I know you love it. I know you’re good at it. I know you live it, BUT, it ain’t always easy SELLING it. I am talking about fitness.
I mean, it’s easy to sell a pill that promises fat loss, or a simple easy to follow DVD that guarantees the viewer will get ripped just by watching the thing every day for 6 weeks, BUT… selling a program that (while it really works) requires getting some serious commitment from the client and that can be a tough thing indeed. I mean, we ALL have tons of things in our life that we see as priorities… kids, groceries, the mortgage, and certainly all of those are important, but one that ranks up there at ALL times is our health, and a quality fitness program can be the key factor that keeps us healthy and living longer. (And better able to earn money for all those other necessities that exist in life as well!)
So, how can you take someone from a somewhat interested prospect into a contract signing (and PAYING) client? Here’s some simple but EXTREMELY important tips to follow that will show you how to sell fitness so you can begin selling more programs today:
Ask questions, don’t just TALK
I would say hands down the number 1 mistake most sales professionals make is talking too much. The key to selling ANYTHING is to ask questions then SHUT UP. Let the prospect do the talking and they will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know. Here are some key questions you can ask while you are trying to sell fitness programs:
- What exactly are your fat loss/fitness goals?
- How do you feel about your current body condition?
- What are the things you love most about working out?
- What do you love least about working out?
- What is the main obstacle standing between you and committing to a fitness program?
Look at the questions above closely… notice anything? Not ONE of them is a YES or NO question. If you ask YES or NO questions, then, once the answer, the conversation is over. You have to get them talking, expanding on what you asked and then talking some more. The more they talk, the more you can repeat back to them what they said, develop an understanding, and use the info they gave you to create a program that meets their needs exactly.
Ask questions where YES is the only answer
HEY, DIDN’T YOU JUST SAY NOT TO ASK YES OR NO QUESTIONS!?
I did, but follow me here. You see, the more YES responses you can get from a client, the more likely it is that they will say YES to your fitness program. BUT, you don’t want to ask questions that could result in a no. Here are a few examples where YES will be the only answer:
- Getting into better shape so you have more energy and feel great would really add to your quality of life, wouldn’t you agree?
- So, getting into those skinny jeans that haven’t fit in years is one of your goals, is that fair to say? (this one would come after a conversation about their fitting into smaller jeans or something similar)
- If I can create a plan that will help you reach your fat loss and fitness goals while having fun that is within your budget, that would be something you are interested in, correct?
As you can see, the possibilities here are endless. These types of questions are good to pepper throughout your meeting with the prospect as well as adding a few back to back just before you ask for the sale.
When you DO talk, only talk about benefits
Along with talking too much comes with it the mistake of saying the wrong thing. When selling fitness, you need to only talk about what the client will get out of the fitness program (benefits) not just some aspects OF the program (features.) This can be a tricky area to navigate so to make it a little more simple, here are some examples to help you tailor your language as you meet with prospects:
- We have XXX certifications!
- We have been in business for X number of years!
- Our studio is newly painted! (Who gives a crap!)
The examples above, while nice, don’t tell the prospect anything about what THEY will get out of working with you, they only tell some aspects about the business. They use the words We or I instead of focusing the energy on the client. Here are some examples of BENEFITS that will go a long way in helping you land some clients:
- You will have access to certified trainers 7 days per week via phone or email support
- You will receive a personalized workout program that is customized to help you reach your goal
- You will have access to multiple eating plans that will help you make better food decisions and speed your fat loss
- Our in house trainers will monitor your progress weekly so you know exactly how much fat and inches you have lost
These examples are the kind that make prospects mouths water and they speak to EXACTLY what they are trying to achieve. The key is to use the language they used prior when you were in your questioning phase and repeat those things while telling them what they will receive by purchasing your fitness program. The bottom line is, people don’t eat cake because of the kind of sugar, flour, or eggs it was made with…they eat it because it tastes GOOD! Make your fitness program taste good to the prospect by letting them know it will help them get where they want to go.
Finally, ASK FOR THE SALE!
No matter how good your listening skills are, no matter how awesome your benefits conversation is, if at the end of the meeting you say something like “Well, let me know if we can ever help you!” then you won’t likely make much money. You have to be direct, you have to ASK for the sale! Whether it is selling cars or selling fitness, asking for the sale is the moment that you turn a prospect into a client. Be firm, be direct, reiterate your benefits, tell them the price, and ask them to commit. You see, prospects need our help in making buying decisions. If we leave it to them, they will often find a reason to say no or simply not commit, but if we ask them to go ahead and sign on the dotted line, oftentimes they will.
