Grow Your Nutrition Business Podcast Episode 46: 4 Steps For Getting Your First Nutrition Client

This week, Ashley Osterman and Nicole Aucoin answer the most common question from new nutrition coaches, “How do I get my first nutrition client?”

While there are many things you can do, we have simplified the process into a four-step plan. If you follow these steps, you will attract your ideal clients and start changing lives through nutrition coaching.

If you are a gym owner, listen out for step #3!

Please don’t forget to rate our podcast and leave a comment/review. Take a screenshot, then send it to podcast@healthystepsnutrition.com and we will send you a starter guide and bundle to help you save time and not reinvent the wheel when building a nutrition program.

ADDITIONAL PODCAST EPISODES ON NUTRITION COACHING

What The Challenge Guide Includes:

  • Planning Checklist
  • How To Structure Your Nutrition Challenge
  • How To Continue Your Nutrition Program Beyond A Challenge
  • Additional Resources To Plan A Successful Challenge All In One Place

Episode Transcript:

Nicole: (0:01)Welcome back to the Grow Your Nutrition Business Podcast. At Healthy Steps Nutrition, we believe something as fundamental as nutrition shouldn’t be complicated. Our mission is to empower gym owners and coaches to build successful nutrition programs without reinventing the wheel. I’m your host, Nicole Aucoin, registered dietitian and founder of Healthy Steps Nutrition, CrossFit, HSN and HSN mentoring. I’m also the author of the Basics of Nutrition Coaching Standalone Course, the CrossFit Preferred Nutrition Course. In these episodes, I’m going to teach you how to take one step at a time to build a successful nutrition program, where you finally feel confident talking about nutrition to your members and your communities. This week, we are answering the most common question for nutrition coaches. How do I get my first client? Well, there are many things that you can do. We have simplified the process to a four step plan. If you follow these steps, you will attract your ideal clients and start changing lives through nutrition coaching. If you are a gym owner, make sure you listen out for step #3. Before we get started with talking about how to get your first clients, I have a message for you. Did you know that HSN mentoring provides a turnkey solution for gym owners to build a comprehensive nutrition program. If you are a gym owner who’s looking to build a nutrition program without reinventing the wheel, I would love to talk to you. I want to give you a special invite to book a free call with me by visiting www.growyournutritionbusiness.com/podcast. Enjoy this episode!

Nicole: (1:58) Ashley, welcome back to the grow nutrition business podcast.  Ashley: (2:01) Thanks, Nicole. Always happy to be back on. Nicole: (2:04) Today we’re talking about something super exciting. We’re talking about getting your first clients as a nutrition coach. Ashley: (2:09)Yes, your first clients? I mean, because you have to start somewhere. It’s kind of scary.  Nicole: (2:15)  Absolutely. It is at first. You know, you have so much knowledge in your head from what’s worked well for you. And any formal education that you’ve had. You’re going through this is coaching to help people you just want to help them so much. Ashley: (2:27) Yeah. And I think a lot of times as a brand new nutrition coaches really trying to get that first client, you might not know where to start. Nicole: (2:36) That’s actually a question we get asked often during free calls, how do I get my first nutrition clients? Even in dietician, blogs and Facebook groups, we are always seeing questions about this, how do I get my first client? So today, we’re gonna talk about four steps.

