Throughout my years as a leader in the fitness industry, I have seen a range of ways that personal trainers try to increase their client base. When they succeed, personal trainers often become comfortable with their current clients, and often stop talking to new prospects. I have been that trainer who lost 5 clients in one month and was then desperately trying to replace them.
Let’s break this down.Almost every member of a gym knows about prospecting. They’ve probably had multiple gym memberships, and they know the system. When I managed personal training teams, I turned this system upside down in the clients favor, and the results were spectacular. Before I get into the details, I want to talk about some precursor steps that will pave the way for your continued success. Whether you are in a gym, a studio, or your own business, become the mayor of kindness and social skills. Don’t talk to people only because you want them to hire you. Know their names, stop and talk for a bit about what’s going on in their life, and remember the details. Ask them about the things they tell you every time you see them, and learn more and more about them. Be their best friend in the gym. That’s how you build a relationship, not by jumping right to what you want from them. People decide on hiring a personal trainer based on what they see them do and whether or not they like them. Try not to educate a person before they know and like you. Your results should change dramatically.
When you are presenting your services to someone, they should be the one talking. If you don’t know what their daily life is like, their struggles, how they feel about the gym, past experience, you have no idea which direction to go. Getting to your education, successes, and so on can wait. Right now, it is only about the person sitting right in front of you. Let them tell you why they need you and listen carefully. Create a program that meets their needs and deliver it.
Let’s get to the game. This game can be used in any setting, and it truly inspires adherence, because the clients are having a great time while they are trying to reach their goal. (Most people hate to exercise and don’t show up to their job on Monday with a Coleman cooler of 5-6 preprepared meals and a gallon of water? Keep that in mind. They are not you.). For those of you who are running your own personal training business, you’ll have to tweak this a bit, and you may need to advertise on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or in your community, but it will be worth it. I would suggest Facebook boosting, because it is very inexpensive, but whichever online source you are comfortable with is the one you should use.
I developed this idea as a spinoff of the airline mileage programs, when I decided that I wanted to have as near a normal work day as possible. I called it “Frequent Workout Points”. I developed a point system for every single aspect of the workout plan which were required for the individual to reach their goal. It may have been 5 points if they approached me to talk about a program, 10 points for sitting and listening to what I wanted to help them with (after I had listened to them) 100 points for signing up for the program, 15 points every time they came to workout on their own with the plan I gave them. There was a sign in sheet in my office. It covered everything, cardio, strength training, protein requirements, supplement use as directed, losing a % of body fat, achieving a short or long time goal, and continuing with me after their first experience if we weren’t at the final goal yet. I posted it everywhere. No matter where you went, my marketing material was there. I had prizes for achievement of specific point values. The prizes ranged from a water bottle, a workout towel, a supplement purchase I wanted them to be using (the only supplement company I would ever recommend is Dotfit.com. Their products are researched, tested, and proven to be effective, unlike some supplements where you get very little value as you support their marketing. Their supplements are designed for personal trainers and their clients to reach the goal.), with the top prize being a pair of new workout shoes of their pick. By this point, they were well on their way to achieving their goal and maintaining it, and purchasing a new pair of self-designed Nikes was the least I could do for them.
My clients loved this. In fact, everyone around me loved this. Within two months, I was training twelve clients a day back to back, 5 am to 5 pm, my Fitness Manager assigned new hires to watch me (and occasionally run downstairs to get me a protein drink when I was moments from collapsing), and I had a two month minimum waitlist. People were trying to talk me into being their trainer. Imagine that for just a moment. People knocking at your door to hire you. That turns traditional prospecting completely upside down. It was the most successful program that had ever been done in my company, I became the number one trainer for the company nationwide, I was making the money to survive, and I was promoted to Manager within a year.
