Got Testimonials?

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Earlier this week I returned from an ah-maz-ing trip west to California. While connecting to old friends and clients, I realized that I’ve been teaching for ten years now!!! Pretty amazing how time flies right? Feels like just yesterday that I was in my certification program, getting my first reformer, and struggling to name my biz. Looking back at how I’ve grown makes me realize the importance of how my business has grown. Back in the day when I had my little one room studio in Silverlake, I pieced together a website and just cruised along by word of mouth. People would just stumble upon me searching for that new thing called Pilates on the inter-webs. While that laissez-faire approach to marketing worked when Pilates wasn’t the phenom it is today, nowadays to grow your client base you need proof that you’re not just full of, well…you know. One of the best ways to snatch a client and make them want you is proof, the social kind. 

Simply put, social proof is the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something. People are wired to learn from the actions of others. Think about the velvet rope concept. If there’s a line around a club and a velvet rope separating us from something we see others wanting we want it…and want it bad. The same concept applies in your Pilates business. When everyone is singing your praises, you get a write up in a magazine/blog, or are featured on the tele….the calls and emails start pouring in. So how the heck do you get said proof and start this avalanche of good fortune you ask? Testimonials, my dear. They are the answer to transform proof into dollar signs. Here’s my 5-step plan on how to get mind-blowing-ly effective testimonials. Check it:

Step One: Get out there and ask! The easiest way to get people to gush about you is to simply ask, especially right after you’ve just given them a killer kick-ass session! You want them to speak about their session when it’s fresh in their minds and they are on a Pilates high! Be prepared in advance with a list of questions either on a Google Doc or via a free online survey like survey monkey (check out my list of questions below). Make sure to give them a deadline so they don’t procrastinate too much while still respecting their time. You can also easily record them using a voice recorder (so you don’t have to take notes) and let them just rave away.

 

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It’s not just that Lindsay is an amazing Pilates teacher- and she is- or that she’s got a heart big as the outdoors, which she does, but it’s her fierce commitment to the vision she knows I’m capable of and her intuitive sense of how to get me there. In short, Lindsay is a gift!

 Tripp Hanson, NYC, Acupuncturist Extraordinaire, Owner of HealingPerspective

 

Step Two: Mix it up! Since we’re in the visual age, I like to take advantage and use a mix of written and video testimonials. You can ask clients if they’d be willing to be recorded and using a little flip-cam or even your webcam to capture images and sound bites that will convert even the most skeptical of clients. Social Media is also a great place to capture praise. Take screen shots of particularly favorable posts on Facebook or Twitter, and if you have a WordPress blog you can use the tweetstimonial plug-in to stream the honey-tongued tweets.

Step Three: Over deliver but keep lower expectations. Honesty is key here. People can sniff out fake-y praise from a mile away. The best way to get a radiant review is to over deliver. Wow your clients with the best possible service and attention you can possibly give. Before their session, find out what their goals are and make a customized plan. Or maybe give them a print out of their progress, as well as individualized homework in the form of a YouTube video. Then, follow up via email or phone to see how they’re feeling and if there’s anything you can put together for their next session. This full-service attention will make all the difference. It’s NOT ENOUGH to just do what you say you will: teach them Pilates, make them more flexible, strong, etc. You have to give them something that they wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else. Trust me, give, give, give and watch them shout about you from the mountain tops! So, while you want positive reviews you don’t want to overdo it on the sugar. Make sure you feature some testimonials that include client’s hesitations or possible concerns they had with trying your product or service. Just like we relate to others’ victories, we also relate to others’ fears and losses. Be sure to include some as well.

Step 4: Get Personal and Ask Please. Make sure to include as much personal information about your referrers as possible. Add their name and location, a photo, info on their profession or a link to their website. Seeing a face that you can link to a voice will make the difference to prospects when they visit your website or read your marketing materials. The more you can include the better. Also, make sure to get permission to use everything from the clients, including consent to edit the content. Make your testimonials short and sweet, and bold the important parts to catch the eye!

Head ShotWorking with Lindsay (business coaching) is very empowering and keeping me on track. Totally worth it! 

 Sandi Vilacoba, New Jersey, Owner of ThePilatesProject

Step 5: Mirror Mirror Pick the clients to interview that you would want more of. Do you just love that lady who always pays on time, shows up early, and is interesting, kind, and funny? Interview her! Prospects that see themselves in your current clients will respond to this kind of social proof. We all want more of the good things we’ve already got, right?

So, you’re ready to go out there and get testimonials, right? Get on it now! Start by taking a peek at the 7 questions I ask my clients here. Remember that you can customize them to suit your needs. Create your survey or document today! Make sure to share this post and leave your comments below on how it feels to get testimonials for your biz…

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Does Your Pilates Equipment Need A Tune-up?

