How science can help you keep your clients

As instructors we love a good pilates session (yes, some parts more than others!), it’s one of the reasons we choose to do this as a career. but, the same does not ring true for everyone. Not all clients will love every single minute of their session or class with you, they might not share that exact same passion you have for the workout. In fact, don’t you find that the exercises clients need the most, are the ones they like the least?!


But that doesn’t mean that we should avoid giving clients those wonderful exercise…  so how do we ensure clients keep coming back even though they feel occasional discomfort or frustration?


I want to introduce the findings from a scientific study called The peak-end rule.


According to this psychological phenomenon, people don’t remember the entirety of their experience, instead they judge experiences based on how they felt at the most intense point (the peak) and at the end of their experience. A positive peak point and  a positive ending memory can counteract any unpleasantness or discomfort felt during their experience.


The peak-end rule was discovered by Nobel Prize winner Danial Kahneman (psychologist). In his study, Participants were subjected to two different versions of the same unpleasant experience. In The first trial,  subjects submerged one of their hands in cool  water (14°C) for 60 seconds. In The second trial subjects submerged their other hand in water of the same temperature and again for 60 seconds, but then they kept their hand submerged for an extra 30 seconds, during which the temperature was raised by a single degree to 15°C. At the end of both trials, participants were asked which they would prefer to repeat.


They found that subjects were more willing to repeat the second trial, even though it included a longer exposure to uncomfortable temperatures. So the research team concluded that "subjects chose the long trial simply because they liked the memory of it better than the alternative (or disliked it less).”*


As pilates teachers, part of our job is to put our clients in sometimes uncomfortable or challenging positions, but we also need for our clients to keep coming back if our business is to be successful. The outcome of this study can help us better understand how we can help our clients AND help our business thrive. 


How? This study shows that negative feelings can be countered by one single success and a positive ending.


Fortunately we can easily apply this in our daily work, here’s how:


1. Design sessions that give your client a single strong “peak” memory

Having a continuous average experience - even if it is pleasant - is just not distinguishable. But having a single "peak" moment during a class or session, one big breakthrough, is far more satisfying and memorable. I even find I do this in my own workouts, for me the Teaser is the high point! For clients if you are able to emphasize that moment with a strong assertion of their achievement then they are even more likely to walk away with a skip in their step.


2. End on a high note.

Offer clients a “treat” at the end of a session, a nice stretch, a moment of calm and quiet or their favorite exercise. Personally, I was taught to do this as part of my training. I can still hear that voice telling me “give them something nice at the end to keep them coming back”! You can also ensure a session ends on a positive note by reinforcing the progress they have made, highlighting their achievements and using uplifting and affirmative language as you book them into their next session and wave them goodbye...


I hope this science backed business tip helps you better your business this week