Let’s talk for a moment about what it did for the new trainer assigned to me. Although my Fitness Manager did ask them to make sure I didn’t starve, that wasn’t the point at all. This new trainer did not have to walk through the gym trying to get anyone to schedule a workout with the 1 out of 10 mentality that is frustrating to everyone involved. They spent their first 2-3 weeks with me. They learned how I spoke to my clients, they watched my interactions with other members who were not my clients (and often got workouts from it), they learned how I was progressing programs and monitoring dietary needs, but perhaps more than anything, it gave them stage presence. It removed the “I am new” label from them. They became comfortable in their new surroundings. They had one on one real life education from my clients and me, and from that, they became confident in their role as a personal trainer. They were laughing, having fun, asking questions, assisting me with training, and then ready to go off on their own. Some of those people on the waitlist often chose these trainers rather than wait. Instead of being a new hire with no experience, they became fitness experts and tremendously successful. Educating all of those clients and trainers was the best part for me. I made a difference, and I just had to give each client a reason beyond just being fit to be adherent. I had just given a new personal trainer the step up and pat on the back that we all need when we’re new at something. I completely eliminated the “Let’s throw them at the wall and see if they stick” mentality in my club, and decreased personal trainer turnover by almost 200%. It made working out fun, and very few people will continue doing something if they are not having a good time. Those clients did the networking for me. It was successful past my wildest dreams. Everybody won!
I am attaching a newer version of this created by an amazing personal trainer that has worked for me in the past. He has modernized this program to include social media. His name is Mikhael Ricks, and here is his plan set-up:
We all need a bit of motivation to achieve our goals, and winning prizes along the way…. What could be better? You are going to win points all along your fitness journey, and you are going to have an Amazingly Fun Time on the Way!!! Contact me today to get your first 5 points! Earning points is easy, and your body will thank you for it.
Here is how Frequent Workout Points Goes Down
*Approach me to talk about your workout goals (No $$ required or Commitment!) 5 points
*Sitting down for an in-depth conversation about what you want to accomplish(No $$ required or Commitment)- 10 points
*Starting a Fitness Program with Me as Your Coach-20 points. (You know this is going to work this time, because I’ve just given you 15 points for listening to me talk.)
*Showing up for your appointments on time– 15 points
*Missing your appointment last minute(-25 points)
*Working out on your own with the program I give you after you sign up(Sign in required on sign in sheet)-15 points
*Losing 3 pounds– 25 points
*Losing 1% of body fat – 25 points
*Keeping track of diet changes– 10 points
*Referring a friend to workout with you or on their own with me – 50 points
*Purchase 12 Pack– 50 points
*Purchase 8 Pack– 25 points
*Doing cardio on your own(Sign in Required) 10 points per 10 minutes. Don’t do less than you told me. (Photo required)
*Taking a Group Exercise Class– 50 points (Instructor must sign sheet and take photo)
*Taking a Small Group Class (Private or Public, Instructor must sign sheet and take photo)
*Mention Coach on social media(IG, FB, Twitter) – must tag me – 25 points
*Making a workout buddy at the gym– 15 points
*Loss of 10 pounds– 100 points
*Drinking or eating your protein recommendations– 25 points
*Meeting your short-term goals– 100 points
* Eating something healthy from the café(must take a photo and send)-50 points
*Losing 10% of body fat-250 points
*Doing a Sprint 8 Program– 30 points
25 points – Water Bottle
40 points – Protein Shake
50 points – #Grateful Bracelet
75 points – Social Media Post on my profile
100 points – One supplement of my choice that will help you achieve your goals
150 points – A free hour of my time to talk about the challenges you have at home and their effect on achieving your goal.
200 points – Free Stretch Session (30 minutes
500 points – One free hour where we go over muscular imbalances, exercises, program design conversation and practice to make you more capable of working out effectively without me
750 points: Client of the Month (Shout out across my Social Media Platform)
1000 points: 1 free session with me
3000 points: A tutorial on the TRX, Kettlebell, or Athletic Training to take your results to the next level
5000 points: A new pair of workout shoes. Get ready to design your very own personal pair.
Try to think of a way you can add something similar into your business, and drive the business results that you want. There is always a way, you just have to find it. Connect with Mikhael or me on LinkedIn or leave a comment if you would like more information than I’ve provided here. If you’d like to talk to Mikhael Ricks directly, he’s in South Florida, and he can be reached at (619) 822-0398) Good luck and have a really great time implementing this for yourself.