Tutorial #3906

Get the Clients You Want

20 min - Tutorial


Now that you know your 'why' and your priorities, you can get to the bread and butter of what you do. In this tutorial, Jared Kaplan talks through common mistakes teachers make in regards to their clients. He also shares solutions that will help you attract the clients you really want.
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Nov 10, 2019
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Hi, welcome back. So now that you have your why, your priorities, something to reduce your distraction and one thing that signals that you matter. Let's get into the bread and butter of what you do, which is clients, if you didn't have them, if you didn't have great ones, if you're struggling with bad ones, they're the people we show up for every day. They make our practices what they are. So let's talk about ways that you can earn and work with people that you love to work with. I'm going to talk you through some common mistakes. We're going to do a traffic light exercise and we're going to look at some solutions to help you earn those clients that you really want.

Mistakes. So the things that I see out there in the field, and I've worked with a lot of different people over several years, obviously people putting themselves last is a big issue. Saying yes all the time is equally an issue. If you hustle a lot and you're constantly trying to fit people into your schedule, sounds good in terms of building a business. But that kind of scheduling leads to some really quick exhaust fumes and exhaustion and putting yourself again kind of in the gutter and never able to catch up enough to make things work sustainably. Other things I would say that discounts and kind of overly sailing people sometimes out of the fear of are they going to say yes to the value of what you're worth and we'll talk about finances a little bit later can be an issue in terms of mistakes on how to work with those people that you really want on your schedule. If you're always discounting, you're literally selling yourself short basic practices in terms of finance and payment. We'll get into again later, but things like having people pay much later than their session actually happen.

Super symbol and feels like you're being gracious and a kind human to say, Oh, you know, don't worry about it. You can cover me later. I've done it a ton, but then what happened is over years I started as a habit falling behind on invoices and not having clients pay for their packages until they were onto their next one and all of a sudden they owed for like 13 sessions or 26 sessions, 27 whatever it was. I then fell behind and then had to do all this extra work to catch up and try to right size these things. Try not to get behind on stuff like that. You're going to pay the price literally later. We talked about this one in the prior video, but distraction, we all have been and probably have seen those trainers that run in three minutes into a session, put their coffee down. Hey, how's it going? Hold on. I'll be with you in a second. Clean up the thing. Put my bag away.

How was your thing last week, like super hurricane tornado of a person entering the studio? Is that really the kind of session your clients are going to pay top dollar for it to have for themselves each week? Is that the type of session that they're going to then want to refer their friends to? I don't think so. That type of distraction in terms of running around all the time of not having the resources to say, Hey, I'm going to ground my practice so my client shows up. I'm prepared, I'm present, I'm ready, and I get to give them the best of what I have to offer. That's a focus session, which is a very different experience than a distraction session.

Even the five minutes beginning that a lot of us sometimes offer or have seen others offer. The other big mistake I see is lack of tracking, so we talked about it a little bit earlier in the prior video, but not tracking in a session progress, so things like what your client's goals are, helping hold them accountable to them. Then also what progress they're making over time. When do they start with you? What do they come for? Has their goal changed? Has your work with them, help them? Not only is it good for your tracking on the business side to understand how long they've stayed with you, but there's a really good positive feedback loop that happens from those kinds of reminders. Reminding someone, Hey, this is what you said you were coming for. We kind of accomplish that now we're onto this.

It would give me so much more trust in the person that I'm seeing to say, Hey, they actually got me here and they did it so well that let me do it again, or let me do an extra session. Let me pay them more, whatever the case may be. So there's the in-session tracking. Then there's also business tracking, which we talked about before. What are the things that you're measuring, which are specific, actionable, time-based and realistic for you and your practice? So you're accountable to your own goals, not about someone else's, not about making a thing for someone else or a money in a certain level, like what is it actually that you need to make? Maybe that's in one session, maybe it's for your full year. How are you tracking it? It might be other things about your teachers, if you have employees and tracking what they're doing and maybe your group classes about the total revenue you've earned, whatever the case may be, what are simple ways that you can track what matters? So I'm going to share one mistake that I made on the client side.

