How to Make Strong Teacher-Client Relationships

Client retention is as integral to your Pilates business as you are. If your clients are not consistent not only does that affect how much you make each week it also can cause you to have to constantly get new clients or manage more clients than you have time to teach. Does this sound familiar to you: A client says they want to come in three times a week and then they move a session here, ask last minute to switch another session. Cancel the next two sessions because they have lunches or dinners, can’t get into the studio because they have this, that and the other. They want to do Pilates three times a week but they are trying to fit Pilates into their life. This song and scheduling dance is not only frustrating for you it’s also exhausting. And, to add more stress about it if they don’t come in consistently then they will not enjoy all the benefits of Pilates and so then of course…bye bye Pilates!

So, how do you manage your client’s schedule and yours? Well, first let me just tell you that you do not have to manage your client’s schedules like you manage yours. But, if you can motivate your Pilates clients to schedule their life around Pilates instead of the other way around then your Pilates business will not only be healthy it will continue to grow. Client consistency is key for Client Retention and their consistency equals reaping the benefits of Pilates which means their friends will notice how strong they are, how well they stand and want some of you too! Hello, client referrals!

Create a strong teacher client relationship by-
1) Know what your client does when they are not doing Pilates.
2) Remember events that are important to them.
3) Schedule them in advance. Tell them to book their sessions a month in advance to ensure they don’t miss their sessions
4) Remind them to “make up” missed sessions by rescheduling vs canceling
5) Let them know when a time they like becomes available
6) Look ahead at holidays and vacations that may affect them and get suggest times they can do to reschedule in advance.
7) Don’t be afraid to be unavailable! People like a busy restaurant!
8) Remind your clients of their goals and why they come
9) Don’t offer every available hour you have. Use the “which” rule. “I have this time or this time which would you prefer?”
10) Be more than the hour-long entertainment. If Pilates is integral to them feeling good then you won’t have to work as hard to get them to come in regularly.

Look, I get that many of these are easier said than done. But, I promise you managing your clients is easier when you teach them from the beginning that you are not just sitting around waiting to teach them. That, even if you have all the time in the world, you are not a beck and call teacher. Studies show if people are given too many options they have to “think about it.” But, if they only have a couple options they can make a decision. If you tell a client they can come in anytime on a Monday then they are going to go and plan their whole Monday and fit Pilates in. And, chances are they will be running late or not be able to get in because they are “too busy.” But, if you tell them two options that are near times you know they like then they will schedule their life around the session.

I get it, it’s not easy to say no to a client or to hold your clients accountable but it’s essential in your self-care as an instructor, making it easy for you to manage all of your clients, and will create a strong relationship with them. If your clients are getting their Pilates in regularly with you because you keep them consistent they are going to realize that you are more than a person they see in their week. You are the person who helps them do their week. When you remember life events they are going to feel special and more than a name in your calendar. And, all of this helps grow your Pilates business.

Which one of these things are you going to work on? Let me know below in the comments. If you have any questions feel free to contact me here. Let’s make your client schedule consistent and as full as you want it!

xx~LL

PS for more on creating an optimal learning environment check out this blog and this one for motivating different personality types.

Creating an Optimal Learning Environment Using the SCARF Model

Teaching Pilates is not just teaching Pilates, am I right? Sure, we learn all the exercises, anatomy, study and learn more exercises and more anatomy and some modifications. We get creative when a client cannot do an exercise. We ask all the right questions from mentors and colleagues. And, yet, it’s still not enough. Because the person we are teaching is not a 2-dimensional idea. They are a living, breathing human being with a life outside of their Pilates session. And, teaching that human means learning how they are truly motivated, how they learn and how they need you to show up for them so they can show up for themselves too.

Wow! That’s so much! I mean, I know when I became a Pilates teacher it was because I LOVED Pilates so much and I knew everyone should be doing it. But, nothing in my training prepared me for the client who cried during Tree because she didn’t feel good enough. No one told me how to handle “I can’t.” Because while maybe one client really “couldn’t” another client would use it as an excuse to avoid doing exercises they didn’t like. And, as we know we tend to dislike (even strongly) exercises we need.

And, so learning how to motivate my clients a tennis ball of sorts for me. When I managed a jewelry store I had to learn how to motivate my staff. But, my staff, my team, was made up of ten to fifteen different personalities. Each one needing to know that I saw them. I heard them and I was there for them!

When I realized that I will be doing the same thing for my clients that I did when I was managing a team it became so much easier for me. And, I want to make it easier for you!

There is a great study out there and you can dive deeper into it here if you want to nerd out. But, if not, here’s the “cliff notes” or your LL’s notes on the SCARF model for teaching/training:

Status: someones relative importance to another
Certainty: being able to predict the future
Autonomy: a sense of being in control over the events
Relatedness: feeling safe
Fairness: equal exchanges between people

In the SCARF method, they studied how humans still survey surroundings for threats. So, as a teacher or studio owner its important that we create an optimal environment that when a new client or returning client comes in they feel safe. Imagine being a new client walking into your studio? What energy or message will they receive?