Ashley: (2:52) Yeah, four steps that you can use to get your first nutrition client, because let’s be honest, we all have to start somewhere. And I think step number one is just so so important. And so easy, so easy, but I think it shouldn’t be overlooked. You really have to practice what you preach. Nicole: (3:11) You know, if you’re practicing what you preach, your authenticity is going to just show so much greater, you’re gonna have empathy, because you’ve been there you understand what it takes to do what you’re telling your clients to do, or asking your clients to do. Ashley: (3:24) Yeah, and you know, it’s so much easier to be relatable with your clients when you’re speaking from a place of experience. Nicole: (3:32) Absolutely, you have to understand where clients are going to go. We just had someone sign up for HSN mentoring that lost 200 pounds. I have goosebumps right now. And I was like, You know what, you are the perfect person to help people because you’ve already been through this transformation. Now you’re investing in yourself to get more education? Yes, one way worked for you. But that one way is not gonna work for everybody. Ashley: (3:59) Oh, man, that is just so amazing. You know, and we find that nutrition coaches who have had their own transformation who have gone through their own changes and better their health and wellness are some of the most incredible coaches because they are so relatable. Nicole: (4:16) You know, when we look at hiring non dietician, nutrition coaches at our HQ, location, it’s people that have been through our program. Yep, absolutely. And they understand how to speak the language because they’ve been there, right? Yep. You know, Sammy she’s done such an awesome job. She went through the nutrition program at another gym, actually, that runs the HSN program. She came over and started working for our HQ and, and now she’s helping people under our umbrella, which is really great. You have another nutrition client, who you’re working with, and they’re signing up for HSN. Ashley: (4:48) Yes, they’re a nutrition coach as well. And you know, it just it’s so amazing to have that experience with the program with what your message of your businesses and then you can relay how they helped you and also really help your clients when achieving their goals. You know, one great actionable step and it might seem simple is sharing your favorite healthy recipes.

Nicole: (5:10) People love recipes, they love them. So share them.  Hey, are you looking for a new way to cook vegetables? Here’s how to cook roasted vegetables that’s super easy. Have you been hearing a lot about an air fryer? Here’s what I do in the air fryer. Here’s why I love it. Here’s why you should love it too. So keeping it so simple. But if you’re practicing what you preach, then it’s easy to share those free tips. Ashley:  (5:33) Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I, I challenge you to take a moment and examine your social media presence. Are you practicing what you preach on your social media? You know, one of the things that we do when we hire new nutrition coaches at HSN HQ is we take a look at their social media, you know, I want to make sure that my nutrition coach is walking the walk and talking the talk. Nicole: (5:55) You have to practice what you preach, you’re going to know so many more tips to do things when you actually practice what you preach. Ashley: (6:02) Because you’ve been there, you’ve done that you might have experienced that same problem or roadblock, and you can explain what helped you and help your client find a solution that will work for them. Nicole (6:13)  You know, people buy from people. And if you are starting to associate nutrition, health and nutrition support with yourself as a person, not just your business, it is going to help people feel comfortable reaching out to you. Yeah. So literally practicing what you preach is by far the number one step that you can do. And the cool thing is, is you can talk about your journey as you’re going through your own journey. Like sharing what you’re doing sharing free help sharing those tips, because you’re going through it.

