In this third episode of the new series "Replicating the Stars in Your Pilates Instructor Team," host David Gunther and team from Pilates Can in Canberra, Australia, discuss the tremendous impact of gathering 5-star Google reviews on both business growth and client satisfaction. Claire, the lead instructor, and Tara, the sales and marketing manager, alongside David, explore the benefits of this process for instructors and clients alike.

They delve into the importance of positive instructor-client relationships, the role of a cohesive admin team, and how excellent reviews can attract more clients, increase session offerings, and ultimately strengthen the business's financial stability.

The episode emphasizes the effectiveness of mentoring, maintaining a positive culture, and the long-term gains from investing in ongoing improvements. The hosts encourage listeners to adopt similar strategies to enhance their own clinical Pilates studios.

Show notes

  • [00:00:00] Welcome to the Pilates Business Podcast!
  • [00:00:35] The Power of 5-Star Google Reviews
  • [00:01:28] Client and Instructor Benefits
  • [00:03:41] The Importance of Team Cohesion
  • [00:06:08] Expanding Business Through Reviews
  • [00:11:19] Balancing Business Operations
  • [00:14:39] Mentoring and Long-Term Relationships
  • [00:17:26] Conclusion and Future Topics 

"We really do have something very special here with all of those aspects of the admin team, the clients, the instructors, and the whole process that works together to really provide these results that the clients (prospective clients) would need to know about, documented in these Google reviews."                David Gunther – The Pilates Business Podcast, and Co-owner & Instructor Pilates Can, Canberra                                                                                       

Click to Tweet

Episode Resources

Episode Transcript

DAVID GUNTHER: Clinical Pilates business owners, welcome to the Pilates Business Podcast! Brought to you by the people who own operate and instruct in a successful clinical Pilates studio in Australia. Join us as we discover Pilates business specific assets that you can use to build your clinical Pilates business.

Win-win, win-free for all clinical plot is businesses. That's what we've named this episode, because we've discovered that it does indeed help the business. But it also definitely helps the clients and the instructors if you have a process for gathering 5-star Google reviews. And it's relatively free. You can utilize this no matter what sort of clinical Pilates business you have. Your clients love you. You love your clients. Your instructors love instructing there. So go ahead, use the process and get those 5-star Google reviews.

Okay, let's jump straight into the episode with Claire, the lead instructor at Pilates Can in Canberra, Australia, and Tara, the sales and marketing manager at Pilates Can, as well as myself joining in the fun.

Let's move on to why or how the client would benefit from the instructor benefiting. Let's talk about, how the instructor benefits and then how that helps the client. For example, Claire, you know that you're appreciated, right?

CLAIRE GUNTHER: Yes, we've got one of those rare occupations that amazingly, virtually everybody at the end of a session before they leave say, "Thank you, Claire." Who goes to work and gets thank you every hour? So

DAVID: I know I don't.

TARA SMITH: At least for one hour, though, you're also an instructor, David.

DAVID: Yes, of course.

TARA: Some of the Google reviews have been from your clients.


DAVID: Yes. Well, my full session this morning they had all given 5-star Google reviews. As I was thanking one, and then I realized, oh, everyone here has given a 5-star Google review. So, you're quite right. I do benefit from that with my one session per week that I'm instructing in the studio.

Sorry, Claire, continue on. I couldn't resist.

CLAIRE: It's amazing. As I said earlier, it is so moving, almost brings you to tears, actually to read what some people have written and very personal experiences that they're willing to share. We know they enjoy the sessions. We hear it during the sessions. We hear the thank you at the end, but to see such considered responses in the reviews is almost beyond words.

Like I was saying that none of us could create that sort of content., To come up with that it's just coming from the heart and ...

DAVID: And practically for the instructors, not yourself, because you're one of the owners of Pilates Can, Claire, although it is relevant for you as well, but the practical implications for an instructor, are that they're likely to enjoy the work more because of those thank yous and deep connection with the clientele. Delivering something that is so valuable to the clientele, they're likely to therefore stay at the studio and continue teaching.

And we do have some very long-term instructors that have continued to deliver this high-quality service over many years. That's a big advantage for the client because they're getting continuity with the instructor. Tell us a little bit about that, Claire.

CLAIRE: Yes, we've got an amazing team, and when I say team, I include not just instructors who are at the face-to-face and getting those, fortunately, constant thank yous, but we have an amazing admin team behind-the-scenes who help us actually be there every day.

I know the reviews tend to be from the people that they see face-to-face, but in this experience, they've also had contact with the behind-the-scenes people. In particular, Tara, helping them to be able to navigate those IT issues or to be able to edit or how to do a Google review.

The team is what's come through on the reviews. The social side that people really appreciate, which is what we've always tried to have our original business name or company name is Fun and Fitness.

The social side, and the caring side, and trust. Trust is a big one that they trust us to help them. When I say that, it's not just the instructors, but our admin side as well, particularly David and Tara. We've got Catherine and Dan, and we'll work together and trying to provide the best service we can in all aspects.

Part of that is keeping such a wonderful team together, instructors and on the admin side.

