I get it; you want Pilates to sell itself. You want people to walk into the studio take a session and hand you their credit card. But, you are not getting a lot of new clients in, or you are, and they are not committing. I’ve heard all the reasons (excuses why). Ditch them. They are not serving you. Yes, there are lots of studios, lots of teachers and many are doing deals that are unheard of.
In my many years coaching Pilates teachers I have seen instructors leave great studios because they don’t want to “sell.” Well, I hate to burst your Pilates-doesn’t-require-sales-bubble but it doesn’t matter where you teach Pilates you have to “sell” Pilates with YOU to stay in business.
But, this is the beautiful thing: There is only one YOU. Pilates is a practice that over time rocks our bodies world, but one session does not always make a client scream YAAS! At least not without you. So, yep, you have to do a little “selling.”
Wait, don’t run off! When you hear the word sales, I know you’re thinking of the person at the kiosk at the mall shouting from their cart all different ways to get unsuspecting customers to buy something they don’t need. Or, that car salesman who just can’t seem to lose your phone number and is finding every avenue to get you to buy a new car. But, you are a Pilates instructor! You are not selling poorly made jewels, cars, the new insert-pyramid-sales-item-here. Pilates is for everybody, and everybody will benefit from Pilates. Here’s a fun video I did with PilatesAnytime.com about why I teach Pilates.
Let’s talk about why “selling” Pilates can be hard for you:
You feel fraud-y selling Pilates
It’s hard to “sell” when you feel like you are selling “yourself” but remember You are a Pilates Instructor, that is your business, you are encouraging people to do Pilates with you. You are not selling: You the dog loving, movie watching, sci-fi reading self. You are selling: You the Pilates instructor who knows a lot about how Pilates can serve your particular desired client.
Separate your social media channels so that you have your private self and your public self. These boundaries will make it easier for people to see if you are the teacher for them and it will make you feel less like you are putting yourself up for sale.
Go through your social channels and re-do the profiles to present what exactly you do and whom you are for. I have a Profitable Pilates page where I post all things I think instructors and studio owners would like. I have an Instagram with my husband Asthecrowsflyhome that we post all about our lives. Sure, you can follow both, but you know what you’re getting from each channel. I don’t feel fraud-y when I post about Pilates biz ideas on PP I do feel a little over promoted when my personal life ends up on my biz feed.
You think Pilates should sell itself
Think about your first time doing Pilates. Were you immediately sold and bought a ten pack of privates? Or, did you start off like me? I took a mat class and fell in love and started going all over town to other mat classes. It wasn’t until a year later that I committed to private practice. If one of those teachers had told me how private Pilates could have benefitted me I would have jumped into the private Pilates world much sooner, but, every single one of them just taught a strong class. Not one gave me a “call to action” a “Lesley, you know your roll ups and teaser would get much better if you took a session on the reformer.”
You think people should just want Pilates
I mean every athlete and celebrity out there has been raving about it! But, how many times in a day do you find yourself explaining to people what Pilates is? How can a client want something they have not heard about? You can’t talk to everyone and you shouldn’t. But, having a website, blog, Instagram and other social channels that explains Pilates with you will help educate more people and now they can “want” Pilates with you before they even meet you!
You don’t feel you know enough
Get over it! Everyone has to start somewhere and guess what? You will always be learning!! So, know what you know and identify where you can know more. Make sure what you know can help teach whom you are for and keep your clients in that area while you dive deeper into the areas of teaching Pilates that you need more experience and information. Little secret: you will know more than you client anyways so be confident in what you do know and get curious about what you don’t. It doesn’t matter if you have been teaching two years or 20 years you still have a lot to learn.
You don’t know who your audience is
Knowing who you are as a teacher and whom your ideal client makes “selling” Pilates with you an easier transaction. If you don’t know your personal brand; what you do, how you do it, whom you are aiming to teach then selling Pilates will feel fraud-y. I would hate “selling” pilates too. But, if you are clear on your Pilates teaching style, audience and goals then the “selling” is way less hustler like and more of a simple transaction. They loved the session with you, and they give you money for your worth.
What makes you unique as a Pilates instructor? Why do your clients enjoy a session with you? Note: this isn’t about recreating the Pilates wheel. This is about how you connect to your clients. How you design their session. What is your ultimate goal for each of your clients? If you stopped teaching what would your clients miss the most? What are your strengths? Can’t figure it out? Asks a teacher or friend you trust. Set up a session with me! We’ll get this figured out together.
Selling Pilates is not gross, it doesn’t make you a fraud and guess what? If you don’t get people to give you money for Pilates sessions, then you don’t have a business. Take some time to do some soul searching on who you are as a teacher, the clients that you are for and where those clients are. How can they find you? When the right clients come your way, then you will never feel like you’re selling anything. You’ll be showing who you are to those who are looking for you. This week I have some homework for you. In two weeks we’ll discuss steps you can take to make life easier for your ideal client to find you and want Pilates with you before they even meet you!!!
Homework: Tell me in the comments or privately what about getting clients to buy Pilates from you is the most difficult? Whom are you for? Who is your wolfpack? Where do you feel most comfortable?