Ashley: (6:46) Yeah. And you know, that really actually takes us to our tip number two, our second step to getting your first nutrition clients is you need to share free help. Nicole: (6:56) People have to associate nutrition help with you, before they know they can trust you. If you just launch a nutrition program, and this goes for dietitians, even if you have this formal education with a dietetics degree does not mean that people understand how you can help them. Ashley:(7:15) That’s right, they need to know how you can help solve their problem. And if that’s not clear and consistent with your brand, with yourself with your presence, they’re not going to know to come to you as the expert. Nicole: (7:26) So, Ashley, when we talk about sharing free help, where do you share this free help? Ashley: (7:32) Well, there’s a lot of ways you can share free help. You know, one of my favorites is just on your social media, on your Facebook on your Instagram, doing tips and tricks. People love hearing quick and easy tips. Three tips to make your vegetables taste delicious. Four tips to help you drink more water throughout the day. And that type of content can also be shared in your email list on your website or in blogs. And let’s not forget video content. Nicole (7:58) I love video content, if you don’t have an email list, you definitely want to get that it is something that takes a little bit of time and is constantly causing us to do some work because you have to send out emails but you want people to start associating nutrition help with you and your brand. If you’re doing video content, the great thing about videos is you can repurpose them, put your video on your blog, put your video in an email, put it on your social media. But in fact, people that watch videos 80% of them watch videos without the sound on. Like what is  this person saying I don’t know I don’t have the mic. I don’t have my sound on. But one of the things we talked about during the welcome calls at HSN. I say hey, download this app called MCs captions. And it will auto caption your videos for you. And of course, you need to go back and listen and read it to make sure it’s actually you know, pretty accurate. But it usually is really accurate to make one to two tweaks. But that would be a really great thing so that you don’t have to go through and type out the entire video. Everything that you’re saying, and it’ll save you some time. And it will ensure that your free help is getting out there. Ashley (9:08) Yeah, absolutely. People are hearing or reading it as we find with videos. Another thing to think about when it comes to making sure that you’re sharing free help is you want it to be consistent. You want to make sure you take the time to create the content and schedule the content to go out, you know, a great strategy looking at time management, it’s the block off some time every month to make sure that gets done. You know, one of the perks of HSN mentoring is that we provide you with all that free help and all that content for your social for your videos for your blogs for your email list, but if you don’t have a way to get that content, you need to make sure you’re putting the time aside to create it. Nicole (9:47) Absolutely have to be consistent with creating free content. And I can’t tell you the amount of free content that we give is so amazing. Ashley, you are doing such a great job – one of your parts of the mentoring program is to figure out what are the themes going to be for this month? What content can we put around video, email, social media tips all going around this one theme, and it works. So good. It’s like a graphic designer overnight, you’ve hired a graphic designer with a nutrition program, which is amazing. But I think I want to talk about what free help is having conversations. Yes, you know, people that struggle with weight loss or struggle to eat healthy. I mean, I have parents all the time. I can’t get my kids to eat vegetables, what do I do. Giving them 1 to 2 tips and saying, hey, we have this free health blog on our website, you know, go check that out for more information, or we work with clients, if you you know, want to sign up and we can we can create an individual plan for you. Yes, that is so important. The conversations is a huge piece, because now you’re having a two way conversation, you’re able to actually help people, give them some tips, not overwhelm them with too much information. But give them one to two things. Let them try it, see it works, and then come back to you with more help. Ashley (10:56) Yeah, one of the things that I love doing and actually a lot of our nutrition coaches at HQ love to do is we join a lot of our local Facebook groups, you know, will join mom groups or family groups or weight loss groups, and people will ask for recipes, they’ll say, Hey, you know, I’m looking for a great way to have more veggies in the morning. And I might share a smoothie recipe that we have on our website, you know, little things like that small steps to start having the conversation and getting your name out there and sharing that free help is really going to help you to get your first nutrition client. 

Let’s talk about step number three. Step number three, guys, we have to practice as nutrition coaches, we need to practice and that’s why you need to get test clients before you have your first paying client. 