Clients need to know how they relate to you as a teacher and the more equal they feel with you the better for the client. If they show up in a Porsche and fancy gear and you feel like you’re less than they are because of their financial status and so you start to treat them differently they will feel this. Or vice versa, if someone shows up super deconditioned and you act like you know everything this will also cause a “threat” to the relationship and your being able to teach and motivate them session after session. The more you can create a feeling of equality status-wise in your studio the longer and deeper the relationship will go. This doesn’t mean you become best friends. It simply means that you don’t have to know everything and neither do they. Your relationship as a teacher and client is going to be more like a dance. You take the lead but you’re in it together!

Certainty is something we all desire. We all wish we knew what the future had in store. Sharing with your client what the session will cover or asking them for feedback on what they liked, disliked and how they felt last time so you can create a session that helps them like what they dislike, challenges what they like and leaves them feeling better every time will increase their feelings of certainty and continue their desire to come week after week. This also helps them feel a sense of Autonomy. Autonomy also could be achieved by asking them to set up their own equipment, asking them to choose between two exercises. I like to do this towards the end of a session. I will ask them if they prefer to Hang or do something on the Wunda chair. This lets me see if they are needing a little more of a relaxing ending or if they have more fuel in the tank to power to the end.

I think we all know and agree a client should feel safe in a session. In the SCARF model Relatedness is all about safety for a client. This also goes back to Status. But, another way to look at Safety besides feeling safe in an exercise is how we respond to clients feedback. When they tell us something to we discount it? Do we take it personally and tell them why what they are feeling is wrong? Or, do we listen, let them feel they can share whatever idea or discovery and then create a conversation about it? The more your clients feel safe to share the good, the bad and the ugly the more you can find ways to teach them and the whole client-teacher relationship grows even deeper! And, that really leads into Fairness, if clients feel like they are welcome to share their thoughts and its well received the more Status, Relatedness, and Autonomy you’ll have which will even lead to Certainty.

There is so much more to this model and to teaching Pilates then one blog post can really cover. I’ll be diving in deeper to it on my next webinar with Michael Myers “How to Motivate Clients” but we can also go over it in your individual business. Contact me here if you have more questions. Join us for the webinar here. And, if you have questions, comments or stories share them in the comments below!

xx~LL

How to Motivate Different Client Personality Types

Personal Trainer and Pilates teacher and lover Michael Myers is back as a guest blogger! This week he shares his advice on motivating clients. As we all know every client has a good day and a not so great day. Some clients can accept a new exercise challenge and others take a correction personally and can even internalize it. As Pilates instructors and Fitness Professionals it can be tricky to find the balance of encouraging a client and discouraging a client, motivating or accidentally discouraging. And, to top it all off even when you think you have figured it out our clients come in for their sessions from where ever they are in their life that day! Lately, it has been on my mind ways to help other teachers create a teaching space that is optimal for all personality types. I asked Michael to share with all of you because he has a special skill in getting his clients to show up and commit even after years and years of starting other programs and quitting.


Clients walk in the door every day with goals and expectations that might have best suited them 10 years ago. However, now that life is starting to catch up with them they have different physical issues or limitations. Let’s just call it general “Wear and tear.” Now the trainer has to come from a place of giving the client what they need opposed to what they want. I see a lot of trainers getting stuck in this place on a daily basis. Whether it be attributed to the trainer’s lack of overall knowledge or overall concern. Once again as Fitness Professionals we must remember clients seek us for our knowledge, and a level of respect is gained when you lead somebody to what they need, opposed to what they might want.

A trainers voice is everything, and we all know the power of words. Trainers must stand strongly behind their voice, training philosophy, and emotion. Yes, I said emotion. Emotion is a strong motivational tool. Clients do not walk into sessions with the expectation to let the trainer down, or not give it 110% (We must remember this is still an investment) However, somewhere between the ears there is a disconnect, but if they feel the genuine emotion behind the coaching they will push that extra mile. It all boils down to the human connection and being personable with your clients. There is no such thing as ego when you’re doing something for somebody else’s best interest.
The trainer’s outlook on Fitness and the clients must always remain positive but never coddling. Once a trainer starts coddling clients, giving positive praise when its totally unwarranted, letting the client dictate the flow of the sessions and allowing the client to manipulate the situation, the trainer has lost. There is no respect for a trainer that consistently gets ran over. A trainer can not motivate somebody that doesn’t have the utmost respect for them. As long as we remain strong inside of our voice, philosophies, and training emotions clients will remain motivated, and trainer will remain respected.

-Michael Myers

Certified Personal Trainer, Michael Myers received a full, four-year football scholarship to Colorado State University, where he played Running Back and kick returner,  graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Human Science. Certified by the International Sports Science Association (ISSA), Stott Mat Pilates, Schwinn Cycling and many other group fitness class programs, Michael has developed a deep expertise that spans a wide variety of training methods. Michael works with a slate of private clients in addition to teaching various Boot Camp classes and Mat Pilates classes at Equinox in West Hollywood and Century City.

Follow Michael on Instagram! 

Join Michael and LL on for more tips and advice on Motivating Clients here and check out our course on Attracting, Challenging and Retaining Male Clients.


