Are You Committing One of These First Time Session Killers?

The more we can convert first-time clients into life-time clients, the more people will be getting Pilates in their bodies

The Red Flags

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?

Let’s go back to the first date analogy for a second. Because we are super excited for most first dates we leave thinking it was great and hoping for a callback. Then when we don’t get one we start to examine the date, we play back the conversations and body language and we realize how many red flags were there and find ourselves thankful that the other party lost our phone number. But, when it comes to our Pilates business we are the party that needs to be fallen in love with. If a client doesn’t enjoy the first session, aka date, with us then we don’t get a second date or future Pilates relationship with them. And that means we have to start all over again with the next potential client. Which might not be coming around tomorrow or even next week.

Female pilates instructor teaching female client on the reformer in a studio
A client needs to enjoy the first session for them to consider returning for a second.

Converting First Time Clients

At the end of a session, we hope and expect the new client to buy our big package and sign up for two to three sessions times a week. But, instead, we get some objections: too expensive, too busy to come in, or worse they need to think about it.

So, what happened? What red flags did you give off? What didn’t the new client get? Why didn’t they fall in love with doing Pilates with you?

Pilates is something we as teachers fell in love with at first one hundred (or at least I did) but the majority of our clients, they don’t walk away “getting” Pilates. They connect with you and what you are offering and then over time they fall in love with how Pilates with you makes them feel. The pressure really is on you, yes you, the instructor to connect this new client to you so that they will come back. If at the end you get an “I need to think about it” they are really saying they need to think about whether they liked you/your studio enough to come back. I know that can feel super harsh. But, it’s true and it gives you all the control.

In my “Converting First Time clients” course, I’ll cover all the things you should do to rock a new client’s Pilates world and maintain control over who becomes a lifetime client. But for now, check out the list below and see if you’re dropping any of these “red flags” while teaching a new client:

  • You talk too much
  • Overcorrect
  • Try to fix everything
  • Forgot their goal (or never got their goal)
  • Didn’t connect the client’s “why” to Pilates with you
  • Crossed your arms
  • Don’t make eye contact
  • Taught a stock session that you could teach with your eyes closed
  • Tried to get them to get Pilates
  • Sat down
  • Had your phone nearby
  • Rushed them off because your next client was coming in
  • Told them what not to do instead of what to do
  • Gave them too many exercises
  • Tried to show them how much you know and gave them exercises they weren’t ready for
  • Spent more time setting up an exercise than doing an exercise
  • Said “good” after every exercise

It’s hard to often know where we went “wrong” in a first session. I mean, while we were there we are not able to see from an outsider’s perspective what we are doing to “kill” the first session conversion. But, don’t worry! I’ve got help for that.

  1. Have someone observe your next first-time session. What did they see you did too much of?
  2. Contact me here and I will observe you teaching or give you tips on what to do in your next first-time session
  3. Take my First Time Client course here.
  4. Write down all the awesome reasons Pilates with your rocks and what you want a client to leave feeling.

When is your next first-time client? What do you want them to leave thinking? How often do you want clients to see you for Pilates? Why should they do Pilates with you? If you know the answers to these questions and ditch the “killers” above you are on your way to converting more first-time clients into lifetime clients.

Share this list with your teachers or comment below with killers you have found. The more we can convert first-time clients into lifetime clients the more people who will be getting Pilates in their bodies. And that is a good thing!


Female Pilates instructor teaching female client on the reformer
Pilates is something we as teachers fell in love with, so now we want to inspire our clients to love how they feel when doing Pilates.

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<a href="" target="_self">Lesley Logan</a>

Lesley Logan

Lesley Logan fell in love with Pilates after her first 100! From side-hustle to full time, she jumped from teacher to manager to running multiple studios. She wrote a book that focused on the business of Pilates, which grew into and is now a business coaching program called Agency. Take class from LL at and listen to her podcast at When not in Las Vegas she travels, leading workshops and retreats around the world.


  1. Rayann Gordon

    Hi Lesley – I am curious about why sitting down makes your list?

    • Lesley Logan

      It’s not that I don’t think you can sit. Sometimes I sit or kneel depending on the equipment. But when someone is brand new to me it’s important I see their body move and also that I make eye contact. When you sit you’re often off to the side, they have to turn their head to see you. If you need to sit for health reasons or to get close to spot or cue, go for it. But if possible for that first session or so the more they can connect with you the stronger a relationship of trust you’ll build.
      Thank you for reading and for your comment! xx-LL


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