How to Get More of the Right Pilates Clients
It’s the question every teacher I know, every studio owner I know, wants the answer to.
Knowing what you do best and who you like to work with are the first steps to getting more Pilates clients, and they’re some of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your business. Because there may be a teacher for every client, but every client is not your client.
With the number of Pilates studios and teachers working today, saying that you teach Pilates isn’t enough to get more clients. It’s your job to let prospective clients know what makes you unique and that you’re the right teacher or studio to help them reach their goal or solve their problem. If you do your job right you’ll attract clients who are uniquely suited to your expertise, who will rave about what you do and stay forever.
So how do you attract those amazing clients? By getting clear – really clear – on what your Pilates superpowers are and who you love to work with.
If you’ve read my last post on The Art of Observation, you know that one of my superpowers is my x-ray vision. Ask any of my students, my powers of observation are off the charts. How did they get that way? Years and years of figure drawing. I learned to look at the body, notice every little detail, every little inconsistency, and then translate it into the drawing. This skill translates beautifully into teaching Pilates. I’m a details person. It colors the way I teach, it allows me to be dead on with my corrections and it’s one of the reasons clients come to me.
So, what are your superpowers?
Do you have x-ray vision? The power of touch? Is your intuition off the charts, or do you have a knack with injuries? Are your superpowers more practical? Can you make anyone sweat before they finish the hundreds? Can you solve any problem?
Below are a few exercises to help you define your superpowers.
Take some time to reflect on your last full week of teaching. Create a simple chart for all the clients and classes you taught.
Create columns for the following:
- Student’s Pilates Goal
- Kind of Lesson (fast paced workout, detailed, slow and precise to care for an injury, etc.)
- Impression (blew the client’s mind, meh, struggling, etc.)
- How did you feel?. Were you energized, exhausted?
- What was your favorite part of the session?
- What did you love helping the client with?
Now, look at your classes. Are there any that drain you? Make you feel energized when you’re done? Can you pinpoint what makes you feel that way?
The more details you can add the better.
When you’re done, look at the chart. What are the common elements? Are you energized by classes and not private lessons? Is there a type of client you love to work with? A student’s goal that keeps showing up?
Part of determining who you love to teach is also looking at what you love to teach, learn and explore.
Think about the workshops and continuing education classes you’ve taken over the last two years. What subjects were you most interested in? Which one fell flat for you? List them all. Are there any themes? Did you take a ton of workshops on the shoulder? Fascia make you giddy? Did you learn to sculpt the body in clay?
Exercise #3 –The Favorite Student List
List your top 10 all-time favorite students. You know, the ones. They’re the students you’ll come in early for because they show up and do the work. The ones you can’t believe you get paid to teach because the lessons are so fulfilling. The ones that make you realize on a bad day why you do this work.
Think about the things that made them special for you and add them to the list.
- What did you love about them? What made the sessions fly?
- Were they women, men?
- What age group did they fall into?
- Why did they come to you for Pilates?
- Who referred them?
- What problems did you help them solve?
- Were they professionals, moms, athletes, actors?
And then dig deep. Was there anything else, a feeling an impression, a way they worked that made teaching them so amazing?
Exercise #4 -The Most Challenging Client List
We’ve all had them. Those clients who just didn’t work out. They drained your energy, came in with unrealistic expectations you just couldn’t meet or they wanted something you couldn’t offer. Make a list of your 10 most challenging clients. Really think about what made working with them so difficult.
- What was the number one challenge?
- Did they come to you with unrealistic goals or problems you couldn’t solve through Pilates?
- Were there personality issues? Did you just not jive and why?
- Did they want a different kind of session than you offer?
- Did it appear that your ability to communicate with them wasn’t working?
Look at each list individually. Are there any common threads? Do classes exhaust you, but private lessons give you energy? Do you love teaching hard, sweaty workouts, but working with injuries leave you drained? What skills from your LBP list do you pull into your teaching?
As you pull your skills, superpowers and teaching preferences together, you should be able to form a pretty clear picture of who your ideal client is and how you like to work.
BONUS (Exercise #5)
Want to go deeper? Now that you have a clear idea about who your ideal client is I want you to turn it around.
Write a brief “letter to the Pilates Santa” as if you were your dream client. Using their words, paint a picture of their ideal Pilates teacher, session, program, and studio. Focus on the results they want to see after working with you. Really put yourself in their shoes. What’s important to them? Schedule? Location? Education? Equipment? The ability to work with injuries? Whatever it is, make sure you include it in your letter.
Now that you are really clear about who your ideal client is you can target your marketing efforts to them.
How’d you do? Did you discover anything new? Did these exercises clarify give you and clarity or insights? Let me know in the comments below.
Did you discover anything new? Have any AHA! Moments
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.