Questions to Ask All New Pilates Clients

When I first became a Pilates instructor I only knew to have new clients fill out the “New Client Intake Form” sign a liability release form and then do my best to show them that I and Pilates were exactly what they needed! Does that sound familiar to you? It wasn’t too long into my teaching career that I realized I needed to know even more than an intake form asked. And, while I am sure you are sitting there, reading this and nodding your head with me I should say that I’m not talking about their body.

Not that more info about their body isn’t necessary! But, for the purposes of this blog post, I’m going to talk more specifically about other things that give integral info for taking a new client into a regular client. Here are just a few that I like to ask new clients during their first session.

  1. What do they think Pilates is?
  2. Where have they done Pilates in the past?
  3. Have they ever paid for a fitness instructor before?
  4. How much time each week they can devote to doing Pilates?
  5. Why are they coming to do Pilates?
  6. What other workouts do they do and how often?
  7. When do they expect to see results

Often times these questions lead to other questions as I dive deeper into who they are, what motivates them, how strong their commitment to their body and goal is, how realistic their expectations are and more. See, I believe that in a first session clients are not going to fall madly in love with Pilates. And, while I know that it is possible, I was someone who totally did fall head over heels for Pilates halfway through my first class every client is different. Some clients are so disconnected from their bodies that they are not going to feel most of Pilates. So, rather than overcorrect them and spend time telling them everything they are doing wrong. I spend my time trying to connect to them, find out how Pilates can fit in with their life today and then potentially change it for the better.

It does require being a little more conversational and being like a detective. But, by the time their session is over, you’ll be able to confidently tell them a Pilates workout regimen that will fit in with their life and their goals. For example, if someone wants to have a full on body makeover by their wedding in 6 weeks and you find out they travel for work every other week you can confidently share with them what you are capable of doing by their wedding if they come every day they are in town. It allows you to be more honest and authoritative without being condescending. Or, if someone needs to do Pilates three times a week but they have been sharing with you that they have never paid for a fitness instructor before you’ll have that knowledge in your head. You’ll be able to say “I know that it’s a big leap to go from never working out to three times a week Pilates practice. But, your goals for coming here were ___ and your body needs more ____ so a consistent practice three times a week will help you get to your goal by ___ _. Or we can do twice a week and potentially get close to your goal by ____.”

You are a great body reader as a Pilates instructor but psychic’s and mindreaders we are not! However, by asking these questions and more you’ll be a fabulous detective that will help every person that comes looking for Pilates find the plan that works for them and for you.

For more on this subject join me on August 30th for my next webinar “Ask the right questions for Client Conversion and Client Retention.” We will be discussing how to layer these questions in, follow up questions and questions to ask after they have become a client to continue client retention.

Got a question that you like to ask? Share it with our readers by commenting below!

xx~LL

New Strategies to Regional Rockstar Status

I’ll never forget the day I heard people talking about my Pilates mat class while washing their hands in the bathroom! And, the best part was we are all at a restaurant bathroom blocks from where I taught weekly classes. I knew while I was in that stall that my classes were going to start filling up in no time. With students like those telling their friends about me, I wouldn’t have to do the marketing alone. And, that’s what being a Regional Rockstar is all about!

Last year I led a webinar and then created a course on becoming known. And, it has been helping so many teachers and studio owners change up how they market their Pilates business. Instead of trying to be one of the most liked or followed people online they focus their efforts where their community is. And, that has paid off!

So, how do you begin to get known?

1) Know who you are, what you do and whom you are for!
2) Know where your ideal clients spend their time!
3) Be the answer to the questions they are asking!

Do you know whom you for? Where your ideal clients are hanging out? And how you are the answer to their questions?

If you do but need help translating that information from knowledge to clients and referrals than check out my course here on Becoming Known and my one on blogging and vlogging. Or, join me LIVE to get down and dirty on how to take all this info to the next level!

If you don’t then I recommend taking some time to sit down and think about the clients that rock your teaching soul. They may seem very different on the outside but there is a common thread amongst all of them. What is that thread? What questions do you often find yourself getting asked over and over? If you could have any client in the world that you would like what would they be doing when not taking Pilates with you? Why are they coming to you?

Take some time today to answer those questions! 