What are your challenges do you have when it comes to motivating clients? Share your wins, questions or struggles in the comments below!

xx~LL

 

3 Powerful Ways to Promote the Awesomeness of Pre & Postnatal Pilates

This week’s guest blogger Alison Marsh of Your Pregnant Core might be the best person to discuss this week’s blog topic! If you have been reading my blogs or taking my courses you know I am a massive fan of nicheing out! And if you are passionate about Pilates for women before, during and after their pregnancies that is a niche. Check out Alison’s tips for marketing to this group of women.


You’ve attended a thorough pre and postnatal Pilates teacher training, and can’t wait to start teaching this very special population!

In today’s age, women are getting pregnant later in life, and tend to be hyper-aware of their health during pregnancy. Taking care of themselves becomes a priority.

These are the women who need your transformational pre and postnatal Pilates services. And they are more likely to have the ability to afford ongoing sessions, whether that be through mat classes or privates, or both!

The following tips will get your skills in-front of the women who need them!

Establish Yourself as the Pre & Postnatal Pilates Expert in Your Community

 

 

Volunteering your services is the best way to fast-track credibility in your community. It allows you the opportunity to practice, as you build confidence in teaching this population.

Joseph Pilates had a dream that all people would practice Contrology. It is our responsibility, and honor to share this practice with pre and postnatal women who wouldn’t otherwise get this specialized training.

Where to Seek Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Women’s Wellness Centers,
  • Library District,
  • Women’s Shelters, and
  • Hospital Health and Wellness Centers
  • YMCA or other Community Fitness Centers

Example:

In Las Vegas (where I live), we have University Medical Center’s Healthy Living Institute where they offer free classes to the community. I volunteered my time via a workshop, teaching pregnant moms how to safely move through their everyday activities to reduce low-back pain and other ailments that come with pregnancy. Then we went through a 15-minute Pilates-inspired session with a basic dining room table chair that they could do at home.

I made up a hand-out with the tips we went over, and then added my contact information. This has been a great way to not only give back to my community, and build my reputation as the expert in this area, but have gained private clients this way as well.

Build Relationships with Local OBGYN’s, Midwives, and Doulas

Start with your personal OBGYN.

When you have your annual visit, and they ask “Do you have any more questions?” Tell them about what you do, and the services you offer. Have a card or flier ready!

This is exactly how I built a great relationship with our now “in-house” OBGYN Nurse Practitioner, Paige Cook, who not only refers clients to us, but reviews all of our materials to ensure they are safe for pre and postnatal women.

Visit women’s birthing centers where the services of Midwives and Doulas are offered.

Prepare information about the services you provide and offer to come speak with their staff and give them a short presentation of your services.

Or, invite them to one of your free events that you have planned in the community. Always have plenty of cards and/or fliers to leave!

Build a Presence on Social Media

Begin building a following on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – whatever you are most familiar with (and you don’t have to use them all! )

One way to gain clientele in this area is to start a free Facebook group for pre and postnatal women in your area. Or, if you plan to do virtual training, open the group to pre and postnatal women around the world!

You could do a weekly Facebook Live video, sharing tips on how to take care of themselves during pregnancy and the postnatal period. Maybe a five-minute routine a week. Whatever fits best for you!

The POWERFUL thing about a Facebook group is that you can really get to know this clientele’s pain points – what they worry about most – and frame your marketing around helping them resolve these issues.

For example – During Pregnancy:

Many women fear to gain too much weight. You can be the advocate who encourages them to eat healthily, moderate their exercise routine by giving them mini-Pilates sessions, and embrace healthy weight gain, as this is a healthy part of pregnancy.

And For Postnatal: You will be there to help new moms be patient with their healing bodies by offering safe, healing-inspired Pilates sessions, and encourage moms not to rush back into high-intensity workouts.

Click here to print out the Body Patience After Pregnancy guide for your clients, to help them understand the healing that their body is going through. And don’t forget to put your contact information on the handout!

Other Tips for Marketing:

  • Pick a Niche – Topics include Diastasis Recti, Incontinence, Twin Pregnancy, HIgh-Risk Pregnancy (which is more prevalent due to women having babies well into their 40’s), In Vitro pregnancies.
  • Example: My niche is diastasis recti, and I am now known in my community as the Pilates Instructor to see if a woman has DRA, or wants to prevent a non-healing DRA (abdominal separation)
  • Use positive, encouraging language in your marketing.
    • Example: Rather than talking about how to stay slim during pregnancy (which is not healthy advice), talk about how to help mom keep her energy up and reduce or eliminate the aches and pains of pregnancy.
    • Again, this is where pre and postnatal specific Facebook group can help. Using the language that this population uses will help your marketing resonate with the right women.
  • Collect success stories from past clients, and use them in your marketing materials.
    • If you are just starting out, find a few pre and/or postnatal moms, and help them for a reduced rate, or simply as a trade for sharing their experience with you. One trade that I do is offer sessions in exchange for permission to video the sessions and use them for my educational and marketing materials.
    • Sharing success stories of clients with a focus on the client’s transformation is a powerful sales tactic.
  • Believe in the services you offer!
    • When you are confident in your abilities, and the services you offer, you are excited to promote your amazing services.
    • You have an obligation to let this population know that you can help them.
    • Pregnant women and new moms NEED your services, for the well-being of themselves, and their families!

