Win New Clients With Memorable First Impressions

by Alicia Streger on Sep 21, 2018

Do you want to strategically and consistently educate and motivate new clients so they feel that they’re getting incredible results—and so you have a steady flow of referrals and earn positive social proof? Are you ready to not just deliver but overdeliver? If your answer is yes, then one of your most important next moves is to create an unforgettable step-by-step onboarding process.

Onboarding means much more than simply welcoming new clients with a handshake and a liability waiver. It means drawing them into your company’s culture and making them feel that they’re a part of your fitness family. It’s about providing the accountability and support they need in order to be successful. It also means asking for referrals, soliciting feedback and gathering useful testimonials and reviews.

Most important, it means finding new, creative ways to deliver an unforgettable experience and create raving fans for life.

The First Step

Put yourself in your ideal clients’ shoes. Before you begin building your onboarding system, ask yourself these questions:

  • How can I make my new clients feel welcomed and excited—and eager to tell everyone they know that they’ve just signed up for one of my programs?
  • What do my new clients need to learn in order to be successful and get incredible results?
  • What kind of support and accountability do my new members need?
  • How do new clients feel, and how do they want to feel?
  • What experience would I want to have if I were a new client?
  • How can I exceed all expectations?

After answering these questions, you’ll be able to create a more thoughtful and impactful onboarding experience. Let’s break it down.

New-Member Orientations

Orientations are a fantastic way to welcome new members, make them feel comfortable and reinforce their buying decision. During the orientation, you have the opportunity to introduce them to your team and to other members, discuss how your program works, share important information (including what they can expect from you, and you from them!) and let them know you’ll be there for them every step of the way.

Depending on your business model, you can do orientations either one-on-one or in a group setting. Offer orientations once a month or as often as twice a week. If in-person meetings aren’t the best fit, create a video orientation and email your newcomers the link.

Orientations typically last 45–90 minutes and may include the following:

  • 15-minute intro/welcome/icebreaker
  • 10-minute screen (if applicable)
  • 10-minute dynamic warmup,
  • 15- or 20-minute workout
  • 5-minute cooldown
  • 15-minute nutrition session
  • 10-minute goal-setting session
  • 5-minute closing, in which you answer questions

Email Nurture Sequence

An email sequence is a series of messages sent at preset intervals. This onboarding element can be completely automated! Try crafting a thoughtful email sequence to “drip” out during the first 90 days. At a minimum, email new clients at least once a week with fun, entertaining and educational blasts. The more personality you inject into your content, the more likely people are to read the emails and connect with you and your business.

What should you include? Share case studies, educational information and additional offerings such as nutritional support—to name just a few. Email sequences are also a good place to remind people of your referral incentives. And don’t forget to also systematically ask for Facebook, Google and Yelp reviews.

New-Client Welcome Video

Creating a welcome video is easier than ever, and it’s a good way to help even the largest facility deliver that personal touch. You, or anyone on your team, can film a personalized 30-second welcome video for each new member. Text the video (if you have the client’s prior permission), or email a link. Here’s a quick sample script:

Hey [client name], it’s [your name] from [business name]. I want to personally welcome you to [business name]. We’re very excited to have you as a part of our fitness family, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to work with you and help you achieve your goals [insert goals here if you know them]. If you ever need anything, just call or email us anytime—that’s what we’re here for. Hope you have a wonderful day, and I’ll see you soon at [program name]!

New-Client Phone Calls and Texts

Do you want new clients to receive a phone call the day after their first workout? Great! How about a motivational text message on their seventh day? Or maybe an accountability/check-in call 30 days after their start date? These are all meaningful personal touches that seem “random” but are anything but! Check-ins, accountability updates, birthday celebrations, and milestone recognition are part of building relationships. They’re an excellent way to infuse motivation and inspiration into your onboarding procedure.

For more suggestions, please see “7 Keys to Creating an Unforgettable Onboarding Experience” in the online IDEA Library or in the April 2018 issue of IDEA Fit Business Success). If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.

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About the Author

Alicia Streger

Alicia Streger IDEA Author/Presenter

Alicia Streger is a fitness business owner turned business coach who specializes in helping fitness business owners magnify their impact and streamline their businesses. She works closely with people to help them build businesses that give back to the world while creating BOTH financial and time freedom. Alicia has built multiple offline and online businesses from the ground up, and now teaches her success strategies and systems to other fitness professionals. Her website is