Selling fitness takes a little skill and a lot of patience. Listen to your prospects and provide them what they are looking for and you will do well. Practice your listening and selling skills whenever you get the chance. No matter how great of a trainer you are, without any clients, you are just a broke person with lots of skills…GOOD LUCK!
Occasionally people ask me if I can offer an effective business tip that will help them run their fitness businesses more effectively. I think the most important tip is to maintain a close relationship with every client, whether you do one-on-one personal training, or you run a series of boot camps.
Honestly though, there isn’t just one tip I can offer unless I know you and your business really well. I’ve seen a lot of people make mistakes from which they’ve been able to recover, and others who made a similar business blunder that has led to bankruptcy. It’s all down to your attitude, and the goals you’ve set for your fitness business plan.
Planning and Goal Setting
Insufficient planning can cause enormous problems. If you boil down to its basics, then it looks pretty simple: you get clients and they pay for your services. But how do you get those clients? How much do you charge? How much do you need to earn to have a decent lifestyle? Where do you want your business to be in five years time? Do you want to do personal or group training, or would you like to maximize your earnings by running regular boot camps?
You have to know the answers to all these questions before you can even get started. Goal setting is also very important because without goals your business will stagnate.
Give People What They Want
Say you’ve decided that you want to run boot camps. What kind of people are you aiming to attract? Now we get into marketing and if you’re in the early stages of planning a series of boot camps you’re going to have to know exactly where you’ll find your clients. That means advertising, marketing, and promotion and knowing exactly where your potential clients hang out.
I’ll give you a good tip about marketing - you definitely don’t get what you pay for, and in fact on of the most effective way to get referrals is by doing things for free. That includes networking with other local business owners, working with local youth groups for example. and offering to talk at events - in other words, getting your face and services known around town by building an excellent reputation. It will take an investment of time, but will give you a much better return than taking out an expensive full-page ad in an obscure glossy magazine.
You have to build personal relationships to be successful in the fitness industry and give people what they want, and you may have to diversify to be able to do that. People think they want the latest “easy” way to lose weight and you’re well aware that many of these fads go out of style fast, so you can’t base your business on the latest trend.
People want to lose weight and stay fit, so you’re ultimately going to give them what they want but using your own techniques. This is why building trust is so important. You should never tell anybody that’s’s 200 pounds overweight it’s going to be easy to slim down, unless you recommend gastric bypass surgery. Therefore, you always have to be honest. People will respect you for that, although many won’t want to face the truth.
Success Means Hard Work
Ask any successful small business owner what it takes, and I guarantee every one will tell you, hard work. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling fitness or fruit the basics are the same. Find the right location, come up with an effective marketing plan, and roll up your sleeves.
One unique aspect of owning any fitness business is that you’re a walking billboard, so you have to stay in shape. The guy who owns the fruit shop doesn’t have to be seen walking around eating oranges all day!
One of the first and most important things you must include in your business plan is time for yourself and your family. You have to stay healthy physically and mentally because you must always have to have a positive attitude towards your work.
Getting your first clients through the door is going to be a challenge and I’m not talking about the ones that followed you from another facility, I mean brand new faces. Finding the best places to market your business is going to be difficult. You can waste hours on FaceBook and get thousands of friends, but if none of them live in your area then it’s pretty much a waste of time. Flyers are generally ineffective, and newspaper ads are equally ineffective and expensive. So what to do? (more…)
You’ve worked hard, you look great and you know your biz. If you have a facility you may have even got yourself into some deep financial obligations to get the place full of the latest state-of –the-art equipment, but without knowing the best way of marketing a personal training business you’ll probably be DOA.
Marketing is essential for any business whether it’s newly established or has been around for a long time. Look at Coca-Cola. Just about everyone on this planet has heard of it, but the company still spends millions on advertising. Why? Because of competition. You have to keep reminding people that you’re there – and that you’re the best, or they may be tempted to try someone else’s services.
Marketing a Personal Training Business Doesn’t have to Cost a Boatload of Money
If you’re new to marketing then don’t panic, some of the best ways of marketing a fitness business don’t have to break the bank, in fact the best ways only take time, careful planning and/or a small financial investment.
