Rapport and Retention For Fit-Pros


Rapport and Retention – Your Key To Building Your Business

As Personal Trainers do we really know what “Personal” is? I mean do you take everything about your client in? Their birthdays, their anniversaries? Their spouse’s names? Do you know what they did on any other day of the week? Do you know what makes them tick? Do you know their breathing patterns, their ticks, their eye patterns their preferred wording of sentences? Your response might be “Should I care?” the answer must be most definitely yes.

OK Matt why?

We make assumptions about a person within 7 seconds of meeting them. That’s a fact and it’s also an incredibly short period of time, right?

So in that time your brain has already decided what type of person they are, how they they fit in to your world, the way that you’re going to interact with them all this without verbal communication. So these non-verbal cues that you’re putting out or your prospective client/stranger are putting out are really that important! You have to make another human being trust you and your judgment within 7 seconds…non-verbally!!

OK Matt, How?

The simplest way is probably to look trustworthy from the off. If you have a prospect coming to see you from an email conversation or other non-verbal contact, make sure that you look presentable. Clean clothes, good personal hygiene is a must, a smile is essential (and a genuine smile is key to trust – see apes for details) and have any writing or note taking equipment to hand. Create as many good impressions as you can before opening your mouth, thus that trust is already 4 seconds built, 3 seconds to go. Address them by the name they signed their email off. If they signed it Mr/Miss/Ms/Mrs thats how you should address them until corrected. If they have signed it using their first name thats how you’re going to address them.

Mirroring – Have you ever found yourself lost in conversation with somebody and you are sitting as their exact mirror? Your arms are folded as theirs are or you’re sitting the same way, you’re finishing each others sentences etc. Thats called mirroring, we do it subconsciously when we’re comfortable with other humans. It brings comfort and creates a bond between us. Now lets think about this consciously, if you can try to mirror somebody as you meet, the chances of a comfortable conversation now becomes a distinct possibility right? Right. What I’d like you to do is test this out. In your next face to face conversation you’re going to mirror that person, you’re going to match their body language (subtly), try following their breathing too watch the rise and fall of their chest, match their breathing and see them then start to match your posture, your speech patterns. Its incredible and a great tool for closing the sale essentially. It can also help you both during your first few weeks training together.

Telephone consultation – So you have a telephone consultation, out of the blue, no pre-warning? What do you do? You should always be ready. For many new clients, the hardest step is making contact with you. You should be ready to answer all calls or have a professional sounding answer message to pick up any calls you may miss.
When you pick up the call. You should sound confident, annunciate all words without mumbling. LISTEN. Take notes, the notes you should take, listen/hear for descriptive words e.g. “See what I mean?”, “Sounds good to me?”, “That does not make sense?”, “I’ve got a good feeling”, From these cues we can make sense of their view of the world. Make a note of the wording they use and use the same back to them. People also have a cadence to their voice (the speed and pitch of their speech), try to match the speed in which they talk, take pauses when they take pauses, but really pay attention and listen.

Let me tell you something that I have learned over the years, my business is built upon people. People generally see, speak and act with those they are comfortable with. So let’s talk about that in business terms. You work your asses off to build a business, you get to a point where marketing is expensive, time is finite and choice of people that you’re comfortable with. Don’t give me that bullshit about how “you’ll work with anyone”. There is only so much that mood leaches can take before your time with them is hollow and unproductive. You should be showing these people that working out and spending time with you is not only fun but productive, if it’s not you’re failing, not only yourself but your clients. It must be of mutual benefit if long term relationships are to be formed. Once you have this you can build your business further through referrals (basically free marketing done for you by your clients).

Let me give you an example you have a client “A” who is happy with you and their progress, you have now retained this client. Client “A” tells their friend who brings up the subject of wanting a Personal Trainer. Client “A” gives your details you now have another new client, “B”. By retaining a good client base you will always build your business.

OK lets combine Rapport and Retention, what do we get? We get long term continual growth, providing you put the work in with your current client base. By keeping them happy, as well as stretched physically, they will help you to grow your business. After all there is no better marketing tool than a customer.

Remember that building a business is never easy, you are your best and sometimes only hope. Personal Training/Coaching is not an easy business to succeed and thrive. By following some simple steps and keeping great notes about all of your clients you will continually grow and develop your business.
This note taking should start from the first meeting. Building trust & rapport with your clients will help develop your relationships early on. We can do this by mirroring, matching speech cadence, simply being interested in the client will help.

Take aways from this blog

• Ask your client questions.
• Get to Know them, everything about them, not just the important details, but the mundane or quirky things too.
• Mirror their posture, match their breathing, get them to relax in your company.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals and testimonials. Your client will be more than happy if they’re happy.

This from one of my clients…

“Matt is one of the most endearing PT instructors. He makes it his business to know what his clients challenges are and how to help solve their diet & fitness issues. He wins because he actually does care. He listens and then always checks in with you even if it’s just a text or Facebook message. There is so much competition in the fitness industry you need to know your USP – unique selling point. Why should a client choose you as apposed to your competitor. Carve out a niche, do one thing and do it well!” Tanya Lynch – a lady that gets easily bored with keeping fit but Matt made a difference – She just needs to dedicate more time to getting fit now!


2 thoughts on “Rapport and Retention For Fit-Pros

  1. I was Client B! You’l probably end up with ‘Client C’!

    Excellent blog Matt! Every word written i can relate too.


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