Next, take a look at your website…I know you don’t want to. You hate dealing with it you’re not into tech and all those things. But, guess what! Even your local peeps are going to be looking at your website. Does it truly represent who you are? Who you teach? What you have to offer? Is it easy for a newbie to go through and figure out what they need to do next? Ask a friend or family member to try, preferably someone who has never been to your site or studio before. Take their feedback and make those changes!

And, if you are ready to grow your business more strategically then, join me for my webinar on New Strategies for Becoming Known in your community. I truly believe it is important to give back to your community. If you are ready for people to ask you to come present and teach at community events, colleges, schools, marathons etc then it’s time to get known in your community for what you are the best at! If you are ready for clients to be calling you instead of you posting away trying to get their attention then it’s time to take an hour and get the tips and steps you need to get your talent out there! I truly believe when you are out there in your community it changes your business.

xx~LL

Get More Clients Without Spending Money on Advertising

This week’s blog post comes from a guest blogger and Personal Trainer Tyler Spraul! I love it because I am a big fan of not spending your hard earned dollars on marketing. And, below he not only gives you 4 tips on what to do he also gives you actions to take to make it work! Cannot wait to hear how these work for you. Take it away Tyler!


In this article, I’m going to show you some simple ways to get new customers without having to pay for advertising.

It’s all too common for a fitness business owner to take one chance at getting someone to sign up, and then never try again. It’s like we don’t want to offend people or come off as “salesy,” but the truth is that we are doing potential clients a disservice if what we have to offer will truly make their lives better!

It’s easy to dig into the things you enjoy the most about your business, like learning how to be a better coach and connect with clients, or continuing education to expand your toolset, or spending that quality hands-on time with your clients. But sometimes this fun stuff comes at the expense of the not-so-exciting portions of your business, like building efficient systems, implementing processes that are easy for new hires to follow, spreading the word about your business through marketing, and more.  

When it comes time to grow and scale your business, it’s the not-so-exciting things that make or break your chances of success, so you can’t afford to ignore them.

Call them habits or systems — whatever you’d like — implementing just one of the following tactics on a regular basis will help grow your business consistently over time.

1.  Find something to give away before you ask for anything from potential customers.

People love free stuff! Offer something your ideal customer can’t resist before they have to give you anything. To keep this simple, you can offer a “free sample” type of session on a regular basis.

This session would provide a low barrier of entry for potential customers to meet you and see what you have to offer.

It also provides an easy way for your current clients to invite their friends. They don’t have to think about selling their friends on your service but can simply invite them to give it a test run themselves, totally obligation-free.

ACTION STEP:

Offer a FREE sample class or two every week on a day that fits your schedule. To keep it really simple, you can start with once a month.

2. Make it easy for existing clients to promote you.

What if your favorite clients went out of their way to hunt down more potential clients for you? What if they were excited to do it? This can be a huge win if you have never gone out of your way to ask for referrals.

You may even want to go as far as incentivizing those referrals.

ACTION STEP:

Part 1: Make sure clients know the best way to refer their friends to you.

Do they just need to give you the correct contact information so you can reach out?

If not, where should they send potential referrals?

    • To your email or mailing list?
    • To your website?
    • To your once-a-week class that’s 100% free?

Wherever it is, make sure that you communicate it clearly and it’s as simple as possible for your clients!

Part 2 (optional): Figure out a sustainable way to reward your clients who refer customers.

You can position it as a fun monthly contest or challenge to see who can refer the most new customers.

You can then offer prizes and rewards to your top referrers. You can announce your winners each month or once per year.

If you just want to keep it super simple, that’s no problem. You can offer a discounted month or class voucher for each new customer a current member refers.

3. Make the most of your existing lists with a regular “ask.”

Your lists can be any social media channel, email newsletter, physical mailing list, etc.

Wherever you’re providing value through your content, you need to be consistent with your “ask.”

You must have a clear call to action (CTA) that prompts your ideal customer to get out of his or her routine and come do business with you.
Before we get too carried away, we don’t want to make the mistake of using these tools to only sell all the time.

80% of your content should be helpful material to enhance your customers’ lives. Then once you’ve provided value consistently, you can point them to your specific calls to action.

Example: If you post 5 days a week on Instagram, one of those posts should be a CTA, while the others should be adding value, sharing client successes, etc.

What makes a good call to action? I was hoping you’d ask!


A good CTA:

  • Only asks for one clear action. Don’t ask for a comment, and a share, and a like, and a text message to friends and loved ones.

