It’s on! A new year – new fitness resolutions by your steady riders and new resolutions that will bring in new riders. We see it every year – strong starts that last through spring and die by summer. So what can you do to harness that fresh energy and make those commitments last? I believe there is one thing that rises firmly to the top of the list – personal connections.
You are now competing with an unprecedented number of virtual indoor cycling experiences and boutique indoor cycling clubs. In fact, some of your riders might not be returning to your classes, or not returning as often, because they bought a Peloton bike for Christmas or are taking advantage of the “new year specials” offered by many clubs.
Assuming you are delivering the best experience you possibly can with each and every ride, the differentiator comes down to personally connecting with your riders so that, given a choice, they choose to come back to your class, to your club.
It takes time, extra energy and often leaving your comfort zone to make that happen. It’s one thing to be in the dark leading an awesome experience for a group of people and a completely different one to be in the light, face-to-face, trying to connect to one person.
So here are my top five tips for how to make those connections:
- Memorize people’s names and use them as often as possible – when they enter class, leave class and for positive shout-outs during class.
- Approach a newer rider after class and ask them how they think they did. Share a positive observation with them: You looked strong when you got out of the saddle today! Ask them if they have any specific questions or if there are things they’d like additional instruction on.
- Be available before and after class – especially before class when riders aren’t rushing to get home or to the next class. The riders who I am most connected to are the ones who I got to know as we warmed-up before class officially started.
- Know your rider’s reason(s) for being there. Often we forget to ask new riders this super important question and to ask our regular riders if their goals have changed or what keeps them coming back. Once you know their reasons, weave those into future conversations, the feedback you provide, and any offers to help with specific goals.
- Articulate your gratitude. Everything you do and say should convey to your riders that it mattered that they came to your class – from thanking them for showing up during the warm-up and after class, to making a thank-you personal as often as possible: It’s always so great to see you Sue, I love the energy you bring!
Remember the golden rule that in the end, it’s not so much what you say, but how you make people feel. Make your riders feel special, and you’re gold!