If your clients are happy, and they like what you’re doing for them, they will keep coming back.  Client retention equals cash flow.  If you don’t have good retention rates, interview your clients.  Find out what they are thinking.

Here is a summary of what my “core 20” told me…

They originally hired a personal fitness trainer to get healthy, gain strength and endurance and benefit from one-on-one attention. There’s nothing too surprising there, just straight forward and to the point.

Why me? Here’s where my hard work really started to pay off. Nearly every one of them said someone else personally referred them to me, and that my reputation as a personal trainer is what motivated them to call me. We’ve all heard that word of mouth is a personal trainer’s best form of advertising, and this really confirmed that for me. Never underestimate the power of personal referrals.

Why have they stayed with one trainer so long? Okay, this is where my head begins to swell, but just a little. An interesting theme developed, every single survey came back with at least one sentence that mentioned that I was very easy to get along with, and that they enjoyed being around me. A few years ago an actress, named Sally Field, accepted her Oscar by saying “You like me, you really like me!” This was my “Sally Field” moment.

The second most common theme was that I never brought my personal issues into their session, but was always willing to concentrate on theirs.

Thirdly, was the ability to adapt as each session brought a new challenge; a sore neck or back; or they’re tired, or stressed out because of personal reasons. Whatever the reason, you must be able to adapt every session to what’s going on with your client that day.

There were a few mentions of my advanced degrees, my experience, reliability and dedication. I was called a “consummate professional” and “a joy!” While all of that was very flattering, it made me take a close look at what was important to my clients.

What’s important to your clients? They want to like you and to know that your focus is on them. They want each session personalized just for them. If a client likes you, they will like your facility. If they don’t like you, then no matter how nice your studio is or how many degrees and certifications you have–they won’t like it, and they won’t stay.  Interview your “core 20” clients today and maybe you’ll have a Sally Field moment, too!


Greg Justice, MA

Co-Author (International Best-Seller) of “Total Body Breakthroughs”

Author of “Treadside Manner – Confessions of a Serial Personal Trainer”