“Special Populations” is Not a Niche!

There are a lot of fitness professionals that are “special population specialists”. There are certifications in which you can earn that designation. The problem is that “special populations” includes prenatal/postpartum women, older adults, youth, obesity, adults with specific diseases or disorders, injuries, and those with multiple health conditions. So, if you include all of those categories, you never get in depth in any one area. Not only that, but, it means that the majority of the population is deemed special.

And, as the saying goes, if everyone is special then nobody is special.

The benefit of choosing a real niche, a specialty, is twofold.

One, it allows you to get very specific in your education and really know that one area. i.e. Cancer Exercise Specialist & Training the Older Adult.

Two, it allows you to own that space with that specific target market. This means that to that specific audience, you are the expert in that area, the go to person for safe, effective training that is appropriate for them and their specific circumstance. If you need brain surgery done, you don’t want to go to your general practitioner. You want someone who specializes in brain surgery. The same is true for seeking out a fitness professional that specializes in training those with Parkinson’s or joint replacements or prenatal/postpartum.

Now, I’m not saying that knowing a little more about a lot of areas isn’t beneficial. However, it doesn’t give you enough in any one area to be “the specialist” in that area. Home in one specific specialty and own it!

TOP 10 TRAITS OF SUCCESSFUL PERSONAL TRAINERS: #5

#5 Successful Personal Trainers are Specialists

Successful Personal Trainers realize that you will draw more attention when you own a niche, a specific, narrowly defined market. Whether you are a weight loss specialist or a youth fitness specialist, you need to narrow your market in order to get more business. This stumps the average Trainer. They think, “By narrowing my market, I decrease my chances of picking up new clients.”

NicheTargetThink about this, in a sea of Personal Trainers that “do everything” how exactly do you stand out? You could claim that you offer “the best” training, but who doesn’t make that claim? Being a generalist says to potential clients that you specialize in nothing. What if I’m looking for someone to help me continue getting my newly replaced knee back in shape (after I’m through with physical therapy), and none of the Trainers at my club list post-rehab as their area of expertise, I might as well roll the dice to find someone to work with, IF, I don’t simply decide to go elsewhere. However, when one Trainer states that they are post-rehab conditioning specialists, they will stand out dramatically to me and will be the one that I hire.

The fact is, the more specific that niche, the more likely you are to be found. If you are a senior weight loss specialist, even among senior fitness specialists, you stand out for those older individuals where weight loss is their primary concern. I will throw in this caveat, your niche has to have enough of a market in your area to be viable. In New York City a Bridal weight loss expert has vast potential for clients, where in a small, rural town, with a handful of weddings per year, it might not work as well.

Maybe you don’t want to only work with that specific population (although you should really love the niche you choose). That’s OK. Having a niche does not restrict you from working with other populations if you want to. It is a way to get a specific market to find you. I am a post-rehab conditioning specialist and that accounts for the majority of my training.  The rest of my training clients see me for weight loss, bodybuilding, general fitness, sports conditioning, etc.

So, while many Personal Trainers think that it diminishes their market, having a niche actually increases your chance of being found, building your business. What is yours? Let me know in the comments below.

For more on the need to niche, see Jack Trout’s book Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition for more.

Check out the full series.
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #1
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #2
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #3
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #4
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #5
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #6
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #7
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #8
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #9
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #10

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