Did you know that it has been estimated to cost around five times as much to attract a new client as it does to keep an existing one? This is why it’s so important to focus on retaining your current clients by offering ongoing value while building loyal relationships with them. Doing this offers a range of benefits, including avoiding those expensive and effort-intensive prospecting and acquisition costs.
If your PT business is already utilising recurring direct debit payments, then you’re certainly on the right track. Here’s how to get the most out of your current client base to help unlock stronger growth potential.
Why a client-focused approach to retention is essential
When you put the client first, it means that you start with identifying their needs and build outwards from there. So, it’s not about making a client’s needs fit the product, but the product to fit the client.
This is so critical to success today because, in our digital age, there is an abundance of information and choice. If your offering doesn’t fit your client’s needs – on their terms and to their preferences – they will search elsewhere. After all, it’s just a click or two away.
This approach leads to positive word-of-mouth referrals, longevity, and a favourable reputation in the market – all of which are conducive to the profitability and growth of a PT business.
The reality is, if your clients are displeased with their experience with you, they will head towards a competitor. Then, to remain in business, you’ll be forced to spend more on trying to attract new clients, and it quickly becomes a downward spiral.
All of this highlights the importance of focusing on your current clients to keep them happy.
How can direct debit billing help with client retention?
A PT that utilises recurring direct debit billing for their clients, in exchange for regular training services, naturally fosters client retention. This is because you are already providing ‘ongoing’ value.
Services like gym memberships, personal and small group training and boot camps are examples of fitness industry offerings that can effectively retain their loyal client base by fostering an ongoing relationship.
This model, known as Subscription Billing, removes the hurdles and inefficiencies around prompting a repurchase, and instead shifts the focus to nurturing client relationships. In essence, this model allows you to build a long-term client base and retain it through ongoing and personalised service.
Additionally, you can better manage payment complexity, such as choosing to collect a larger payment upfront to cover initial benchmarking sessions or support materials, then move on to retaining the relationship with recurring payments afterwards. Some recurring payments experts, such as Ezypay, offer this built-in functionality and allow you to tailor these plans to each individual.
Encouraging retention through seasonal trends
Seasonality can often prove a challenge for personal trainers. It is common to experience four to five months, between April and October, of reduced interest and a wavering client base. However, by moving away from cash payments to recurring direct debit, clients are more likely to continue training with you throughout the off season. This continuity of training will also, of course, benefit your clients, who remain on track to achieve their fitness goals.
When clients pay with cash for each session, there isn’t such incentive to continue training, should their motivation start to decline. When a direct debit payment plan is introduced to the mix, however, they are committing up front to training with you on a regular basis and will be incentivised to show up each week.
Direct debit vs training packages
You may have thought about introducing training packages (such as 6 or 12 week challenges) to bring in new clients, but how does this compare to direct debit? Whilst direct debit can easily cater for a short-term package, the downfall here is that there is a set end date and a goal to achieve. If the client doesn’t meet the goal at the end of the challenge or training package, they may be less likely to want to keep training with you. Even if they do meet the goal, you will still need to persuade them to keep training with you.
Direct debit allows your clients to commit to a long-term training plan without a specified end date. If their goals change, you can adapt your sessions to continue to meet their needs and retain them for the long term.
How do I keep growing my PT business?
Successfully retaining your client base with subscription billing lays strong foundations for future growth and expansion potential.
If you’re ready to unlock the true potential of your PT business with subscription billing, and to turn clients into loyal advocates, check out AIF partner Ezypay to learn more. Alternatively, explore the fully integrated GoXpro + Ezypay solution to effortlessly build programs, test & train clients, and manage your business all in one place.