Your Turn:

There are pre and postnatal women who need you RIGHT NOW!

Follow the steps below to get started on getting your awesomeness out to those women!

  1. Pick 1 of the 3 marketing ideas above.
  2. Take one of the action steps below (corresponding to your chosen marketing idea):
    1. Establishing Yourself as the Expert in Your Community: Visit or call one of the centers on the list – library, health center, medical center, YMCA, and introduce yourself and what you have to offer.
    2. Build a Relationship with Local OBGYN’s, etc: Find the closest facility to your studio, visit and introduce yourself and your services.
    3. Build a Presence on Social Media: Take the steps to make a Facebook page, Facebook group, etc. If you already have one, do a live video introducing yourself, with an exercise or health tip for mom.
  3. Visit our Your Pregnant Core Facebook page and share that you have taken action on marketing your awesome pre and postnatal skills!

You are awesome!

Now go rock your fresh, new marketing skills and start helping the women who need you!


 Thank you, Alison Marsh! For more info on what Alison is doing check her out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and her website! Or, comment below!

xx~LL

How to Write a Newsletter That Your Clients Actually Want to Read

You know you have to write them, you know you hate to do it and No, email is not dead! Actually, quite the opposite. When people give you their email they are giving you direct access to THEM. You don’t have to play the algorithm game and wonder if your clients saw that you have a new class, workshop or event. But, what to write? And, how do you get them to click on YOUR email as they go through their inbox? Well, this week’s guest blogger Pilates instructor, Podcaster, and business savvy lady Nikki Naab-Levy is here with words of wisdom you must read!


Something I hear frequently from fellow Pilates teachers is “I haaa-aaate writing my newsletter. I never know what to write about and I always feel like I’m pestering my clients when I do it!”

If you feel like this, you’re not alone.

We become Pilates teachers, because we want to teach movement, not because we want to write newsletters. However, when done well, your newsletter is an opportunity to inspire and educate your clients outside of their sessions, deepen your relationship with potential customers, and build your business.

Also, with the right mindset and approach, it might even be fun.

Here are some tips for writing your newsletter:

  1. When choosing a topic, consider your client’s perspective: If you’re ever stuck on what to write about, it helps to put yourself in your client’s shoes and consider what they are struggling with and what they look to you for help with.

Some good questions to ask yourself include:

What questions do my clients ask me all the time? What are they struggling with?

What is something that I teach all the time that my clients don’t know, which gives them big results?

What is a simple exercise or tip that I could teach my clients, which would give them a quick win with a problem that they are trying to solve?

If you brainstorm a list with answers to these questions, it’s likely that you’ll see some themes emerge. Each of these topics or themes could make great newsletter content. For example, if many of your clients tell you “I LOVE how I feel after our session, but I don’t have equipment at home! What can I do instead?” you could write a newsletter with three exercises your clients can do at home to feel great in between sessions.

If you get stuck, don’t forget it never hurts to ask your clients what they’d like to know more about. Most people are happy to share!

  1. Write about things that light you up: If you’re bored with the topic you’re writing about, your readers will be able to feel it. However, if you pick a topic that you’re genuinely excited to share, your enthusiasm will come through and your clients will be excited to read it too.

Don’t believe me? Think about it in the context of normal life. If you asked your friend if you should try a new vegetarian restaurant and she told you, “Yeah, I guess. They have a lot of vegetable dishes and vegetables are good for you” you wouldn’t want to go there. However, if she told you, “OMG. This place is amazing! The food comes out looking like a work of art, tastes as good as it looks, AND it’s healthy,” you’d be all about it.

  1. Be yourself! Your clients come to you for your knowledge, personality, and teaching style. They don’t come to you, because you can teach them the hundred, which they could figure out from a YouTube video.

The same principle applies to your newsletter. The people on your list are following you because they like your unique voice. This means that your newsletter doesn’t need to read like a 2,000-word research paper on rotator cuff function.

If you write the way that you talk about your work in real life, not only will your newsletter be more fun to read (and write!), but your personality will shine through. This can help you attract more ideal clients because if they like what you have to share in your newsletter, they might decide that you would be great to work with in real life too.

  1. Consider alternative forms of media: Not all newsletters require lengthy text.

If you don’t enjoy writing, ask yourself what form of media would be more fun to communicate through? If you’re more comfortable with video, maybe try sharing an idea or an exercise that way and then including a link to the video as your primary newsletter content.

If you feel comfortable talking, you could do a voice recording, like a podcast. There is now voice recording software and apps that make this easy to do. If you’re visually oriented, you could create a gorgeous image in Canva and include a bulleted list of tips for an exercise or a simple recipe.

  1. Repurpose content you’ve already created: If you’re stuck on what to create there is a good chance you already have something finished that would make stellar newsletter content.

Is there a juicy blog post you recently wrote? You can copy that text and email it to your list. Was there a video that you posted on social media that got a lot of positive feedback? You can write a short paragraph about it, include a link, and your newsletter is done. Not only does this save time for you, but it helps the people on your list see the amazing content you’re putting out, which they might have missed if they weren’t on social media the day you shared it.