Social Media - FaceBook
If you haven’t set up a FaceBook Page for your business, then it’s time you did. Don’t be tempted to mix your personal and business personas by adding your business to your personal FaceBook profile. Your aim is to look professional, and mixing personal training information with comments and pictures of your best buddy’s stag night probably won’t impress a potential client!
The whole idea of marketing is to get as many people talking about your personal training business as possible, so aim to be a bit controversial, engage people and get a buzz going. Make sure you answer questions and interact with your fans regularly, get discussions going and run polls and competitions. FaceBook is a great place to interact with people to find out what they need.
When you get some healthy discussions going, FaceBook is also a great source of ideas that you can use when you build your email marketing list. Get people’s permission to use their names and questions, and incorporate those into topics for your website or email blasts. People love to see their own names and pix on the internet. They’ll Tweet and contact all their Friends to show off, thereby increasing your list of fans.
Social Media – YouTube
If you know your way around a camera, do this. Check out Google’s free Keyword Tool and investigate what people are searching for in relation to losing weight and personal training.
Marketing a personal training business via YouTube is incredibly easy and effective. There are one and a half million searches punched into Google every month relating to personal fitness training and many of these are localized searches.
Use this keyword information to title articles for your website and use these keywords in the titles and descriptions of the videos you make. You can re-use your videos many times over; on your website and on all the other video sharing sites. Pick your keywords wisely and incorporate the name of your town and build a seriously popular channel of helpful videos that will be shared, Liked and Tweeted. Concentrate on content, video quality and sound quality – the latter is often overlooked, but is extremely important if you want to look professional. Aim to get your videos on the first page of the search engine results pages. With a few minutes’ research you’ll discover under-utilized keywords and you will cash in.
If you haven’t got a list, you’re missing one of the cheapest ways of marketing your fitness business. Placing an opt-in form on a WordPress site is a piece of cake, and getting people to sign up isn’t rocket science. (more…)
What are your reasons for wanting to open your own fitness studio? The first answer will probably be to make more money, but if you know the ins and outs of leasing a property, paying staff, taxes, insurance etc., you may be wondering if you could actually make more money. Would it be worth the effort?
The second reason may be so you could do what you want to do - maybe by appealing to a specific market that you enjoy working with. Well, here are nine very good reasons why you should open your own fitness center. The two reasons mentioned above are in there too of course.
You Can Get Other People to do the Work
There’s an old saying – people are too busy working to make any money. Employing a dozen staff, each making you, say, $10 clear profit every hour they work beats the hell out of trying to make $120 an hour all on your own. If you set up your personal training studio right, that’s exactly what you could be doing – even while you’re relaxing with your family on a tropical beach!
But does the thought of dealing with a dozen staff give you a massive headache? Then look at starting your own fitness boot camps! One-on-one training is ridiculously inefficient. You can set up boot camps, have trained members of staff run them for you, and add group training sessions – all with just a few staff – and still reap big financial rewards
You’re the Boss
By offering large group sessions and boot camps you won’t be a slave to your business. You won’t have to supervise everything that goes on either. With someone else running them you’ll be able to do it from the comfort of your home, or from a smart phone anywhere in the world.
Work the Hours you Want
If you want to get involved you can – training only the people you choose to train – and charging them accordingly. No more getting up at dawn and watching the sun go down in someone else’s studio. Do what you want – and reap the rewards!
You Run Your Business
One of the biggest problems with running your own business is that you can end up with that business running you. That’s not the reason why you wanted to start your own fitness studio is it? If you run indoor boot camps, you’ll only need a fraction of the expensive equipment needed to stock a 24 hour gym. Make each square foot of your personal training studio works for you by offering many boot camp sessions each day. Have someone else run them for you and you’ll be in no danger of being overwhelmed by your business. (more…)
Fitness bootcamps are becoming enormously popular for a number of reasons. People can train with a friend or friends, at a time that’s convenient for them and they can even make new friends. Being part of a group also helps keep attendance rates high, and of course a well-run boot camp is fun and very effective in delivering fast results.
If you’ve been in the personal training industry for any length of time, you’re probably not earning what you want to earn just with a handful of one-on-one clients. If you’ve heard what many boot camp owners are making for the hours they work, no wonder you’re looking into starting a series of boot camps of your own. I didn’t even mention you can kiss your boss goodbye!
You can earn more, and spend the rest of the day doing what you want to do.
