Ignite your Personal Training Business
There are many products and services that are far superior to well-known brands, but never get the attention or recognition warranted by deserving accolades. Often referred to as “the best thing that no one knows about”, many business spend an excessive amount of time cultivating the best product or service but fail to market and advertise it with the same willful vigor. A very common problem in small business activity is the tendency for the emphasis to be on the daily functions and operations rather than on the sales and promotion of the goods. This is commonplace within the personal training industry. Many trainers get caught up in developing the perfect program or implementing training sessions, but place little time on growth strategies. In a traditional approach, new leads are often generated by membership sales in the big clubs or referrals in the small clubs and studios. There is a tendency for people to follow branding due to familiarity, as most people would prefer guaranteed mediocrity, over the risk of being subjected to expectation disappointment. For many it’s the anxiety of change that keeps them going back to the same subpar offerings, even when much better options are equally affordable.
To ignite a business, one needs to generate excitement and a legitimate interest in the services being offered. Big business spends millions on defining and implementing timed marketing campaigns. Major companies such as Best Buy and Lexus know people watch football during the holidays, with big games being the primary entertainment at many get-togethers. These companies use targeted marketing pieces and specific products around the Holiday Season to persuade consumers to purchase in a timely manner. Personal trainers can also benefit from this timed strategy. The holidays usually guarantee two things, the intake of an abundance of calories followed by guilty feelings/thoughts of “I probably shouldn’t have eaten so much”, and reduced physical activity due to the combination of unfavorable temperature, schedule disruption, and the common excuse “I am just too busy and will get to it in the New Year”. This is where the personal trainer has a definite tactical advantage when compared to a normal market. People do not want to gain weight over the holidays; they have difficulties managing themselves in healthy behaviors, and want solutions but do not themselves have the answers. This segments people into different potential lead categories. One that wants to stay on track now, one that needs help managing the nearly two-month period consequently dropping them further behind their intended fitness level, and one that wants to get things started in the New Year.
Placing a strategy for each of the potential lead categories will certainly increase market awareness. The group that wants to stay on track but has scheduling problems can be managed by small group training. Rather than deal with the scheduling conflicts, offer small group training sessions that have a specific fitness-related focus area. As practical examples, a bi-weekly “holiday body cleanse workout” could be employed – focusing on total body activities and higher intensities (for 30-40 minutes), or a holiday boot camp could be developed (even if employed for a total of four sessions); as people are looking for quick and inexpensive solutions to fit in during the busy season. For the “help me manage my life” group use strategies aimed at reducing the negatives. Emails can be collected to send out periodic check-ups, recommendations related to healthy behavior management strategies, low calorie recipes, and ideas for family-friendly physical activities in the form of games or small events that can be engaged in at home.
For the group that wants to get started in the New Year, take advantage of the pre-action phase. Get them to commit to a schedule during the holidays when they are knowingly concerned about getting started, provide friends and family members with gift certificates for personal training, and form a New Years focus group for potential starters (nor forcing commitment but simply providing assistance on the best methods for getting started safely and effectively). A simple campaign of “how many resolutions have you attempted and failed?” can suffice. In this case the normally avoided negative connotation is acceptable as the alternative is the positive outcome – that being success under proper instruction.
Additionally arm yourself with marketing-ready equipment. Give gifts of personal training in pre-made cards with the value written on the card. Never offer free, as it cheapens the service, rather offer it as a gift from the company – demonstrate the product has value, but it is being covered by a third party “ the club is covering the cost”. Next, always have business cards available and feely converse with others about your trade; many people are very interested in health and fitness even though few engage it. Some popular conversation pieces include fitness fallacies like spot reduction, good versus bad carbohydrates, and assumed caloric expenditure associated with activities. Pass your cards out and even provide people extra to give to their friends. Again, small group start-up sessions work very well, particularly among women. For all leads, follow-up with an email newsletter and stay connected via social network media. There is never a better time for a fitness professional to network than the holiday season – take advantage of the opportunity.