Client retention is one of the most important aspects of our business, and people don’t take it as seriously as they should. Your relationship with your clients should be taken as seriously as your relationship with your significant other. If you really think about it, your fitness business has a lot of similarities to a romantic relationship. There are two parts to successful long term relationship, and there are three parts to a short term “dating” type of relationship.

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”20″ color=”DE0202″ textshadow=”5″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]Let me explain.[/font]

So, let’s say you want to get into a long-term relationship. Well, if you break down the long-term relationship into two parts. One is the initial attraction, courting phase, and then two, is the going into the relationship itself. The main goal is to maintain the relationship as long as possible.

On the other hand, you have the short-term dating model which has three parts; attraction, relationship, and the dreaded breakup.

You obviously want a long term relationship with your clients, and here are some ways to keep them as long as possible.

Every relationship starts with attraction. Now, attraction is very powerful and important. The main objective of your marketing is to pre-select and attract the best potential clients. The same thing goes if you’re dating a woman or a man. You want to pre-select in terms of showing all of your positive attributes, while at the same time being honest about yourself. In the attraction phase, you’ll also learn more about the clients by asking them more questions the same way you would to learn more about the woman or the man.

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”20″ color=”DE0202″ textshadow=”5″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]Now here is a bad attraction scenario…[/font]

Picture this; a sleazy dude goes to a bar trying to meet this woman, and he immediately goes up to her and grabs her. Before she even says a word, he’s telling her how great he is, how much money he has, that he could bang her brains out, and that he’s the perfect man to be with?

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”20″ color=”DE0202″ textshadow=”5″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]Now what do you think her reaction is going to be?[/font]
She’ll probably slap him across the face and walk away. It’s the same thing with your business. If you constantly do “push marketing”, and force yourself upon a prospect aggressively, then they’re going to think you’re very needy and that something is wrong with your business.

Rather, if you’re trying to attract a woman or a man, you may ask more questions about them and learn more about what they want rather than what you want.

Questions like. What characteristics do you want in a woman or a man? What do you want out of a relationship?

By asking these questions you’ll get great responses, and you’ll see if they are a good fit for you.

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”20″ color=”DE0202″ textshadow=”5″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]That is the key to learning about your clients. You ask about their needs.[/font]

Let’s say a client is calling about your services. Don’t be an asshole and talk about how great you are or how many results you get or that you’re the best business in town.

Rather, flip the script and make it all about them. Find out their pains, their frustrations, what they have tried in the past, what hasn’t worked etc.

All these things will make a huge impact on understanding the needs of your client. As this is established, you’ll have enough information for the next set, which is the date or the close. So, after you create value implicitly and find out your clients needs, you then move onto the next step which you take them on a date or have them one-on-one.

In the business sense, this is bringing them into your facility and sitting down with them and closing a package. This is akin to the first date of having dinner and drinks, where you are closing in for the kill, so to speak. If a guy’s on a date, and all he’s doing is telling his date how great he is and what he’s going to do to her,

“Oh baby, you’ve never been with a guy like me before. I am going to love you so much, I’m best man you’ve ever had”.

9 times out of 10 the woman is going to think he’s delusional, or even if she’s gullible, she is going to be severely disappointed because he was telling lies initially to woo her. Soon after he’s going to shatter every bit of trust he built with her if he can’t follow through.

It’s the same thing when you’re making a close with your business. If you tell your prospect that you’re going to make them lose 10 pounds in one week or you’re going to add 10 pounds of muscle in the next month, you’re going to fill their head up with high expectations that are impossible to follow through on. They’re going to quit because you gave them unrealistic goals.

Now, let’s go back to that same dating scenario and say this dude “seals the deal” with his lady friend and has to live up to ALL of the hype he created prior to sleeping with her. He’s tells her she’s the best man she ever had and can last hours on end in bed.

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”20″ color=”DE0202″ textshadow=”5″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]Then it’s time to deliver…[/font]

If he busts a nut after a minute and leaves her very disappointed, well she ain’t coming back and believe me, she is telling everybody she knows about him being a 1 minute man. Keep that in mind when you’re building inflated hype about your business.

The best way to make your deal is to, again, ask questions. Have your clients tell you about themselves, what they want in a program, what they expect from you, and you have to be as honest as possible. From the start explain how often you are going to see them, how much attention you are going to give them.

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”20″ color=”DE0202″ textshadow=”5″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]Don’t sell them anything you can’t fulfill.[/font]

Honesty is the best policy. So when you’re making your close, you have to tell them honestly what you’re going to do for them because if you oversell yourself, they’re going to over-expect results, and you’re going to end up looking like a “two pump chump”.

By the way, the two pump chump is epitome of over-promising and under delivering.

Don’t be that dude.

You always want to close the deal in an honest ethical way, and that your client feels confident in your abilities to go into the courting procedure being that it wasn’t a one-night stand and you couldn’t get it up.

Another important reason why relationships falter is because ALL the same things you did in the beginning of the relationship, you have to do throughout the relationship. This is where most businesses go wrong. When you’re initially dating, you’re in the honeymoon stage where you are texting throughout the day and having daily phone calls and saying complements and the attraction is strong, but as the months go by, the attraction lessens, and you are not doing the same thing you did in the beginning.

Similar to the woman or man you’re dating, your client’s will feel neglected. They’ll feel like something’s wrong. The problem is that your clients usually won’t tell you this. I would recommend having an anonymous survey for your clients to constantly give you suggestions. You’re not going to know what your clients really think, unless you ask.

I use and you can set up a free survey in a few minutes.

You have to constantly be in a bonding phase, showing appreciation, showing love, showing that you care, and constantly following up on their goals because, yes it’s easy to sell, but it’s more difficult to keep a client long-term. ALWAYS check up on them. Random phone calls and texts go a loooong way.

You can tell when your client is about to quit. It is when they start coming in late or start missing sessions.

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”20″ color=”DE0202″ textshadow=”5″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]Your goal is to keep them happy, and to avoid the dreaded decline.[/font]
If you’re constantly showing your clients you care and giving beyond their expectations, it’s like you’re giving them an orgasm every time they see you.
We all know what orgasms do to a person.

Besides the feeling of exhilaration, the body secretes oxytocin which is actually a bonding chemical in the brain. Oxytocin is also secreted during intense bouts of exercises too. If you have their trust and you’re delivering mind blowing workouts, you’ll retain your clients’ for the long haul.

To sum it up, attract slowly, listen better, ask more questions. It’s all about your clients. It’s not about you. Don’t oversell yourself. Tell them the truth of what they’re going to expect. Maintain the attraction, give them all you’ve got, and keep them cumming, err coming.

-AJ Mihrzad