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In ACE’s recent webinar entitled “Connecting with Clients during COVID-19,” Todd Durkin, MS, CSCS, ACE-CPT and owner of Fitness Quest 10 & Todd Durkin Enterprises, offered five tips for how to better serve your clients during these unprecedented times.

The key word is “serve.” Todd emphasized that these strategies are not necessarily about expanding your business or making more money, but instead focus on how to best help your clients successfully navigate the dramatic shift in lifestyle and priorities that nearly all of us are experiencing.

  1. Take care of yourself.

This can be a tough concept for many people in the fitness industry, who often build their schedules and services around the needs of their clientele. But you have to make yourself a priority these days. Remember, you can’t effectively help or coach others if you are not managing your own needs and allowing yourself some time for self-care.

This is also a great time to be mindful of your own habits and then tap into your best ones. We all have habits that affect our health and wellness in positive and negative ways, so think about which of your habits serve you best—whether they influence your physical-activity routine, nutritional intake, stress management or sleep routine—and build on those elements of your lifestyle that strengthen your foundation of health and wellness.

It’s important to remind yourself, and your clients, that the primary goal right now should be to live a healthy lifestyle in order to build your immunity and strengthen your mindset, both of which are essential elements of managing your way through this pandemic.

  1. Create your virtual gym.

Todd mentioned during the webinar how much he missed his gym, along with the high fives, fist bumps and camaraderie with clients that come from being in that environment. Of course, that outlet—which is what draws many people to the fitness industry in the first place—is gone for now and sure to be quite different for the foreseeable future.

So Todd urged getting creative. Think about how you can duplicate that joy and sense of community in a virtual setting. Offer live workouts, education sessions or even video check-ins where you ask clients how they’re doing, what kind of exercise they’re performing and what strategies they’re using to stay sane in these crazy times.

The industry has dramatically changed over the course of only a matter of weeks out of necessity, and many health coaches and exercise professionals who were long reluctant to offer virtual sessions have been forced to do so. Embrace the challenge and you may find yourself with stronger connections with your clients than you ever thought possible, and better positioned to thrive in an industry that is evolving before our eyes.

  1. Have daily touch points.

This one is simple. Technology provides countless ways to make a quick connection with clients, and you should find a way to do so nearly every day. Group emails and texts allow you to touch base and let clients know you are thinking of their well-being. Send or post motivational videos that may help to lift your clients’ spirits or keep them motivated. Or create Facebook groups where you ask clients to share their tips for staying healthy during these difficult times. The sense of community this fosters will serve everyone well once your facility is ready to reopen its doors.

  1. Live by the “Scary Times” Success Manual.

Todd shared a list of strategies offered by Dan Sullivan, founder and president of The Strategic Coach, Inc., in The “Scary Times” Success Manual. In this short document, Sullivan describes the following 10 strategies that will help you transform current into strategic growth:

  • Forget about yourself; focus on others.
  • Forget about your commodity; focus on your relationships.
  • Forget about the sale; focus on creating value.
  • Forget about your losses; focus on your opportunities.
  • Forget about your difficulties; focus on your progress.
  • Forget about the “future”; focus on today.
  • Forget about who you were; focus on who you can be.
  • Forget about events; focus on your responses.
  • Forget about what’s missing; focus on what’s available.
  • Forget about your complaints; focus on your gratitude.

I encourage you to read the full document, as these strategies may help you think creatively and communicate effectively as you continue to serve your clients during this time and moving forward.

  1. Stay in the and stay in gratitude.

The key here is to know that this too shall pass, and to avoid letting all of the negativity that currently exists in the world burrow its way inside you. Focus on one thing at a time, take care of yourself and, perhaps most importantly, project as much love, gratitude and positivity as you can.

Do all of these things and you will be able to not only best serve your clients during this current situation, but also be well-positioned to thrive in a changed fitness industry once the world reaches its new normal.

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