I worked as a successful personal trainer for 5 years and during that time I built a thriving personal training business and a busy boot camp business that I ended up selling to move on and work with personal trainers at Internet Fitpro.
Here are some of top personal trainer business building lessons I learned in that time that you should be using.
Sell the result not the training (or classes)
If there was one piece of advice I could give any new personal trainer it would be this. If you sell personal training or group fitness training then you are selling a commodity. There are probably dozens of other personal trainers in your town selling the exact same thing, so you need to stand out from the crowd.
You need to be different
The easiest way to do that is by selling something different to your competition. Most people who are looking for a personal trainer are really looking for a change whether its weight loss or building muscle or recover from injury. If you understand that and package your services to sell those results you will attract more clients but you will also eliminate price comparison with other personal trainers in your town.
Which takes me nicely on to my next point.
Never ever sell single personal training session or classes
Selling single classes or personal training sessions is a one-way ticket to attracting non-committed clients and I’m pretty sure that you can’t help a client get results in a single session, so what’s the point of selling single sessions. If you sell classes then people expect to pay for classes. If you sell personal training by the session then people expect to pay for sessions and the problem with both of these is that a) classes and personal training sessions are commodities and as such are open to price comparisons.
Refuse to take on clients that are not committed to your program. Most of my programs were 2 or 3 sessions per week for a minimum of 12 weeks. This ensured that when I signed up a new client I knew they were committed and more importantly it gave me the reassurance that they would be with me for at least 3 months as a client.
Yes of course you still have your classes and your training, nutrition etc but you need to offer much more and sell it based on what the client gets from it, not what they do during it.
Never offer Pay as you go classes
If you run boot camps or group training then the same rules apply. If you offer pay as you go session or classes then it’s easy for people to skip the sessions because they are not invested in them. Asking clients to commit to monthly payments means that you know how many clients you have on a month to month basis and know how much you will earn monthly as well.
Take Monthly Payments Automatically
If you’re running a fitness business then you need to start taking payments like a business and the easiest way to do that is to encourage all new clients to pay you electronically. There are loads of ways to set this up these days and loads of systems that allow you to set up automatic bank transfers into your account as well as take credit and debit card payments.
The advantage of this is that you get paid on the same day every month and you know exactly what you have coming in every month. Plus, you don’t have to ask people for cash every month which will cut down on some of those awkward conversations.
You need your own training system that people will buy into
Do you remember Zumba and Insanity classes? They were crazy popular for a while but now they have been consigned to fitness history a bit like the aerobics classes of the 1980’s. Fitness fads will come and go and the people who buy into them will leave as soon as they have got bored or moved on to the next fad. It’s much better to create your own system as trainer for getting people results and you will avoid the fad seekers.
Make it easy for people to work with you
You should have a low barrier to entry offer in your fitness business
Here's an example
I work as a consultant for a large personal training company, they have over 70 Personal Trainers working for them. I advise them on strategy, website copy and marketing for both recruiting PT and selling sessions for their Personal Trainers.
Here is something that they do really well: They have a 2-week trial low cost paid personal training trial for new clients.
Last month I sat down with them and rewrote their offer page for the trial.
This month they sold 250 of these trials via email.
250 trials at £30 each is £7500 on the front end
If they convert 50% to training and their average client’s lifetime value is £1500 (they do minimum 3 month contracts after the trial) then that's a minimum of £187,000 worth of new personal training clients in just 1 month.
Why wouldn't you want to do that?
Have income goals, charge what you are worth, not what everyone else in your town is charging.
Rather than charging what everyone else is charging, you should consider:
- What you are worth based on the results that you get with your clients.
- How much you want to earn every month or week.
- The time each week that you want to spend working with clients.
Let your clients be the super hero
Your clients and potential clients should be the hero in your business story. You job is to make this come across in your marketing and on your website. You are the trusted adviser, not the superhero. This is where loads of personal trainers go wrong with their websites. Let your clients be Batman and you be Alfred or Yoda or even Mr Myiagi. Your bank balance will thank you for it.
Invest in yourself
This is a simple one, but it's something that a lot of trainers just don’t do. Usually this is down to fear of being ripped off. This is a negative mindset meaning they probably will get ripped off.
Invest in you. Invest in a coach or mentor to help you grow your business faster.
As a coach it's important to understand the process of being coached. Ask yourself this. If you’re not prepared to invest in yourself and your business then why do you think that your clients should invest in you?
Start building an email list as early as you can
Having an email list of potential clients who know like and trust you is vital. It can be one of the most profitable things you can do for your fitness business.
Put yourself out there and leverage your content
Use social media channels, blogs and online video to get your message out to potential clients.
Here is a simple task today. I want you to record a 2-minute video. Use your phone camera. live stream it on your Facebook page or your personal profile.
Don't complicate things. Just introduce yourself tell people what you do and how you can help them. Why you are different to other personal trainers. i.e. what you believe in etc.
Finish it with a call to action and invite them to get in touch with you. Once your video is finished you should then upload it to YouTube. Once uploaded you should embed it as a video blog post on your personal trainer website.
Take 100% Responsibility for your personal situation and take action
No one is coming to save you. The next business coach or mentor is not coming to save you either. You must take 100% responsibility for your own business and personal situation. It's up to you to take action on moving your fitness business forwards. Act on books that you read. Act on the stuff that your coaches or mentors tell you to do.
Taking action is the key to success.