Just recently I met the amazing Regina. Turns out Regina’s not only a professional Pilates instructor but also, an aerospace engineer by night!!!!! This marriage of her talents means she’s a wiz at fixing Pilates equipment AND can even get on and try out an exercise or two to make sure things feel right. The moment I met her she was hired, and is now FORM Pilates’s official equipment maintenance bad-ass. I get asked all the time by teachers how to “fix” or “keep-up” their equipment, and honestly, I’m clueless (which is why I need Regina so desperately)! So, when I was thinking of who could write the first guest post on my teacher’s newsletter, Regina was the obvious choice. She will take care of all your studio needs or teach you how to do it yourself, if that’s more your jam. Check out her article below and feel free to ask your questions in the comments below. Let’s get this conversation started!

Is your Pilates equipment in need of a tune-up? Let me get under the hood and find out!

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How long has it been since you’ve looked at your equipment?  If this was your car, it would remind you relentlessly that it needed its oil changed every 5000 miles. Your Pilates equipment is a lot less vociferous; it’s a bit more understanding of your busy schedule – that is until it starts bitching, squeaking, and moaning at you! So how long has it been? Be honest.  I won’t judge, I promise! After all, that’s what I’m here for – I’m your Pilates Engineer, at your service to make sure your equipment is in tip-top shape and running smoothly.  If you’re not able to let me under the “carriage” of your reformer, don’t fret, there are plenty of things you can do to quiet your equipment’s nagging.  Here are just a few to help you along:

42joecreatingexercisesAww Snap!! – Check your double snap hooks regularly – You know, those little guys that attach your springs to your equipment we all know and love? They’re everywhere, and they’re very important!  Why?!? Well for one, if not watched they will wear out and simply break. After repeated use, the springs can eat away at the hooks causing them to fracture, which could cause injury (not good)! Check them regularly to make sure they’re in good condition so you don’t have an accident while with a client.

Are your springs getting kinky on you?  – Just like me, I’m sure you have a love – hate, on-again-off-again relationship with your springs. One day they are silent and agreeable, and then the next they’re loud and obnoxious.  Sometimes (though you hate to admit it), they make you feel a little awkward – that is, they get a little kinky –  and that’s when it’s time to end the relationship. Period.  If you ever see a kink in your springs it’s time to trade it in for a new one. Remember that it could happen at any age so check them periodically.

Quickies might just save lives – Trust me I know what I’m talking about (I’m an engineer, remember?)!  So you know those things that attach your safety chains and push through springs to your wall unit?  They look like a zero (or a chain link)?  Well, we in “the biz” know them at quick links, they’re all over your equipment, and they are life savers!  Make sure they’re closed and tight, and they’ll make sure your clients are safe and sound!

For even more Pilates equipment tips and tricks check out my website and blog for tuning up your equipment. Leave a comment below with any of your questions and let’s make sure your clients are safe so they can get the most out of their workout!

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Aerospace Engineer and certified Pilates instructor, Regina Arras, sees the human body in a different way and has a unique passion for the tools of the trade.  She understands how the mechanics of Pilates equipment affect the mechanics of Pilates exercises. Learn more about the owner and operator of Top Gun Pilates Engineering, as she takes on the equipment maintenance and service side of the Pilates industry at Top Gun Pilates Engineering

Want to tune-up your business as well as your equipment? Get a FREE 30 min consult how to get your biz to run it’s smoothest with studio owner and business coach Lindsay Lopez. Schedule it here now!

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10 Strategies To Nix Burnout And Nourish Your Inner Rock Star

I want to welcome my first guest blogger, Tripp Hanson! Woop wool!!! Tripp is not only a good friend but also an ah-maz-balls acupuncturist who healed my hamstring a few years ago when I was out of commission. Here he gives us a stress smack down and some easy-to-impliment tips. Don’t take my word for it…read on.

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Stress, it’s an overused word, right? We all toss it around casually and use it as code for a bunch of things: tired, overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, bewitched, bothered and…well, you know.  The thing is, it’s true. We ARE stressed! It’s one of the inevitabilities of the modern, urban lives we’re living. Especially the rockstar super achievers and dreamers of big dreams among us…we gotta be firing on all pistons! But do we actually realize what that means? I’m afraid that we might be numb to it, because it’s just. so. ever-present. Can’t be avoided, so what can you do, right? Have a drink. Pop a Xanax (not so good). Meditate. Pray. Get your workout in (much better)!

