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Posted by on Mar 26, 2015 in Business & Education, Dana Auriemma, Media | 0 comments

How To Make Great Client Recommendations

How To Make Great Client Recommendations

Published on 18 Mar 2015

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“Dana I love your articles! The topics you address are always completely relevant to where I am in my business development. Your insight and suggestions are really helpful. Thank you for giving so much back!!!” – Kim B. (St. Louis, MO)

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Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Business & Education, Dana Auriemma, Freelance, Owning a Studio | 0 comments

An Instructor Guide To Social Media Marketing

An Instructor Guide To Social Media Marketing

Madonna once told us we’re living in a material world. Now almost 30 years later, I have to say I think we’re living in a social-media world! And thanks to businesses, social media sites now offer much more than status updates from friends. Businesses everywhere offer the public a daily dose of education, inspiration and information through social media – and fitness studios are no exception.

But what’s most interesting about fitness studios when it comes to social media is this:

In the fitness industry, instructors become the product that clients purchase. It is the instructors’ expertise, skills and service that clients come to love. And as a result, clients develop great relationships with their instructors. These instructors are on the “front line” at the studio, inspiring and helping clients on a daily basis. Therefore, they should do the same online!

Instructors can help build interest and attendance for their classes and their studio by actively contributing to a studio’s social media presence. With the right kind of social media posts, instructors can:

Entice potential clients to come try out the studio (showing a fun environment with great workouts).

Help more clients get to know them and want to take class from them.

Encourage current clients to stay consistent with their workouts and/or increase their attendance, try more classes or attend special events.

What exactly can instructors do on their social media sites to help market themselves and their studio? Here is a guide that will help:

On An Instructor’s Personal Page:

Share personal updates on their teaching or education 

EXAMPLE: “Looking forward to a full schedule of teaching tonight at [studio name/link]. Hope my students are ready for a killer class!”

EXAMPLE: “Anatomy workshop in the city this weekend with [teacher name]. Can’t wait…she/he’s supposed to be amazing.”

Share studio news, events and offers

EXAMPLE: “For anyone interested, my studio [name/link] is offering a beginner workshop next Saturday, no experience required! [link to website flyer]”

EXAMPLE: “My studio [name/link] is having a fundraiser next month for [organization name]. Here is the information, hope you can join us for this great cause!”

Share a little fitness education, inspiration or personal reflection

EXAMPLE: “I’m always talking to my clients about good posture! [link to article] Just had to share.”

EXAMPLE: “Found an old manual from my first teacher-training workshop 3 years ago. Wow, time flies. Still can’t believe how lucky I am that this is my job [photo of studio, manual, etc.].”

And update their profile with work information (studio name and position)

Personal page posts can be casual, occasional and simply driven by the instructor’s genuine passion for their teaching. Instructors are role models and a gateway to fitness for their friends, family and community. By sharing a little bit about their work on personal social media pages, instructors are promoting their classes and studio…but also showing they are an accessible resource to anyone who has questions about fitness or looking to start a new workout.

On The Studio’s Business Page:

Instructors can and should post on their studio’s business page (as themselves) to communicate with their clients. In seeing these posts, clients will begin to more actively visit the studio page to read and respond to messages from instructors. This will not only help class attendance grow, but also build a stronger and more loyal client community.

Compliment students after class (be specific)

EXAMPLE: “My 9AM students were amazing this morning! I can’t believe how much progress you’re all making on the [exercise example].”

EXAMPLE: “So many laughs in class today. You guys were so much fun to teach!”

EXAMPLE: “Who loved the crazy leg series tonight? You’ll thank me tomorrow!”

Preview and promote upcoming classes

EXAMPLE: “So excited to teach tomorrow night! I’ve got a fun new ab series I can’t wait to show you.”

EXAMPLE: “My new Pilates 101 class starts next week. If you are new to the studio, this is a great way to start. I hope to meet you soon!”

Provide general encouragement and inspiration

EXAMPLE: “The holidays are just around the corner but I know that won’t deter my dedicated students from coming to class. You guys are inspiring! Keep it up.”

