The Allure of Being a Celebrity Trainer

There are a lot of trainers that set their sights on training celebrities. Why do you think that is? What is it about celebrities that makes them a desirable target market?

Is it that it would be cool to know a celebrity?

Is it because they have more money so you could charge more?

Is it because you want to be famous yourself?

Is it that you want to have someone who works their butt off because it’s their job?

Or, maybe you want to work as a full-time trainer for one person, have them take you on trips or on to their movie sets.

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First, don’t think that celebrity trainers are automatically good trainers (although I know some very talented ones: see Gina Lombardi and Chad Landers ) or what they do is something you should do with your clients. There are plenty of trainers that put their clients through unsafe, ridiculous workouts and prescribe bad diets and un-needed, possibly dangerous, supplements. Yet, most people will get some results when starting any workout or implementing any diet. And, if the trainer happens to acquire a celebrity client and they see results, they will tell their celebrity friends, and next thing you know, they’re a celebrity trainer. (see the unscientific philosophies of Tracy Anderson).

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to train celebrities.

  1. Remember, like all personal training, it’s about them, not you. Know your stuff. Give great results no matter who you’re working with.
  2. Training celebrities is a niche. There are some commonalities in celebrity life, that if you know, could give you an advantage over other trainers. (this could be anything from understanding the audition process to knowing that business meetings could make keeping appointments difficult.) You need to understand their life/work challenges. 
  3. Live and work where there are celebrities. When I lived in NYC, I trained a number of actors and performers, from soap operas, to broadway, and even one superstar Diva. They could be found (and therefore trained) in New York City. I now live in Easton, PA. Guess what? I have no famous clients here. Celebrity trainers all typically live in the big cities (as do most celebrities).
  4. Their hours can be chaotic and you need to be able to work around their schedule.
  5. The building of a famous clientele list starts with a single celebrity client, their success story, and word of mouth. You can’t just claim to be a celebrity trainer and get celebrities. Referrals are the lifeblood for building this client base.

So, is being a celebrity trainer realistic? Sure, but it takes a long time to build that niche business and you’re going to need to train a lot of “regular folk” in the meantime. I also can’t stress enough that, just like any other client, it’s about how you can help them that matters. Good luck.

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What’s Getting One More Client Worth?

I’ve known many personal trainers through the years who “couldn’t afford” to pay for further education, mentorships, networking groups, and/or services that could help them build their business. It’s interesting that the inability for those trainers to see the value is not so different from how some individuals looking for health and fitness results balk at paying for personal training. It’s about finding the value.

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Now, not all programs or products are worth it and that’s why you want to rate each offering individually for its value.

As personal trainers, one of the basic questions is, “Will this get me more clients, and, if so, how many?” When you look at the value of a new client, you are also not simply looking at one session, or a week’s worth of sessions, but what the lifetime value of gaining this client.

To figure out the lifetime value of a client, look at how much you receive for the average personal training session (your income, not the fee they pay), multiply by the average number of times per week that you meet with clients, times the number of weeks you train clients each year (hint: it’s never 52), and finally multiply that by the average number of years that clients stay with you.

In example:

  • Average income/client session = $35
  • Average sessions/week = 2
  • Typical weeks/year = 46
  • Lifetime of client = 7 years

$35 x 2 = $70, x 46 = $3220, x 7 years = $22,540

Yeah… that’s right. The lifetime value of one new client could easily be $22,540!

So, back to the question. Is spending $500 (or more or less) on a program, conference, or… whatever, worth it? If it will get you one or more clients that you wouldn’t get otherwise, the answer really is easy. Yes. How can you afford not to?

Invest in the future of your business.

Stop Blaming the Competition

I’ve managed personal trainers for almost 40 years. Within that time, I’ve had to frequently battle a belief many trainers held that they don’t have enough clients because there was too much competition (from other trainers and/or from other clubs). THAT is simply not true. There are plenty of potential clients running around and they are not training with us because we are failing to be able to engage them. Here are a couple of interesting facts:untitled design (22)

  • Over 1/3 of the US population is obese. (That’s in the neighborhood of 110 million people. Think about how many of those people need a fitness professional’s help.)
  • According to Livestrong.com, people don’t exercise because they have:
    • No Time
    • No Energy
    • Competing Interests
    • Haven’t Developed the Habit
    • No Motivation
    • Too Overwhelming
    • Poor Diet
    • Current Physical Condition
    • No Access
    • Lack of Results

(Shouldn’t we be able to help them overcome these obstacles?)