  1. Include a call to action: When you send a newsletter, ask yourself, “What do I want people to do with this information?” It could be something sales related like, “Want more ways to improve posture? Book yourself an introductory private,” but it doesn’t have to be.

A call to action could be as simple as “try this exercise the next time you feel stiff” or “Find this helpful? Share it with a friend who could also use this info!”

And on that note, if you try one of these strategies, we’d love to hear how it goes. You can let us know in the comments section below.

 ——————————————————————————————————————–

Nikki Naab-Levy is a Pilates teacher and massage therapist for people who aren’t zen, hate green juice, and are allergic to words like self-love (but kinda need it). She has over a decade of experience helping people build strength, improve mobility, and overcome injury.

Nikki holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and a B.S. in Journalism from Ohio University and is a Master Trainer for the Balanced Body Bodhi Suspension System. Her fitness wisdom has been featured in Greatist, Girls Gone Strong, The Balanced Body blog, and Men’s Fitness.  

When she’s not teaching a sneaky hard Pilates class, you can find her hiking in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Kc, freelance fitness writing, and chain-drinking Americanos. For practical fitness advice + workouts that don’t hurt, visit her website NaabLevy.com or check out her podcast Moving Well on iTunes or Stitcher.

Check her out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Linkedin!

Discover How to Market Your Pilates Teachers

I know you are so excited when you hear a teacher of yours is taking a well-deserved vacation but inside you also feel that tugging on your gut…how many sessions am I losing while she/he is on that trip?

Or, you maybe you find yourself needing to teach less, run your studio more and you want to pass some of your clients off to another teacher or a new teacher at your studio? Or, you need to make room for more clients, need to grow your Pilates business, and retain your clients.

Maybe, you rent space somewhere and you want to take some time off but you don’t want you, clients, to lose their rhythm?

Do any of these sounds like you? Then you are in luck! This week here are some tips to “sell” another teacher to your clients. All these tips and suggestions will help you manage your clients and grow your Pilates business.

First, if you are in any of these positions or one I haven’t mentioned but requires the same action pat yourself on the back. This is a good thing! You’re getting busier, your business is growing, you are able to grant or take vacations. All, of this, is a sign you are doing well. But, none of these situations should hinder a clients growth or Pilates practice. And, that is what is at the heart of all of these scenarios. Teacher A needs to teach less, change their schedule or take time off. Clients of Teacher A need a temporary or new Teacher. Enter Teacher B, C and maybe even D. But, how do we get Teacher A’s clients to want and trust any of these other teachers? And, does it matter if clients take a break when a teacher does?

Let me address the latter question first. Yes, it does matter if clients take time off when the teacher takes a break. Rarely in life does it work out that a client and their teacher pick the exact same days to take a break. My week of this past spring was right after my client’s kids spring break. So, if I let them take a break when I was gone they would have missed two weeks. And, then wouldn’t you know it when I came back they had the flu. By the time I saw them again, it was three weeks. But, luckily I have teachers up my sleeve in my community and the studio I rent at that could take care of my clients for me. So, they only missed the weeks they were gone.

But, how did I get them to want to take from someone else? Patience, consistency, and honesty were key as well as:

  • Introducing fellow renters in the studio whenever I could
  • Constantly encouraging clients to make up sessions they lost or were going to lose when they took a trip
  • Regularly reminding them of their goals and how far they had come since they began Pilates

How can you do this for your team or for your clients?

Studio Owners:

  • Be aware of all the teaching styles, personalities, and client personalities
  • Know teachers availability at least a month in advance
  • Slide clients into the same timeslot with the best fitting teacher and then let the client know that they are “all set up with teacher B and if they need to reschedule to let you know by ___ day.”
  • Create a teaching space where the clients experience more than one teacher if they come more than twice a week.
  • Have client cards that teachers fill in so clients feel that they don’t have to explain injuries, issues or goals with a sub.

Renters:

  • Introduce your clients to the teachers you know and trust that you would want to sub for you
  • Train your clients to schedule their life around Pilates and tell you in advance when they are traveling
  • Have client workouts, goals and injuries written down and shared with the sub so all your client has to do is show up.
  • Pay the teacher out of your client’s package so again the client just has to show up

The reality is you are going to have to be patient. Especially if your clients have only worked for you for a long time. But, be honest with them. Tell them why you need for them to try out Teacher B, C or D. “I love teaching you three days a week, but my schedule is changing and I don’t want you to lose your third session each week. So, Monday and Thursday you are with me and Saturdays you are with Teacher B. You’re at the exact same time and he/she knows your goals, workouts and favorite exercises.”

Give them an opportunity to try out the other teacher and have them give you feedback on how it went.

Be patient, no one likes change. Put yourself in their shoes. What if your instructor told you the same thing. How would that make you feel?

Don’t give up!

If they don’t go for Teacher B maybe Teacher C or D is going to work. Whether you are a studio owner, manager or instructor looking to share your clients it is integral to the success and future of your business to work on this. You can’t teach everyone every hour they want. Your teachers in your studio need to make enough money to live and want to teach at your studio. If they are busy doing what they love it gives you time to grow your business, take time off and really empower and support both your teachers and your clients.

