5 Keys to Getting More Suck Out of Your Fitness Business
October 2, 2012
Boomers and Seniors: If Your Business Doesn’t “Suck” then it Totally “Blows”!
If your training business doesn’t “suck” then something is seriously, seriously wrong. But let’s be honest, when it comes to the exploding and hugely profitable boomer and senior market, 99% of fitness businesses don’t “suck” at all.
You see, when it comes to boomers and seniors, your business should work like a vacuum cleaner sucking in those clients that are eager to pay for your services; are loyal clients for a very long time; and are more than willing to refer their friends. This is the secret of a successful business with boomers and seniors. Unfortunately, most trainers unknowingly “blow” these clients away by how they run their business! It’s like their business is a vacuum cleaner turned on in reverse! They are losing money every single day without even realizing it.
This is the BIGGEST opportunity the fitness industry has ever had and it is being squandered.
So how do you create a training business that sucks in these awesome Boomer and Senior clients on its own instead of blowing them away?
5 Keys to Getting More Suck Out of Your Business!
- Your Customer Service Sucks: Treat your clients right and they will return the favor. This goes way beyond just being polite and friendly. Every aspect of your business should be focused on the clients’ needs, wants, desires, fears, dreams, insecurities, values and perspectives. I know many trainers that still don’t take debit cards or do automated billing. Are you kidding me? Some trainers “punish” clients when they cannot make a training session by charging the client anyway but not providing any service? Is that fair? Is it really their fault they got sick or had an emergency at home? Your policies need to be fair and consistent and favor the client. That means you actually have to write some policies and communicate them to the clients (most trainers don’t even have that). Having great customer service policies and them empowering your staff to create win-win situations with your customers will help you stand out from the crowd (so get rid of the front-desk eye candy and hire someone with some real customer service skills).
- Your Environment Sucks: For this group the physical and social environment of the training facility is huge. When I workout I prefer a kind-of-hardcore environment – lots of free weights, loud music, a feeling of intensity, no interruptions, fast-paced (dude, quit texting on the bench press already!!) and sweat. I don’t like working out in my own club because it has none of those. But that’s okay because it’s NOT ABOUT ME. Our facility is catered towards our middle-age and older clients. They want simplicity, cleanliness, quiet (for the most part), a feeling of comfort, lots of opportunity to socialize with others, smiles and a distinct lack of competition. So we provide that for them and it brings them in droves!
- Your Training Sucks: Seniors can have lots of issues – disease conditions, medications, musculoskeletal imbalances, injuries, functional deficits, etc. so you have to be on you’re “A” game in order to train them well. Your goal is to get results safely and efficiently. And by results I don’t mean bulging biceps and chiseled abs. I mean results that are important to them – better function, reduced pain, feeling better, improved balance, reduced health risks, less medications. If you provide results then they will refer like crazy. But, if you don’t, they will let others know that as well. You can’t just take what you do with younger adults and make it easier for your older clients. Get some additional training or certifications so you can train these clients better than anyone else in your area. Become the local “go-to” senior fitness expert. It is amazing how many people just want to know that their trainer truly understands their needs and isn’t going to train them like a 20 year old.
- Your Marketing Sucks: There are so many mistakes made by trainers here I’m not even sure where to begin. If you have any advertisement at all that shows you with your shirt off (guys) or in a skimpy sports bra (ladies) then you’ve missed the boat. Your physique (however magnificent it might be) has nothing to do with sucking in these clients and will keep many potential clients from ever considering you as a trainer. They view it as unprofessional, juvenile and inappropriate. Also, you just can’t close most of these clients by focusing on fat loss, lean bodies and skinny jeans (which works great for younger clients). The majority of older clients know those days are long gone. Take a good hard look at your image and marketing efforts. Do they really reflect the values of the clients you are trying so desperately to reach? Do you even know what their values are?
- Your Business Model Sucks: Are you making any of these critical mistakes: selling training packages based on number of training sessions; focusing exclusively on 1-1 training; or offering “pay as you go” options? If so then you need a serious business makeover. It is time to make the leap to long-term training agreements (6-12 months); diversifying your training portfolio by offering high-quality small group training (4-8 clients); and adding specialized programs for niche groups (post-rehabilitation, balance training, female-specific programs, etc.). The chances are also pretty good that you are too cheap. You don’t want to price yourself out of the market but if you offer great training in an awesome environment with incredible customer service then you deserve to be paid more than joe trainer at Musclehead Gym. And here is a little secret (NOT)! These clients can afford it and they understand a thing or two about value. Charge more than most and provide more value than everyone!
Let me give you one extra bonus…a huge golden nugget that is a complete game changer for every successful training business! Stop working IN your business and start working ON your business! That doesn’t mean stop training completely but there is no way you can train clients 40-60 hours a week from 5am to 10pm and on weekends and have enough time, energy and discipline to grow your business. This might mean cutting some clients or hiring another trainer to take them on. It might mean taking a temporary dip in salary. It might mean putting your ego in the back seat (since you are the BEST trainer around right?). But it WILL mean that your business stands a much better chance of achieving your financial goals.
These awesome clients can be yours for the taking IF you understand them…IF you value them…IF you serve them well…IF you model your business around their needs (not yours)…IF you train them well.
So get out there and start getting yourself ready. Don’t waste another day or this incredible opportunity might just pass you by!
Cody Sipe, PhD
Cody is an award-winning fitness professional specializing in fitness for older adults. He is co-owner of a successful training studio serving boomers and seniors. To learn more about how to create a successful fitness business serving this market or thinking of running senior bootcamps/group training go to http://georgettepann.com/boomerprofits