Advice from industry experts & Pilates peers

Introduction

In coming weeks, we ask some searching questions and share some great advice from industry experts and your Pilates peers on how to take the Health Fund reforms and turn them into opportunities to boost your business.

We would also love to hear about any bright ideas or special guerrilla tactics you’ve developed to make the most of the situation.

Email support@pilates.org.au with your perspective (P.S. there could be PDPs in it for you!)

Ingrid Thompson, Director and Business Coach, Healthy Numbers

What are 2 things that a Pilates business owner can do right now to see more clients in their studio?

Ingrid’s response: I’d focus on the people who are already in my studio. First I would look for every appropriate opportunity to ask every client for referral. This can be elegant and genuine. The data shows that up to 70% of true, sustainable business growth comes from referrals.

How to do this: Look at who is coming in today. Have you ever asked them for referral? If you asked just last week, maybe not again today. Choose 1 or 2 potential clients to have a “referral asking moment”. The easiest way to ask for referrals is when your client is commenting on how good they feel, or how fabulous you are…. “Thank you for saying, Margaret. It’s terrific working with you and people like you because XXXX (whatever is appropriate). Maybe you know someone who would benefit from Pilates? We are always looking for new clients just like yourself” or similar, so it sounds comfortable for you to say. This is a way of business growth.

Second: I would look back through your files and see who was coming and stopped – for whatever reason. Call them, have a chat about how they are and let them know what they are missing out on 🙂 . Of course it’s a bit more complex than this, but reactivation is essential for business success.

 

Give 3 reasons a Pilates business owner would say “No” to a client:

Ingrid’s response:

  1. discounts – it’s best not to discount unless it is a conscious decision as part of a greater strategy and in this extreme case record the full amount and note the discount as a business cost
  2. when it is not a good fit – if the client has issues that are not part of your skill set, be honest about what you can do and help them find the right professional to help them
  3. when the client wants to book a time that is not in your schedule and you really do not want to offer sessions at this time. It is so easy for people who are naturally helpful to want to fit in with the clients timing – even at the expense of our own needs. Even if you might be tempted to think it may be a one off, best to stay within your own parameters.

 

Suggest 3 ways to promote your Pilates business that do not include FB and Insta?

Ingrid’s response: We all know that “everyone” is on FB and Insta. What about the off line ways to promote your Pilates business?

  1. go and meet other local business owners in person and invite them to visit your studio, take an intro class and most important – ask them how you can help them, how you can work together?
  2. come up with a “lumpy mail” strategy. In the “old days” business used to use direct mail. In today’s online world, there is still space for off line and the advantage of “lumpy mail” is that you can really come up with ideas that will make your Pilates business stand out from every other business
  3. use the PAA brochures to help promote Pilates at every opportunity. Have some in your studio, hand them out to other businesses. These are a terrific resource for you as members

It may seem like a blow to our reputations and credibility to have health benefits removed from Pilates, but I believe we should also look at the positives of this change and use this opportunity to showcase our strengths as fully qualified Pilates teachers.

My Brisbane studio has never been affected by whether a client can claim benefits or not.  I have always instilled a philosophy that applauds people who choose to invest in their own health and therefore offer a selection of classes that accommodate different price points and budgets.

The new changes in place also mean Physiotherapists cannot advertise “Pilates” classes that offer health rebates.  Many physiotherapists are still wanting to offer Pilates classes alongside their specialised rehabilitation classes (which will still be eligible for health rebates) and this is where I see wonderful employment opportunities arising for Pilates teachers within the physio/Pilates centres.

Since this announcement I have been approached by a highly reputable physiotherapist in Brisbane who chose to replace her physio Pilates with contemporary Pilates and requested these classes be taught by minimum Diploma level qualified Pilates teachers.  This has given me an opportunity to grow my own business, work alongside physiotherapists and expand my network.  I have also since been approached by another physiotherapist looking to do the same who is needing qualified Pilates teachers.

I believe we can always find a positive to any change that comes our way and as we continue on our road to Pilates recognition why not recognise the opportunities that may arise.

 

Lisa Jackson

PAA committee member
PAA Principal Trainer member
Founder and Director Core Pilates Brisbane