We have been in business for 12 years in Vancouver--personal training hundreds of people across all ranges of health / fitness levels and over that time we have learned soooo much. We recently completed an Unlimited Group Training Questionnaire so I thought I’d share my thoughts on this subject—no rocket science here just some of the basics.
Being in a highly competitive service business an important lesson is to ALWAYS listen to your clients. Listening is not as easy as it sounds, especially for certain types of people. Listening with intention is a valuable tool for anyone in business. This can be done a number of different ways if you are a personal trainer: 1) Casual Conversation (on the training floor) 2) Targeted methods
Luckily we get to spend an hour or more weekly with clients. Over time you build incredibly strong relationships with these people, often sharing private details of each other’s lives etc... When I was training 30 hours a week I would always probe to learn from clients. How?
Directly: Ask them specific questions about the training or the business and allow them to be comfortable to answer honestly. For example: To a client: ‘One of my goals this week is to check in with a few of my regular clients to see if they have felt like they have been pushed hard enough in their last 5 sessions here? I just want to be sure that they are all being challenged appropriately.’ Then shut up and listen. I mean really listen. Guaranteed something positive will come out of listening. Then make the necessary changes needed.
Indirectly: Start a conversation about their fitness or health and listen. For example: ‘Have you ever thought about doing a 10km running race?’ Often you will hear a number of excuses for the reason for the no—apply them to your service. For example: I just don’t feel my legs are strong enough to last over 10km, I wish they were! Obviously, you can adjust some future training to address strengthening their legs.
Questionnaire: These are powerful because often times you can make them anonymous thereby clients are more inclined to be honest. You can also get many opinions on a specific question. We had Megan facilitate one for our Unlimited Group Personal Training and here is what we learned: 1) More 6am classes are needed ACTION: Adding another 6am class Wednesdays 2) More variety needed ACTION: The last staff meeting was an hour of creating variety in all areas of our workouts and creating a whole new class concept (Kill & Chill)
Email: Some clients prefer this method over face to face. Typing an answer out is easier for some people to communicate true thoughts on something. The listening here is taking the time to read and disseminate their answers—ask for clarification if you need it too.