That cohesiveness has really shone through. I think that is one of our truly unique aspects. Reading the reviews, they may not be exactly the words they're saying, but you get that feeling it's like, 'Oh my goodness!' We don't talk about 'Our values are,' we don't do that at all but they're shining through. They're shining through so much that are just coming out in those reviews. So, thank you to all our team.

DAVID: Yes, the reviews have been really showing that glue, which is the culture, and the values, that as you say, Claire, is so unique. We really do have something very special here with all of those aspects of the admin team, the clients, the instructors, and the whole process that works together to really provide these results that the clients would need to know about, documented in these Google reviews.

 I'm really glad that we went through this process from business point of view, but also just from the point of view of that unique experience for everyone involved. So, everyone's including Google, as mentioned earlier, who are getting new clients out of this or not they perhaps need it, but we certainly do.

 Now, we're going to talk about how does the client benefit from the business benefiting. Of course, the business benefits by being able to attract more clients through that better, more accurate, more powerful digital presence, demonstrated by the large number of 5-star Google reviews that are authentic and genuine and heartfelt as we've just been discussing.

That tends to attract more of the right clients, not just more of clients but more of the right type of clients, the same sort of clients that we're looking after already. That means, as a business, we can offer more sessions on the schedule. That's really important because one of the big assets of the Pilates Can business in Canberra is that we have a lot of semi-private sessions on the schedule to choose from.

So, if someone only has certain times on certain days that they're able to train, we can usually cater for that, particularly if they're willing to wait a little while until spots come up in sessions and be a little bit flexible because we are pretty busy. As we get busier, we increase the number of sessions.

So, that gives more choice, more flexibility, and just a better quality of service really for the clientele. Any thoughts on that?

Our team at the Pilates business podcast, focused on helping clinical Pilates studio owners build valuable business assets. These business assets work away in the background for you, and they work in the long term.

DAVID: Now, this is a very specific target audience that we are working for and so we ask you for a little help to keep improving and delivering this service for you and other potential Pilates business owners, listeners just like you.

Firstly, please follow the show on your favorite podcast platform. And please also recommend the show to another clinical Pilates business owner. These easy actions will be a fantastic help for us to continue to improve this show and the benefits it provides to all the fantastic people in our little vulnerable niche, clinical Pilates industry. Thanks for your help.

TARA: I think that's also another advantage of having a really strong instructor team like we have, that our instructors are more likely to be able to offer more hours as well. That really gives that deep range of times for clients to be able to attend whenever really works for them. We're trying to get them to create this excellent Pilates exercise habit, where they're coming in once or sometimes twice or three times a week and having a really wide range of sessions available makes that easier for them.

DAVID: That's right. As you say, Tara, if the instructors are happy and getting satisfaction out of what they're delivering, the work that they're doing, then they're likely to not only want to stay, but maybe extend the hours that they have or jump in to fill in if someone's sick or on holidays.

Instructors are likely to be attracted to that sort of environment and that sort of culture as well, which is highly important to keep regenerating the team with new blood, which we have been doing over the years. Claire's done a lot of work with mentoring instructors.

A good number of them are previous clients that have come through the ranks as student instructors after spending many years as clients. And then really appreciating what Pilates does and what Pilates with Pilates Can does. So, they are really also enjoying what they deliver as instructors and contributing that way as instructors to the Pilates Can team.

Any thoughts on that, Claire? On your mentoring with the instructors and how this Google review process I know few of the 5-star Google reviews that have been coming through have been from Claire D, one of our instructors who certainly did come through the ranks exactly like that.

Any thoughts on that example?

 In the Pilates industry, one of the things that's very important is mentoring. There are excellent courses out there and the full comprehensive courses, but part of that is the actual in-studio time and the mentoring. So, you need to be devoted really to the Pilates clinical industry, and also wanting to help others to be involved in mentoring and for it to be successful. It is when you see how it works and the benefits and the results that people achieve. It's just great to be part of that.

CLAIRE: And then to flow it through, as David said, from being clients to then a student, Pilates instructor, and then following through to qualification and then going through to this process where actually going right through and now being well and truly on the team and those clients providing such wonderful reviews.

It's that whole circle that keeps going around, and we love supporting each other. We love supporting others, and that really is what our business is about and what the industry is about as well.

DAVID: Yes, that's very important and let's also talk about the benefits to the business if those things happen. We've talked about the benefits to the business being a larger timetable and stronger instructor team. So, what does that mean? It means that it can more easily meet its cost structure.

There's always going to be fixed costs, the costs of running the physical location of your studio, whether you're paying a mortgage or paying rent. It’s all costs, and it all needs to be paid. You need to pay your tax, you need to pay for machinery, and all sorts of things like that in terms of fixed costs. Then there's also variable costs, including how much power you're using and all of those sorts of things. The more sessions you run, the more power you use, but it’s really the fixed costs that are important.

So, depending on how big your studio is, and we've got a good size studio there at Pilates Can in Manuka and Canberra, it takes quite a bit and it's very central. It's in a good location, a couple of kilometers from Parliament House there, and a beautiful spot overlooking the cafes in Manuka.

