How To Get Personal Training Clients Back: 5 Proven Methods

how to get personal training clients back

Losing clients can happen to even the most experienced of personal trainers. So whether you’ve just qualified or have been in the industry for a while, we’ve got 5 proven methods for how to get personal training clients back! 

Before we get started, take on more clients and retain your existing ones with OriGym’s Level 4 personal trainer courses! Enquire today, or browse the full range of courses by downloading our course prospectus for free!

#1- Identify Why You Lost Your Personal Training Clients

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Before you even start to think about how to get personal training clients back, you should first identify exactly why you lost them in the first place. 

There are many different reasons why clients may decide to stop training with you, and each will require a different approach to getting them back. Finding out why they left will therefore help you to determine what kind of strategy to take. 

Plus, finding out the most common reasons why your clients have left will then help you to improve your client retention rates in the future.

Some reasons people may give for leaving a personal trainer are:

  • They don't have enough time to train consistently
  • They can no longer afford the cost of having a trainer
  • They lose their motivation
  • They are going on holiday- this is perhaps the most common reason why clients stop personal training. 
  • Change of location e.g. moving house
  • Pregnancy 
  • Illness 
  • Not getting the results they want 
  • They have reached their goal 

Each of these reasons requires a different course of action or solution to get the client back.

For example, a client who says that they left because of illness should be treated differently to someone who says that they are going on holiday. A client who is ill won’t have a set time of when they are able to return to your sessions, whereas someone who is going on holiday will be able to tell you when they are back and able to return to training. 

Finding out clients’ individual reasons for stopping training with you will therefore help you to create a rejoining offer that is personalised for them- which we will discuss in the next point of this article! 

So, how do you go about getting feedback from former clients?

The best way to do this is through a ‘lost customer’ or ‘customer loss’ survey. This is a type of market research that collects feedback from former customers to find out things such as:

  • Why they left
  • Any suggestions for improvement 
  • Whether they have left for a competitor

You can conduct a survey via a paper form, text or even over the phone. But the most effective way to create your customer loss survey is online via free websites such as Survey Monkey or Google Forms.

how to get personal trainer clients back

The best way to share your survey is via targeted email marketing (which we will cover later in this article), but you could also share the link to your survey via social media. 

Online surveys are not only a lot easier to create and share, but they also make it easier for you to analyse the responses you get, since all your data is in one place. 

Both Survey Monkey and Google Forms allow you to see your results in various forms such as graphs and pie charts, so you can get an in-depth analysis of your responses.

Online surveys are also a lot easier for clients too, as they can access it on their desktop or mobile device on the move, making it a lot more likely that they’ll fill it out.

It is also a good idea to offer an incentive to increase response rates to your survey. After all, you are asking your former clients to take time out of their day to do something that is ultimately for the benefit of your business- so you will need to offer something that will benefit them too. 

In fact, it has been found that survey response rates increase by 30% when there is an incentive offered

Some examples of incentives you can offer for completing your survey are:

  • A free or discounted session 
  • Merchandise e.g. a free water bottle 
  • Entry into a giveaway/ prize draw
  • Free exercise eBook 

These are all things that won’t cost a lot for you to provide, but that add value to the client and can be what convinces them to fill out your survey. 

Check out our guide to personal trainer market research for more tips on creating a survey!

#2- Use Special Rejoining Offers To Get Personal Training Clients Back

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Once you have a better understanding of why they have left, you can then start to create a strategy for how to get old personal trainer clients back. One of the best ways to do this is through special rejoining offers. 

In other words, give former customers an incentive to come back! 

This could be in the form of a free or discounted session, or freebies such as merchandise. Just like the survey incentives we mentioned, a rejoining offer should be something that adds value for the clients and entices them to come back. ​​

However, the most important thing to remember about rejoining offers for personal training clients is to personalise them to each individual client. You will already know things such as their fitness level, needs, goals and interests, so you can use this to create an offer that is unique to them. 

This is different to an initial joining offer to attract new clients, which would be more generalised to accommodate different types of clients. 

Again, this is why finding out the reason for a client leaving is so important, as you can create a joining offer that gives a solution to the ‘problem’ that caused them to leave.

For example, say a client stopped training with you because they are going on holiday for a month. A personalised rejoining offer for them could be to offer them their first one or two sessions back after their holiday at a discounted rate. 

You could do this on the condition that they book in for those sessions and even pay for them in advance. This makes it much more likely that they will turn up for them and keep training with you, even after their holiday!

Another way you could create a personalised special rejoining offer is by tailoring it to their goals, since you will already know them!

For example, say you know that a former client was training for a 10K race. You could offer them a special bespoke package specially geared towards this goal. Or, if they have already reached that goal, give them a package for training for a marathon! 

Check out our complete guide to personal trainer packages for more information on how to create a bespoke package for a client.

This is a good answer to how to get personal trainer clients to come back, as it shows that you are treating them as an individual, making them feel ‘special’ and valued! After all, one of the main benefits of a personal trainer is that it is an individualised service- so your joining offer should reflect this! 

Enjoying this article so far?

#3- Create A Loyalty Scheme To Get Personal Trainer Clients Back

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Our next tip for how to get personal trainer clients to come back is to create a loyalty scheme. 

This is a great client retention strategy to use for your existing clients, but it is also a great way to get back inactive clients who you have not heard from for a while.   

Like a special rejoining offer, a loyalty scheme will give ex-clients an incentive for training with you again, as the reward should be something that adds value for the client. 