This was a client that I got through a studio and then I had trained with me privately for like nine 10 years. They are lovely human and they were really, really challenging to work with. So the mistake, I mean cause you would look at it at someone's practice and I would say, Hey objectively you had a client come for Thursday sessions at 4:30 PM for nine years. Like that's amazing. You think of how much money that person makes over that much time. That's an incredible relationship. It actually wasn't the case for me.

That person was a total energy devil on Wednesday evenings preparing for that Thursday four 30 session. I was stressed. I was probably losing some sleep. And then all day Thursday I'm like, how do I avoid the studio? How do I not be there? Cause I know that that four 30 session is going to be so hard for me to deal with. I was so happy when it was over, but then guess what I had to do again the next week. It got worse over time. And though I really appreciated that I could bring my physical skills to help this person out. And they had a lot of issues going on, on the actual personal side for where it mattered for me and my self care and my boundaries. I didn't really have the tools that I needed when I needed them.

So for nine years I spent an, I don't know, I haven't, I have not done the math on nine years at one hour a week for most of the year, cause they didn't take many vacations. But that much intense work costs, there's an expense on it. And yes, I made money off of those sessions, but when it came down to it, I actually had to figure out a way to get that person off my schedule and I wasted so much time figuring out how to do that. So I share this with you because the moment when I actually was able to fire them, this huge weight lifted, it wasn't the income that I was letting go. It was the stress, it was a distraction. It was also the impact on other clients in my own studio. I've heard from those people who are still there that they will literally would want to show up late for their session rather than deal with this person in the waiting room cause they weren't just toxic within a session. They were toxic in their life, probably unintentionally. And again, there are dear human, but the impact that they had was not right for me and my practice over the people that I wanted to attract. So what I'm going to have you do next is go through a traffic light exercise.

It's designed as a tool to help you figure out who do you love working with, who you're kind of met on, and who do you want to get off your schedule. Okay, so the traffic light exercise, it's really simple when it comes down to it, you've got three columns, green, yellow, red. What I want you to do now is write down a list of all of your clients. If it's a group classes, take your time. If it's private sessions, write them down. If you've got four studios, write the complete list of people in the green column. People you adore, you love to work with, that light you up, that bring you joy. You're not going to throw them out. Who are the people that you really want to see every week that you think about the day before cause you're excited that you show up, wanting to share with and be social with and engage with and help them out.

Those go in the green column, yellow column. You're like, they're okay. They pay on time, they're nice, I do good work with them. They are consistent enough. I don't feel like I'm distracted in the session thinking about what's coming next, but I'm okay like who is can kind of take it or leave it. All things considered. In an ideal world, you'd be like, well, let me either figure out a way to bump them up to green or it wouldn't be the end of the world if they decided to move on or see someone else. The red column is obviously reserved for those people that get rid of them. Do it now. Don't waste your time.

I made that mistake. I wish that I had this kind of a mirror. It'd be like, Hey, I know you want the income from it, but it's wasting your energy. It's sucking your soul. Cut the cord. So write down those people that you know you know you know that are stressing you out and you're thinking about them. You talk about them more than you should. You might be talking about them to your significant other. When you get home.

Who? Those people that they just cause you agitation. They go in the red column. Now that you've done that, I just want you to do a very simple math, right? Count them up. How many have your green? How many are yellow? How many of your red? When you look at that, how does it feel? Do you feel like doable?

Are you surprised at how many are in one column or the other? Or is it outside? It's like, wow, I didn't realize that. Like I really don't love all my clients. What does that feel like to you? Or like, Oh my God, no wonder all these people are ready. Like I gotta do some serious soul searching and find a way to get some different people on my sketch. So just look at it. There's no right answer to this. It's just a tool for you to have some self awareness of where your energy goes every week. Okay, so now that you've done that exercise, let's focus in a little bit on who do you love.

