7 Surprising Ways To Make New Clients Feel Welcome

You want to make new clients feel welcome, right? We all do! Whether these new clients are doing yoga, barre, Zumba, or taking part in an ecstatic dance pop-up class, you always want them to feel like they belong.

While we hope you’re capturing the hearts of new clients 365 days a year, January is typically when you’ll see a big influx of new clients and trying something new can be intimidating for a lot of people!

From deciding to work with you, to signing up, to actually getting in the car and showing up, you want them to know their investment was worth it.

So how do you give new clients a warm welcome and make sure they feel like they belong? After years of experience creating a friendly and warm community (Seriously! Lifelong friendships are forged at our studios all the time!) here’s what we recommend …

7 Surprising Ways To Make New Clients Feel Welcome

1. Learn your new client’s name… and remember it!

Look, we know this isn’t easy, names can go in one ear and out the other. But learning someone's name (and actually remembering it!) goes a long way. You make someone feel seen by learning their name, learning how to pronounce it correctly, and then remembering it.

So how do you remember it? USE IT! Write down your new client’s name on a sticky note with a descriptor (example: blue leggings), and keep it with your class plan or by the stereo. Then use their name throughout class! The more you use the name, the more you’re going to remember it.

Not only will you begin to remember the name by using it, but you’ll be able to give your client special shout-outs that make them feel seen. “Great alignment, Cheryl!” “I see your strength, Kathryn!” “You’ve got this, Tom!”

After class, use their name again on the way out. “How did class feel for you, Cheryl!?” They say use it or lose it - so use names!

2. Offer your pronouns when introducing yourself

This is actually something we’ve built into our business practices at our studios! We encourage all our instructors to offer their pronouns whenever they introduce themselves.

This invites the client to share theirs if they’d like, and ensures you’re creating an inclusive environment for everyone who walks through the door. In fact, it's a good idea to use inclusive language throughout your class - like “friends” “ya’ll” or “team” instead of “guys” or “ladies” when you’re referring to the whole class.

3. Icebreakers - yes, really!

We know icebreakers = 🙄. But we’re not talking about first day of school icebreakers or “tell me a fun fact about yourself.” Think more along the lines of questions you can have at the ready to get to know someone better.
For example, your new client signs in at the desk. You might ask:
“It’s so great to meet you! Do you live nearby?”
“Thanks for joining class today! Are you a student/do you work in the area?”
“Way to sign up for the first class of the day! I love working out in the morning. Do you usually prefer an early morning class?”
Having a few go-to conversation starters on hand is a great way to immediately make connections with your clients and start to get to know them.
Why is this important? It shows you’re invested in them as a person, not just a statistic in your class. And that helps create a sense of belonging. And an added bonus - learning facts about them helps you remember their name!
4. Ask about injuries and sensitivities
You want your class to consider EVERY body and that means getting to know what your client is working with. When you take the time to learn about any injuries or sensitivities your client is working with, you can tailor cues and modifications to include them. This is excellent practice and should be standard for every client, but it’s especially important when meeting someone new.
5. Give new clients a tour
You know when you walk into a new place and simply don’t know which way to turn? Don’t let that happen to your new client! Show them around. Walk them over to where they can leave their belongings, show them where the bathroom and water bubbler are located, explain the layout of the room and where they can find the props they need for class.
Tell them how to set up their mat and where you’ll be during class - there’s nothing worse than thinking you picked a spot in the back of the room only to realize you are front and center! This really goes a long way in making them feel comfortable.
6. Use the buddy system
While you’re giving the tour, connect your new client with a buddy! Does one of your regulars already have their mat rolled out? Set your new client up near their mat and introduce them. Then they have someone to follow along with and who knows? They might make a new friend.
It can be intimidating to look around and think everyone knows what they’re doing when you’re new to something. Feeling like your classmates are in your corner creates a feeling of belonging.
7. Offer options on exercises throughout class
Again, this should be standard practice for any class but it’s especially important when you know there’s someone new in class. Don’t leave anybody behind. Empower your client to challenge themself, but also encourage them to listen to their body and take options that feel supportive to them.
The language you use around modifications is also important. Sometimes “modifying” a move makes someone feel like they are taking a “less than” approach. Try giving “options” instead. This creates a space in which your client feels like they are actively participating in making a decision that they feel most supports their body. Afterall, they know themselves best! The more you invest in helping them feel confident with themself, you get to know them, too.
If you’re interested in making clients feel welcome at your yoga class, you should know about our 8-week, Yoga Alliance-approved online yoga teacher training program that starts February 2nd! You can join us now and take advantage of a $1,000 early bird discount or sign up for our free info session on January 17th to ask us all your questions!