EXAMPLE: “A saw this article yesterday about using exercise to manage stress [link]. Come join me for class tomorrow morning and soothe whatever stressors you’ve got going on this week.”

Endorse studio events, classes or instructors

EXAMPLE: “Looking forward to the foam roller workshop next week. Hope to see you there…your hard-working muscles will thank you for the massage!”

EXAMPLE: “I hopped into Sarah’s yoga class last night and I’m feeling amazing today! What a treat. If you haven’t tried class with her yet, you definitely should. Thanks Sarah!”

Now that you have plenty of examples, go have fun with it! If you’re a studio owner, share this with your instructors. Get your clients connecting with you on social sites a little more when they’re away from the studio…and you’ll get them coming into the studio more for years to come!

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Posted by on Jul 18, 2013 in Becoming a Teacher, Business & Education, Dana Auriemma, Featured, Freelance, Owning a Studio, Pilates | 0 comments

Letting Clients Go With Grace

Letting Clients Go With Grace

Every so often it happens.  A client finishes their session and as they get ready to leave, you give a little reminder that it’s time to purchase or schedule their next package. But instead of their usual enthusiastic response, there is a quiet pause followed by an awkward mumble that they need to stop their sessions because [fill in the blank with a reason].

What do you say?
How you respond is important.

I’ve seen responses range from apathetic and dismissive to annoyed and judgmental. I’ve also seen studios give high-pressure sales pitches to stay or talk about consequences the client will experience by leaving!

These negative approaches are not only unprofessional and discourteous, they are damaging to the studio’s reputation.

But when you let clients go gracefully and graciously, they leave feeling positive about their experience with you and comfortable to return or recommend you to others. So what do you say and do to make sure this happens?

    • Listen and give a reassuring smile to put them at ease and show that you care. Telling you they need to stop is uncomfortable for them. They no doubt respect and enjoy your services and don’t want to offend or upset you. They are also probably anxious that you are going to pressure them to stay so if you show sympathy and understanding, they will really appreciate it.
    • Show interest in any feedback or comments

that pertain to you or your studio. Indicate that you will look into any negative issues (if relevant) or potentially make changes in the future to address their needs (i.e. more availability at their desired time, more lower-priced classes if their budget is tight, different workouts if they are looking for other benefits, workshops to help with special needs etc.)

  • Do not contest their reason for stopping or pressure them to stay.Simply put, it won’t work. First of all, keep in mind their reason for stopping may not be true. Why would they tell a white lie? Because the real reason is too personal or uncomfortable to tell you. Second, by the time they tell you they’re stopping, they’ve put a lot of thought into the decision and their mind is made up. So pressuring them to stay makes them uncomfortable and anxious to be done with you. They will not likely want to return and won’t speak highly of such a pushy place to their friends.
  • Show your appreciation for their business. Thank them, tell them how much you enjoyed having them at the studio and that they are welcome to return any time. Offer tips on exercises they can do at-home so they can stay healthy and fit whether they are your client or not!
  • Remind them to stay connected to the studio for news, updates or future incentives that they may be interested in (relevant to their reason for stopping). Confirm that they are receiving your newsletter, reading your blog and/or connected on social media.
  • Stay in touch! Depending on your studio size and relationship with your clients, develop a follow-up plan to keep in touch and make it easy for them to return. Check for lapsed clients once a month and add their names to a list along with the date of a “we miss you” card, email or phone call so you can keep track. (Always send at least one handwritten card.) First contact them 1-2 months after their last session and then decide how many more times and how frequently you want to reach out depending on the client’s personality, length of time at the studio and reason for leaving. And make sure it’s a no-pressure check-in. Just let them know that they are missed, you hope they are doing well and hope to see them again.
  • Bonus suggestion: Utilise an online survey program and email a request for anonymous feedback. It is a great opportunity to get truly honest feedback, find opportunities to improve and minimise losing clients in the future. Plus they will appreciate having a confidential way to communicate any problems or frustrations they didn’t want to tell you in person.