Hopefully you already have some of those people. My hypothesis about growing a practice that you really, really want to sustain for the long haul is who you're working with that you love really matter the most. It's not about reaching out to new clients. Here's the trick. We all, the way our brains are wired to get really excited about what's new because it's new. We get really excited about new information because our brain hasn't processed it before. That's the sell and kind of the lore of the new thing.

The catch is that we work in a routine based business. Most of our clients come to us to build relationships over time that hopefully sustain over time. So they might be on your schedule every single week, they might come to your class every single week, maybe more than once a week. So in a relationship based business where routines are what people tend to come for for accountability and connection and developing relationships with other humans, how do you keep things new? And the mistake I see people make is that the new thing comes these days from social media, reaching out, trying to do a post or have a website or put out a special or discount to reach new clients. But if you have a leaky bucket and you're always pouring water in from the top and it's leaking out the bottom, you've got a bigger issue.

So if you look at who the people are that you're working with now that really value what you're doing and perhaps have stayed with you for a long time for you, what are they about? What is it that they're coming for? What would tell their story? Is it about a demographic or a psychographic? Which is what drives them to come to see you? What are the things that really show up in their lives that they are working with you for that time? It might be as simple, whatever, which I would suggest is to actually ask them, like I said before, about what is it that they're getting that's valuable for them from you. That information might be then useful to turn to others and say, Hey, you know, my other clients described me as X, not about, Oh, I teach a group, plot these class and here's my lineage. I was the person for me.

I actually asked this to one of my clients and what they told me I was able to use for others. What she's said to me when I asked her was, Oh, you're like the person that figures out what thread DePaul, and then integrate it into the whole to effect their broader patterns like, Oh, I never thought of it that way, but she said that to me, so when new clients showed up that had been referred, I was able to say, Oh, I've been described as X. So for you, if you were to email or asking your next session or give people a little form to fill out whatever is useful for you, get some feedback about what people are actually getting from your sessions and then think about using that in a structured way to help acquire new clients or if they might see the value from what you're doing. Maybe it's about adding an additional session. I'm going to tell the story of one of my clients where just by simply understanding what his needs are, it doubled the income from those sessions. Here's how it worked. This person came in Tuesdays and Fridays at 6:00 PM standing sessions for years.

He's like the mayor of the studio. Everyone knows his name always. They're super valuable, a as a community member and obviously it was paying a decent amount of money to come twice a week, six o'clock Tuesday, six o'clock Friday one day has a business meeting. He won't miss a session. He's that type of client. He decides, he's like, Hey, sorry to change our skew, our session, I know six o'clock is like our time, that sacred time. Can I come in at 12 is that okay? This is on a Friday. Mind you, I'm like early weekend like yeah, I guess if we have to for sure come in at 12 noon instead of 6:00 PM so I can get out of here. So we did 12 o'clock on Friday and then I was like, Oh well six o'clock is a really desirable time. If I can move him to 12 then my six o'clock which is easy to fill, I'll have open and maybe have two of them open. So I was like, Hey, is it okay if on Tuesday we try 12 also like does that work for you?

And he's like, you know what, actually it was really good to get out of the office and be able to go home instead of get out of the office and then have to do my sessions cause I didn't want to miss it. And then I'm kind of later getting home and is later. So just by being a little bit strategic, I was able to satisfy both of our needs. So I was able to double my income because from six he went to 12 then I was able to fill in my six o'clock with two new people. I also got out of the studio early on a Friday, so I had more time for me. And then he had actually more benefit from doing what he already loved, which is coming into his sessions and realizing that he then could go home once he was done with work. You didn't. I'm like, Oh, let me make the commute to the studio.

So it was actually a win win for both of us. That's not gonna work for everybody, but I bring it up because it might be a strategy that you think you can use for your people or your classes. Asking for help. Simple strategy. I don't do it well to be honest. I'll share that with you on this platform, but I've had to learn how to ask for help in this context. Talking about clients, I mean asking for referrals, asking people know someone.

