A huge part of building your business is getting referrals from your existing clients and/or members. Referrals don’t stop there, though. You should be creating a network of other professionals that you can refer your clients to.
The reasons for this are twofold. First, when you refer a client to another professional that can further enhance your client’s health and/or wellness, they get even better results and will appreciate you all the more.
Second, when another professional receives a referral from you, they will feel compelled to reciprocate (as long as you are good at what you do). These professional referrals are a low-cost way to get qualified (someone that’s already interested) leads.
Start by finding other professionals that don’t offer what you do, but complement it. Look for them in the areas of health (medical doctors, physical therapists), fitness (maybe yoga or a swim coach), nutrition (RDs, personal chefs), bodywork (chiropractors, massage therapists), beauty (hair, nails), etc. Meet with them and explain what you do and that you are looking for other professionals that you can refer your clients to. Ask about their qualifications, philosophies, and references to make sure you feel confident in referring to them.
Refer your clients when appropriate and review their experience afterward. Their experience will either support your use of this professional or let you know to look for someone else. The right professional referral network will benefit everyone involved.
Most personal trainers love working with athletes and exercise enthusiasts. They’re excited to be there, willing to do almost anything, and they work hard. What’s not to love? Oh, except the fact that they are often self sufficient and are less likely to hire a personal trainer. And, while progressing someone from fit to more fit is fun, it’s not nearly as rewarding (at least for me) as the change you can make in someone’s life by taking them from unable to able. From a potential market point of view, the unfit, unable, far out number the fit. Here’s a few statistics.
According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition,
- Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day
- only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
- Only 35 – 44% of adults 75 years or older are physically active, and 28-34% of adults ages 65-74 are physically active.
- More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
So, consider this. If you want to build a thriving business and significantly change people’s lives for the better, focus on the unfit market. Create programs that will make them feel safe to start. Market how you can ease them into a new lifestyle. Teach these fitness newcomers that movement can be fun and that fitness doesn’t need to be intimidating.
If you’ve been a personal trainer for more than a couple of years, you have experienced a slump. These are those times when everything seemed to be going ok. Your schedule was full and life was beautiful. Then, all of a sudden, that couple that you were training 3 times per week (each) move out of town, another client gets injured doing yard work, and still another finds they can’t afford to train with you anymore. Now you find yourself with a third of your schedule open and feeling the financial pinch of making less money. Top that off with the fact that you can’t seem to pick up any new clients. You start to feel panicky and anxious. Life no longer seems beautiful. What happened?
Well, when you began as a personal trainer, you knew you had to hustle, talking to everyone, making connections, creating opportunities to sit down with potential clients and transitioning them into paying customers. This builds your schedule to the point where you are comfortable with the number of people you are helping and the money you are making. And guess what? You stop hustling. You sit back and go about your day-to-day training and everything is fine… until it’s not.
The key is to never stop prospecting, never stop hustling. You know from having built your schedule the first time that gaining clients is not an overnight thing. It can take days, weeks, and sometimes months before a potential client decides it’s time to start. That slump can last for months and that’s not fun. On the other hand, if you keep hustling, keep working it, what’s the worst that could happen? You could take on a few more clients than you had planned on, or maybe you pair them up with another client with similar goals (creating a small group), OR, you could pass these new clients on to another trainer, which helps more people, helps the other trainer, build good will, and keeps you in the game.
Losing clients is inevitable. Having that loss send you into a slump, is not. Keep hustling and you’ll keep busy.
I know one personal trainer that charges $300/hour. I know others that charge $15/hr. Fifteen years ago in NYC I charged $125/hr, now, in my new home in Easton, PA, I charge $65/hr. Pricing is not simply making up a number in your head that you want to charge (or at least shouldn’t be). There are some important variables that should be considered when you are determining your price(s).
- Who is your target market? If my target market are the rich and famous, my prices will be higher than if I am seeking to address the needs of a low-income community.
- What weekly income do you need achieve and how many hours do you intend on working? Obviously, you need to price yourself so that you can make a living and still have time for a life.
- What value do you place on your time? Actually, let’s not think about time, based on all of your training and experience, what do you believe the value of your service is?
- What does the competition charge? While you can charge more than the competition (assuming you are worth it), it does play into how the public perceives the value.
- What is the perceived value by your target market? If their perception is that you are expensive and you still want to charge the premium price, you may have to educate your market why it’s worth what it is (and that will be more effective if you can show them vs tell them).
How you make your decision is very individual. This is the “art” of pricing. Some of the considerations will weigh more heavily than others based on your situation. The important thing is to consider each of the factors that play into deciding on a price. Determine your price, implement it, and, based on the response, re-evaluate it in six months.