Stress is more than just the tough emotional stuff that confronts us during our day to day. It’s more than that feeling you get when you’re late for an appointment, or the deadline is looming large. It’s also the noisy city we live in; it’s the light shining in our window at night from the building across the street; it’s the genetically modified foods we’re consuming. It’s WORRYING about the companies that aren’t telling us about the genetically modified foods they use. It’s the schedules we keep (staying up long after the rest of the animal kingdom has nodded off and still finishing our to-do lists)! It’s the collapsed building in Bangladesh on the news. It’s world peace. It’s the cacophony of machinery ringing/buzzing/beeping throughout the day and night. Yes, all of that AND it’s your personal relationships, your job, your boss, your finances, your…fill-in-the-blank… ! It’s in great supply, clearly. It’s physical. It’s mental. It’s emotional. 

Now for some good news: stress is a good thing in doses. It gives the nervous system a work out. Your body is there, adapting and responding, cranking for you and doing the dirty work, while you’re polishing your aura and getting it ready for prime time. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a lot on your plate and have more things cookin’ than you can shake your money maker at. We have goals by the boatload. BIG plans! We go to workshops and buy books that promise to teach us strategies on how we can accomplish it all in a shorter period of time. You know what? I love us for that! We ARE the game changers of the world…but my question (and the real topic of our chat here) is this: are we working hard enough for our bodies??

Your body is a marvel. It handles incredibly complicated biochemical transactions in the understated blink of an eye. It manages hundreds of thousands…or millions…or even HUNDREDS of millions of functions, very quietly, in the background, while you go about your day, or at least that’s what it does when it’s getting what it needs. So how do we treat this “Maserati of a body” like the fine machine that it is? Believe me, I’m not preaching…merely speaking from experience. I’ve been one of those guys who takes some supplements, knocks off the sugar, steams instead of fries,  and kicks up the green smoothies until I feel pretty good. Then I get a little careless again, until one day, I realize I’m back to square one. Feeling pudgy, sluggish…(or as I’ve coined it: ‘pudge-ish’). That revolving door gets dizzying. There’s a better way, I’m learning. So, what’s going on under the hood?

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Our bodies will do their best to work around our lack of attention for a bit. They’ll kick up some adrenaline to deal with the stress, which kicks up the cortisol production to ease the discomfort and gives us the energy we need for our day. As a result, lots of other things have to wait:  digestion, for instance is put on hold. Bloating and gas are SO HOT, aren’t they? Oh yeah, and it can cause fatigue, weight gain, problems with sleep, and a reduced immune system. Did I mention that the sex hormones are ruled by the adrenals as well? Nothing to dampen our groove like some hormones gone wild. Suddenly that rockin’ bod of yours will do its best to have a heart to heart with you. It’s feeling the stress, and if you’re not listening closely enough, it’ll not only talk…it’ll pretty much start laying down the law. The Law of Cravings. You see, our ‘cravings’ are really our body’s child-like (as in tantrum-throwing, pissed-off-cause-I-missed-my-nap) way of insisting on what it needs. In other words, if it’s a craving doing the talking, we already missed all the friendly signals that came and went an hour or 2 ago, and now baby’s getting cranky! Think about it, when we’re jonesin’ for sugar, it’s the body’s way of demanding that we restore the glucose reserves NOW in order to meet the energy demands we’ve been placing on the body without re-fueling. We’re runnin’ on empty, mama, and it’s time to pony up. We’ve stayed too long at the fair and now nothing but cotton candy will do. When a plate of french fries suddenly seems like the perfect foundation of the food pyramid it’s our body’s way of saying, “We’re stressed the f*^$ OUT!!!!” Hungry again 30 minutes after lunch? It’s because the body isn’t getting enough of what it needs, and so it starts playing the ‘quantity-over-quality’ game with you, and any crap will do, as long as it comes in bulk.

Now, let me say that I fundamentally believe that we are indeed ALL gloriously rugged individuals, Supernovas in our own firmament. That means that there’s probably not one particular way to eat that applies to all of us. That’s why in my private practice, I run lab tests to determine exactly what your Precise Hotness needs. Let’s begin with some basics that can help support that energy production, which will combat the negative effects of stress. We can always fine tune later! Here are 10 simple practices that can establish a ceasefire between you and your Stressed Inner Superstar:

  1. Protein- get on it! I know this is a tricky wicket these days. I’m not going to enter the  fracas of what protein sources you should use right here on Lindsay’s blog. You and I can talk that one out in private! First, start where you are. Vegan? Kick it up with your favorite organic, non-GMO sources. Paleo? Add some organic grass-fed something. Easy for All? Mix up a big ol’ smoothie at home. A handful of fresh berries, some almond milk, and a wad of kale for extra credit; add a high quality protein powder (something that’s nutritionally complete with a variety of whole-food nutrients) and throw some avocado or coconut oil for some creamy luxury, and essential fatty acids to boot. It’s all good! Pour it into a BPA-free water bottle (or a recycled Ball jar for a few extra ‘you’re hot AND you’re conscientious!‘ points) and get on with your day.
  2. Carry a bag of unsalted, raw almonds or cashews. A small handful of them goes a long way to carry you through the vast expanse of a tedious afternoon. Or you could bring a baggie of home-made trail mix, you hippie you…withOUT any sugary stuff please;)
  3. Try munching on apple slices throughout the day. The malic acid in there helps keep things moving along, if you know what I mean. Detoxing is your friend!
  4. Some crudite and nut butter in Tupperware for when you’re on the move. 
  5. Ambitious? Dust off the juicer, and make a vegetable juice to start your day. Use a half of a cucumber, a couple stalks of celery, a handful of spinach, a knuckle of ginger, and half of an apple. Pour it into a(nother) Ball Jar and off you go! Happen to be rich? Buy the aforementioned juice at your local juice bar for dozens of dollars and skip the cleanup!
  6. Did I mention WATER? Drink it. Lots of good clean water! You should consume 1/2 oz per pound of body weight. More if you’re sweating a lot. Just do it! And throw a pinch of Himalayan sea salt in the jug for a natural electrolyte formula that isn’t the color of your Lulu Lemons.
  7. If your digestion generally feels like Times Square at rush hour, try adding some digestive enzymes to your day. In actuality, it ain’t what you eat, it’s what you absorb. If constipation is your constant companion, add some magnesium to the menu. In addition to the almonds and cashews we mentioned earlier, use kelp, molasses, bananas, kidney or black beans, brown rice, quinoa, or spinach. Eat up.
  8. Add some B complex vitamins and vitamin C to your day. That’s like a 3-way for your Adrenals.
  9. If you can’t eliminate the news, at least contain your consumption. Especially the cheap, sensational headline type stuff. It’s a stress that is unique to our civilization, in which we hear about things that are half a world away and we have no power over. Try to reduce as much of that static as you can…read something positive instead!
  10. Last, but SO not least? Hit the Pause Button: I know you’re busy! Me too, but stop for even 5 minutes. Stop checking your emails, your texts, AND Facebook constantly. Set a timer and see if you can go 5 minutes without. Too much? Okay, 3 minutes. Think of one thing you’re grateful for, and breathe. Can’t think of anything gratitude worthy? We’ll talk about that later. Just breathe…annnnd go!!

My challenge to you is to try any of the above, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Or hell, try them all (you are an over achiever after all) but something needs to be done if you want your light to shine as brightly as possible. So, get your sparkle on! Do the things that you know are better for you before the stress gets the best of you and the cravings kick in, and watch how much better you work your Particular Kind of Magic on the world!

TrippHeadshotCroppedTripp Hanson, MS, LAc is a licensed acupuncturist in private practice in midtown Manhattan, where he is the proud owner of Healing Perspective Acupuncture. Formerly a Broadway performer- ‘Crazy For You’, ‘Kiss Me Kate’, ‘Boys From Syracuse’, ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’, ‘Drowsy Chaperone’- Tripp understands the needs of the performer and the specific demands of intense athletic and artistic performance.  His practice serves a variety of clients in all walks who want and need to function optimally, and who seek holistic wellness as a means to that end.  Additionally, Tripp has performed on concert stages all over the world, appearing with the Manhattan Rhythm Kings, sharing the bill with Liza Minelli, Chita Rivera, Rosemary Clooney, Tommy Tune, Sandy Duncan, Christopher Walken and Gregory Hines.  For more info visit: www.HealingPerspective.com

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Will The Real Joe Pilates Please Stand Up?

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The fitness industry, known for being notoriously fickle, has embraced Pilates- even if it can barely pronounce its name. Most people think it is merely a form of exercise that can yield strong abs, but what they don’t know, is that there is a man at the core of these body changing exercises. Today, Pilates has over 10 million practitioners all over the world, As the New York Herald Tribune noted in 1964, “in dance classes around the United States, hundreds of young students limber up daily with an exercise they know as a pilates, without knowing that the word has a capital P, and a living, right-breathing namesake.” Those who have studied the method, know it is so much more. They know it is the work of an actual genius, Mr. Joseph Hubertus Pilates.

Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. A sickly child, he suffered from Asthma, Rickets, and Rheumatic Fever. At an early age he was fascinated by the ideal Greek man who balanced mind, body, and spirit. Pilates or “Contrology” as Joe actually called it, has its roots in his personal experience. Determined to heal himself from his ailments, he gained inspiration from Anatomy books and the movement of animals he watched in the woods. His passion to cure himself led him to study many types of movement including yoga, boxing, diving, and gymnastics.

In 1912 Joe lived in England and was a defense instructor for the Scotland Yard. When WWI broke out in 1914 , he was placed in an internment camp where he fine tuned his method and was able to successfully rehabilitate injured soldiers by removing the springs off their beds and using them to exercise their fragile bodies. This is was the origin of first piece of Pilates apparatus.pilates.240

After the war, Pilates returned to Germany but was uncomfortable with its political and social conditions, it was then he made his decision to emigrate to America. In 1926,on his voyage across the sea, he met his future wife, Clara. Together they opened the first Pilates studio in a former boxing gym, right here in NYC, at 939 Eighth Ave. His gymnasium attracted the professional dancers (that had rehearsal in his building) actors, business men, and normal people alike that would willingly subject themselves to his authoritative prodding in hopes to be transformed by Uncle Joe.

At FORM Pilates we focus on learning Pilates as it was intended: one-on-one. While we know that Pilates is both and investment in time and money, we want you to have the most out of your sessions. This is why we offer an introductory special to all first time clients at our NYC studio. This customized approach allows our instructors to specialize a Pilates program just for you. Build your foundation solidly. Sessions are by appointment only so reserve the first of your 3 private sessions in our our New Client Special today!



You’re Only As Old As Your Spine

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If you’re squeamish about growing old, listen up. Joe (Mr. Pilates to you), lived and died by his method. He was convinced that the further we got away from our primitive selves (squatting, hunting, gathering, and well, moving), the further we moved from our health. He used his exercises like medicine and prescribed “common sense remedies for common sense ills”.  It’s no shock that Pilates was ahead of his time both in thinking and innovation so it’s a wonder everyone isn’t doing Pilates. Simply put, Pilates keeps you young. Strength and flexibility, coordination (both muscularly and mentally), improved posture, balance and core strength, improved bone density, and joint health – not to mention it’ll make you look damn good. Joseph said it best, “ You are only as old as your spine. If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young!!!” How young are you?

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Ok, so now we’re gonna get a little technical here (try not to snooze on me). This is important stuff, the place where you see the light because when you know better you do better. Right? Think about your spine for a moment. It’s the thing that’s holding you up, yo. You have 24 articulating vertebrae and 9 fused that make up your sacrum (the triangle area above your bootie crack) and your tailbone. In between the ones that move, are intervertebral disks, yes the ones that can slip or herniate. This whole show houses your spinal cord which routes all the nerves of your body from your brain and brain stem. If you don’t keep your spine aligned, free moving, and roomy you can experience pain and/or organ disfunction, since your spinal cord sends signals from your mother board of a brain. Simply put, this shit is important so if you neglect your backbone you’ll be sorry. So, what’s a gal to do?

By now you may be thinking, “This is bad news,” or “I’m screwed,” or maybe even “making space in my spine is impossible.” I assure you my friend, it isn’t. We’ll start at the bottom, of your spine and of this process. Pilates, there’s that guy again, said “It’s the mind that builds the body”. With a little faith and lots of conviction envision your spine like a column of french macaroons (deee-licious). The muscles of your abs, back, and sides form a corset around this pillar. You’ll want to wrap those muscles firmly around your macaroons (mine are salted caramel flavored) and lift. That’s right, physically and mentally elevate those cookies so as not to create crumbs and waste those expensive patisseries. While you may not see or feel tangible results immediately, with patience and persistence I promise you’ll see results. Even Joe says so, “Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”

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So, let’s begin. Pick your favorite Pilates exercise, such as the neck-pull on the mat, Teaser on the Reformer, or Rolling Back on the Cadillac. Anywhere you do Pilates (and even the places where you don’t, like standing on the subway platform) lift those Macaroons like your life depended on it, because like my mentor Shari Berkowitz says, “it does.” If you don’t know any Pilates moves or have no idea where to begin we are here to help. If you’re in NYC come and visit our lovely little studio and we’ll show you how it’s done. If you’re in some far away land, check out our YouTube channel for free video workouts, and if you want help finding an instructor near you we’re happy to help with that too. Pilates is not just body changing but also life changing. Now let’s live life like we have the spine of a 20 year old!

Interested in keeping your spine healthy and young with Pilates? Live in NYC? Visit our USQ studio and see how one of our amazing instructors can get you moving free and fine! Don’t live in the city? We have videos and audio workouts you can do out home. Check them out here.

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