Is there someone like them, who's a friend. The best referrals come from people that already know what you're doing. You already know that you like them. Hopefully they're in that green column. Have you asked them if they might have a friend who wants to work out at five o'clock before then? Maybe they would see each other overlapping. Whatever the sell would be in terms of value, you could ask your current clients to actually help bring in others.

If it's not about them adding session times, like my prior example, maybe they have people that actually would want to come in and as well. One little side note in terms of outreach because no matter how much work you do on deepening clients, people move on, life happens and then we have space for new people. One of the big mistakes I see these days is people who completely over index at a time on social media trying to get clientele in when they've never actually gotten a client through social media. If you're someone who is monetize social media, whether that's Instagram posts or YouTube, whatever the case may be, if you've gotten clients from those posts, awesome. Keep doing it. It's working good on you. For most of the rest of us, what I've seen and we'll say here is that I don't see the time people spend on business minded client attraction.

Social media actually pay off in real dollars in, I don't see the earned revenue. I don't see people who are booking sessions from social media that don't last more than like a couple of weeks. It's fun for a second. People found them like, Hey, I want to try this out, and then they move on. There are people who had successful four, so don't get me wrong if you're one of those people, keep it up. Good job teachers, how you're doing it cause I think those variables are very specific and it's niche. For most people that I talk with, I don't see that the energy that they're putting in to putting them there, sort of a tension out there, result in actual clientele. The next thing I want to talk about, I call the Beyonce session.

Haven't trained her yet. Someday maybe here's the thing. Who is that superstar or celebrity or local figure? Who is the person that you are so enamored of that you would do anything to work for? Think of who that person is. Now, what would you do if they called you later tonight and said, Hey, I want to book a session for next week. You're like, Oh my God, I'm getting to see this person. What would you do before the session? How would you be present in the session and what would you do after the session? You can see my physicality. I'm like, Oh, I just got excited.

My posture changed. When thinking about the person that you really want to work with, that lights you up. Your attitude is really different than like, Oh, this person that I've seen for nine years and they're coming in and we kind of do our footwork and we catch up on the weekend. That's a really different persona. People would might be the same, but how you show up with one thing is how you show up for everything. So if you put on the framework of saying, who is that megastar, who is that person that I love so much because they're a great human. How you up for them is really different than you might show up for the kind of average Joe.

But think about strategically what are the things that you would do for that person. So examples are, Hey, maybe make sure that I have a bottle of water for them ready. I'll be really on time. Make sure that I know their name when they walk into my studio to greet them, to show them where things are and make sure the studio is clean. Like all the things that you would do to welcome someone that you really care about to work with you in the session. You know you're not going to have your phone out texting while you're working with them. It's just not going to happen.

So when you're doing that in the session, what are the things that you do after the session? Do you send a followup? Do you text them to make them know that you paid attention, that you listened and that their goals matter to you during your week? I'll tell you if I hired a trainer and they didn't pay attention during a session cause they were texting and then afterwards I got no followup until booking, I would think, Oh they just see me as a dollar sign. They don't really care about the work. But if they texted say, Hey, I know you're working in this goal, how did it go with this thing? Just wanted to check on you. Like, Oh, that was nice.

Like it was nice that they cared enough to reach out when we weren't in a paid session and actually think about what might be happening. For me, that's a really different service delivery package than just like show up for the session and what happened to the sessions. Okay. And then it kind of goes away. So my point is that how you show up for that person that you're really excited about harnessing that posture. Why are you not doing that for every client? What are the things that you could do? You don't have to be crazy fancy, you're not going to rent a helicopter and do a whole show for that person, but what are the simple things that would demonstrate the best of what you have to offer to clients that matter?

And I would say and venture to say that by doing that, your clients are going to be way more likely to refer you. If you have an amazing experience, you're more likely to share that with other people. That's how social media works. When you have something and you're like, Oh my God, I just tried this thing. You have to go try it. That's because we're excited about the thing and it has to register in our brains to cut through the distraction and really matter enough that we want to promote it. The last point I want to make about this client topic is you are a service provider.

