A third of personal trainers lose business because clients can no longer afford their services. This is the number one reason clients give when leaving according to a new survey of UK PTs by specialist sports insurer Insure4Sport.
One in five PTs said clients stopped working with them because of time constraints and not being able to commit the required time to exercise. And a quarter said clients ceased training once people felt they’d achieved their initial goals.
Over half (57 per cent) of clients first sign up because they want to lose weight, with general health reasons and wanting to look good being the driving factors. However, the findings suggest that once the client’s objectives are met, they no longer feel the need to keep seeing a PT.
Half of the PTs surveyed said their clients stayed with them for an average of six months to two years. Building long-lasting relationships is clearly a far bigger challenge, with only 8% of respondents saying their clients have been with them for more than five years.
Given the rate of client turnover, a shrewd marketing plan for new client acquisition is vital for any PT. The survey found that old habits die hard when it comes to marketing techniques, even in today’s digital age.
PTs rely more on word of mouth (28 per cent) to attract new customers than digital advertising (20 per cent) or social media (19 per cent), yet 23 per cent admitted that posting regularly on social media will help their business. What’s more, over a third of PTs think that offering a better level of client service will help their businesses.
Worryingly, the results found that 16 per cent of PTs left the profession after just a year in business. And after five years, 64 per cent of PTs have moved into a different job.
Ollie Lawrence, a Manchester-based personal trainer, said of the findings: “It’s disappointing that so many people commit to exercising but for one reason or another can’t seem to sustain this commitment long-term.
“Exercise isn’t just a luxury, it’s a way of life for many people. To make their sessions as affordable as possible for as many people as possible, PTs need to offer bespoke packages to suit a variety of budgets. This will ensure they retain more clients in the long run.”
John Woosey, Managing Director of Insure4Sport, said: “Our data shows that, although gaining new clients doesn’t seem to be a problem for most PTs, holding on to them is far more difficult.
“To keep them motivated, PTs could provide loyalty incentives to customers who’ve been with them for more than a couple of years as a gesture of goodwill.
“Building a rapport with as many of their clients as possible and hammering home the benefits of continuous exercise is also essential. Digital marketing is one way of doing this, and it’s clear from our research that more fitness professionals should advantage of the opportunities available to them. This could prove the difference between having a successful career and going out of business.”
Check out all our personal trainer content in our Fitness Centre hub, packed full of advice on client retention, marketing and more.