Demos: A Key to Your Pilates Success

By Ken Endelman, Founder and CEO of Balanced Body
As originally seen in Club Solutions Magazine

Whether you are trying to attract new clients into your Pilates program or transitioning mat participants into
Reformer classes, an effective demonstration program is a crucial component to your success. In talking to many of our
commercial customers we’ve found that an effective Pilates demo program can generate an 80 percent success rate in
getting clients to sign up for their Pilates program.

Here are some keys to creating a successful Pilates demo.

1. Connect with the person you are teaching:
Understand your perspective client’s needs. Take some time, ask a few questions and customize the demo to best suits their specific requirements.
These questions might include:

  • What is their current fitness program if any?
  • What are their fitness goals?
  • What sports or activities are they interested in?
  • What do they want to change about their body?
  • Do they have any injuries they are recovering from?

2. Discuss the benefits they will receive from doing Pilates at your facility.
Tailor the benefits to their particular goals and interests:

  • Improved power and performance – particularly if they participate in a specific sport like golf or tennis
  • Better flexibility
  • Stronger core
  • A more toned body
  • Feel better

3. Provide an exciting, dynamic and motivating workout/demo
Most club members expect to be challenged, so your demonstration should include challenging exercises. Exercises should allow a variety of clients to successfully feel results with, and select a workout that is appropriate and in relation to their overall fitness level. Perhaps most importantly, your demonstration should be well-paced – choose exercises that can transition quickly from one to the next and avoid staying with one exercise for too long.

4. Sign them up right then and there!
Have everything you need right there to complete the sign-up. Don’t send them to another area of the gym to complete the process, unless you have time to take them and do the follow through. Suggest a program you think would work for them as a starting point. Considering a specific time of day, instructor and program package that you think will pique their interest as well as give them the health benefits they are looking for. If a particular package is too expensive then move down to the next program level.

“I think you would really enjoy taking Lauren’s Monday and Wednesday class. If you combined that with one private a week you could really make some progress on your (insert benefit you have identified). The Gold package gives you unlimited classes plus one private session a week for only $.$$ per month. This is a big savings over buying the sessions individually”

5. Shake hands and tell them what a great time you had.
Touching helps create an important connection. If the client does not sign-up, but was not opposed to the idea, give them a follow up call in the next week to say how much you appreciated working with them and to ask them if they had any additional questions about Pilates. Keep them on your list of potentials and e-mail or call on occasion to let them know about new classes or schedule changes.

6. Meet with your staff before starting
Before starting any demo program it is a great idea to meet with your Pilates instructors to discuss which exercises would be the best to include. Then market the demo program to your existing membership in your club’s newsletter or other available avenues and see if you can get people to start signing up before the program even begins. With a proper planning and a well-paced repertoire, there’s no reason your program can’t be successful.

7. Overcoming Objections
In any sales demonstration or presentation you are going to come across objections – it’s just the nature of the business. It is important that you determine what the real objection is when you hear it and do your best to overcome it. Here are some of the more common objections you might come across and suggested tactics for overcoming them:

A) “I don’t have time right now”
Ask about their schedule and see if you can suggest a good fit they might not be aware of.

B) “I only have time to do cardio”
Let them know that strength and flexibility training are just as important as cardio for overall fitness.
Suggest trying Pilates as an alternative to their cardio workouts once a week and let them know that changing their workout routine can help to improve fitness gains.

C) “I can’t afford it”
Make sure they are aware of all your available program packages and suggest one of the least expensive. Also mention any specials and promotions you might be running.

D) “I don’t think I need this right now”

Answer this in terms of the benefits you think they can get out of Pilates. Use their interests to answer this objection. Whether you close the sale or not, be polite and friendly and keep the door open.

Remember that they are a lot more likely to come back and sign up when their circumstances change if they are left with an impression of you as a warm, welcoming person.