6 Ways to Position Yourself Ahead of All Other Personal Trainers
When I was training as a job at a local big-box gym, I was fortunate enough (for a time) to be able to work as an independent contractor.
In the fitness industry, many things have changed over the last 10 years, and I have realized that the only way I could feed my family was to be self-employed to avoid the natural ceiling on my income. Not only that, but I was very aware that the average personal trainer makes something like $20,000 per year… And those are the ones that are actually working! The vast majority are not working. It’s kind of like all the part-time real estate agents that are out there who got their license to “make extra money”, but really they are disgruntled house wives or husbands who never really wanted to have to go back to work anyway. They are upset that their spouse doesn’t make enough money for them to just stay at home.
Personal training is much worse than that.
When I was working at the local gym in a small town, I looked at the front desk one day and realized there were eleven other personal trainer business cards at the desk! I was the 12th man, literally. I had come in to the gym as a new guy and a new member of a small community where no one trusted outsiders. To say it was a tough market is an understatement. The trainers that had clients there were so territorial they would usually avoid talking to me altogether and when they did it was a sneer or a negative comment of some kind. Most of the trainers would tell me that “You can’t make a living as a trainer” or “The people in this town just don’t want to spend money on this type of thing.”
Before long, I was one of only two trainers out of the 12 that was actually working regularly, and the two of us that were raking in the cash were also becoming friends and referral partners. If there was a client I wasn’t a good fit for, I sent them his way, and vice versa. We could also brainstorm and come up with ways to help each other grow our businesses. After awhile, the other cards were pretty much abandoned, and we were the lone survivors still in business and thriving.
So how in the heck did I become the last man standing?
It’s called positioning and it is probably the most important aspect of your survival in any business. Repeat after me:
I am a coach and my clients are under my care. I don’t offer a “class”, I offer a solution.
As average Joe Trainer, you can just prescribe exercises… but as a fitness professional, you must position yourself as different and better! You provide something different to a prospective client than you even do to regular clients. You absolutely have to provide a great first impression!
How do you do that? Well among other things, you have to provide:
- Social Proof. As many testimonials as possible, especially pictures and videos. They have to be up all over your website and Facebook pages and you have to get clients interacting with them to show that this is the real thing. Gone are the days of old boring “brochure style” websites without a ton of social proof and social media circling them.
- Being published. If you get any chance at all to be published anywhere, or if the local paper does a little article on your boot camp, then you instantly gain 10 times the credibility of the trainers and fitness businesses and gyms around you.
- Provide great coaching with customization. Even if you are running large group training and/or the boot camp business model, you must customize and personalize the experience for each and every client as much as you possibly can. Your solution has to fix their problem specifically. One person may think that they need accountability, and that is the reason they haven’t been successful in the past and have come to you. Another client may think that it is the fact that they don’t have enough time to get in shape, and that is why they failed in the past and quit their last membership at a gym. You need to customize even your initial talk with clients. Ask them lots of questions to find out what they view their problem is and then build your entire approach to helping them find the solution to their problem. Their problem is their perceived problem, not the problem you think they have. It’s not about you.
- Community and Culture. Do your clients rave about you when they are not working out? Do they tell their friends? If not, you haven’t worked hard enough at creating a sense of community and culture. If you are providing just a “transaction” they will never feel like they are part of a family. Why do you think CrossFit has blown up so much over the last few years? It’s not just the program design for the workouts. It’s the fact that they become raving lunatic fans that are darn near cult-level fanatics within a few months (or even weeks) of being indoctrinated into the system. It’s not that you have to create a program like them, but you can learn from it. Do you do things outside of the workouts for your clients. Do you guys do 5K’s or hikes together? Do they become accountability partners for each other and encourage each other outside of the boot camp or training sessions? Is there something unique about the energy every time you meet? It better be special, unique, and pumped up or people will not be enthusiastic to be there and they won’t want to refer.
- Convenient. This isn’t just about being close to where they work or live, or the hours. It has to be easy to do business with you! It is easy to pay you? Is it easy to stay on track with their program even if they travel and miss workouts for a few weeks? Do you stay in their life outside of your “class”?
- Educate your clients. The more educated they are, the more different they know you are. Many trainers are afraid of actually teaching their clients anything, for fear that they won’t be needed. It’s the opposite! The more educated they are, the more they want to learn, and the more excited and enthusiastic they become. Education leads to more interest. If you want clients more interested, educate them along the way. How many other trainers in your neighborhood actually do that?
I know that if you take action on even two or three of these six, you are going to become a very popular personal trainer in your area and have one of the best boot camps around in short period of time.
If you are a personal trainer or want to be, you will want to know about this new project I have been invited to be a key contributor and coach for. It’s called the Fitness Boot Camp Inner Circle, and it is a game changer for anyone looking to use fitness boot camps as a way to create full time income doing what they love and living and fighting for a fitness freedom lifestyle.
Check out http://thefitnessbootcampinnercircle.com
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