  • Provides the exact steps needed to take action. “Enter your email below.” “Call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx to book your appointment.” “Click this link to book your spot in our FREE Saturday session: [LINK]”

  • Gives a reason to take action now instead of later. “Our first 3 reservations each month receive a free water bottle.” “Book today, and we’ll include a free session voucher.” Don’t abuse this one, though. If you have a deadline, stick to it, and don’t make up pretend deadlines for the sake of having one.

ACTION STEP:

Brainstorm 5-10 CTAs you can plug into regularly scheduled programming for social media, emails, etc. Make sure each one checks all the boxes for the requirements above.

4. Follow up, follow up, follow up!

Now that you’re giving value before asking for anything, incentivizing referrals, and moving people to take action with clear CTAs, it’s time to create a regular follow-up system.

How many times have you had a hot prospect get cold feet and duck out of a commitment, only to never see them again? You know your service would increase their quality of life, but it just didn’t work out the first time.

Do you say, “Oh well!” and give up all hope of getting them signed up?

No way!

Your follow-up system will help you make the most of the people who already know about your business and have expressed an interest, but aren’t currently paying members.

ACTION STEP:

We are going to separate these follow-ups into 2 categories:

For leads who expressed interest recently

To follow up: Call them within 2 days of their most recent contact.
If you don’t hear from them within a week, try again. For the first month, follow up once per week.

Once they’re on your “1 Month+” list, give them a call once per month until they sign up or request that you stop calling.

Previous customers and any others you haven’t heard from in a long time

Determine the best way for you to make a personal follow-up with these people who already know about you but haven’t gotten on board just yet.

Keep it simple! It can be as easy as a Facebook message, but the key is to keep it personal. Check in with them, let them know you’ve been thinking about them, and ask how they’re doing.

We don’t want to just copy and paste a sales message with a link here — that’s not what I’m saying at all.

Whether it’s a phone call, handwritten note or postcard, or even just a Facebook message, following up while staying polite and persistent will keep you on the radar and let your potential clients know you care.

So, now that we’ve gotten through the list of these action ideas and examples, it’s time for a call to action of your own!

Pick one of these ideas right now (start small), and set aside 1 hour to work on it this week. Make sure to block off the time on your calendar!

Leave a comment below with the action you have planned. I’ll read every one!

 

Tyler Spraul is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and the Head Trainer at Exercise.com. He played college soccer, then coached the men’s soccer team for five years at Columbia International University, overseeing all aspects of strength and conditioning. Over the years, his focus has shifted from performance first to moving well and getting stronger without injury. He loves helping people and encourages them to practice mindfulness. The little things matter, and consistency is key!


Big thanks to Tyler for sharing these tips and actions you can take! I second Tyler leave a comment below telling us what action you will take this week.

xx~LL 

 

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!

Paying It Forward: How Community Changes a Business

I love to introduce every guest blogger! And, I know I always say I am excited to share the words of the author but on this day I am beyond honored and grateful to share the words of this weeks guest author. She is a brilliant woman, artist, incredible Pilates teacher and dear friend to me. I could go on and on about all the things that Anula does that make me smile. Her generosity knows no bounds. And, perhaps that is why she is the best person to talk to you about building a community. I’ll let Anula Maiberg take it from here!


Here is what Yoga got right: it went from a spiritual practice a massive cultural mammoth. The branding of the Yogic lifestyle did not happen overnight. Like it or not Yoga is multi-million dollar industry. Certification programs are 200 hours or less (Pilates can go up to 800). Class sizes are only restricted by physical space and can easily be held outdoors where space isn’t even an issue. Between retail sale of water bottles, mats, apparel tied in with oils, crystals, jewelry, hemp/chia/flax power bars laced with water blessed by a shaman in a hilltop by the side of the Himalayan mountains blessed by a single sourced, fare trade butterfly of complete inner peace and spirituality, you’ve got something pretty good going on business-wise.

Pilates, on the other hand, is staunchly Germanic. Its a workout regime for those who like rules. A Pilates teacher may give modifications but a group class is rarely framed through the lens of: you could go into your Teaser practice or hang out in Child’s Pose. That’s not the common style. Sometimes this formula lends itself to an astringent reputation. We all sort of know what the vibe of a Yoga studio can be like. But what’s the vibe of a Pilates studio? When we ask people who have never tried Pilates before they often reference a more clinical environment. That obviously has so much to do with extremely knowledgeable teachers using their skills for rehabilitative purposes. This part of the Pilates industry is amazing and wonderful. There’s another aspect that is sometimes missed: community.

