Client motivation in the martial arts business

By Kevin Lamers

Published 16 September 2019

Keep your clients motivated and they will keep coming back. Get their motivation wrong, however, and you will quickly begin to lose clients. The underlying question is of course, what causes them to lose motivation? To answer this, we must look into the different reasons people have for starting a martial arts training. So you can motivate your clients in the martial arts business.

Different clients, different motivations

There has been quite a lot of research done into the motivation of martial arts students. The results indicate that their reasons are quite similar to the motives found in other sports.

These are the most important motivation factors:

  • Fun
  • physical exercise
  • Skill development
  • Friendship

Martial arts specific factors like the holistic mind-body-spirit philosophy are also given as motives, especially among ‘high volume’ practitioners. A number of respondents also mention the ability to defend themselves.

Martial arts software

The most important motivational factor: the instructor

Traditional martial arts followed a master-disciple model. In the modern martial arts business the teacher interacts with many students, all of which have their own motives. Still, the personal style of the instructor is paramount for students’ motivation. It is more important than the style of the martial arts that are practiced, more important than anything else. Let’s look at the things that make a good martial arts instructor.

Share your passion

Passion is contagious. Students notice the difference between an instructor who is really passionate about his art and someone who just does his job. And they will respond to it. Share your passion, and your clients will stay motivated. When they struggle and don’t see progress, it is your passion that will keep them coming back to train and achieve a breakthrough.

In the words of two great men:

Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality. – Bruce Lee

I hated every minute of training, but I said “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” – Muhammad Ali

Focus on strengths, not on weaknesses

For every student there are things that he or she simply can’t get right. Focusing too much on these shortcomings will only entrench the student in deficit-based thinking: see, I can’t do it. This will often result in a loss of motivation, finding excuses to miss trainings or simply quit altogether. A better strategy is discovering clients’ strengths and encouraging them to focus on their potential. This will help them much better to deal with their frustrations and expectations and keep a positive attitude.

Set attainable goals

Keep your clients motivated by setting realistic and attainable goals for each of them individually. The mental reward of achieving a goal is a great motivator to go for the next step in the mastery of a martial art.

martial arts clients software app

Motivational tools

Besides your personal qualities and style as an instructor, there are some useful tools to help you keep your clients motivated.

Specialized software

A software program specially designed for martial arts studios not only streamlines your day-to-day business, but will also allow you to keep track of your individual clients, their attendance and their progress. At the intake you can note down their motives and expectations for joining your studio, as a basis for future evaluation and interaction. The sum of all of your student’s motivations gives you valuable insights about your clientele and is a great asset for your marketing.

Furthermore you can use the program to send your clients personalized e-mails. Special offers and storytelling are two of the many possibilities to engage and motivate your clients through e-mail marketing.

Your own app

With a customized app you can provide your clients with one touch point that will be with them 24/7. The app will allow them to check schedules and training plans, receive marketing messages and access their martial arts community.

Social media

Social media like Facebook, Instagram en Twitter are very useful for client motivation. Since your clients probably spent a considerable amount of time on one or more social media platforms, this is an efficient way to keep in touch with motivational messages and to reinforce the community feeling.

Kevin Lamers

Virtuagym's chief storyteller. Kevin is managing our content team in building a library of world-class content to drive new & current business.

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