My Systematic New Fitness Client Process | Onboarding Futures Success
We’re approaching that time of year when every personal trainer who is committed to a career in fitness needs a new fitness client process. You need a system or a method. And you need to measure whether it works.
After 37 years in fitness, and 33 as a one-to-one trainer or health coach I’ve definitely made my share of mistakes. But actually, thanks to my ex-husband and friend, back in 1992 I developed a process and I have used it over and over to describe how I work with clients, to start clients, and to continue with clients.
My first session follows several steps.
Consultation with New Fitness Client Process
More and more with each book published, media appearance, TEDx talk, keynote speech, clients will apply to work with me without ever doing a consultation.
But still 50% of the time, I will consult with a customer not sure if we’re a match or with questions about how it works. Even during this consultation, I share the steps of how I work with clients from beginning to next. We all like to know what to expect. Setting expectations should be a part of your process.
Following enrollment there is Pre-First Session Homework for the New Client
They’ve filled out all the pre-questionnaires, history, inclusive of health, fitness, hormones, and awareness.
Documents are Turned In
Homework is Turned in 24 or more hours before I meet with a client. That guarantees I have time to go through them and start identifying an ideal lifestyle plan.
That plan however is never the actual starting point. Literally, never.
We’re working with real life humans with a history of habits and preferences and a reality that has to be a part of the step-by-step change we help them make.
Books to read for supporting you in supporting them:
Identify Questions for First Session
I’ll pick one, two or three areas where I want to ask questions.
If I don’t see an obvious ONE THING to start with and ask if the client agrees, I’ll ask them which feels like a bigger pain point for them so we’re co-collaborating on a starting point. I never turn a client’s world upside down or assign an arbitrary goal out of the blue. They are somewhere before we met. That’s our starting point for deciding where to go next and for deciding what turn to take.
I have a template that I use for those meetings. I use a checklist. I list the follow up questions I need to ask to collect all the data I need. Those questions are qualitative and quantitative both.
The answers to those questions that I’ll use to finalize the actual proposed plan for week 1. In my mind I’ve got week 2, 3, 4 also plotted. That’s creating an ideal. There is always a change to it based on data and feedback from week 1.
Platforms for meeting:
- Tele-conference calls
Follow up connections with clients:
Start Your Sessions Systematically
Ditch the small talk and the, how are you? Seriously, catch your clients when they throw that back to you. Yes, it’s polite and conditioned but it’s trite. This is about them. The purpose of this call is not to open up how you are.
I’ve got their session prep form in front of me when we talk. But I always ask, is there anything else you want to add to this list or is it complete? And: Is there anything unusual coming up for you in the next week I should know about so as we talk I can take that into account so you’re next week’s plan makes the most sense for you?
I ask if the client wants to go through things from top to bottom or if there’s a highest priority item they want to start with.
All of that is about putting the client in charge. Listen, we’re co-collaborating here it’s not a dictatorship. My job is not to make someone co-dependent, it’s to help them rely on their own judgment and take charge. It’s more about that than taking responsibility. A client who’s reached out to you is extremely responsible.
My view is the client is an expert. No one knows them better than they do. My expertise is hormone balancing fitness, kinesiology, movement, and behavior change that sticks. We have to do this together.
End Sessions Systematically
One of the important things for you to do is pad your sessions. I learned this the hard way. When I would have calls with 3 clients in a row and then have the day take off like a runaway train, getting back to send homework and summarize the session and give recordings to clients became really hard to do.
So, I leave 10 minutes minimum and I’m also taking notes (keyboard right into their call transcript). You can also transcribe it with otter.ia but you will have to go through and edit that or have someone on your team do so.
That way I send homework, recordings, any additional resources to a client before I start anything else. It’s so much less time consuming done this way.
A part of the session end for my new fitness client process is letting them know when we have 10 more minutes in this session. It’s a good time to ask, is there anything additionally that you want to make sure we talk about today, or do you want to continue on the track we’re on?
There is always a next step. I want clients to know that even as I keep the steps small in the beginning there will be bigger ones that I may believe they’re capable of even before they do. I’ll plant seeds about their progress, their goals, and about our working together and what next steps are.
You want to make sure you have a next step. What will your clients need or want next? If you can’t keep a customer or client and keep them on track with life goals you’ll also jeopardize your business. Find a way to always be thinking, what’s next for this client? How can I serve them in their next step? Often those options don’t require that one-on-one attention. That then provides a new opportunity for both them and your business growth.
That’s the sign of a business with longevity.