork out of their future experience at your studio, you're communicating that you can solve their problem. You're someone they can trust and have their best interest at heart. Considering that the fitness industry often works against a negative connotation, the more you can do to present yourself as an expert while earning trust, the better your sales success rate.
You have their intention, pain point, and goal. Now you need their schedule so you can book them into their first few classes. After the previous probing questions, this one is easy. "How often would you like to come to _your studio_ to work on your goal of _specific goal_? Based on their response, you can cherry-pick their introductory schedule or jump straight to membership and skip the intro altogether. It will look something like this:
"Based on your goal to touch your toes before your fortieth birthday and your availability to come to class three times a week, I'll recommend the perfect classes to start seeing progress immediately. Don't worry- those shoelaces are within reach! Two choices: You can start with our two-week intro special. It's only _$_, and I'll help you customize your schedule. Or you can hit the ground running, skip the intro, and credit that _$_ to your new membership. (listen for the answer). Great! We'll make sure you get your money's worth with __insert specific class, instructor, or modality__, and you'll see progress in no time. Let's get you signed up."
In this example, you're confident with an assumptive close sales technique, you've laid out just two options without risking choice paralysis, and, best of all, you've tailored your recommendation to your client's specific health and wellness goals. You now have everything you need to make your sale without feeling anxious.
For the best results, don't ask these questions rapid fire- it will sound like an interrogation. Instead, start with question one and offer to show your client around the studio. While you walk, tailor your tour to their specific goals.
For example, if you have a mom-to-be, point out the air conditioning vents to help prevent overheating or show her which props will allow her to participate safely at different stages of pregnancy. If you have a client coming to pilates post-knee rehab, explain how your reformer will protect alignment while still giving a great workout. Let them touch it or experience the equipment so they can picture themselves partaking. Your tour is based on their answers, much like the choose-your-own-adventure books from your childhood.
While you give your tour and listen to your client's goals, remember to connect. Clients buy from people they trust, so offer up your own story if vulnerability is in your wheelhouse. Most trainers got into fitness because they first experienced what their clients do. Use your story to illustrate that you understand their pain point and can solve it- because you've been there, too.
Last, don't be afraid to ask for the sale. Gym owners are often intimidated to ask their new clients to stay because they don't want to come off as pushy or "salesy." Here is your invitation to scrap that idea. Without sales, there is no service industry.
If you don't ask your client to stay, they will simply head to the next studio until someone says, "we can help you; let's sign you up." Remember, they're in your lobby hoping you can help them. Practice your sales pitch, roleplay with your staff, and confidently help new clients sign up for your gym.
Boutique fitness entrepreneurship is a time-consuming, challenging career path. Studio owners have to be proficient marketers, savvy business analysts, employee managers, visionaries, and accountants, and that’s before adding in teaching, client communication, and retail inventory
You built your business on caring for others. The work you do as a studio owner may provide healing to many– which is fantastic– but it can also take a lot of your energy. That’s the irony of a business that promotes self-care–– you often find that there’s little time to actually care for yourself. Yoga teachers practice mindfulness but need to be mindful of their own health and sanity. We teach self-love yet burn the candle at both ends. Knowing what you know as a yoga practitioner, simply neglecting your own self-care in favor of helping others is not a healthy nor sustainable way to live. The same applies to your business.