hen you’re training to become a personal trainer, you’re focused entirely on learning the craft. This is a good thing, the last thing the world needs is another clueless trainer!
Passing your exams is your focus, and your biggest fear is being asked a question by your clients that you aren’t sure of. Or forgetting how to use a piece of equipment or how to perform an exercise.
These worries are understandable, but 1) perfect practice makes perfect, and you’ll always know more than your clients, and 2) You’ll soon realise that impressing your clients isn’t the difficult part, it’s getting personal training clients in the first place!
When you start out, all the different marketing techniques out there will probably overwhelm you. There’s websites, emails, facebook marketing, twitter, instagram, linkedin. There’s cold calling, flyering, holding seminars, referral lists, eBooks, business cards, and hundreds of others. What have all of these got in common? They don’t involve walking up to people and talking to them face to face.
The reason most personal trainers tend to avoid this (it’s called walking the floor) is because it really takes you out of your comfort zone. Walking up to strangers who probably don’t want to talk to you, and striking up a conversation is difficult, we’d rather be finding clients via a computer screen.
But this is a mistake, because while all of the marketing methods above will work eventually, nothing will get you clients straight away. You need a client base first and foremost. So get onto that gym floor, talk to everyone, make friends, don’t be a wall flower. Get yourself in the right frame of mind beforehand, listen to some awesome music and then get out there. Offer free sessions, take numbers down, book in sessions there and then, and then chase these prospects up.
Let’s say that you’ve got your client base established, you’ve got 20 sessions per week and your business is ticking on well. But you want to expand further. You save up £500 and you want to spend it to get yourself some clients. There’s lots of things that you could spend your money on, but this section is what you should think long and hard about spending your money on.
Business cards – Complete waste of time these days, carry your phone around with you, and take people’s numbers down. Then miss call them. You’ve just saved yourself £100 right there.
Advertisements – If you have a website, you will eventually start to get calls from companies offering to place an advert on their walls, in their newspaper, or in their brochure. This can cost a lot of money, and the return on investment is usually pretty poor. If your budget is bigger, then this could be worth it, but definitely not when you’re starting out.
Get Clients Quick Schemes – There are lots of marketing courses out there, and excellent classes that can help you. We are not talking about them! We’re talking about internet courses that promise you £10k per month within a week. Deep down you probably know it’s a scam, but it can seem very subjective. Same thing goes with business mentors. Down the line they may be worth it, but when starting out they cost too much and won’t get you clients.
This tip here is the best one on the list hands down. Treat your current clients like Kings and Queens and you will never have to worry about getting new clients. If you’re always concentrating on building your business while neglecting your current clients you’ll always be struggling. Think about it, which is better? 5 clients who last a month, or 1 client that lasts 3 years.
If you can build up relationships with the clients that you have, you will become un-droppable. That means that within a year, you will have a stable of regular clients that you never have to worry about. Get them on monthly rolling contracts, treat them like they deserve, go the extra mile. They will guarantee that you’re always busy, and what’s more this will encourage others to join with you.
Busy trainers get noticed by gym members, so when someone decides that they want personal training, who are they going to come to? You, or the personal trainer who is taking their 20th Instagram photo?
Sometimes a client will leave you, no matter how awesome you are and how much they love it. Sometimes life just gets in the way. Maybe they had a car crash and now need to spend money on a new motor, or work becomes so busy that they just can’t fit you in any more. Don’t try to talk them out of it, accept it and offer them a free program to follow on their own.
Then you are going to message them once per month and see how they are getting on. Don’t talk about personal training. Ask how the free program is going and whether they need a new one. Ask how their work is going. Invite them out for a coffee if you want. Whatever. You will be amazed at how many of them respond with a question about when you’re next free for a session.
Just keep a spreadsheet of all of their names, numbers, email addresses, etc … Keep their birthdays on your calendar, and their address so that you can send a card. This technique is free, easy, and it shows you care. You might not get them to ever train with you again, but then again you might resign them up and train them for the next 5 years.
This tip ties in well with keeping your current clients, and regaining old ones. Whenever you get a new client add them on Facebook, and then add them to your facebook group (get their permission before doing either obviously). This group is where you are going to create a tribe. Put up photos of your clients kicking ass. If John hits a new deadlift 1rm then take a photo and put it in the group.
Get your clients to participate, and award a prize for best online client. Post workouts that they can do at home when not training with you. Post recipes that they can do. Organise events, a Xmas drink is always a good call, or a fun run.
You can then decide whether to keep the group for clients/ex clients, or to expand it further. There are pluses and minuses for both. But if you do expand it to their friends and family, keep showcasing your skills, invite them all to the runs, give them free workouts, send out a tip of the day.
Eventually you can offer a “bring a friend” personal training session and invite members of the group. Soon your diary be filled with clients.
Earlier we mentioned avoiding “get client quick” courses, but that does not mean that you should avoid all courses. Proper ones, that teach you real marketing, can be a real help. They can teach you how to be consistent, how to track successes and failures, how to create a marketing budget, and tips and tricks for crushing sales meetings.
Check out our Build your fitness business e-learning course if you’re interested in conquering marketing the right way.