Terrific spot, but very costly. So, it needs to be running at a certain capacity to be able to pay those costs, and if it can do that, if it's doing that, then there's some money left over to do things like perhaps buy spine fitters. That would be a direct benefit to the clientele from that expansion of the timetable and having a strong team of instructors because we're able to bring on more clientele like the clients that we already have.

Does that make sense to you? Claire also looks just about everything, including looking after the accounts, and, paying the bills. What are your thoughts on that, Claire?

CLAIRE: Well, yes, it's very important to get to capacity. It's always a juggling act because you either sometimes got more instructors, need more clients, that's that constant seesaw, then it flips around the other way because people move interstate, move overseas. So, yes, it's important to get that as balanced as possible so you can make the most of that space, the equipment, but of course it's the personnel that you have available.

Even after over 20 years, I'm sure all Pilates studios would agree, it's still a constant juggling act to get that balance so that it's profitable to be still in business as David said, to maybe add in some different equipment or make other changes that need to be made.

TARA: That, and you want your sessions to be full of clients but you don't want them to be so full of clients that we have no other times to offer our new clients as well, right?

CLAIRE: Exactly. Yes. So, as Tara said, we have added a few new sessions pretty recently, actually. We've juggled a few morning sessions, so we could create a bit more, like on the Thursday mornings. Some new extra mat ones, haven't we Tara? In the evening and during the day we're sort of sneaking them in here and there without overloading the instructors but still having more options for clients.

Really good shifts for instructors.

DAVID: All right. Any other thoughts on that, Tara, from your point of view as the sales and marketing manager? Can you see vision of other things that we can possibly do for Pilates Can and for the clients?

TARA: Yeah, I did have one other thing to add. It goes a little bit back to when we were talking about long-term relationships with our instructors. If you look back at one of them, I think it might be the first or second Google review that we have before we started this whole sort of Google review process. It's actually from Jenny, who's another one of our instructors, when she was a client. So, looking at how Pilates helped her and then having her come on as an instructor, and obviously she's been away, so she hasn't been talking to too many  clients yet, but to then see her clients in the future start to give us reviews, I think we'll be a full-circle, sort of moment for her.  

In terms of that balancing act of being able to add new things for the instructors or perhaps  not to toot my own horn too much, but if you've got quite a good  sales and marketing manager who's been with you for a while, being able to offer that sort of a person a part-time position instead of a casual position has meant that I've been able to do other things in my life.

So, giving that stability to the whole team to then want to make the business better, to keep having that all going. I think we will scratch each other's backs and it benefits everyone, right?

DAVID: It certainly is. Look, without people in positions like your position, Tara, with what you do, and you do a fantastic job as we know, but Claire's got so much to do already. I've got a fair bit to do also with my role, but having people doing their part is so important to what the client gets in the end because it helps with setting up the right expectations.

It helps with the instructors being able to deliver their skills well and in the right environment that helps with all sorts of things, communication-wise and scheduling-wise, so that everyone's happy with what they're doing and enjoying what they're doing to the level that they're doing it. They can also see if they want to do more, they can do more, so that is really important. When a business is functioning that well, where everyone's enjoying their role and are able to contribute, then everybody also benefits. It's pretty obvious when things aren't working if some things aren't working in that team, in the overall team, then that becomes obvious and we get clear to fix it, don't we Tara?

TARA: I had a point, but it just flew out of my brain. I'm sure it'll come back.

DAVID: It'll come back. It'll fly back in.

CLAIRE: I'm laughing because I thought we'd get Tara to fix it. It depends. If it's in the studio, I've got to try to magically. Behind the scenes, definitely Tara or David. And that probably leads on, but I'm probably jumping again to the process that David and Tara worked on to make this whole Google reviews work.

And flow really well. It is important to have that process behind everything that myself as an instructor, let alone a business owner, to be able to help clients with the reviews.

DAVID: Well, everybody does win when you have that unique and positive culture, and we know that many of the clinical Pilates studio owners out there have cultivated that culture over many years. So, why not use it? Get those 5-star Google reviews and lift your business up with this particular free business asset. Everybody wins.

Win-win, win-free for all. Next week, we talk about what problems are we solving using standard operating procedures by design. Yes, we're designing those standard operating procedures for this process and many other processes with the Pilates Business Podcast. We're learning heaps and we're passing it on to you so that your business can also benefit alongside ours. So, until then, Stay awesome.


"We've got one of those rare occupations that amazingly, virtually everybody at the end of a session before they leave say, 'Thank you, Claire.' Who goes to work and gets thank you every hour?"                                                                                  Claire Gunther, The Pilates Business Podcast & Co-owner/ Instructor Pilates Can

Click to Tweet

Subscribe to the Pilates Business Podcast 

If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Pilates Business Podcast, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

You can also help by sharing an episode with someone whom you think will enjoy or benefit from it.

Sharing an episode will help us build awareness so that we can have a positive and powerful impact on our Pilates industry. THANK YOU!

Are you getting all the shows? Subscribe today!

Subscribe to Receive the Latest Updates

Receiving our free, high quality content could save you thousands of dollars by assisting you to make the right decisions regarding your business development.