If you are a renter or independent contractor having teachers who can cover for you means your client’s Pilates practice stays consistent. They continue to hit their goals and feel the benefits of Pilates. Which means you can take your trips and not worry about losing clients because of it.

Client retention has a lot to do with clients feeling they are getting the benefits of Pilates. And benefits come with consistency. But, that doesn’t mean you are at the beck and call of your client’s availability.

So, when is your next trip? Have you set up your subs yet? Got a new teacher on your team? What clients get to try them first?

xx~LL 

How to Talk Less and Teach Your Clients More!

When I first learned how to teach Pilates I was provided with a framework on what say for the first rep, second rep, and third rep. And, while that framework was great for me as a  newbie instructor I soon realized that all those words did not add up to teaching my client anything. It’s easy as Pilates instructors to think we have to cue, correct and talk a lot to help our clients “get” Pilates. But, what if you could talk less and your clients could learn even more?

In a recent interview I did with Breathe Educations Raphael Bender I shared a story about how Jay Grimes told me and my fellow Work crew how you cannot “talk” Pilates into a client. That a clients body will be the best teacher for them. And, how our job is to provide them with the exercises that will allow their body to connect, move and grow stronger.

I know for me, when I heard this, I was slightly skeptical. But, then after practicing it as a teacher, I realized that not only did I have more energy after a day of clients my clients felt that the workout was automatically harder. One client even thought I was “mad at them” because he felt like I had anti-upped their workout. I hadn’t. It was the same workout as the week before. The only thing I did differently was start them off on the exercise and then asked them to feel something while they moved. I didn’t give them any other corrections or cues.

Since that session, we haven’t gone back to the old ways of me guiding them through every rep.

How do you know you might be talking too much? 

Well, there are a few signs. One, they get confused from rep three and four, they don’t “get” or “feel” the exercise and the last one is my favorite. They come in telling you something you have been trying to tell them for years!

I had a client that I had been telling for a couple years how to stand up straight only to just let it go when I decided to stop “talking” Pilates into my client’s bodies. One day she came in and showed me how she discovered to stand up straight on her own. It was all the cues I had been giving her for years. She finally was ready to do it on her own. And, her body was at a place of strength, ability, and coordination to do the thing.

So, how can you try to incorporate talking less and allowing them to feel more?

  1. Ask them a question? What can they try to discover on their own while they move?
  2. Allow it to be ugly. Safe but ugly. Don’t correct their bodies to make them look like they are doing the exercise. Looks can be deceiving. It can look like a Teaser but they can be totally in their quads and lower back and not their center at all.
  3. What other exercises around the room can teach the concept of the exercise you are trying to correct. Or, trying to teach them. I never teach Horseback on the Reformer until they are doing Spine Stretch, Arm Circles, Side Splits, Standing Arm Springs, and Push-down. All of those exercises have key elements of Horseback on the reformer. So, when they go to do the horseback I can ask them for more push down or more teaser or more side splits.
  4. Give them permission to take ownership of their workout and remember their exercises. Think up daily life activities that an exercise help them do and encourage them to think about them as they are out and about. They will be so excited when they are out doing their life and they can call upon their Pilates that they’ll want to dive into it, even more, to see what other activities get easier.

Why does talking less help your clients?

  1. When you take one sensory away the others step up a notch. If they are not constantly trying to do whatever you say the mind and touch sensors will pick up the slack and connect quicker.
  2. Clients will always try to appease you and do what you say and will get frustrated with themselves and Pilates when they feel they cannot do what you are asking. If you let their bodies see what they can take each exercise your client will feel more successful.
  3. On their own, they will be more inclined to do their Pilates homework because they won’t have you coaching them through as a crutch.
  4. Their body is smart, and given the chance to be its own captain it will step up!

How can do begin to incorporate this into your next session?

  1. Start small. Don’t go from talking every rep to being silent and miming. Instead, see how much they can do an exercise without your coaching. Maybe talk every other rep.
  2. Think about your client and think about the exercises they struggle with the most. Then give them other exercises that could teach them at the beginning of the session. Then call upon what they felt in those exercises throughout the rest of their session.
  3. When in doubt about what to say try “Keep Going.” And, just see what happens.
  4. Self check-When you work yourself out how much are you correcting every move you make? Try to talk half as much the next time.

Change takes time. Whether you are trying to change how you teach and talk or how a client does an exercise. Pilates is a practice and they have their whole life to “get it.” So, give them the freedom to make some errors along the way. Give them permission to move. Give yourself credit for all that you know and get creative with what your client needs to do the exercises you want them to do.

For more on this stay tuned for an upcoming webinar or check out a mini-course on this topic. Or, if you’re wanting more training on this contact me here and we can do some personal training and observation on your teaching. In the meantime enjoy saying few words and watching Pilates teach more.

xx~LL 

Pilates Studio Owners: How Do Clients Purchase Classes?

But, how do clients purchase classes? In the most recent (and first ever) Pilates in America study, they discovered that the majority of class participants purchase their classes by the package. With a small percentage purchasing one class at a time. Even fewer buying into unlimited packages. When I first became a Pilates instructor I started out teaching Mat Pilates classes. I rented space in a studio, picked my times and set my own class rates. And then I set a package rate. Why? Because packages keep a client committed! And if a client is committed to coming to class then they reap the benefits of Pilates and then they continue to come package after package. Packages may seem like the way to save money for a client but they are key for client retention in your Pilates studio!

