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?
- 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.
- 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?