Typically, most people think of boot camps as being held outdoors. There are a few advantages, specifically you don’t have to pay rent and you have no overheads. That’s great, until it snows or rains and your 6am class has to work out in the dark. There’s always the possibility the local authority that runs the park may changes its rules.
The alternative is to lease or sub-lease space. Sub-leasing can be the most advantageous choice for those starting their first boot camps. Why? Because you don’t have to invest a lot of money.
One of the main reasons why people decide to start their own fitness boot camp business is to make lots of money. It works, but only if it’s done right. The difference between personal training, small group training, and a bootcamp with, say, 30 participants is simply the amount of people who turn up. More people, more money right?
Well in theory that’s true, but it’s very difficult to give as much personal attention and guidance to 30 people as you could with one-on-one training. If you ignore the needs and abilities of anyone who attends your classes, you’re going to run into trouble. You’ll spend more time recruiting and dealing with bad publicity than actually training anyone.
There are far too many people with the wrong ideas about boot camps anyway. The U.S. Army always comes to mind first, and that’s a scary prospect for an overweight mother of three. The word “small” in small group training may be more attractive, but it still won’t help if your sessions are not planned properly and are not tailored specifically to each of you client’s needs.
When you train someone in a one-on-one situation, you get to know him or her. You quickly learn what they can and can’t do, what they’re good at, and what they’re physically not up to. You also get to know their personality and, very importantly, their medical history. If someone gets hurt in any situation, it’s probably your fault - not the client’s!
So you want to start your own fitness business. Congratulations on making a wise decision that means you’ll be doing something you love, for as long as you want to do it, with the potential to make a lot of money.
Now, where do you begin?
Find the Right Property
The first thing you’ll probably want to consider is a property. Depending on where you are, you may have already seen a suitable property that’s in good condition and doesn’t need a ton of money spending on it.
Hopefully the property will be owned by a decent landlord, with lease terms that won’t keep you awake every night worrying about the air conditioning or the roof caving in.
Hire a real estate attorney who can look over the terms of any lease before you sign on the dotted line, after you’ve decided how long a lease you’ll be comfortable with.
It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a personal training business or a fitness boot camp, you’ll need a solid business plan that includes an effective marketing plan if you want to get on the fast track to success.
Learn everything you can about marketing. Find out what works for you and concentrate on putting your plan into place so everybody - you, your staff and your clients, will always know what to expect.
Set Goals for Your Business
Your business plan must include goals. Where do you want your business to be in 12 months, three years and in 5 years?
Only you know how much time and effort you want to dedicate to your business. Many small-business owners end up working seven days a week without a break and that isn’t good. Hence planning well ahead means you can take much needed time off without feeling guilty and you should also be able to take a vacation.
How much money do you want to be earning in five years time? If you can set a realistic goal and work towards that financial goal, you’ll find that instigating an effective business plan will help spur you on.
Finding and utilizing a number of effective marketing techniques will be key to your success. By planning, you can experiment. By setting goals, you’ll be able to drop those marketing techniques that are not working and concentrate on those that are. Therefore, you must always be aware of where your referrals are coming from and which convert the best.
There are many hard working, talented, and dedicated trainers who are quite happy clocking in and working for someone else every day of their lives. I’m sure a large number of them have at one time or another considered starting a fitness boot camp business. For the majority the biggest problem is raising the capital, but one of the biggest advantages of starting a Boot Camp Business is you don’t need an enormous amount of money to get started.
You can treat the fitness industry like a normal J.O.B., or secure your financial future by looking beyond the one-on-one training sessions by starting your own boot camp business in just a matter of weeks. No more working long hours, six days a week and taking only a small percentage of the profits – you can have it all!
Be honest and ask yourself what are your goals are in life. Some will say they just want to be able to pay their bills each month. Fine - there are plenty of jobs in the fitness industry for those people, but if you’re ambitious, have the tenacity and will to succeed, and want to pay off your mortgage in five years rather than dragging it out for 30, then starting your own Boot Camp Business will be the ideal solution.
Working six days a week also means you have very little time for your family and/or loved ones. I don’t know too many spouses/lovers/girlfriends that will put up without ever seeing you in daylight, or those who wouldn’t love some weekends away and at least one good vacation each year. Living with someone who falls asleep exhausted as soon as their buns touch the couch is another reason why relationships fall apart. You’ll be starting your own Boot Camp Business for those you love as much as you, so get them involved.