Now, at first glance, you might be like yep! But, what this information doesn’t tell us is how many people have the opportunity to buy unlimited but forgo it to purchase the packages. Or, if people are buying individual because they cannot buy a package.

So, what does all this mean for you Pilates studio owners? What should you be taking away from this bit of info?

  1. Do you offer packages for your classes? If yes, which packages are the best sellers? Which are the least sellers? I know the norm is to offer a few levels of class packages but if most people are loving your ten pack and almost no one is buying the five or 20 then why even offer them. Save yourself the time of explaining all the package types and just keep the most popular and best for your business. The few options the less confusing it is for a new client determining what to do next. If no, why? Is it a tracking issue, a platform issue or a personal choice? Clients who have packages want to use their sessions. They are less likely to check out the classes down the street if they are already in a committed package with you!
  2. Are you offering an unlimited option? What I have discovered is that an unlimited class membership while tempting for both the client and the studio there is a good chance if you don’t have the numbers to support it that you may end up paying for people to come to your classes. So, if you are offering this do a double check and make sure it’s worth it. If you are not offering it but have been contemplating keep in mind that this works great IF you have a ton of people that buy into it and many who don’t take the full advantage of coming every day and all day! This membership works great for yoga studios and gyms where they are not limited by the number of reformers in a studio or the number of towers. You may discover that a limited monthly membership is more beneficial to both you and your client.
  3. How many of your clients use their packages in a timely fashion? You may be thinking, “LL, I’ve so got this. All my peep’s buy packages!” And, I will high five you! That is great news. But, if they are buying a ten pack and only coming once a week but it takes them fifteen to twenty weeks to use that package then that is not good. The key to client retention is that they feel the benefits of coming to your studio regularly. So, are you offering enough options that allow people with big packages to use them in a timely fashion? If you are not because you cannot then maybe slightly smaller packages to keep your income consistent. Or, if you are but they seem to not be able to make it to Pilates consistently how can you incentivize them to come extra when they are going to go out of town or to use their package up by a certain time?

Pricing, packaging and class times are works of art! There is no perfect time, number or amount that I can give you. Everybody’s business is unique to them and their community. But, it’s nice to have some evidence to back up what you can do to support your business and retain your Pilates class clients. For more on filling and marketing your group classes check out my course.  Dive into your numbers and make sure they are working for you!

xx~LL 

PS for more on client retention check out this course here.

Pilates Instructor and Studio Owner: How To Take A Vacation!

How easy is it for you to take time off from your Pilates business? If you are a Pilates instructor or studio owner you get paid when you have clients in the door. And, if you’re not there it’s tough to get paid. But, what if you could take a vacation or travel to teach and still keep your Pilates business running?

In the coming months I will be traveling for meetings, my next Pilates retreat to Cambodia and Maui, workshops in the UK, Spain, and Florida (shhh this one is top secret click here to be the first to know the deets). And, while all that travel sounds exciting it also means many weeks away from my clients in Los Angeles.

But, ever since I began managing people (since 2004) I have had the same motto. Put your life in your schedule first, your workouts, your travel, your goals and you can do the things you want. You can take the workshops you want to take, go to the Pilates Method Alliance in Vegas, join me on a retreat or do something totally not Pilates related!

It’s time your clients and studio understood what a Pilates instructor vacation looks like. With the tips below make this coming year the year you can take vacations from teaching and still keep the reformer wheels rolling.

Studio Owners Vacation prep tips
1) Have clients who come more than once a week used to taking Pilates from different teachers so when one goes on vacation; they are used to seeing someone else
2) Prepare studio staff and clients well in advance. By having things on the books early, you can keep other teachers from taking off when you want to be away (if you don’t have vacation policies lets have a call about this). Early announcements also allows clients to book their trips around yours or come extra before and after so no sessions are missed
3) Replace the word “cancel” with “reschedule.” No sessions get canceled they get rescheduled, and they should make up sessions missed for trips, or if they are in town take from another teacher, so they stay on track to hit their goals and bodies needs
4) Hire a team, not individuals. Create a culture in your studio that everyone succeeds together. This way no one person thinks it’s all about them but instead that you and each teacher in your studio deserve a vacation and everyone helps each other out!

Pilates Instructors Vacation prep tips
1) Have teachers that you always use to sub for you when you travel. If you train your clients to take from another teacher when you are away, they won’t get out of the habit of taking Pilates. Then when you get back no time has been lost!
2) Look back at your last 12 months of teaching (if possible) and see when the majority of your clients took off. Can you plan around those times?
3) Let your clients no far in advance so they can plan around your trip or you can teach them extra before you leave and when you get back.
4) Schedule early, and they will be able to schedule their life around Pilates instead of fitting Pilates into their life.

My dear Pilates pro’s I live by these tips and a few others that allow me to not teach at least 12 weeks a year. My schedule to travel and teach workshops to fellow Pilates instructors continues to grow. But, my LA clients deserve a consistent Pilates practice. With careful planning and training them to take from other instructors or do more Pilates before and after my trips my teaching business does not suffer when I go off to teach around the world or take a much-needed vacation.