Nicole: (11:43) All right, so let’s talk about test clients. First, I think the most obvious test client is going to be if you have a partner, significant other, roommate,  lets practice on them. Get some feedback from them. And then you’re going to go and you’re going to get someone else if you’re running a nutrition program in a gym. A great test client is going to be the owner, if the owner is not the nutrition coach, or other coaches who are in front of other members. Yeah. Because if people are watching their transformation, they’re gonna ask what are you doing? Oh, I’m seeing Ashley. She’s my nutrition coach. And I’m getting that accountability. And that’s important, a customized plan just for me. Yes. Oh, oh, you’re doing it? It must work. Let me do it, too. Yes. So getting those test clients is so important for a few reasons. One, it helps you work out the tweaks, right? Like, you’re gonna have to make some adjustments. Even if you’re using our program, like, you need to make it work for you. Right. So you need to practice and just get into a rhythm. Number two, you need to ensure that there’s a consistent experience, right. And those tough clients allow you to make those tweaks to ensure consistent experience down the line. Ashley (12:53) Yeah, you got to walk before you run. And Nicole, what you just said, it’s so important if you’re in a gym setting, because think about your coaches in the gym, they are the poster children for your business. They’re in front of so many of your clients and your members and from for them to talk about it and to speak from a place of experience is really going to help have that message and want more and more people to see what they’re doing and want to join. Nicole (13:18) It allows it to be organic. Because I’m like, hey, this is what I’m doing this what I’m having before I workout or, hey, before I realized that I wasn’t getting enough protein. And it was really inhibiting me being able to build muscle. So this is what I’m doing. This is a great smoothie recipe that I’ve turned  to, this is a great one dish casserole that I am making all the time now because it’s super easy. And I love it for leftovers. Yeah, it allows the conversation to be organic, within your membership. And that is so important when you’re looking for buy-in for existing members. The other thing that I’ve been talking to a lot of gym owners about as they’re coming on board with HSN is who are your red flag clients? You know, who are the people who are not coming into your facility? You know, after COVID gyms reopened, some are even closing down again. But who are the people that are paying for service that they’re not receiving right now? Right? Those would be great test clients. Hey, Susie, I know you know, thank you for all of your support. Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that you haven’t really been coming in as consistently, whether it’s you don’t feel comfortable, you have someone in your house or whatever the situation might be, would you be interested in converting over to nutrition for a few months until you feel more comfortable? Ashley: (14:30) That is a great retention strategy. Nicole:(14:33) It’s huge! And now you have automatic test client you want though, you want some other test clients before you go to those those clients but that would be a great way to get some some of your first nutrition clients. Ashley: (14:45) Absolutely. You know, you want to make sure that we’re identifying and really help supporting those red flag clients especially during this time because we want to make sure they stay with us and we want to make sure that they are still paying for a service that they are being able to use absolutely no other thing. Nicole: (14:58) You know, maybe you have members of your gym, where a significant other or a parent or sibling doesn’t go to your gym, but they are interested in nutrition help, you could easily help them. Yes. So, you know, you need to be asking for test clients, you need to be asking for feedback, ask for some send out a survey to find out like – what are you loving? What do you not loving? What else can I do to support you on your journey? Because that is how you’re going to build and increase the retention of your nutrition clients. Ashley: (15:31) Yes. And that’s how you’re really going to iron out your systems and make sure that what you’re doing is going to be consistent across all of your clients. Nicole: (15:38) It’s even more important when you have multiple nutrition coaches. Oh, a business? Ashley (15:43) Yeah. Because you need to make sure that when you have multiple coaches that the client experience is the same no matter who they’re going to because people talk, especially in a gym setting, you’re around each other all the time. Nicole (15:52) And this is a struggle that I see with so many gyms is they have multiple people talking about nutrition, and everyone’s saying something different. There’s no consistent message. And then the clients are not happy with the experience because one person’s getting more than the other.  And you know, I think a lot of times as new nutrition clients, we tend to over deliver, which is great. But when it comes down to consistency, if not every person is doing the same thing, then it’s going to devalue your program. Yeah, absolutely. So we want to make sure that we have those test clients so that we can, number one, work out the kinks. And number four, get some success stories.

