By Jason Urbanowicz
In this post I really want to share as much valuable information as possible to make a difference to you out there, the fitness professional, so that you are doing the best you can to run a very successful business.
Brad I have been in the industry for twenty-one years, as it stands right now. We know what it’s like when you first get qualified as a personal trainer. Not a big portion of that goes into the business component, or how to run a successful business. Nor do a lot of people, when we do the education part of it, think that they actually want to be a business owner or do sales, marketing, systems. Really, what we really fall in love with is the ability to help people get into shape and it’s something we love to do. So what we want to do is fill that missing gap and so be able to do that at a high level and really reach your mission and help as many people as you can.
Here’s how to boost your profits
You need to understand that the value is also in being able to find out what is unique about you and really massage that message – how to attract people to your business so you can help them. If you don’t get the marketing sales part down pat, then you can be an excellent trainer but you can also be a broke one. And not only that, but you’re not helping people as you first had a desire to get into the industry to do in the first place. So sales and marketing is very important. The question I ask is: do you like feeling broke? Do you like not achieving your goal or mission to help people? That’s what I used to think about when I was thinking about sales and marketing.
It’s just like someone telling you to meditate when it really does not mean a lot to you. You know it’s probably good for you; it’s something that you could do. However, when I say to people “How would you like to learn to relax in less than ten seconds?” then people say, “Yeah, I’d love to be able to do that.” Because that would be a benefit in sales appointments and business decisions and conflict, or having those hard conversation sometimes when people are under pressure and you find that you don’t get a result. So that’s how I would portray the concept: I would never say “meditation”; I would use the benefit for people so they could really go “that’s what I want”. They don’t really want to meditate: what they want is the end result it can give you so we talk about that.
So with marketing and sales, it’s not that we really want to go out there and learn all about marketing or sales. However, it’s what it gives us that we need to focus on.
With sales and marketing, focus on how to boost your profits
Normally what happens in business is things to boost your profits can be right underneath your nose. What I’ve seen over the last year is that when I’ve suggested this concept to clients it’s really made a big impact on their business.
It’s the concept of up-selling to your current clients. You may have done this and you may not have done this. But a lot of times when I’m doing initial business overviews for a new client that’s coming into our business and I look at what they have done and how many sessions they’re doing, they say “I need more clients” or “I need more leads coming to the business.” And while that all might be true, I always look at where is the untapped potential right underneath our noses? And when I start talking to the client and asking them “How many clients have you got?” and “How many sessions on average they are doing?” if I start seeing that most clients are doing on average one session per week, then my next question would be “Why is that the case?”
And there can be a variety of different responses and questions and answers come back to me: “It’s what the client decided to do” and “That’s what they could afford at the time.” Them saying it’s the money – it might not be the money, it might just be that you, the trainer, are not that skilled at the actual sales component of it. And so that can make a big impact. Because there are plenty of people out there driving cars they can’t afford, so really, if they can see the value in your training they will find a way to increase what they will be prepared to spend.
I help my clients examine several things. Do they understand what their business model is all about? Do they understand what kind of problems they solve? All that kind of stuff is important. Do they have a very clear sales plan? Because you know there’s no point getting more leads in the door if your sales process is terrible and you can barely convert forty percent. Of course you need more leads if you’re not converting well because your sales ability is right down the gurgler. On the flip side, if you could get even three sales appointments a week or two a week, and you have ninety percent or ninety-eight percent conversion rate, then you know that’s going to feed you for a long time. You don’t need huge numbers: you just need to be good at what you do and be consistent with it. However, it’s not always about the number of leads that you get, it’s about the quality of leads you get by being effective in your marketing. And then also, how good you are at selling and how good you are at selling your service. If you’re no good at it then you’ll have to see a lot more people and do a lot more sale appointments and you’ll leave a lot more money on the table.
What I suggest is, “Look at all these clients that you’ve currently got, and I see a lot of them are only doing one session a week. Are there clients that you have at the moment who could really benefit from doing as additional session with you?” And of course the answer is “There absolutely are clients that would benefit.” So ethically with integrity we know that if a client or some of your clients were to do an additional session or sessions that it will really add a lot of value to them. Maybe because they’re slacking off a bit when they’re not with you, or don’t do as much training. So you could really give them a big boost. And of course it will boost your profits.
Next, go to those clients and let them know that you have (as an example) six spots throughout the week that you would like to fill. That’s it: six spots. And instead of going and finding potential new clients, what you want to do is go to your existing clients and allow them to have the first opportunity to fill or take one of those spots. Pretty simple, pretty upfront, straight to the point, honest. You know your clients and, like a doctor, you are going to give your professional opinion. What I would say is, “I really believe that you would benefit greatly from an additional session with myself throughout the week. Do you agree?” And then they’re going to say yes or no, but I daresay it’s going to be yes. Then you go… “Would you be open to trialing this additional session for a period of four to six weeks and we can do some testing and measuring and we can really ramp up the results in that time? After the four or six weeks (whatever we agree that we’re going to do) we can decide if continuing on with that make sense.”
