Laughing in Pilates studio

When new clients come to our classes, it’s our job to make them feel welcome, comfortable and ready to get the most out of the experience.

There are a few key things we can do to help a new person, feeling some trepidation and discomfort, become a raving fan, wanting to come back again and again.

IDEAL SCENARIO

Check the class list in advance to see if there are any new people coming that day

Whenever possible, check the list of preregistered attendees and see who’s new. If you have the support of a Front Desk team, check with them as well, to see if they have any information to share about the new client(s).

Arrive early and greet them

We cannot emphasize this one enough! Being in the classroom, ready to meet and greet clients as they arrive can make or break a new person’s first experience. Arrive at least five minutes early to settle in, get the music on, lights adjusted, props set. All of these things make the look and feel of the room inviting for clients.

What to say

When you approach the new person, it’s important to show them you really care. Focus on building positive rapport and trust. Here’s a sequence of questions that has been proven to put people at ease from the moment go.

“Hi, I’m (YOUR NAME). What’s your name?

Welcome to the class.

Have you been to the studio before?

Is this your first class or have you done Pilates before?

Have you done any of our other classes?

Are you coming for a specific reason or do you have any limitations that I should know about/keep in mind?

I’ll make sure to keep an eye on your and if there’s anything you don’t understand, just waive over or give me a wink (or something) and I’ll be right over to help.

Notice how late in the conversation the question about conditions, injuries and limitations is asked. Often an instructor, with great intentions, asks this as the FIRST question, without paying any attention to building trust beforehand. Always focus on trust-building before information gathering. 

Don’t do a general shout out

Make sure NOT to ask a general question to the group. Something like “Does anyone have any injuries I should know about?” sends a strange message at the outset of a group class. It can seem impersonal and people may not feel comfortable sharing their physical history in front of a group… especially a new group.

LESS IDEAL SCENARIO, BUT STILL GOOD

If you’re not able to connect with a new class attendee prior, make sure to reach out to them after class.

Make a little announcement at the end of class: “There are a couple of new people here today so make sure to come up and say hi. I’d love to connect with you.”

Then make a b-line for at least one new person.

“Hi, I’m (YOUR NAME). What’s your name?

Thank you for coming to the class. It was a pleasure having you join us.

Compliment them about their performance, mental focus or something else they did well in the class.

Have you been to the studio before?

Is this your first class or have you done Pilates before?

Have you done any of our other classes?

What piqued your curiosity about Pilates mat/machine classes?

Don’t feel obliged to ask all of the questions above. They’re a jumping off point, intended to lead to more conversation. Clients will often share a bit about themselves, why they came and what they want to get out of Pilates.

Make a specific recommendation (if you have one). Perhaps this was a great class level for the person. Or, you may want to recommend another class or private instruction. Zero in on what you feel they’d get the most benefit from with the quickest route to achieving their goals.