Community is the best way to create and retain relationships with your clients. When you create a relationship and then take the time to nurture that relationship, your business will flourish. It is important that the classes, the teachers and the studio all feel welcoming and encouraging to clients. The more the studio feels like home, the more often they will return, and share their love of the space with others.
So, as an instructor, how can you connect with your clients and create a community?
USE YOUR CLIENT’S NAMES
Seriously. Whether it’s their first time or twentieth time in your class: learn their name. The easiest way to do that is to be there before class starts to check students in. Be sure to say their name to their face once they’ve checked in, and anytime you talk with them, just ask them to remind you of their name if you forgot. The more you associate their name with their face, the easier it will be for you to remember it the next time they come to class. And then: use it! When you see them doing well in class, just give a quick shout out. There is nothing as inspirational as having a teacher mention you doing well during the class. When a student knows the teacher remembers them and actually pays attention to them, they are more motivated to work harder and to continue to come back to class. They also feel more inclined to engage in conversations with you before and after class, which leads to the second step.
TALK WITH YOUR STUDENTS
Ask how they are doing, how their day was, if they are sore or hurting anywhere. Learn about your students: what they do for a living, what they love about your classes, what’s happening in their life and so on. If a student comes up to you after class, stay and talk with them. Don’t rush them when they come up to talk to you–listen and engage. Community is all about relationships. The more you are there for your students, the more often they will come back to you.
Gone are the days when it was enough to be a teacher or a personal trainer. Nowadays, a social media presence is practically mandatory. You can fight it or you can roll with it and allow your social media accounts to help you connect with and get to know your students even more. Encourage your students to find you on social media. Take the time to look at their pages, comment on their images. If you haven’t seen them in a while, sweetly let them know you miss them. If you had an especially wonderful class that night, tag them in a post about it, thanking them. It seems silly but it’s how people connect. And it’s a really fantastic tool to engage with your current students, as well as a wonderful way to meet new students!
Community is the number one greatest way to build your client base. If you are fortunate enough to work at more than one studio that happens to be on ClassPass, your engagement with your students is what will motivate them to follow you from studio to studio. There are tons of amazing trainers and classes in this world, but a sense of community and a relationship with your students is what will make you, the studio and your classes, stand out.
Arielle Marie McFadden, RYT, is a registered yoga instructor in Los Angeles and was named ClassPass Los Angeles’ Most Motivating Yoga Instructor 2015. She trains celebrities and teaches out of four different studios on ClassPass: Hot Pilates, Rise Movement, 30Fifteen, and Urban Med. You can find her class schedule or contact her about private sessions through her website: www.arielleyoga.com. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter for fitness tips!