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!

 

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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.

No Man (or Woman) is an Island

I know that many trainers get certified and head out into the world believing that they have all of the answers. They may see other trainers as competition and choose to keep whatever knowledge/information they have to themselves for fear of giving away something that will give others a business advantage.

islandThis is a trap that will hold you back from becoming the best trainer that you could be. The times change, the science changes, and you need to change and grow with them.

I have been a personal trainer and in club management for 35 years. I have acquired a great deal of information over the years and have much to share. That said, every time I get a chance to talk with other professionals in the field, I come away with new insight. Sometimes it’s something completely new and sometimes it’s an affirmation that I am on the right track. I example, I just got back from an executive roundtable for fitness directors. Everyone on the roundtable disclosed everything from financials to best practices and I believe I speak for the group in saying that we all came away with new ideas and a better understanding of how to become more successful.

While this example is larger scale and you may not think it is applicable to you, it is. I have had similar discussions with fellow trainers in our club and even with trainers from competing clubs. The key is that almost 70% of the US population is overweight or obese. We sit too much. We eat too much. We are an unwell society. There is no shortage of potential clients.

So go talk to other trainers about their training and their business and talk to them about yours.

You cannot be your best if you isolate yourself.

Share, listen, learn, and repeat.