Getting Privates From Your Group Classes
Getting started teaching private yoga sessions can be an intimidating experience. But if you are currently teaching group classes, then you are already on your way to finding your first private yoga clients. With a little tweaking, you will be converting your group class students into private clients in no time. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Talk with students before and/or after class. Oftentimes, as yoga teachers we breeze in and out of our classes as fast as we can. It’s understandable – we are usually running around between studios and hurrying to get to class. But if you want to start building a private client base, you have to start by fostering personal relationships with your regular students. This mean taking some extra time to speak with them before or after class, and following up with them via email after class. Let them know that you are approachable and that you notice them.
- Start a conversation based on what you observe about their practice or from what they’ve told you about themselves. Aside from just asking how their day is going, take the conversation to a deeper level – let your students know that you are tuned in and noticing them. Show them that you are not only observing them but that you are knowledgeable by offering them a specific practice to help their alignment, modify for their injury or simply clean-up their standing or sitting posture. Remembering their names doesn't hurt either.
- Let them know you teach one-on-one sessions! You can’t expect students to come to you if they aren’t aware that you teach privates. So tell them. And be sure to mention ways in which a one-on-one could specifically benefit their practice (see above).
- Be relatable outside the class. Mention your hobbies, work experiences, physical limitations, etc. Most people don’t live and breathe yoga like teachers do and they want to work with someone who understands their life experiences. If they are overcoming an injury, they will probably want to work with someone who has personal experience with this. If a person works in a 9-5 desk job, they would probably want to work with someone who understand their level of stress, schedule restraints and fatigue from sitting all day. If a student runs, they may want to work with a teacher who also runs. You get the idea. So be sure to mention what your life outside of or previous to yoga looks/looked like.
- Let your students know that you understand the experiences they are having in class. This is another way to create common ground between you and your students. Let them know you understand the experience they are having in a particular pose and that you intended them to have that experience (Ex. “You are probably experiencing an uncomfortable intensity in your hamstrings right now and that's okay as long as you aren't feeling any pain. We are working in this uncomfortable place because...[fill in the blanks] ).” This sort of dialogue builds trust and let’s them know that you will keep them safe because you aren’t somehow immune to feeling discomfort or intensity when practicing asanas.
- Be passionate about the aspects you love about yoga. If you love chanting and singing, then do more of that. If you love giving dharma talks, then give them often. Students will gravitate towards you for the things you are passionate about.
- Invite your students to join your social media and newsletters. This one seems like a no brainer but I can’t tell you how many times I've forgotten to do this one after meeting new students (and chastised myself afterwards). Make it habit to mention things happening via social media – promotions, events, special projects, etc. so you can continue to grow your personal relationships with your students virtually.
- Create content. Keep providing value to your students outside the classroom. Whether it's recording a meditation, posting your playlist or sending a sequence. Let them know that the more they engage with you, the more value they will get.
- Teach differently from other teachers. If you're teaching the same thing as most teachers out there, you're not giving students a compelling reason to seek you out. Don't be afraid to be different and stand out from the crowd.
- Invite your private clients to join your group classes so that they can do your marketing for you. Inevitably, they will end up talking you up to other students, and you couldn’t ask for better advertising than that!
I hope these tips get you thinking about how to start attracting more private clients from the group students you already teach. Email me and let me know how it goes (firstname.lastname@example.org). I look forward to hearing your stories.