One thing I truly am puzzled by is the plethora of fitness business experts who no longer work in the field of training but instead create their revenue stream off of the backs of trainers who wish to learn their secrets.
These people are no longer trainers, they are businessmen. There is nothing wrong with that but this business is run by the trainers who train, not the businessmen who sell business ideas.
There is value in paying someone for business lessons, to a point, but when it comes to actual sales and generating revenue that is wholly dependent on your style, your target demographic, your services offered, and where you are located geographically.
In this series of blogs I will explain to you what worked for me, and what business services are worth paying for in my opinion.
The business of fitness is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it is growing year after year. There is plenty of clientele to go around, plenty of people who want to get in shape, and plenty of money for quality professionals to earn a fantastic living. Competition can be fierce depending what market you are in, but as with any enterprise, it is up to you to create your market demand.
One step at a time starting with setting market value.
We will assume you are certified and you are an independent trainer. Why independent over an employee of a gym? Simple. The gym sets your rate, the gym provides client leads, the gym training managers are responsible for sifting through client leads and dispensing them to trainers. It is just your job to close a sale (if your gym allows staff trainers to be directly involved in the initial sales process. Some gyms do not allow that).
Once you are independent, that solely falls upon you.
When you enter the market as an independent trainer, the first step before working on generating client leads is to set your price. After all, if you don’t have a price, how can you sell a service?
There are a few things to keep in mind about your pricing structure and a few explanations as to why:
- Demographics – living in a metro area as opposed to a more rural area means your prices are different. You wouldn’t charge NYC prices living in Tulsa, OK. Income levels and order of importance as per fitness is vastly different. Cost of living is as well. It is a smart idea to talk to other independents in your area to find out what they charge for sessions. If you go too low, you are undercutting your value. If you go too high, you are pricing yourself out of range. The only feasible reason to price high is if your name is worth more than Joe Cool 2 miles away. If that was the case, you wouldn’t read this blog to find out how to run your business, you would be set already.
- Your education – your certification cost money, your experience costs money, your degree costs money, your results cost money. There is a reason why every new skilled employee (and don’t kid yourself, training people is a skill) starts off entry level and works their way up. If you have time and experience under your belt, it is in your best interests to be compensated accordingly for it. This also ties into the first item on the list. Your experience is worth more in more wealthy areas over more blue collar areas. That is simple economics.
- Single sessions v multiple session packages – selling 1-4 sessions is a little bit of money in your pocket but also just 1-4 sessions. In 1-2 weeks you will have to sell them again. New clients are often hesitant to drop money on an unknown commodity, so this can be a situation where you have no choice but to get people in your hands and show them what you do. Ideally you want to start discussing package deals one session before their last one with you to continue their progress and to take stress off of you by avoiding a sharp drop in revenue. This is when package deals come into play. Give them a discount for multiple packages. 5-10 sessions 5-10% off the normal per session price; 10+ give them 10% or more off the normal session price. People love discounts, even us. By providing a price point that is cheaper per session over multiple sessions will help you land more multiple session clients.
- Recognize and respect your value – this is the big one. We are a luxury service. It is a fact of life that personal training is not going to be as affordable as buying an ebook online. Take into account your experience, education, and time spent writing programs to spend time training your clients, and you have a service that utilizes skills such as knowledge of biomechanics, possibly nutrition knowledge, coaching expertise, basic psychology, and customer service. In a one hour session you are expected to be at the top of your game because they paid for your time. You are expected to “do no harm” and help them progress. None of that is possible without cultivating a skillset that is conducive to allowing that to happen. Look at point 1 and 2 and how it ties directly into this. Respect your value and don’t undercut your own services just to get people in the door. You are worth your experience.
In part two we will go into sales methods and how to keep them happy.
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