To dive deeper into this, please check out our past blog “How to have a life and be a Pilates instructor.” We also have my most popular course on scheduling “Never a Dull Moment.” And, because its so important to me that taking time off to do the things you love, teaching around your goals and not fitting your goals into your teaching schedule check out this course “Teaching your Vision.”

xx~LL

PS as always you can comment below or contact me here with your questions or requests for blogs or webinars and courses. We are designing 2018’s calendar and want to give you more of what you want!

How to Keep Pilates Clients Coming Back

Pilates client retention is not always the first thing we want to think about when it comes to our Pilates business. In fact, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t even have to think about how to keep your Pilates clients. It would just happen, like magic. But aside from knowing how to teach the exercises, retaining clients is essential for maintaining a full schedule.

Clients do not grow on trees. And while Pilates should speak for itself there are some things we can and should do that will help our clients come back again and again, week after week. And, lucky for you, retaining clients is something that you have the most control in.

The truth is the cost of gaining a new customer is high! It’s so much easier to keep the clients you have coming back. Some of these tools are already in your hands.

  1. Client Packages: if they buy into a package they are now committed to you and Pilates for the remainder of that package
  2. Cancellation Policies: While these are usually in place to protect your time these policies also help the client stay accountable for their Pilates practice. This means they feel the results and they continue to show up
  3. Scheduling their Pilates in advance: If you find yourself asking clients when they are coming in next you may be risking losing a client to a busy schedule. Instead, “sell” the time slot they love to them. Make them schedule out in advance and this way they schedule their busy lives around their Pilates session with you.

We’ve discussed attracting new clients on the blog here before. And, even have a course dedicated to it. Client Retention has also made an appearance. And due to many emails, calls and Dm’s from our readers we went and made our Client Retention webinar an online course. So, now you can watch it when it’s the perfect time for you.

Try these tips and for more advice on client retention check out our latest online course “Client Retention” for your Pilates business.

xx~LL 

 

Money, Rates, Revenue Streams and Pilates

It is absolutely possible to make money as a Pilates Instructor! I feel I have to open with that statement as many teachers lament about how it’s not possible to make money in the Pilates business. Or that they do this as a hobby because they have other means of income that pay the bills. But, I am here to tell you that with proper business systems, setting rates that reflect what you’re worth and maybe a little outside of the box thinking you can make a living as a Pilates instructor.

Some of you reading this will be nodding in agreement while others I know may take a little more convincing. I’ll admit when I first began teaching Pilates I asked my friends what they were offering and basically set up shop “business as usual.” I didn’t even think about varying up my Pilates teaching revenue streams. I mean, we schedule someone, they pay and that’s pretty much that.

But, what if you could break the mold? Or, what if you could at least make the mold fit you and where you want to grow as a Pilates instructor. I’ve written about charging what you’re worth in past blogs “Why you should never apologize for what you charge” and “How to Maximize your Earnings as a Pilates Instructor.

Truth is if you know the way you like to show up teaching: privates, group, virtually or a combination of any of those not only will you enjoy your work life more.  But to do this you will have to have a better idea of where all your money is coming from. I’m sure you have rates for privates, semi-privates or duets, mat class, equipment class, first-time session, in-home sessions and insert-your-other-options here. It can be so confusing. How often do you check and see where you make the most of your income? Are you offering packages and taking up decision-making space (and marketing dollars) on options no one is using? Are you maximizing your desired way to teach?

I’m sure you are nodding your head yes….but just to make sure you’re up to date on this info use your scheduling software to run a report on this year so far. Where is all your income coming from? What are your best selling packages? Worst? What session or class times are most booked and least booked? And, who are your best clients (not just nicest but the ones that show up the most)? Is it who you thought it would be?

Once you have this info do you think you would change some of your offerings? Maybe ditch a package option…or class time that isn’t bringing you as much money as a standing private would. Lastly, if you could make money any other way teaching Pilates what would it be? Workshops? Online offerings?

Yes, it used to be that every teacher and studio offered Pilates in pretty much the same things but that doesn’t mean you have to. It doesn’t mean you need to offer packages or multiple package options. You are in charge of your business and you can set your rates and offerings, however, works for you. And, I hope that you do!  Because if you are doing your Pilates business as usual (like everyone who came before you). You could be losing money. And, that would be a bummer!

This week we are going LIVE and talking your rates, Pilates teacher revenue streams, and how to take your dreams as a Pilates instructor and monetize them. Join me by registering here. And, if you would like the full Fall series click here.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of where your money comes from and where we can maximize your revenue streams!

xx~LL 

Are You Committing One of These First Time Session Killers?

Your new client walks in, fills out the paperwork, signs the cancellation policy, works out and says “Thanks, I’ll think about it.” And then heads on out and you never hear back from them. First time Pilates sessions are like first dates. For the most part, they all seem pretty great on the surface. But, most first dates are just that, first dates. They don’t all lead (thankfully so) to a second date or more. But, when it comes to our Pilates businesses we would like most first-time sessions to become lifetime clients. Afterall, if they don’t how will we have a sustainable and healthy Pilates business?

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