How to Retain the New Year’s Clients

How to Retain the New Year’s Clients

3 Ways to Retain the New Year’s Clients

The general public assumes gyms far and wide must love January and the influx of New Year’s resolutionists it delivers.

I guess if you’re a Globo gym, it might be a decent time for the business, as salespeople can lock people they know nothing about, and don’t particularly care about, into a one-year contract. 

But if you’re a small gym owner, January isn’t always the best time for attracting those long-term minded clients we value so much. And contrary to what many small gym owners have tried, running a 6-week transformation challenge is probably the worst thing you can do, not just for the business and the coach, but also for the client.

Sure, a 6-week New Year’s Transformation Challenge of some sort might bring in a large group of temporarily eager folks looking to improve their health and fitness. 

But think about the message you’re sending to them: You’re essentially selling six weeks of workouts. You’re selling a recipe for a short-term commitment. 

On top of that, you’re probably throwing them into a group with other inexperienced folks, so the best you can do as a coach is administer a sweaty workout and hope nobody is moving too egregiously. (Sounds pretty exhausting and unfulfilling for the coach, too.) There’s certainly no chance for any kind of authentic relationship in this setting. 

Put more bluntly, nobody is going to tell you they have genital herpes in a group class. 

The point is: There is no opportunity to dive into the person’s real issues—both physically and emotionally—with a group of New Year’s resolutionists. There’s no chance of helping them discover their true intention or purpose. And there’s definitely zero hope of properly assessing each individual so you can put them on a path to long-term health improvements. 

So what’s the answer to give yourself the best shot at retaining the January crowd?

Build a one-on-one relationship.

3 keys to relationship building and client retention

1. Individual assessment 

Instead of selling 6-week group workouts, take the time to individually assess each client who comes through the door.

The OPEX model consists of three one-on-one assessment sessions with the same coach to help the coach get to know exactly what each client needs to be successful. OPEX coaches learn exactly how to do this via the Coaching Certificate Program (CCP).

CCP Coach, CrossFit Games athlete and the owner of OPEX Revival and Revival Strength in San Rafael, California Marcus Filly put it this way. 

“For me, the CCP was my first introduction to having a thoughtful coaching structure. I didn’t have a system for assessment before that. I was a group fitness coach and just guided people through a workout, so learning about assessment was essential to me,” he said. “That, and having structure and an approach to program design were absolutely key.”

Meanwhile, in this article, Lauren Borducci explains how learning the OPEX assessment system has made all the difference to her client retention.

Here are three other useful resources that explain the OPEX assessment process: 

OPEX’s 3-Session Assessment Brief.

Ace the assessment.

How to assess the squat.

2. Intention and purpose

One of the biggest shortcomings we have witnessed for years is a lack of understanding of intention or purpose: Why does the person really want to train with you? What are their priorities? What do they really want to achieve?

In short, without having a full understanding of what the person wants, what they’re willing to give and why, chances are their actions will be out of alignment with their stated goals. 

On the other hand, when intention and purpose are clearly defined and understood, the person can now achieve true alignment in their life—alignment that extends beyond just the gym. 

OPEX CCP coach Georgia Smith explained how alignment leads to lasting success in this article.

Or as Jonathan Stuart, the owner of OPEX Mount Sinai in New York, puts it: “When the client’s intention is aligned with (their actions), the process is night and day. Before, the intention was misaligned. People would just come in for a good hard dose of fitness without a purpose,” he said. 

With intentions aligned, Stuart’s client retention is soaring.

3. Long-term plan

Once you have a deeper understanding of your clients’ purpose, lifestyle, needs and goals, you put yourself in a position where you can help them well beyond a fickle commitment to a New Year’s resolution. 

And with a coach in their corner to provide them with direction, accountability and an individualized training plan, your clients are put on a path to achieve real success—be it fitness, nutrition, body composition or health improvements (or all of the above)—they have always wanted. Not just for six weeks or for the sake of a resolution, but for the sake of their lives. 

This is exactly why Stuart switched to the OPEX model in August, 2018. 

“I knew there was so much more value in this than what I was doing before: watching clients come for six years and sweat it out every day, but never really accomplish anything,” he said.

“Before, we were fast-tracking people, but (health and fitness) is actually the opposite,” he said. Long-term change is slow and steady, Stuart added.

Today, with the help of the OPEX assessment process, a focus on intention and purpose, ongoing monthly consults and an individualized training program, Stuart is able to provide continuous value to his clients and retain them for the long term.

You can too. 

Take the first step in providing that continuous value and learn the OPEX assessment process for yourself in the free Professional Coaching Blueprint.


Fitness Assessments for New Clients