So you are a qualified personal trainer or fitness professional! You have gained the knowledge, skills and passion to help others succeed in achieving their health and fitness goals. Full of enthusiasm you head out into the fitness industry to find clientele and build a thriving fitness business. Fast forward a few months…you still have the knowledge, skills and passion, but the clientele and thriving business have not quite come to fruition. This is an all too common story in the fitness industry, but it doesn’t have to be this way. It just requires you to expand your abilities to include business, marketing and sales. Hold on, wait a minute, don’t go…I know this doesn’t sound exciting, but it is often the difference between successful trainers and those who struggle to break even.
Do you find yourself comparing your skills and business to other trainers and falling into a pattern of reacting to the fitness competition around you? Think about it, are your prices and products based on what other trainers in your region are doing? Putting all your efforts into trying to keep up can be tiring and time-consuming. Instead of or reacting, try looking ahead to your true business vision and start being proactive in developing a successful business plan. What do you need to do to attract new client’s? Have you identified your typical target client? How will you adapt your business to meet their needs? Too often PT’s and fitness trainers have mapped out in their head what they want their fitness business to be without considering the real needs of the customer or clientele. So let’s change that right now. Hold a picture in your mind’s eye of the type of clients you want to train. Now answer the following questions:
- What is their typical gender (if relevant) and age range?
- What is their typical social class, employment type or financial status?
- Where does fitness training appear in their personal priorities or hierarchy of values?
- What style of training delivery will most suit their personality? (military, motivational, friendly, caring, energetic, teacher etc.)
- What other aspects, beyond fitness, will they likely need assistance in? (group exercise, boot camp, nutrition, weight loss, stress management, relaxation, postural correction, sleep management etc.)
- Do you have the skills and qualifications to address your target client’s needs?
Only once you can answer these 6 questions are you in a place to create a strategy to appeal to your target customer. Start by addressing question 6. Get the skills and qualifications needed or you will not be able to provide the solutions that your target client likely needs. Too often trainers employ a vague marketing strategy that is more about stating what they are qualified to do, rather than trying to show a client that they are providing a service that is an effective solution to their personal fitness needs. This inward perspective tends to lead to a single, hourly pricing strategy based upon the fitness trainers market value due to their qualifications and experience. A freshly certified trainer may be priced at €35/hour, while a more qualified, experienced trainer could be charging €60-80/hour. To be honest, this pricing strategy is pointless without considering the target client. How much are they typically willing to pay to achieve their health and fitness goals? If your target client can only afford €35 it doesn’t matter if you think your worth€50/hour as it is out of their price range and you have created a barrier to sale. So, create a different option. Can you provide a product/service within the client’s price range that will still provide a suitable profit margin for your business? If you can offer a product/service that will resolve the client’s problem, deliver this at a price that is right, and the client likes you as an individual, chances are you will agree on a training contract and gain a client.
Develop a range of products/services to allow some flexibility in both addressing client needs and in providing a range of price options. This will allow the client the ability to add in or remove options that they do or do not want at this moment in time. Price your products/services based upon the value that is being offered to the client by the product/service, not upon your own perceived value, qualification or experience level as a trainer. Share your product/service portfolio with some friends, family or contacts who may fit your target clientele and gather feedback. Listen carefully and adapt your products/services and prices based upon any valid and beneficial feedback. Not everything offered in feedback may be useful, but be careful not to be too protective of your plan that you fail to make changes that could benefit your business down the road. Be objective. Try to think like your target clients.
Once you have developed a client-focused product/service portfolio that allows them to choose the service level they need, combined with a suitable, value-driven pricing strategy, you are ready to move forward and market your business!
Could you benefit from strengthening your business skills? To learn more and develop the ability to truly succeed in the fitness / personal training business take the Business Skills for Personal Training from Nordic Fitness education.