Ashley: (16:35) Yes, that’s our step number four, you need to share success stories, you need to ask for reviews and get people to share their story. Nicole, you brought up a really great point, surveys, surveys are so important. And you can kind of guide the questions to get the answers that would be really great to share on social media and to share to show that success. Nicole (16:57) No, how is this program helped you? What would you say to someone considering your nutrition program? No, I think if you’re not sharing success stories, and I don’t necessarily mean before and after pictures, we actually rarely share those behalf some, but I’m not, I would never want any of our nutrition clients to feel uncomfortable. And so many people are not secure about their body or they don’t feel confident in their skin, the last thing you want to do is put that out to the world. Right? So you want to you know, highlight the best of people, what are the things that they have done awesome. How has nutrition coach coaching positively impacted their life, and that isn’t always associated with weight loss or muscle gain. Ashley: (17:34)  You know, we hear stories about I’m able to keep up with my kids, I’m able now to walk around the block with my dog, I can now go and be active with my grandkids. You know, there are so many other ways that you can share success and bright spots without focusing on numbers. Nicole (17:53) You know, actually, we had our media team come in and we did video testimonials in the gym. And and we actually had, I think there was like 20 or so of our members. We kind of had them line up and and do some video testimonials, one of them was from your Dad actually. And he was talking about how he’s, I don’t know, in his 60s. Ashley: (18:17) Yeah, yeah, he’s in the 60s. Nicole: (18:19) He was talking about how he came in to the gym thinking that he was just going to have the gym. And then he realized how important nutrition was to his success. And now he’s off some medications, his blood pressure is now under control. And you know, all these things because of the nutrition and the fitness. And you know what the coolest thing is, is every single one of those testimonials, all talks about nutrition and fitness. Absolutely. Because nutrition is a huge part of Healthy Steps Nutrition, the foundation of the fitness pyramid, if people think that they’re going to come to our gym and see really amazing results without dialing in their nutrition, or they’re missing the mark there. Ashley: (18:57) And you know, and that’s why we talk to everybody who comes in and we talk about starting them with fitness and nutrition. And if not fitness and nutrition, then just nutrition. Nicole: (19:07) We have more nutritional glass starting now than than ever before. And, you know, part of it is because we share the stories of people that do really well with nutrition and fitness. So if you are looking to get your first nutrition clients, you know, have those test clients, but then highlight the heck out of the people that are doing really well. If you want more people to sign up for nutrition and fitness, talk about the people that are doing fitness, and you can get super creative maybe you don’t have a ton of success stories for you to post a success story every day. But you get a video. And then you have a quote from that video. That you put next to that picture. And then maybe you look at what they lost and what they gained, another one so you can repurpose the same success story for three different weeks. Absolutely you can. Now I would challenge all of our listeners here. If you are a gym owner, or a nutrition coach in a gym – Are you talking about the people who are doing awesome with your nutrition programming off? And this goes beyond just social media, and we highlight the heck out of the people that are doing awesome. And classes too. Yeah, like, hey, Susie, you’ve done such an amazing job! Working so hard with your nutrition and fitness. I’m so proud of all the success that you’re having on and off the scale. I mean, you’re running around the building. And you couldn’t do that when you first signed up a month ago, and your body fat percentage is down, your clothes are bigger, like you’re doing such an amazing job. Keep up the hard work. Ashley: (20:36) Yes, you have to it’s such a great way to put that success into the culture of your business. And people love success. Everyone’s going to be giving high fives and that causes people to be more motivated. You know, we talk about success, and we highlight these bright spots, people just get so motivated to keep doing more. Nicole, if we have someone listening who doesn’t know how to share a success story, or isn’t sure what that looks like? Do we have any tips or tricks for them? Nicole (21:02) Definitely go and check out app healthy nutrition on Instagram, you’ll find success stories there also will link our testimonial page in the show notes for this episode. So you can listen to the videos that we have interviews from all of our clients. And guess what every single one of them talks about nutrition and fitness, or nutrition only. The other thing is we have a success story template in the ultimate challenge guide that we’ve released, really specifically for gyms that were forced to do a second shot down. Yeah, there’s more and more gyms right now around the world that we’re talking to them that they were forced to shut down again, they’re, you know, talking to me about being nervous. They’re not sure if they’re going to be able to stay open like this after the first shut down. They don’t know if they’ll be able to survive. Doing an accountability challenge and highlighting the successes of those people is a really great strategy, you know, some of the lessons that we learned during the first shut down. Communication is key. Yeah, absolutely. And communication needs to come from you guys before they hear it elsewhere. No, it starts from the owners, we did videos that we sent out to our staff, and then all of our members before we posted anything on social because I didn’t want our members to find out their social media that we were closing. And from there, we’re we are confident, we’re confident that hey, we are going to continue to support you virtually. And we will figure it out. I don’t have all the answers right now. But I know that we’re going to provide nutrition support, and every single person is going to get accountability and support their nutrition during the stop time. And we have people that lost over 20 pounds during the first shutdown. Yeah. Why is that they had the accountability from a coach. Ashley: (22:46) Yeah. And you know, we were able to retain and keep all of our members engaged. And that is so so important when you’re dealing with that situation. Nicole: (22:54) You know, the cool thing was we actually added members through nutrition, third edition, yeah. And the first shutdown, so so in an effort to support other gym owners that are going through this be created an ultimate challenge Starter Guide. And basically, it talks about what you need to do when prepping a challenge before what you need to do during and then what you need to do after so that your challenge and your nutrition program doesn’t end at the end of the challenge. Ashley: (23:20) Yeah, could we see that happens so much with gyms that we talk to they just have the challenge, then nothing afterwards. Nicole: (23:27) One of the things you know, Ashley, we had a conversation a couple weeks ago, and we were talking about okay, how are we going from HSN mentoring support these gyms and one of the things we came up with was, alright, on November 1, we are going to release an accountability a six week accountability challenge. And gyms who aren’t close can use this as a member attention strategy and start advertising it now. We’re so excited mid November, we’re launching in accountability challenge. And it’s going to take us through the end of the year. So we are going to support you during the toughest time of year stay on track. Ashley: (24:00) Yes, we’re here to support you guys. And we know that this will definitely help any of you that are in that situation with experiencing a second shutdown, or if you just want another challenge to keep your members engaged throughout the holidays. Nicole: (24:11) Absolutely. So gyms that are shut down are using it as a member benefit and then a paid option for non members. Gyms that are not shut down are using it as a challenge paid challenge.  So we have some additional videos in there about the holidays that we made. And we had our videographer come in same thing we did during the last the original shutdown, we made a 28 day healthy challenge which which turned out really great. But you know, the goal at the end of the day when we’re looking at getting our first clients, keeping our selves in our program there to support our members when they’re struggling the most is going in with the help first mentality – How can I help and support you? I’m not here to sell you on nutrition. I’m here to provide you a solution to solve the problem that you’re looking to solve. Ashley: (24:57) Yeah, got to go through that help – first. Nicole: (25:00) You know, and that at the end of the day, that’s what you’re doing, you’re providing your clients with a solution to solve the problem that they’re looking to solve. And for most people, it’s, they understand what they need to do to lose weight, most people understand, I need to eat better, and I need to move more weight. But they don’t understand how to put that those words into an actionable plan to help them achieve the results that they’re looking to achieve. Ashley: (25:25) Yeah, and I think a lot of people are starting to realize that they need the accountability and the support. And now more than ever, health is so important. And if you don’t have that accountability and support, when you come to those roadblocks, when you come to both bumps in the road, it’s going to be that much easier just to revert back.

