If you’re a personal trainer with a strong desire for more clients but an equally strong dislike of sales and marketing, then you must pay attention to this strategy. The usual approach used by personal trainers to getting clients is to use the one-stop sales strategy. This means relying on complete strangers becoming your full paying clients in just one step. This can work but it’s a risky strategy, and one that results in a lot of rejections and a lot of wasted time doing free consultations and sessions without converting them into paying clients. This strategy also requires you to be a highly accomplished sales person. Let’s face it, the majority of personal trainers don’t relish the sales aspect of their profession and very few would describe themselves as masters of sales.
When it comes to marketing and promoting your services, again the normal approach involves printing business cards and leaflets and handing them out in the hope that you will get called. This is often a waste of money, a waste of time and it’s certainly not an effective strategy to use if you want a steady stream of clients coming your way.
So what’s the answer?
I want to share a strategy with you. It’s a strategy that means no more hard sales and no more chasing clients. It’s really a very simple strategy that will completely change the way you approach the challenge of getting yourself fully booked.
There are just five steps to follow:
- Introduce yourself and your services to your market
- Give them some valuable information to educate them about you and your services
- Follow them up, share some more information and perhaps enable them to experience your service
- Enter into a sales conversation to sign up your client
- Make some business decisions
Introduce Yourself to Your Market
You need to think about where you will find the kind of clients you most want to work with. If you work within the gym environment then get thinking about how you can actually introduce yourself to them. It might be as simple as just approaching members and holding a short conversation to introduce yourself and what you do. Your Club might hold events giving you an opportunity to meet and chat to members. It might be a referral you’ve been given.
If you operate outside of the gym environment then you need to be more creative and more proactive in seeking out your potential clients in order to introduce yourself. Do your clients attend specific events? Who else works with your clients? Where do they hang out? You are looking for any opportunities to introduce yourself to people who could well be your kind of clients or to people who can put you in touch with your ideal clients.
Give Your Potential Clients Some Valuable Information
Now, once you’ve introduced yourself, your potential clients are looking for just one thing from you. They are looking for information about you and about what you do but most importantly what it will do for them and how it might be right for them. It’s about increasing your credibility and authority as a professional PT. So, instead of just giving out a business card or leaflet and waiting for interested clients to call you, you’re going to offer them something of real value. This is where you will need to get creative because you’ll need to create something of value that you can give away for free. This might be an article or a short report you’ve written which addresses the issues or challenges that your clients are facing. It might be Ten Top Tips, Ten Mistakes, Seven Solutions, or something like that. The content you provide here will help your clients to get to know you and what you do a little better, and help them to work out whether you are someone that could help them.
So, after you’ve introduced yourself and found out a bit about someone you say “I’ve written an article on the Ten Top Tips for …., would that be useful to you? Would you like me to send you a copy?” They will say “yes” if they are the right kind of market for you and you can get their contact details ready for following up. You must get their details because follow up is the essential next step.
Following up is so important. You can’t just sit back and wait for people to take action because invariably they don’t. It’s not necessarily because they don’t want to. Things just get in the way and distract them. It is your job to follow up, not to ask for a sale but to offer further information and value. You might follow up to see how they found your article or report, to get their feedback and answer any questions it raised for them. If you’ve made a good connection with these individuals during your first meeting and through your article, then they’ll generally be happy to speak with you. You don’t have to give away free training sessions at this point. Rather you are holding a form of consultation to get to know them better, to find out more about their situation and what their challenges are.
This conversation might lead quite naturally into a sales conversation because some people are ready to take action and make buying decisions more easily. But they may not quite be there yet. If, during this conversation you establish that they really are the right kind of client for you, and you can see that your service can meet their needs, then you might want to give them the opportunity to experience your service. You could offer them an initial personal training consultation which, if they agree, will then become your sales opportunity. Pitch the consultation as an opportunity to answer the questions the individual has so that it is providing them with additional value and benefit. Those who are serious about doing the thing they say they want to do will be the ones who will take this small step towards actually getting started.
Convert Your Prospect into a Paying Client
By this stage these people are no longer strangers. They are getting familiar with you and with what you do. They are starting to get a good sense of whether you are the right person for them to work with. This sales conversation then becomes about helping them to focus on their goal and on the benefits achieving this goal will bring. It’s about getting them firmly connected with their goal and associating you with achieving that goal.
There is no need for hard selling here. You have a relationship with this person so now it’s about asking good questions so that your prospect can think about what they want and think about what they need to achieve what they want so they can make the right decision.
Be clear about what you are offering. What is your programme? What are the options? Again, if you know the kind of clients you want to work with you can tailor your offers and your programmes to meet your market. If you have done this then the numbers of clients saying yes will grow.
Now I said there were five steps and for me the fifth step is the most important. Without doing this you make achieving the other four steps far more difficult for yourself. Step Five is really the first step.
Make Some Key Decisions About Your PT Business
Decide who you want to work with and the more specific you can be about this the better. This is your target market.
Decide exactly what you want to do with this target market, the service you want to offer, what you want to focus on. It’s more specific than just offering personal training services. This is your niche?
Decide exactly who your ideal clients are. Within your target market there will be a whole range of individuals with different character traits and qualities. Who is right for you? What kind of person will get the best results from working with you and will bring out the best in you?
If you can make these decisions about your PT business early on you’ll find that you’re able to follow through on your marketing with relative ease. You will know where to find them, how to communicate with them. You’ll be able to research and get to know your target market in depth which will increase your ability to provide real value. Making these decisions as a personal trainer can make the difference between a lack of clients and a steady stream of clients who are perfect for you.
Yvette Nevrkla – accomplished business coach, author of the book, The PT Business Gym, and founder of The PT Business Gym which offers business coaching and mentoring support and resources specifically for personal trainers.