  • Of the people who DO go to the gym,
    • Only 12.5 percent of gym goers use personal trainers. (Many people don’t understand what personal trainers do or how they can help. We can do a better job showing our value.)
    • 80 percent who joined a gym in January 2012 quit within five months. (Maybe that’s because they didn’t receive the help and guidance that they needed.)

There is not a shortage of potential clients. There is an inability to communicate and engage. Instead of holding an attitude of competition with other personal trainers or facilities, get together with them, cooperatively come up with better solutions to getting more people to take part in exercise and healthy activities.

Join forces and everyone benefits!

 

Are You Turning Down Work?

The idea of turning down work seems crazy, doesn’t it? Early in our careers, many of us scrambled to make a living. We took every client and every job opportunity we could. That was a mistake then, and it’s a mistake now.

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Taking every client, any time of day, any day of the week, sets us up for creating a schedule that is chopped up, with no real time for ourselves or others in our lives. Imagine a schedule where you have hour-long sessions with clients at 6am, 9am, 10am, 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm. Six client hours per day is not bad, but those hours are going to old really fast. Set the hours that you want to be working first. (I used to set my hours so that I finished for the day when it was time to pick up my kids from school.) Then, work at filling those hours in. When asked to take on a client outside of those hours, explain that you only take clients from ______ to ________ and if they can adjust their schedule to meet between those hours, you would be happy to work with them. If they can’t, refer them to another personal trainer that would be a good match for them. The person inquiring about working with you will appreciate it and may well refer others to you that can train in that time frame.

Being able to say no to work is not just about training clients. It could also be additional jobs (or tasks) that we get offered throughout our careers. Taking every opportunity that comes our way can turn our lives into high pressure, stressful times that don’t leave time for the things that really matter to us. Maybe you were asked to serve on a committee, a board of directors, head a special project, take on an extra part-time job,… whatever. In each case, you need to weigh the benefits with the cost of time and effort. If its benefits, either financially or career-building wise, outweigh the cost, by all means take it, but you need to take the time to scrutinize it.

What got me thinking about this was that I was just offered (and was contemplating) an opportunity to create and teach a video course for a college in Ireland. Sounded like a very cool project. I was flattered that they asked me and it would be rewarding to create something like that. I took a few days to think it over. The money offered wasn’t great and it was going to eat into time that I really do need to put elsewhere (family, our business, and a project that was going to have a greater, long-term financial reward). So, after weighing the benefits and the cost to me, I turned them down.

Time is a precious commodity and we need to make the most of what we have. Learn to say no. Carve out the time to do the things that are most important to you and then only take on work that fits around that schedule.

Make Your Marketing Reflect Your Target Market

If you have a specific niche market (and you should), your marketing should reflect that market. There are two types of pictures that I see used in personal training, health club, and fitness studio marketing pieces that got me started on this topic.

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  1. Pictures of empty equipment. A picture of just equipment may show what you have for features, but doesn’t show who you serve. (How will people looking for a place to exercise determine that “people like me work out here”?) In fact, a photo of equipment only can be confusing and intimidating to those not familiar with the pieces.
  2. Inappropriate stock photos There’s a great deal of stock photos that, while they may be attractive photos with attractive models, do not reflect your target market.  Always ask yourself, “Are these people someone my target market will relate to?” young women lifting weights in class

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Use your own staff and clients if you can, because, (of course) that would be the most representative. However, if that isn’t possible, be very selective when choosing a stock photo. Make sure it will allow your target market to make a connection with the people in the picture. (Note: all photos are stock from Canva.com)

 

 

Giving the Gift of a Gift

So, you want to give something to your clients for the holidays, and/or you’re thinking about running a holiday special to attract new customers in the new year. One great way to cover both is to give the gift of a gift.

giftcertpicFirst, your best members and clients love you. They are your evangelists. You don’t need to give them gifts to endear them to you.

Second, offering specials, discounts, and sales could be perceived as devaluing your service or membership.

