How to Throw a Client Appreciation Party… That Also Brings in New Clients!

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Every year we throw one big client appreciation party that lets our clients know how much we really do appreciate their business. What surprised us, though, was how we always bring in 5-10 NEW paying clients from each party. Since it was never our intention to throw the party for that reason we had to work backwards to figure out how we were signing up another $2,500 – $5,000 in new MONTHLY RECURRING revenue from these parties… Well, we figured it out and here’s how we do it:

If you haven’t read my previous posts on this topic, this idea works unbelievably well for a Grand Opening Party! (If you haven’t opened a studio yet, or you’re do a “Grand Re-Opening” keep this idea in mind as you’re reading through this post)

Okay, so this year we’re doing our client appreciation party for the holiday season. We’re holding it on December, 9th from 7-10pm at our studio. I have a ton of tips for you on how to save you a boatload of money when throwing a studio party, but I do want to make you aware of a few things:

1. You do NOT need to own a studio – you can rent a space with another CPT, or by yourself and throw a party for your in-home clients, bootcamp clients, etc.

2. This party does NOT need to cost a lot of money or be fancy…

3. You only need about 2 weeks to put it together and let everyone know about it

Okay, so now on to how to throw this client appreciation party.

Step 1:

The first thing we do is pick a time and a date. Since everyone works for the most part from 9-5 we chose and after work time of 7-10pm. We also picked a Thursday since it is towards the end of the week and it’s a night that people often go out on anyway so it wouldn’t be that strange to get clients out of their homes on that night. (Monday or Tuesday may not work that well, and on the weekends most people are booked up with family commitments… however, you have to check and see what works best for you, your team, and your clients).

Step 2:

We always hold our parties at our studio since it doesn’t cost anything. I like that. I like not wasting money. Plus, everyone is used to coming to our studio and as you’ll see later this is how we convert prospects to new paying clients.

If you don’t own a studio I suggest partnering with a spa, martial arts dojo, dance center, etc. and splitting the costs while using their location. You could also rent a hall, use a client’s home, etc.

Step 3:

You need to decide on food and drinks. I just do light appetizer type food and of course alcohol. Although I’m no longer someone who really like to drink, alcohol brings people to parties… especially free alcohol.

We’re offering skinny margaritas, martinis, wine, and maybe beer. At our grand opening party we did champagne.

As for food, we often to shrimp, fruit, and veggie platters. This year we’re doing sushi and veggie platters. We’ll have California rolls for vegans and people who freak out at the sight of raw fish. Wrap sandwiches are also a nice idea while still staying relatively healthy. (We do try to still create a healthy environment).

All we do is use a folding table with a table cloth on top and then lay the food out with paper plates and utensils.

Step 4:

We hire a bartending company for the night. They typically cost $300-$500 and bring all the glassware, ice, table, tablecloth, drink mixers, and 1-2 bartenders to make and serve drinks. The REAL reason we ire them is that they carry insurance and they add my studio to their policy for the night which take any liability away from my business if some freak accident were to occur as a result of the drinking at my studio… I’ll always pay for precaution.

The bartenders are always very professionally dressed and courteous to our guests and typically they stay for 4 hours. We have them start setting up at 6:00pm. We end up tipping them $50-100 depending on the arrangement, craziness of the party, etc.

The cool thing is that they also clean everything up as well.

Step 5:

We hold a free raffle at the event.

At the grand opening we have people put their name, phone number, and email in for a free week of personal training, etc.

(of course, all the leads we get from that raffle end up getting a call and an email letting them know we would be happy to offer them a complimentary fitness consultation)

The raffle at the client appreciation parties involve coupons to local businesses, teeth whitening gift certificates, etc. All we do is let the local businesses know that we are having a big client party and if they’re interested in adding a valuable coupon or gift to our raffle the are welcome to. Most businesses see the value in giving someonthing away to make our clients aware of their business…

And it makes us look good since we’re giving free stuff away!

We just have clients and party goers put their name, email, and phone number on a post-it note and put it in our clear plastic raffle box. (We do the drawing the next day or later that night at the party).

(BIG TIP: Unless you add a few “dummy” post-it notes to the clear raffle box ahead of time, no one will be the first one to do it… this was a tip I used to give health clubs offering a sign-up sheet for complimentary fitness consultations – it works!)

Step 6:

For our grand opening party we did special doorhangers that we hung all over our neighborhood to announce when the party was. We also invited our local business organization to send out an email announcement. AND, we sent letters to condo buildings in our area that could afford our services and let them know about it.

Of course, we told all our family, friends, current clients, etc. to invite all their friends. (We probably signed up 12 new paying clients from that party alone!)

For our current client appreciation parties we post a 8.5×11 poster letting everyone know when it will be and building a little hype.

We also send out an email (and possibly and evite) making everyone aware of it.

Step 7:

How we turned a good old fashioned client appreciation party in an amazing client getting event.

