How do successful group fitness instructors, personal trainers, and business owners build and nurture a following that will stand the test of time? It starts with dedication, increases with commitment, progresses with continual education, and explodes when it becomes personal. Every relationship, whether between family, friends, co-workers, or a physician, requires a personal connection and the ability to relate to one another. It is no different for group fitness instructors. In order to be a successful certified instructor you have to build a relationship with each client that is based on mutual understanding and trust, also known as a ‘rapport’.
In the world of fitness, rapport is the connection between a trainer and a client, and it is a necessity if you are going to make that drop in student a client for years to come. It is up to the fitness instructor to put forth the effort and welcome a prospective client into a relationship that promotes open communication, develops trust, and fosters a commitment to regular fitness classes.
So, how do you build a relationship based on rapport? Vulnerability; open yourself up and let them see you are human. The key to a certified instructor’s success revolves around understanding your client’s goals and being properly educated to help them meet those goals. A rapport like this is built on open communication, positive experiences, compassion, encouragement, and understanding.
A successful instructor – client rapport isn’t reached overnight or by attending a handful of classes. As with any relationship, building a rapport with clients takes time and effort. Start by using your personality to make clients feel welcome and comfortable in class; share your personal triumphs so they can relate to you as someone who has been through the same struggles. As your clients feel more comfortable with you they will begin to open up and share their exercise likes, dislikes, fears, and goals, this is when you make that professional impression that will last a lifetime. Keeping your instructor qualifications current, putting effort into being a great instructor, and perfecting your own technique; is all that is needed to make this happen. Keep in mind that even after you’ve establishing a rapport, a good instructor constantly nurtures it by remaining trustworthy, being genuinely concerned about your clients needs, desires, and progressing goals.
Building a rapport with clients is much easier then it sounds, the secret is to make yourself vulnerable so your clients can relate to you.