Forging a new relationship inside the studio space is one of the most rewarding and yet precarious situations that you will be asked to navigate as a Pilates professional. First impressions are crucial as you build and expand your clientele at any phase of your career. This is especially important for those who are just starting to teach or those who have moved their business to a new location. Every single session you teach is an opportunity for a lifelong client, and you should treat it as such.

Clients new to the work are taking a chance on you when they walk through the door. They do not know what to expect, and so it is imperative that you understand how brave they are being by trying something they know little or nothing about. Think back to when you first started, and how it felt to learn the deep and complex avenues of the work. Here are some ideas on how to present the work to your new clients so as not to overwhelm them, and yet still make the work interesting and engaging enough that the clients will book another appointment with you:

    • Ask Questions: This is one of the most important ingredients to a successful dynamic. Along with asking clients about their health history, ask them what their hobbies are, what they do for work, why they came looking for Pilates. The answers will tell you a great deal about the type of people your clients are as well as help you direct where you want the emphasis or theme of the class to be.
    • Listen: This may sound silly and obvious, but it is so important to address. Listening to a client’s concerns and questions shows that you are an understanding, compassionate ally in his wellness practice. Taking the time to explain the work and the processes behind it illustrates your competency as well as your passion for sharing. By gearing the session to the client’s wants and needs, he will feel heard and empowered by what he learns. He should never feel talked-over or belittled.
    • Keep It Simple: Remember that learning this movement technique is a process, a marathon and not a sprint. Don’t rush them. Start with something simple like breathing or footwork. From there you can layer the Pilates principles without overwhelming clients. You might even pick just a few to start with. Over-cueing is a bad idea and your clients will leave feeling confused, thinking they didn’t resonate with the work. Always link cues to something that interests clients in their daily life. Clients love when the work pertains to the other facets of themselves.
    • Emphasize Consistency: This is key. The more clients think about and do the work, the more they will feel and see changes in their body. Be upfront and honest with them about a working schedule. If they need to front-load with privates, tell them why. Explain to them how this will advance them at a quicker pace, and in turn enhance their daily life.

With these tools in your back pocket, you will navigate your clients through their first session with ease, confidence, and success!

~by Casey Marie Herdt

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  1. ginger

    I will start my OWN first class at a new Y Facilty in May when it opens! I hope that I will have many new people, so I can start them off at the ground level and work our way up! Love the ideas you gave, especially the “keep it simple”. I am already getting together some ideas for my FIRST ever class of my own! Thank you, Casey!

  2. Casey

    Ginger I am so excited for you! Being prepared is so helpful when you are teaching people for the first time. Just remember, you are the expert and you have so much information to give them. You can always go to the forum to bounce ideas off us for your first class. We are here to help!

    Take care Ginger!