Nicole (25:42) Exactly, and you have to look at so many factors. And that’s why you’ll actually want to veer goals as the director of nutrition education is to teach coaches to look at a holistic approach. And everything that we do for you revolves around helping coaches feel more confident, and all the nutrition education, all the ongoing education, you provide coaches so that they have more tools in their toolbox. It’s not just a training, its ongoing support, to help provide the nutrition coaches what they need. So I want to just recap really quick, four steps for getting your first nutrition clients. The first one, we need to practice what we preach. Ashley: (26:18)  Yes, you got to speak from experience, you need to be relatable. Remember, you are in the relationship business. And you have to be able to support your clients by speaking from experience and talking to talk. Nicole: (26:29) Absolutely. Number two, we need to share free help. Ashley: (26:32) Yes, we need to share free help, it needs to be consistent. And people need to know that they can go to you as the expert. Nicole: (26:40) It has to be consistent. That’s so so important. Number three, we want to ask for test clients. Ashley: (26:46) Yes. You know, two things that test clients are going to help us out with they’re really going to help us smooth out our systems and find ways to make our program better. And to it’s going to ensure consistent experience among all of our clients. Nicole: (27:01) And it’s going to give you confidence. Yeah, nutrition coach, right? Like it’s gonna help you feel more confident because you’re going to have already dealt with that situation. Number four, we have to share success stories, and get creative here. That doesn’t just mean before and after pictures. It could mean quotes, it could mean a video testimonial, it could mean putting all that into a blog and sharing the story of people who are doing awesome with their program. So nutrition coaching something as fundamental as nutrition shouldn’t be complicated. Ashley: (27:28) No, got to keep it simple. 

Nicole: (27:30) Nutrition coaching has to be simple for your clients to achieve long term success. You know, anyone can change a lot over the course of a month, but how sustainable is that long term. So don’t overcomplicate it, you have to get started put one foot in front of the other. You guys got this. If you don’t have your first nutrition client yet, please be inspired by this episode to start helping people. One of the biggest takeaways from this episode is to just get started. I have talked to too many gym owners, dieticians and coaches who have been thinking about starting a nutrition program for way too long. Health and Nutrition has never been more important. People need a plan and more importantly, they need the accountability from a coach. And you could be that person. Start talking about nutrition. start posting healthy recipes and sharing tips. So people start associating nutrition help with you and your brand. And don’t forget to tag me at Nicole underscore rd underscore HSN on Instagram, I want to see you taking action to empower your following to become the healthiest versions of themselves. That’s all we have for this episode of grow your nutrition business podcast. One thing that would really help other new potential listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a comment in the review on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you are listening. As a special bonus for you. If you rate this episode, and review with a comment on our podcast, take a screenshot and send it to podcast at healthy steps nutrition.com I will send you a bonus bundle with a checklist to help you level up your nutrition program. This will provide you with a roadmap to help you save time and not reinvent the wheel. Thanks in advance.