However, if you give your best members the gift of a gift certificate to give to a friend or family member, that changes things. You are giving your member something that they are actually able to give as a present to others. They want to share their passion with their friends anyway and, as for acquiring new members, there’s no better way to get them than referrals. You are also not discounting, you’re giving a gift that has a value of $X. (perception is everything)

Here’s some thoughts on the details:

(gift recipient name) ____________________________________ has received the gift of ________________________ (something of real value, not 10% off or a 1 week free membership. Maybe a personal training starter package or a month of group fitness)

valued at $________  (list the real price, show the value) from (member’s name) ________________________________________________

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” – Buddha (adding a little health quote never hurts)

Give it a try. Give the gift of a gift and have a happy holiday season.

How to Start Your 2019 Marketing Calendar

2019 is right around the corner and while you may be focused on closing 2018, don’t wait to start planning your marketing for next year. Here are a few ways to get a start on it.

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  1. Holiday Marketing: There are more holidays than the average personal realizes and every holiday offers an opportunity to market a little differently. A national calendar of holidays can not only show you the major holidays, it can also some of the lesser holidays. (Did you know that Friday, Mar 1st is Read Across America Day, or that Monday, Aug 26 is Women’s Equality Day.) Choose holidays that are particularly meaningful to your target market and create marketing around those days.
  2. National Health Observances: National health observances are a great way to help you create events and Healthfinder.gov even has marketing ideas and materials to go along with these dates (although they haven’t yet put up the 2019 calendar).
  3. Annual Local Events: If your city or town has annual events like festivals, fairs, or benefits, think about how you might tie in to those to attract your target market.
  4. The Seasons: The change of seasons is another natural time to change your marketing.
  5. Your Own Events: Maybe you do something special on your business’ anniversary or create an event of your own (maybe a charity benefit). Write these down in the calendar at periods that fit with your other marketing efforts.

Potential clients/customers become blind to the same marketing and it’s important to change it up frequently enough so that doesn’t occur.

Once your calendar is populated with the events that will engage your target market, you then need to create a timeline for each marketing event. (i.e. how far out do you need to start getting the word out about it? What arrangements need to be made? What materials need to be created? Who has what responsibilities? etc.)

Creating a marketing calendar for the year keeps you on top of your marketing and allows smooth transitions from one campaign to the next. Take some time and map out your 2019 plan.

If you would like an excel template for 2019, just shoot an email to mark @ jivafitness.com and I’ll get it right out to you.

Content is King: Even If It’s Not Yours

I think we, as a whole, understand that if you want to become a “go-to” resource for accurate, applicable information for your target market, you need to supply them with it on a regular basis. Untitled design (8)There are all kinds of ways that you can do this. You can write articles or blog posts. Creating videos, whether as a vlog (video blog) or simple content snippets, is another great way to share information. Then, there is podcasting. Podcasting is rapidly growing and projected to continue growing for some time. These are all common ways to put out content that is valuable to your target market and build your own value in their eyes. But… what if you’re not confident in your ability to generate that content?

You can still build a reputation as the “go-to” person even if you’re not generating the content yourself. You can become a curator of accurate, useful, information by sharing the articles, blog posts, videos, and podcasts that you have discovered and believe that your audience will appreciate. Share the links online or in emails (be careful not to republish the material itself without direct permission from the author/creator) and preface it with a commentary on what your thoughts are about the piece. (i.e. “One more example of why strength training is so important as we age.” – followed by content link)

Now, I know this is easier said than done. You’re now asking, “Where do I find the content?” Glad you asked. Here are some standbys that I use. If I want to find the “truth about” some current issue, I might look it up on a government site such as the National Institutes of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I may also go to various journals to seek out some research. You can also do a Google search including the search as “scholarly articles on _______” Another way is to follow professional organizations on social media (i.e. International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN)) as well as noted researchers or research-based authors. (i.e. if you want to find out the latest on muscle hypertrophy, follow Brad Schoenfeld, PhD on Facebook.)
I also subscribe to e-newsletters and blogs. (everything from Harvard Health to business author, Seth Godin) Finally, you can look for news/information article aggregators (places that collect other information sources), like Reddit and Alltop.

