I'll start right from the very beginning of the client journey with you which usually starts via a Facebook message or contact form entry on your website.
I'll also be describing what I see most often. Not necessarily what's right or wrong.
1. Client Interest
The new client shows interest by messaging you personally via social media, your site or via email.
Almost all clients have questions before they buy so we usually recommend you use your PT website to invite people to talk with you, not to make a payment.
The only time I’d recommend you automate the payment process from your website is if you have a super low value product, $20 or less, and you’re expecting high volume sign ups to an automated app.
During the conversation you'll likely answer a few questions which you've answered a million times before so be sure to have some templates or a client management system ready to copy paste and adjust accordingly. We use 17Hats for this.
A great way to keep clients responding with more questions until they are ready is to end all emails with a question. Even if it’s something as simple as “Sound good?”.
You’ll have a few back and forth via email and maybe a few dead ends where the client doesn’t reply so be sure to set up a follow up series to re-engage clients who drift off. I recommend you send four follow up emails with a two day gap between each.
Next comes payment.
2. Client Payment
This can differ slightly depending on the software you use but in general, the process is as simple as sending them a link.
I personally like to add a link to payment within whatever conversation we’re having at the time. Most trainers use Paypal. You can get a link for your subscriptions by creating a subscription button. After saving your button click on ‘Email’ to get a link you can send in an email.
So you’re previous email may have ended with “Ready to Get Started” or your client may have asked “How do I sign Up”.
Be sure to include in this email all of the details about what will happen It might go like:
When clients pay money, they’ve just initiated one half of a contract so it’s your job to initiate the other half of that contract ASAP.
In other words, they’re expecting something to happen. Make something happen. Even if it’s 1am and you just slipped in to bed. Send them an email to say you’re setting up their workflow and it will be ready first thing etc.
3. Client On-boarding
Client on boarding also differs depending on the system you’re using. If you’re using Excel to manage your clients then it’s all on you to get something over to them ASAP.
If you use an app like PT Distinction or Total Coaching then you can more than likely automate some of this process.
Our client Tobias Young automates this process with PT Distinction. After the client signs up they’re redirected to an on boarding page where they register for the app.
Some of our clients also take advantage of our built in membership management software and prompt clients to register with their website after payment.
Some on boarding materials might include:
The order in which you send on-boarding materials is up to you but I’d suggest giving the client one thing to do at a time. They’re probably already overwhelmed and excited with what’s to come that receiving a massive batch of documents may put them in freeze, flight or fight mode and that’s the last thing you need.
4. Client Assessments
Contrary to popular belief, assessing online clients is possible. It’s certainly more difficult than if you were assessing an in-person client and this is why we recommend getting in-person experience before jumping into online training.
The purpose of any assessment with new online training clients is to establish a starting point form which you’ll measure progress.
With that in mind, try to communicate to your online training clients that assessments are to establish a starting point and that they only need to be assessed when you prompt them to.
This prevents clients from making their own daily weigh-ins which are often misleading and discouraging.
The next step in assessing your clients is to figure out what you need to assess. This is often a compromise between what your clients want to assess (Usually their weight) and what you know is worth assessing.
The best thing you can do for your clients is educate them on the pros and cons of each assessment type.
Online training assessment types include:
Again, assess your clients on what’s important to their progress and their psychological wellbeing. A middle aged mother might be obsessed with the scales with a goal to run 5k.
Your assessments would then be endurance and body weight focused. You and I both know that a focus on endurance would result in long term weight loss so it’s a win win for both you and your client.
5. Program Delivery
Most trainers now use a personal training software like PT Distinction, Total Coaching or Trainerize to manage their program delivery. Some trainers also use Excel or an online personal training membership website to host their own content and exercise videos.
Whatever you choose, there’s always going to be a compromise between what you need for your business and what your clients need to get their workouts done, log their sessions and give feedback.
If your client base are going to be mostly working in a gym then you may find a custom app useful. Your clients can log in to the app, find their workouts, log sets, reps and rates of perceived exertion as well as whether they actually enjoyed the session.
Home based workouts are often much simpler to deliver because you can deliver your programmes via PDF or simple links to YouTube.
Whatever you choose, try to make it as easy as possible for the client so they have no excuse to not do their workouts.
How you sign up new clients to your online personal training website will differ depending on your business structure, systems and clientele.
The systems that work tend to be those that offer your clients small simple and logical next steps to take with you at every stage of the sign up and training process.
Don’t expect to get everything right from the get go, be willing to test and try new things and most importantly, get feedback from clients who go through your system. It’s not unprofessional to ask a new client how the sign up experience was, it’s offering a good service.
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