(This lesson is brought to us buy Mark Fisher Fitness’ original scissors sister, Amanda Wheeler! Wheels knows a thing or two about community and what gets people to buy into one. Let’s let her wax poetic for a minute and take in her wisdom. Get ’em, Wheels!)
Your clients already have fitness buy in. They have chosen you because they believe in your philosophy and practice. They know you are the person that will help them achieve their health and hotness goals, but it shouldn’t stop there.
If you’re an independent trainer or own a facility, getting people to buy in to your community will be a game changer for your business and for your clients’ success.
Whether you support Crossfit or not, something they’ve done extremely well is help gyms develop a cult like community where the members support one another and feel like they belong. This is crucial for retention, new members, and building something meaningful. If you can create a community of brand ambassadors, your business will thrive for a very long time.
Here are four ways to get your clients to buy in to your community.
- Play a name game
Something as simple as a name game at the beginning of class can get your clients talking and help them discover common interests. It could be as simple as, share your name and your favorite local restaurant. If your classes are large and that takes too much time, it could be, turn to the person next to you and introduce yourself and share your favorite local restaurant. If your clients know one another’s names, they are more likely to interact in-between class, and that is where the true community building happens.
If you are a private trainer, introduce your clients to one another during session transitions. If Sally is finishing and John is about to start, introduce them and share something about their life and fitness. An example:
“Sally, this is John. John, this is Sally. Sally just got back from a vacation to Italy and recently got to 90* on her active straight leg raise. How great is that? John hikes every weekend with his wife and just did a 400lb deadlift. What a stud.”
When they see one another at the gym, even if you’re not around, they will likely converse – hopefully about what an incredible trainer you are.
- Have a monthly or bi-monthly hang out
When do real connections happen? At the bar. Seriously. Ok, it doesn’t have to be the bar but some fun time outside of gym time helps foster community and connection maybe more so than gym time alone ever would. You could go to a sporting event, host a BBQ in your space, do a pub crawl, anything to get your clients interacting with one another outside of the gym.
- Start a private facebook page
If you don’t already have a private facebook page for your gym or clients, start one today. Even if you train individual clients, it gives them a space to be involved and part of your community in ways they aren’t at the gym. A lot of folks train at the same time everyday. Your nighttime people don’t always know your morning people. It allows them to interact and share when they physically can’t at the gym.
Having a private facebook page will also save you time and allow you to over deliver.
I’m sure we all have clients who ask the same questions. Encouraging them to ask general questions on the facebook page allows you to answer one time and have everyone in the group see and participate in the conversation. It saves you from writing the same email 10 times .
It also allows you to over deliver by posting relevant articles, sharing recipes, giving them motivational nuggets or anything else you want to share. It creates a space for your clients to be continuously connected and supported by you and others, without physically being in your presence.
- Give your clients public praise
Share your clients’ successes and encourage others to support and praise them as well. This is where your facebook page will be extremely valuable. Posting PR videos or sharing individual victories will not only make your clients feel great, it creates conversation at your gym between members. If Julie just hit 10 strict pull-ups and people see it on facebook, they will likely talk to her about it and celebrate her when they see her.
It also offers a little competitive fire and/or a rabbit to chase. If your gym friends are nailing their PRs or weight loss or mobility, you’re likely to want to go after yours.
This is perfect to do if you train in home or individuals as well. It gives them an outside support system and more than a high five from just you. It helps with program compliance and motivation and builds your community online.
If you’re trying to build your business, start by building your community. The more your clients connect, the more they show up and talk, the better results they get, the better your business.