In many respects as a personal trainer you are your client’s lifeline. Lifeline to social interaction, lifeline to exercise, life line to getting back to normal daily function, lifeline to that physique they’ve craved for so long... You get the picture!
The article’s aim is to make more Personal Trainers aware of the breadth of client base available to them. Also how to maintain, expand and gain access to these groups that you may not know are readily available and in high demand for assisted P.T You may find yourself in a career that you thought would be booming, paying big bucks and treating you good but isn’t. Fear not, we may have found some answers for you.
According to the Leisure Database Company there is now an estimated 6,312 health and fitness facilities currently in the UK with nearly 200 opening in a year in 2015. This figure is closely matched by the rise in memberships. So, why do we find our client base seems to have hit a plateau, is dwindling or it just hasn’t taken off yet. Hopefully together we can overcome most of these pitfalls.
Following are a number of techniques, practices and habits that are deemed necessary to be successful and retain your client base in this extremely competitive field. Just think if you put the work in and perfect these areas you could be up there with Shaun T from ‘Insanity workouts’ and Tracy Anderson who’s clientele contains many A-list celebrities.
Long term clients are the most beneficial clients you can find. They not only market your service when they walk down the street or round the gym, but they also provide referrals through word of mouth. Alongside this they are a good source of secondary service as they are more likely to buy products you recommend, endorse or offer. Long term clients allow you to focus on service and interpersonal skills over time.
Hit Goals, Targets and deliver
First and foremost, this is by far the most important but also the simplest, deliver good results and hit those S.M.A.R.T targets. Many personal trainers that work in the private sector and gyms are that focused on getting new clients through the door to hit sales targets that they actually forget about the most important issue. It’s simple, if you achieve the goals set by you and your client and they can see the effects of you sessions, then they will stay.
Create Excitement and Innovation
Always be positive in your approach, body language and linguistics. Your clients should pick up on this vibe and carry it with them into their workout and even take it home and apply it to life. Your aim is to make your clients feel good when they think of exercise. Keep variety and innovation at the forefront of your session plans’, keep the guessing at what kind of exercises they will be doing this session. Try to freshen up current exercises with your own twists or client based adaptations. This can set you apart from the rest.
Build Client relationships
This can be done in a number of ways depending on the client type you prefer, your approach to personal training and your preferred communication formats. This is good for building a healthy rapport, builds a positive client portfolio and makes the experience personal.
- In person- the use of clients name. Remember your client’s names individually, this helps give a tailored personal experience. (with permission) Use of client’s names in write ups and blogs and sales pitches. This makes your client feel special and valued.
- Online- the world is now at your finger tips literally. This is by far the most effective expansive tool available to a personal trainer to date. You can contact your clients individually or in a group message and personalise their experience further without gross effort and time. Also clients move houses, change phone numbers etc. But their email addresses, Face book, Twitter and other accounts tend to remain the same. This allows you to remain in contact in the case of any above changes in client circumstances.
Customer/Client acquisition is the term used to describe the process of bringing new customers to a particular brand, product or service. This process almost always has costs associated with, and this is known as the ROI, or Return on Investment. While there are many different ways to acquire these customers, some methods can be tracked, others cannot. But the primary goal of customer acquisition is to do the least amount of work, and spend the least amount of money, to get as many customers as possible into the fold.
Once you have stable relationship with your clients, you can cash-in on the word of mouth technique stated earlier. Ask your clients if they have any friends or family that would like to use your service. Ask them to tell them about your services. You can make it a contractual obligation if you wish. Remember to reward any clients that refer another. Rewards can be thing such as: free sessions, discounted products, discounted memberships, prizes from sponsors and featured in blogs and write ups. Provide all new clients with a friend referral voucher-bring a friend free voucher, so when they attend they bring another potential client for you. The advantage of this is that you can now demonstrate your services and sell yourself.
Crucial to client acquisition, especially if you are looking for specific target groups i.e. women, men, age specific groups, ethnic minorities and communities, Health and NHS referrals and many more.
The client pools are endless if you effectively network, you can have your cake and eat it. The main businesses and co-operations that seem to be networked with by many P.T’s out there include:
- NHS for health related and rehabilitation referrals- leading to relief on the physiotherapy department and other occupational therapy departments.
- Local Sports Clubs-football, rugby, netball etc. Another untapped area, consider potential relationships that can be built through the use of networking with; Tanning Salons, Beauty Salons, day spa’s, healthy living food shops/websites, day care centres, chiropodists, local sporting shops and independent physiotherapists and masseurs the list goes on.
- Lead boxes- a marketing strategy where in you canvas local businesses that cater to you target audience and offer the manager or senior staff free or discounted access to your services, in return you get access to their client base in a bid to expand yours.
As stated before this is by far the most effective way to advertise and sell your services. Just solely on the theory of “the six degrees of separation” your potential client awareness base can expand thirtyfold in seconds thanks to social media and email.
So now you can see the space that can be covered in a matter of seconds, opening the door for your services in other towns, cities and even countries.
- Develop training system for online users/Distance training- develop training plans via video that can be emailed, messaged via apps such as: dropbox, facebook, youtube and various other web based messaging and P2P and public video sharing. This technique has a high referral rate especially in client groups that live in rural areas or have no access to real facilities or time.
I hope this was insightful to all new and existing personal trainers out there.