5 Things You Can Do Today to Retain Clients

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I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the most savvy business person.

I likely wouldn’t be able to tell you my P & L breakdown for the month of September, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you how many sessions I completed in June, and I assuredly, still, would need a few seconds to remember which is better:

  • Being in the red?
  • Being in the black?1

I’m not entirely inept, though.

(And, Stephen King, if you happen to be reading this post, apologies for the initial onslaught of adverbs).

I’m no Pat Rigsby or Pete Dupuis, but when it comes to the “x’s” and “o’s” of (fitness) business acumen I’m on par with Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.

Okay, not great.

And with that I want to share FIVE “things” you can do TODAY to help you retain more clients.

No Diggidy, No Doubt

1. Stop Selling/Pushing/Requiring Packages

I understand this won’t resonate or apply to those coaches/trainers who work out of a commercial gym setting, but for all others reading hear me out.

This is something I adopted from my time at Cressey Sports Performance and a concept CSP business director, Pete Dupuis, has championed for years.

Not many things are going to make someone pump the brakes on hiring you as their coach more than you asking/requiring a massive amount of money out of the gate.

You: “That was an excellent assessment, I think we’ll be able to get a lot accomplished if we can work together.”

Client: “I agree. How much will it cost to get started?”

You: “I require six months in advance, and you have to share your Netflix account with me.”


Not many people are going to do cartwheels and take out their checkbook when they hear something like that.

It’s daunting and absurd.

Instead, offer a monthly rate.

  1. It’s way less intimidating.
  2. It forces you to EARN their business every month.

2. Know the WHY.

This Tweet should explain things:

3. People LOVE to Hear Their Name

I learned this subtle trick from my friends at Mark Fisher Fitness.

The coaching staff there have a rule:

“Each client must hear his or her’s name a minimum of three times during any given session.”

It ensures to the client that YOU’RE present and validates you’re paying attention to THEM.

  • “Great to see you today Matt Damon. Go a head and warm-up and lets get to work.”
  • “Hey, Matt Damon, that set of squats looked amazing.”
  • “Matt Damon, have I ever told you you’re the wind beneath my wings?”

It’s a brilliant if not altogether underutilized tactic.

4. Maybe Consider An After Hours Fight Club?


Or not.

I don’t know.

Maybe it’d be cool?

No, it’s not. I’m totally kidding.2

4. Little Things Matter

This is going to be the most cliche piece of advice I’m going to give.

Call your mother.

Seriously, stop being a jerk.

Also, don’t discount the power of a hand-written note or card.

Every client of mine receives a Birthday card of some sort every year. Here’s this year’s iteration:

In it I’ll write a little sumthin, sumthin and also include a $10-$15 gift card to a local coffee shop or movie theater.

Clients love it, and there’s little doubt in my mind that this teeny-tiny gesture produces an immense ROI that bodes in my favor.

Likewise, if I haven’t seen a client in a while, or he or she has fallen off the grid, I’ll send them a wildcard card like this:

One of two things usually happens:

1. They come back.

2. I’m handed a restraining order.

5. Just Do Your Job

Smiling (without being obnoxious or creepy about it), showing up on time, providing feedback and a fun, inviting environment, showing empathy (albeit not refraining from offering tough love when needed), and writing programs based on your CLIENT’s ability level and your CLIENT’s needs and your CLIENT’s goals doesn’t require a fancy algorithm or a bevy of letters next to your name.

It’s called doing your job.

And it’s amazing how that alone will make all the difference in the world.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.
  1. Red = Red Wedding = Bad. Nailed it.

  2. Saturdays 2 AM.

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