Act like one when you provide a service is a different posture than if it's just like a inanimate object or a product. When you show up, present on time, courteous, professional. When you greet someone with a smile with their name and you're ready to go, Hey, our session's going to start now. It's really different than the distracted session I talked about earlier. By providing a service, you're in a very different part of an industry and how you show up in that really, really, really makes a difference. I know how hard it is with everything that we all manage to do that day in and day out, but it really does make that differentiation happen.

So I encourage you to really look at what the service we're providing, how you can do it better for your clients, and see what happens if you just up your game a little bit. If your clients kind kinda change a little bit, if you show up differently, they're going to start to notice. They're going to show up differently as well. And it will make things like referrals and growing your practice that much easier cause they're gonna want to help you. Asking for someone's help allows them to feel important and that they matter. When we feel seen, we'll give the world to somebody.

Thanks for watching this client talk. Click onto the next one.


Julie D
1 person likes this.
How do you tell a person (in the red zone ) that you don't want to work with them anymore?
1 person likes this.
How do you suggest firing a client?
1 person likes this.
Wow Jared! You were really speaking to me there. I have that client....the energy suck, the negative energy walks in the door with her and everyone in the room can feel it. I spend three sessions a week with her and I want it to be no days a week! Anxious to hear how you answer the other questions on how to fire a client! I love your green, yellow, red column tool! 
1 person likes this.
Yes, I also like to know how you get rid of the clients in the red zone.
Actually I called two of my clients last week because they just didn't fit into my type of teaching format for different reasons.
I told them that they would benefit to go to a different studio which covers her their needs and goals much better and that they maybe waste their time with me.  It took me a while to understand why these particular clients didn't fit. 
After the calls I felt so much better and relieved.
Michael Mary S
Jared, thanks for sharing your story about your "red zone" client.  Just like most instructors, I have one.  I'm actually excited when she calls me to cancel a session.  Not only do I feel guilty, but it makes me feel really inadequate as a teacher.  It's good to know I am not alone!  Thanks.
1 person likes this.
Valuable advice Jared! I see that all the comments so far are about the Red Zone clients. I want to share my story here as I had one of those. She was on a Monday at 4:00pm, and like Jared, my day before was ruined. I would feel wiped out all day Monday just knowing she was coming in. I let it fester for 6 years, and when the day came to fire her it didn’t go well. I lost my temper and she got nasty...but she thought she could continue taking classes. That’s when I had to change my attitude with her. I forgave her and told her that I was exhausted, but could no longer be her teacher, or whipping post. She’s my neighbor, I love her dearly, but I hide in my bushes when I see her coming😜
1 person likes this.
Setting boundaries early on is the best approach. People will fire themselves that way.
Great questions everyone. Julie Anke Shoshana Goldstein Connie.  Stephanie 's point w/ preventative boundaries and being clear BEFORE you say yes is GREAT.  That said, if you each HAVE a 'red-zone' Client already,  HOW you go about moving on depends on what's best for you. Some ideas: direct conversation > email, offer a solution (ie a different trainer),  or, if skittish, say your schedule is changing.
Think about how YOU would like to be treated in this situation.  Sometimes honesty is really the best policy. That said, if the situation is too far gone, an indirect approach (ie schedule change, that you can't accommodate their time anymore, etC) can take the pressure off while still allowing progress.  The best strategy I can offer: set a deadline. Stick to it. No matter HOW you do it - that you DO it is what matters (Michael Mary is definitely NOT alone, and the feelings described by Anke after the call are SO important.  As Nike made infamous: Just Do It.
1 person likes this.
Thanks Jared - that was really useful. It reminded me of some advice I had years ago - a businessman said to me 'some people drain your batteries and some people charge your batteries - limit your time with the former and increase available time for those who make you feel energised."
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