When people don’t expect change, they hate it.
When they expect change, they accept it.
In the previous post in this series, I told you how to set your schedule. But, like a lot of the stuff I write for you, my advice is based on experience. I screwed scheduling up for years—decades!—before I figured it out.
So before we go any further, here’s the first lesson: Always release your schedule one quarter at a time.
For example, release your “Spring 2021 Schedule” in December 2020. Then, in March, release your “Summer 2021 Schedule.” They don’t have to be the same. If you update your schedule every quarter, your clients will expect the schedule to change over time. If you simply post your schedule once, they’ll expect it to stay the same forever.
Next tip: Have everyone reserve their class spots in advance. The COVID Crisis gave us the perfect opportunity to introduce this best practice. Knowing who will be there means you can prepare the class for them.
When someone shows up without reserving: No problem, give them some homework to do on the sidelines and show them how to reserve next time. You don’t need to argue with them: winning that fight usually means you’ll lose a client.
When someone reserves but doesn’t show: Make sure you have a written policy that you present before the fact. Then just stick to it.
When a class is filled and you have a consistent waiting list: Split the class time on the half hour. For example, your 7-a.m. class becomes a 6:30 class and a 7:30 class.
Next tip: Look at your attendance from the previous year every quarter. If you had poor attendance on Friday nights last summer, don’t schedule a Friday night class. Go home. This is very hard to do, but a client-centric business has its benefits if you can accept them.
Next tip: Always sell your changes as improvements that benefit your client. If most of your clients stop coming to the Sunday class and you find yourself coaching only two or three people, cancel the class but explain how it will benefit those people: “We think it’s really important that you spend time away from the gym, get outside practice and learn new sports. Need some tips? Read our blog for some active recovery ideas!”
Next tip: Don’t set your schedule based on what you want (or your team wants). As I learned from Joe Marcoux back in 2001, you are in business to serve your clients. That means you’re available on their schedule—but you don’t have to be available around the clock.
Your clients serve you, the owner, by paying you money. In return, you provide them with value greater than they pay in rates at times that are reasonably convenient.
Final tip: Remember that group training is your budget-friendly option for people who can’t afford private coaching. You don’t have to run a class for two people—in fact, doing so will devalue your personal training service.
When I trained one person in a “class,” I allowed that member to pay $8 for an hour of personal attention, while my Seed Clients were paying $70 for the same service. Do you really want to offer that option? If not, change your schedule to optimize your service.