Remember, your ultimate goal is to make sure the client leaves feeling respected and appreciated. This in turn will keep them respecting and appreciating your studio! A positive conversation will make them more likely to return and keep them speaking highly of your studio to others.

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Posted by on Jun 20, 2013 in Becoming a Teacher, Business & Education, Dana Auriemma, Featured, Freelance, Owning a Studio | 0 comments

What It Really Takes To Teach With Class

What It Really Takes To Teach With Class

By Dana Auriemma

I took my first aerobics class 14 years ago and since then, I’ve had more fitness instructors than I can remember. And I’ve seen some very un-classy behavior that ranged from annoying to no-way-I’m-going-to- return-for-this. But on the flip side, I’ve also had a few incredible instructors. Instructors that were great not just for what they taught, but how they taught. They taught in a way that made my entire experience with them amazing. They truly taught with class.

So let’s talk about what it really means to teach with class.

1. The basics should be a no-brainer.

Be at the studio before your clients arrive and pleasant to get close to! (Be clean, covered, groomed and smelling fresh.) Plan what you want to work on with your clients that day and arrange all equipment and props as best you can prior to starting. And always, always start and end on time. This is Teaching 101 but many instructors still fail to do these things consistently.

2. Be awesome with your attitude.

You should look happy, calm and focused. Leave your personal stories, your moods and your issues at home. Clients pay for time that is about them, not you. Be generous with your smiles and laughter and make it clear that you love your job. Under no circumstances should you talk about what’s going on with other instructors, clients, the owner or private studio business. This makes the studio and you look bad.

3. Check-in before diving in.

Check on how your client or class is physically and mentally feeling every day. See what they might be in the mood for in terms of exercises as well as teaching style. If they are craving a big physical challenge then pull out some extra energy and motivating skills. If they’ve had a horrible day and look like they need a hug, dial into your soothing voice and offer extra support and compliments during the session. Take time to see what your clients need most and be prepared to deliver it.

4. Aim for the sweet spot with corrections and critiques.

Studios and instructors vary greatly when it comes to how much they correct and critique. Ideally, there is a sweet spot but the tough truth is that it varies by client…and it even changes for each client over time. Some clients have a more difficult time hearing comments about their body and being told what is ‘wrong’ or needs to be ‘fixed.’ Other clients enjoy it and embrace it in a positive manner. And sometimes, a client who once embraced corrections and critiques is now less tolerant or vice versa. The best approach is to overall aim for balance but also get to know your clients and read their reactions to determine if you should dial it up or tone it down each time you work with them. Be ready to quickly swap a correction for a compliment or the other way around.

5. Watch your language.

I’ve heard teachers say things that sometimes make me cringe. It’s a slippery slope as instructors develop close relationships with their clients and discussions about the body can get a little personal. It’s easy to let the language get too casual. But don’t. Have pride in your education and your profession. Speak as clearly, professionally and intelligently as you can and use language that earns you the respect of everyone around you.

6. Be confident when you’re hands-on.

Teachers provide hands-on help for their clients in many different ways. Whether it’s guiding them into a position or helping them find and fire a specific muscle. This aspect of teaching should of course be explained during the very first session so expectations are set. But to help clients feel totally comfortable with hands-on help, teachers need to touch with confidence. This means knowing exactly what and how you are using your hands to guide them and applying the right amount of pressure (not too much, but not too little). If you’re not yet confident with this part of teaching, reach out for help from your fellow instructors or find a workshop to strengthen this skill.

7. Have the memory of an elephant…or take good notes!

To show clients they are important and always teach the best session you can, remember the previous one! Nothing feels more cold or impersonal to the client than having to remind their instructor that they have an injury or what they worked on the week before. So if you are teaching a lot of clients and it becomes too much to remember, start taking notes. Scheduling software programs like MindBody® have built-in note capabilities or just use notebooks and folders. Take 2 minutes after each session or the end of the day to jot down highlights of what you worked on and any special issues. Glance at it when the client comes in next and you’ll be good to go!

I’d love to hear from you! What does it mean to you to teach with class?

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