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Grow Your Personal Training Business - The Top Ways to Attract and Retain Clients

Dec 16, 2007
As a fitness professional, you are most likely always looking for ideas and ways to discover new markets, find new clients and most importantly, keep the clients you have. Anticipating new fitness trends, as well as emerging markets, is essential to keeping your business growing and moving into the future. Trends can help you determine where to focus marketing efforts and what new services you should offer.

You need to have the resources or ability to do market research as well as use your instincts in the training field to be able to determine what direction you should go. You need to be an "industry watcher". You also need to think about the clients you currently have and make sure you aren't so focused on the future and finding new clients that you forget to take care of the ones you have.

Successfully servicing your existing client base will prove to be the most profitable thing you can do regardless of any other effort to increase your client base. So, how do you find the time to stay on top of all of this while maintaining your day-to-day training business?

PROPER MARKETING AND RESEARCH

Don't second guess yourself when it comes to marketing your business. The name you choose, the logo you design (or have designed) and the website you create (or have created), will give your clients the first and lasting impression of who you are and what your business is all about. Make sure if you are just starting your business that you don't limit yourself by the name you choose. While generic or personal names will work, take some time to think about the image that you really want to portray. Are you limiting yourself to a certain type of fitness or audience by the name you choose? Think about expansion into the future as well as where you are today when selecting a name.

The same applies to the logos, brochures, and signs that you use to market your business. If you have no experience with graphic or artistic creation, now is not the time to start. Select an experienced graphic artist to design a logo for your business once you have settled on a name. Do not compromise and select someone just because he or she is available immediately. This is a one time expense and if you have to wait a few weeks to get the best, it is worth it for the future of your business.

In addition, you must have a website. In today's society, it is almost impossible to fully reach your target market without web presence. Keep it simple and informational. Research what you need to do and whom you should use to create it. Then build the page or work with the company/designer who is building the page and simply launch the site. When deciding on a domain name, remember to stick with something that identifies you and also something that people can remember.

Once you have all your marketing tools in place, you will need to do some market research. Don't let the term or the idea of it scare you. It isn't complex and it doesn't need to require a huge time or dollar investment. A good marketing plan can help you expand on your ideas, know your target market and allow you to keep your business growing.

So, what are the basic steps of market research?

1. Determine the needs. What needs in your market place are not being fulfilled?

2. Do your research. Gather all the fact related to the needs that you identified in step one.

3. Create and fulfill. Make sure that your target market knows that you offer the service and are able to meet their needs.

4. Market, market, market. Do what it takes via the web, advertising and word of mouth marketing to make sure that everyone knows what services you have available.

5. Ask for the business. Gain the trust of current clients, as well as potential clients -- and ask for their business!

BUILDING AND MAINTAINING A CLIENTELE

First of all as a trainer, you must understand why people hire you. If you don't, how can you confidently sell your services? You have to believe with confidence that the service you are providing has value! Because we are so ingrained in what we do every day we often lose the true perspective on what we do and the value that it brings to our clients.

Think about this - you probably wouldn't cut your own hair, represent a friend in court or perform surgery on your dog. You hire people who are highly skilled and trained in these areas. That is why your clients hire you - you are highly skilled and trained in the area of personal training! Most people do not have the knowledge it takes to train alone in a gym and get the results they are looking for while staying injury free.

You know that the service you offer is of value, so how do you get clients?

- Create a packet that introduces you and your services.

- Do your market research and know your target market. To do this, honestly evaluate your strengths and limitations.

- Know your qualifications and market them.

- Ask for referrals from professionals and other clients.

- Make new acquaintances in the professional market. Introduce yourself to physical therapists, nutritionists, doctors, chiropractors, retail fitness owners and hair dressers.

- Use direct mail and online marketing campaigns.

- Barter your services with other professionals. Make sure you target those people who can help you professionally such as accountants or attorneys. You can exchange services and if they are happy with you, they can provide some great referrals.

- Offer specials. By giving someone a few training sessions for free, you can showcase your expertise and services. If they like what they get, they are likely to sign up as a client. Even if they don't sign up with you, they can become a great source of referrals.

- Create a promotional brochure. People can't hire you if they don't know about you and what you can offer. Distribute the brochures in public places where your target market will frequent.

- Continue to reinvent and sell yourself. Stay on top of your client base, your target market and the latest industry trends.

But what if gaining new clients isn't your focus? How do you cultivate, make the most of and retain your current clients?

- Fine tune your interpersonal skills. This cannot be stated enough!

- Put safety first! If a client gets injured they won't be able to work out and when they are feeling better they may not want to continue with you. Worse case scenario, they may sue you for damages and lost time.

- Target training to clients goals. Even if you think gaining muscles mass is the way to go, if your client insists she doesn't want to gain muscle, keep her goals in mind when you develop the training program. Knowing that you are listening to her and keeping her goals at the forefront of all you do will keep her a happy client.

- Keep things positive. The world around us provides enough negativity. Make sure the training session is nothing but positive, both physically and mentally.

- Change it up. Variety, as well as fun and enjoyable workouts, are sure ways to keep your clients coming back to see what else you have up your sleeve.

As a personal training professional, much of the success of your business is up to you. Remember that your clients are business priority number one, always. Without them you have no business to grow. Take a proactive, not reactive, approach to growing and developing each client's program. Follow-up with them regularly via an email or a face-to-face talk to ensure their satisfaction. Be flexible and adaptable if the training situation or a client's personal situation changes. Make sure you are in tune with each client's health issues and any special needs. One way to do this effectively is to use a web portal. This is a great way to keep yourself and each client's data organized, stay in touch with clients and even train them virtually when you can't meet with them in person. You can use this type of service to create custom workouts for each client as well as monitor progress online and update workouts virtually.

Some services, such as those available via the Personal Trainer Portal provide a dashboard so you can view all your appointments online no matter where you are as long as you have internet access. You can provide client feedback, motivation and encouragement to clients via the online portal as well.

Just remember to always present yourself in the most professional manner possible. Being honest, professional, and credible and always putting your clients first will keep your business growing!
About the Author
Michael Greeves, CEO and founder of Hyperstrike, wanted to develop an affordable fitness program for individuals and athletes that could be customized to their personal abilities and goals, and be delivered to any one, any where, any time. Learn more at HyperStrike.com
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