Now, I do believe that we all do have our own voice and that everyone should jump in and learn to create original content, but, until you start to feel comfortable with your work, share others’ and start building your reputation as a trusted resource.

Please let me know if you have any questions and… happy sharing

Doing Well by Doing Good

Marketing your business can come in all kinds of shapes and styles, but one of my favorites is to join forces with non-profit organizations or events. You can do this by either sponsoring or volunteering. Both can be very effective ways of getting your business’ name out there.

Sponsoring an organization or event can be done by donating money toward that charity. However, if you are just getting started and need to keep your expenses as low as possible, you can donate your services.. Many non-profits will put together raffles or auctions and seek prizes or items from local businesses. This is a great way to highlight what you offer and the value of it. i.e. (One month of unlimited group fitness, valued at $115) These can usually be donated with just the cost of your time.

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In less than 36 hours, this beard will be gone!!! If you’re not coming to the event at Pearly Baker’s Alehouse (6-9pm), then go to this link to make a donation. 100% of all proceeds and donations go directly to Cancer Support Community Greater Lehigh Valley https://www.gofundme.com/beards-for-breasts

Volunteering, or working for an organization or event, may be an even better way for people to get to know you, face-to-face, and get a sense of who you are and what you stand for. The newer standard of marketing is about building relationships and to work with others on something meaningful is a great way to get them to know, like, and trust you.

Currently, I am the president of our local business association (non-profit), my wife (and business partner) and I volunteer to work various festivals in town, sponsor our local farmers’ market, donate services to several charities, and I have been growing a beard for the last 6 months just to be able to shave it off for a local charity event. Of these, only sponsoring the farmers’ market actually costs anything more than time and all help to create awareness of our business.

Sponsoring and volunteering should be a serious part of your marketing plan. Not only do these marketing avenues help your business do well, but you are also doing good in your community.

 

Considerations in Pricing Personal Training

I know I’ve posted about pricing in a previous post, but, as it is part of a presentation I will be doing (Fitness Sales: Strategically Price and Sell Your Services) at Club Industry Show in October, I thought I would revisit this important topic. Pricing your service is not simply choosing what you think the going rate is. There are a lot of factors that go into intelligently setting your prices. Here are a few of them.

Target Market: First, let’s start with who your target market is? This may or may not set a limit on what you can charge. If you are out to help low-income families become healthier and more fit, you will be limited by what they are able to afford (unless you are seeking grant money or sponsorship to subsidize). On the other end of the spectrum, if your target market is the rich and famous, you have the ability to charge much more.

Your Competition: You don’t need to charge what your competition does, but what they charge tells you two things. It tells you what your lowest price should be (If you believe yourself to be as good as they are, why would you charge less?). It also let’s you know what the market’s perceived value will be. You can certainly charge more, but you will need to sell your value and why you are worth more.

Your Time: What is your time worth? Now, this is often times a big problem with service providers. They think that because they book sessions by the hour, that they have to fit some expectation of hourly rate. One of my favorite stories (and I can’t remember it verbatim so here’s my paraphrasing of it) is one where Picasso was painting on the sidewalks of Paris. A woman walks up to him and, impressed with his work, asks if he would paint her portrait. He agrees. 10 minutes later, he shows her the finished piece and she is thrilled. “How much do I owe you?” she asked. Picasso replied, “5000 francs.” She was exasperated. “But it only took you 10 minutes.” “No…” said Picasso, “it took my entire life.” The point is that you are giving more than time. You are giving the sum of all of your education, practice and experience.

price.valueYour Operating Expenses: Do you have operating expenses (most of us do)? Maybe it’s travel expenses (this should include travel time), or marketing, or booking software, or whatever else there might be. These expenses need to be paid and you need to make enough to cover them.

Income Needs: Above covering expenses, you also need to think about what you need to make a living. If, after you pay expenses and hold out your payroll fees, you are not making enough money to make the kind of living that you want, you are charging too little.

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into setting prices and there’s no one answer that fits everyone. It is an art. Take into consideration all of the above, choose a price that you believe in, and then test it out for a set period of time and see the reaction. Then come back to the table and reevaluate it. Does it satisfy your needs and are you able to build your clientele?

Let me know if you have any questions or insights that you’d like to share.