I think if we only go for the ideal client we loose the opportunity to learn by working with and reaching out to those who may take more work.
Many years ago I was interning in a fitness center and the other trainer with whom I was working asked me to do the first interview with a new lady who had come into the center. My friend told me that when she showed this new person around the lady said “I hate to exercise, but know I need it”. My friend’s face when she told me was aghast. She said “I love to exercise so much I do not know what to say to her.” She wasn’t angry with the new client, but just had trouble with someone who came from a very different place. I still remember the client…. we worked out a plan for her, and I saw her a couple of weeks later and she told me how pleased she was and that she actually was not minding so much doing the exercise as we worked it out.
But that is life…. If we surround ourselves only with those who look or think like ourselves we miss an opportunity to learn and grow. An image I use over and over in class is one I used when I taught Sunday school. Imagine going to the store and buying a carton of eggs, taking it home, and opening it to find Easter eggs… Well that is us, and it is what is beautiful, and frustrating, and interesting.
However, I think that philosophical aside notwithstanding, your question may have been more about how to connect to those who will utilize and value your services. That is a tough question. The main studio where I teach has used Groupon to good effect. It gets people in to try the classes…. it is just really important to be clear that it can only be for new clients. Otherwise I have found word of mouth is better than any paid ads. When I was working full time in fitness years ago, and had my own space I never advertised at all. I only did word of mouth. it takes a while, but the students tend to stay. I only lost this first generation of students when i moved 7 hours away and stopped working for several years when my kids were young 🙂
I enjoy working with clients who have medical challenges and often need all kinds of work-around solutions to get a workout together for them. My ‘marketing’ for that is that I pretty much got the word out that this is my area of interest. Since my schedule is already very busy, I have been declining clients who are ‘apparently healthy’ and refer them. This approach has brought me to the place where new clients fit this interest, and I still have my ‘old’ clients from days gone by.
I do not further narrow down the term ‘medical challenge’ but decide on a case my case basis whether I can or cannot work with the client. Sometimes it’s even a matter of timing. As we all know, some clients can only exercise in the evening, and there are only so many hours for scheduling.
Most people think the ideal client is the one who spends the most money, those who have been members the longest, or the ones who use the facility the most. However, it is much more than that. Check up on our latest blog to see the answer.