Remember, we weren’t even really trying with our first client appreciation party… it just happened.

However, now that we know the secret we use it every year. (As a side note: our studio is pretty much sold out and we only except about 2 new clients per month, although we do take on new in-home and corporate clients. Eventually, I hope you have this type of problem as well ; )

Now here’s where it gets good. We ask each member to bring a family, friend, or co-worker to the party and invite them for some fun, free food & drinks, as well as sharing in our health & fitness community!

Members love it, their friends love it, and we’re happy that they’re happy (and that we’re going to bring in new clients as well).

The trick is that at the party you do not want to try to sign anyone up to a package. All we do is set up a time in our schedules for their complimentary fitness consultation. (All my CPT team members are required to be at the party, but it’s fun for everyone since their clients are there too!)

We never solicit new clients at the party, but as you’re mingling with friends of your clients at the event obviously they end up asking you about what you do, how you get results, etc. etc. etc.

It’s only natural that you eventually say, “Why don’t you come in for a FREE complimentary fitness consultation where we can sit down and go over your previous workout history and goals in more detail..

It really is that easy…

All my CPTs now know how to use that magical little line if it flows naturally within the conversation.

And, if you don’t have the opportunity to schedule new prospects right there on the spot here’s how else we get new leads:

1. Raffle

Explained above… we have a raffle box where new leads can enter their contact information.

2. Business cards and rack card table

Basically we set up a table in the studio next to where all the food is. On this table are our sponsors names, coupons, etc. And then of course… we have our rack cards for a Complimentary SCS Fitness Consultation (you’ll see how to go through this vitally IMPORTANT consultation in detail on the VIP Seminar DVDs). We also place our business cards, free workout cards (see other post on this), as well as our poster that says we sell “Holiday Gift Certificates” for friends, family, and coworkers… this works great too!

3. Success Stories

By now you’ve seen the tour of my studio and I bet you can imagine that when a new prospect walks up to our studio and see all the success stories hanging on the wall they are blown away and want to read them all… who wouldn’t want to become a client after that!

And since their friends are already clients, they’ve been pretty much pre-sold as much as they possibly could without us even saying a word. This works great too!

4. Comfortable Environment

The reason why studio parties work well for picking up new clients is because many people are intimidating to come up to or meet a trainer who knows so much more than they do. Let’s face it… we’re an intimidating group of great looking people ; )

However, when you create an inviting environment filled with happy people and alcohol you’re now enabling prospects to approach you in a non-intimating space.

5. Best Open House

New prospects also get to see your studio as a fun and non-intimidating space which breaks the ice and allows them to let down their guard.

They will now feel more comfortable going up to you and seeing if they too can become a client… or at least want to come in for a complimentary fitness consultation.

6. Professionalism & Caring

Without going on and on, let’s just say prospects are blown away when you present them with a clean, fun, and friendly environment. They obviously also see that we care about our clients and we’re WAY different than your average local health club gym trainer… which is why we can charge more.

I hope this post helps you envision ideas of how you can throw your own holiday, grand opening/re-opening, or any time of the year “client appreciation party”

The total cost of our event will be somewhere around $700 – $1,000 and it will most likely yield another $30,000-$50,000 a year from new client revenue.

I would say the trade off and investment is worth it… wouldn’t you?

>>> Download the Client Appreciation Poster Template Here <<<

(I created this Poster for you in Word as a “.doc” so you should have no problem editing it in less than 5 minutes!)

Let me know if you have any questions – I’m here to help!

Comments

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  • Joe Buabeng

    Is there a blueprint on how to organize and manage an effective grand opening?

    • Hi Joe,

      You can just type in “grand opening” to the search box on the top of the right hand column. This is the best way to always find special interests you have. The post that details Grand Openings is also the same one that covers “client appreciation parties” and grand re-openings.

      It’s a monster special S3 Post that walks you through everything step-by-step. I have also had quite a few S3 Members email me saying that used it with great results!

      Here it is:
      http://www.smartstudiosystems.com/fitness-business-tools/how-to-throw-a-client-appreciation-party/

      Enjoy and put it to good use!

  • One other thing I do is to invite my friends & family, as well as have my CPTs invite their friends & family so that we guarantee we have a decent crowd which makes for a fun time!

    Plus, no one wants to walk into a party that no one is attending…

  • I forgot to mention that this event creates a HUGE BUZZ!

    People in your community will be talking about it and asking each other if they are going or not… this is what happen for our “Grand Opening Party.”

    We advertised for that one since we didn’t have many clients at the time (maybe 20-30 total)… It worked too. Our studio was packed with our neighbors, clients, their friends, people in the local business community, etc.

    I really think this event was one of the reasons we sold out of all client openings within 6 months!

  • I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes this year after our Dec. 9th Party as well!

    • Joe Buabeng

      Thank you for the great insight coach