You thought I was gonna say merch? Well, I’m not. Studios can obviously sell what they want but often that isn’t what keeps students coming back.

Group classes are either done on mats (which are often raised from the ground), on Tower units or Reformers. This lends itself to a sense of separation between students. Some people love it and some people don’t. In this webinar, we’re going to explore a segment of the population that may be yearning for a sense of connectivity. We’ll be discussing how to tap into a market that may want to feel in touch with their fellow neighbors to the right and to the left. We will go over some strategies of how we can warm up our overall reputation and how to make Pilates indispensable to a group class goer. Group class is the most financially un prohibitive way to practice Pilates. How do we take the group class from a luxury to a necessity? (and if not a necessity to an event that should seldom be missed). The short answer: create a community. The longer answer is how.


For the “How” on this join Anula and me for a one hour webinar on May 17th 12pm pst for a live discussion with tips and actions you can take to create community. And, if you can’t join us live the replay runs for one week. Snag your spot here. For questions please feel free to comment below or contact me here.  Oh, and my Pilates pro’s you don’t have to be a group class teacher to create a community. You can create community in your private based studio too! So, are you ready?

See you at the webinar!

xx~LL

 

 

Check out more awesomeness from Anula on Facebook and Instagram 

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 

Pilates Business: How to Take More Time Off and Maintain Your Business

Saying no to a client is already hard enough. Taking time off is even harder. That’s multiple sessions you are canceling, rescheduling. And, I hear ya, as a Pilates instructor any time off is lost income. Or, is it?

Sure, you can take time off when your clients take time off. But, what if they love to travel in May and you have a trip in October? Do you lose money and sessions both times? Do you skip your trip because you “can’t” take time off? Who do you work for you or your clients?

I hope you said YOU!

It is possible to take time off when you want to and it is possible to teach the hours of the day you love and the dates you want to teach. But, you have to set your business up that way!

Tell me, how often do you say yes when you mean and desire to say no?

How often do you let clients move their sessions around in a day and you say yes?

Do you convince yourself that it’s just for “this” one time? Or, it’s only for a little bit? Maybe you even think you have to move them or compromise otherwise you’ll lose them as a client.

When I used to manage teachers I would hear clients talk about their upcoming trips and yet when they finally told the teacher the dates they were leaving it would be right before they left. The instructors would feel like they heard it for the first time.

Truth is the clients had been telling them about their trip for a while. But, clients don’t think about our schedule the way we do.

It’s not personal it’s just not their biggest concern in the world. I talk about this in my courses “never a dull moment” and “teaching your schedule.”

Whether you are an independent instructor or owner of a studio it’s integral that you train your clients how to engage with you and your business.

  1. Know when you are taking time off as much ahead of time as possible. Tell your clients so they have a heads up. Believe it or not, if they see Pilates missing from their schedule and are about to call you to cancel the following week they will realize they need to make up their sessions or in the future plan their events around you
  2. Swim with the current if the stream is strong. I know teachers who live in places where half the year everyone is in town, tourists come in and the business is booming. Then the other half the year its half the amount regular clients. Take advantage! How amazing that you know great times to take off, can enjoy half a year where you work part-time and have tons of free time to create, study and do your thing.
  3. Change your terminology. Instead of saying “we need to cancel next week’s sessions.” Use, “reschedule.” This way when clients are planning their lives they are thinking about how many Pilates sessions they need to reschedule.

If you start a client out with the mindset of telling you their dates out in advance it’s so much easier to know when you have availability or extra time to do your thing. If you have been letting your clients determine when you work you will have a little more training to do.

The more you have clients schedule their life around Pilates instead of the other way around the easier it is for you to run your business and take time off when you want to. It’s integral to staying inspired that your business works for you and not you for it.

You may be in the service industry but you are not of service to people, you are not the hired help.

For more on client, scheduling check out my courses, a previous blog on taking a vacation and my blog on how to have a life as a Pilates instructor. On April 12th I’ll be covering more steps to taking time off for yourself and maintaining your Pilates business. Join me if you’re ready to enjoy the breaks you deserve.

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