This is a particularly good strategy to use for those clients who have not stopped training with you for a particular reason (such as illness or a holiday), but have simply lost interest or become disengaged with training. 

Offering them a reward for their loyalty will therefore make them feel valued and re-engage them with you and your brand.

There are lots of ways you can create a loyalty program, but the most common is to offer clients a reward for every certain number of sessions they have. 

For example, for every 5 sessions they book, they will get the 6th one at a 50% discount. You could also offer a tangible reward, such as free merchandise or equipment.

When creating a loyalty program, ensure that the reward is attainable- don’t make it too hard for them to achieve it! 

Loyalty schemes are a great answer to how to get personal trainer clients to come back, as they are easy for you to set up and encourage inactive clients to book sessions with you. 

#4- Use Targeted Email Marketing To Get Personal Trainer Clients Back

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Email marketing is a form of marketing that involves building email lists by capturing people’s contact details, and then sending targeted marketing emails to those individuals.

Since you will already have their email addresses, you can therefore use email marketing as a way to get personal training clients back!

Although you can do it via text or over the phone, email is the best way to contact former clients and send them rejoining special offers, loyalty schemes and other information that will entice them back. 

One of the main things to remember about email marketing to get personal training clients back is to make sure that your email offers value to the client. 

This is different to more generalised emails you might send to all of your existing clients, where you may include general information about your business, news and events. Email marketing to get back former clients should be a lot more personalised, focused and concise.

Most email marketing software also allows you to personalise the email to include the client’s actual name, either in the subject or the email itself. This is more likely to catch someone’s attention than a generic subject line! Again, this makes them feel even more valued and more likely to re-engage with you. 

As well as using their first name, the following phrases also create a sense of personalisation in your email marketing:

  • ‘Hey [name], it’s been a while!’
  • ‘We miss you, [name]’
  • ‘How are you getting on with [their goal e.g. marathon training, losing weight]?’
  • ‘Are you still interested in training with us, [name]?’

These kinds of phrases all help to create a personal tone, almost as if you are speaking to them one-on-one. This will make your client feel valued and shows that you are going the extra mile for them

The email below from a fitness studio to an inactive client is a good example of how you can use a conversational tone to re-engage a client through email. As you can see, they have used their first name, and directly addressed them with phrases such as “We miss you!”. 

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They have also used a special re-joining offer (“15% off your next purchase of a Class Pack…”) as an incentive to get the client back. 

So, if you’re wondering how to get personal trainer clients to come back, the high level of micro-targeting makes email marketing one of the best strategies to do this! 

#5- Be Willing To Adapt Your Business Model To Get Personal Trainer Clients Back

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If you find that you are still wondering how to get personal training clients to come back despite trying the strategies above, it may be time to make changes to your overall business model. 

In other words, there may be a recurring reason why you are losing clients, which is due to a more general flaw in your business model. 

So, rather than targeting individual clients to get them back, it may be more effective to make more holistic changes to your personal trainer business plan as a whole. 

The first step in doing this is to find out exactly why your clients have left or become inactive- as we outlined in our first tip in this article!

This allows you to collect data and decipher the main reasons why you have lost clients. If you find that there is a recurring reason, you can then address this to either get them back or prevent the same problem from causing other clients to leave.

For example, you may find that lots of clients are leaving you because they are moving locations, so cannot attend your in-person sessions in a gym anymore. You could therefore consider offering online personal training, so that these clients could still train with you, even from a different location!

Another example might be that your prices are too high for clients to afford in the long term. To resolve this and stop clients from leaving in the first place, you should consider changing the structure of your pricing model. 

Asking a client to pay a lump sum up-front can often be daunting for them. Take for instance you asked for £800 cash for 4 months of your service- the likelihood is that most of your clients just won't be able to commit that amount of money right away. 

But, if you made your pricing more manageable for your clients, then they're more likely to stay on board. This can be done by simply charging £200 per month for the 4 months instead of the lump sum, which is much more digestible and obtainable. 

Using this simple restructuring method will make the payment process easier for your clients without you having to lower your prices. 

In fact, this method can even help with client retention, as the monthly payments become habitual. This is because clients are more willing to accept the idea of a smaller amount of money leaving their bank account each month, rather than a large sum leaving all at once every few months.

Taking further qualifications is another great way to get personal training clients back and prevent existing ones from leaving. 

For example, clients may say that they have found another PT elsewhere because they are looking for someone who can give them more tailored nutrition advice. Instead of losing a client, you could take one of the Online Nutrition Courses that we offer in the UK, and therefore be able to meet the needs of this client and ones in the future!

You can then market yourself as being qualified to give expert nutrition advice. This is a change to your brand and business that will benefit your client retention in the future!

Before You Go!

So, we hope that you now know how to get old personal trainer clients back, as well as some ways to prevent losing clients in the future! 

Feeling inspired? Enhance your business and avoid losing clients in the future by becoming a Level 4 personal trainer with OriGym

Enquire today, or download our free course prospectus here to browse the full range of courses we offer.


Enhance your personal trainer career prospects with OriGym

Become a Level 4 personal trainer today!

Written by Alice Williams

Content Editor & Yoga Teacher

Alice graduated with a First-Class degree in French and Linguistics from the University of Leeds in 2019. As part of her degree, she spent a year living in France where she worked for a lifestyle blog, gaining professional experience in both translation and content writing. 

Alice is also a qualifiied yoga teacher, allowing her write from a place of expertise when it comes to yoga!

When she’s not writing or practicing yoga, she also loves running, cooking and music! 

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