I like to set a time frame for the clients. Giving them four to six weeks makes it easy for them to make the decision. It’s a short term thing and if after that time they feel like it’s not something they want to continue with, they can choose to not do so. Of course, in that time frame you really want to focus and make sure that you can demonstrate the value of them doing that additional session a week over that time period.
And that’s how you boost your profits!
It’s that whole concept again – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So many trainers come back to me and say, “I cannot believe that I haven’t thought of that sooner. I’ve been looking for new clients; I’ve been running around, I’m not sure how to do lead generation yet, and all this stuff. And there were clients that were there and the only reason they were doing one session a week is because I just let them decide. I didn’t recommend at the start, when they signed up, that it would be really beneficial to do at least two sessions per week.” If you get a really clear understanding of your client’s goals and objectives, their timeline, then give your professional opinion. Say, “I would recommend for at least three months that you do least two sessions a week.” Really give your honest diagnosis as to what you believe they would need.
Then trainers say to me, “I’ve just filled six new spots and that’s been an increase of about three to four hundred dollars per week, just by asking the question.” And it all does come back to that. It comes back to the fact that you have something to provide of value. Get away from the scene that you’re just going for the money. Because if that’s what you what you are doing, that’s going to show up as well. As I said, be ethical about it, do it with integrity. You’re offering something of value. So you’re offering a chance; you’re asking a question. And the client has the right to say yes or no. And you have the right to ask the question.
Believe me, asking that question really does mean that you could increase your weekly income immediately. Today. Straightaway. At the end of this reading this post you go and do it straightaway. Your income can increase straightaway, as of next week. So you’re going to have an increase of two, three, four hundred, whatever you charge, how many clients you up-sell, and how many spots you’ve got. That’s definitely a possibility. I’ve seen it time and time again, week in and week out.
My suggestion is, if you’re looking for more sessions and you got clients currently in that situation, to just ask the question. More importantly for you is to get comfortable asking for what it is you desire. If you don’t ask, once again the answer is always no. It’s good to be able to ask the question and feel good about it.
Why discounting will not boost your profits
The next part is only my recommendation. If you follow our blog you’ll know that we don’t discount. Your time’s tight but there might be a temptation for you to offer a discount, thinking that that’s what the client wants to take an additional session. Now, they know what you’re worth. They know what they pay for a session. Never discount, unless you really feel like that’s something you want to do. Don’t discount. You know, normally where the discount comes from is from the business owner. They feel like they should discount when a client’s only doing one session a week. Now, your time is your time. You wouldn’t be happy if the boss comes in and says “Hey, by the way guys, you are going to be doing same hours or maybe more hours, but we’re going to pay you less.” How would you feel if your boss did that? So why are we going to discount our own self-worth? So the price is the price. It’s still your time.
And what you need to understand is that you might not think it’s a big deal when you’re discounting for this client, this client, that client, but add it up… If you start giving just a ten dollars discount, whether you give it off one or two sessions, add that up over ten clients and you’ve given a discount that’s now a hundred dollars. Add that up over twenty sessions and it’s now two hundred dollars a week. That’s eight hundred dollars a month. So it’s about ten or twelve grand a year that you’re missing out on because you just discounted without even finding out if that’s something that you needed to do to start with. And secondly, you’re basically telling yourself that you’re not worth that price that you originally charged.
Add value rather than discounting
If anything, value add. Add more value to the service. And what I mean by that is find additional ways that you can add value to the client – ways they wouldn’t expect. Give them great customer care, send out regular handwritten letters saying thank you for being such an outstanding client. Do little things, just don’t discount. If you do it’s going to cost you a lot more money than it would to value add.
So that’s your assignment, if you allow me to be your coach in this post. I would love to hear from you! I want to share in the victories, the win that you going to have from this. And I guarantee you are going to get an immediate result. I know you’re sitting there already going, “Yeah, yeah. John. I definitely know that John would do two sessions. He would definitely do it but I’ve just never asked.” I know you are sitting there knowing that.
Look, get out there, action it straightaway. I’d love to hear some feedback. Leave your feedback in the comments section below.
If you want any more help with your business, if you need some extra support, you’ll want to contact us. If you’re after an initial free consultation, just to chat and find out more, we’ve got plenty of different options in terms of education and coaching programs to really help. You can also read our success stories from other students.
I would like to speak to you, that’s something that we are very passionate about doing. It’s about helping trainers to create the lifestyle they want and a business that runs a lot more smoothly.