So, you just spent hundreds of hours getting certified in Pilates. What do you do next? Chances are you’re working for yourself, whether it be as an independent contractor at a studio or hustling to get your own clients. You may be working at a corporate gym. Most likely, you’re doing a combination of all the above. The one thing they all have in common is it is up to you to sell yourself as a Pilates teacher to your prospective clients.
This is the one thing that they don’t teach us in certification. We have all this knowledge of anatomy, physiology, breathing, sequencing, etc., but that’s only half of it. As much as we want to help improve our client’s mind and bodies, you’ll never get the chance if you can’t get them back in for a second session. That means you have exactly one session to convince them to come back. Most clients make up their minds within the first 10 minutes.
How do you accomplish this?
- Start before they even walk in your door. I always ask a few brief questions on the phone as I’m booking an initial appointment. Have they ever done Pilates before? What brings them to Pilates? What are their goals in Pilates? You can learn so much from them in a brief phone call. You want to take what you learn and try to anticipate their needs. Are they shy about trying a new program? Those clients will feel more comfortable working in a quiet corner of the studio. Are they into Cross Fit? Spending 10 minutes on the fine art of breathing will send them running for the door.
- Programming an initial session is one of the hardest things to do as a trainer. You want to teach them the basic principles of Pilates, give them a good workout and sell yourself all in a short span of time.
- Most importantly, be sure to incorporate your client’s goals into the workout. That is the key to getting them to come back. In my 19 years of training I have seen countless trainers start a session with a set itinerary. It doesn’t matter what fitness level or background the client has, they do the same beginning exercises with everyone. Remember that your young professional dancer shouldn’t have the same programming as your 87 year old with osteoporosis or your weight trainer who can bench press hundreds of pounds. Different people…different needs…different programming.
- Lastly, always end your session on a positive note. I always take a few moments to go over what they did in class that was good. Focusing on everything that is wrong with their body and posture is overwhelming and makes you sound like a used car sales man.
The little secret that nobody told you about Pilates training is that you are working in a service industry. Focus on what your customer wants. You always have session two.
In 1995, Grace accepted a dance scholarship to the prestigious Joe Tremaine professional dance school. Her dance career included dancing in commercials, television and film as well as for artists including Madonna, Lionel Ritchie, Wayne Brady and The Beach Boys.It was through dancing that she was first introduced to Pilates. Grace has several industry certifications, most notably the Advanced Level 2 STOTT PILATES® Certification. After training since 1996, Grace opened her first studio, Grace Anatomy Pilates Studio, in Studio City 2007 and has since taught all over the world. She quickly became a sought after instructor with clients including Ray Romano, Dakota Fanning, Leann Rimes and Sarah Brightman. Grace’s goal is for everyone to have the opportunity to experience the values of Pilates. Grace is committed to bringing the best of Pilates and Fitness to people from all walks of life. Find Grace here