Hopefully you’ve found a way to keep yourself occupied at home during the COVID shutdown. Just as importantly, hopefully you’ve also found a quarantine fitness routine to keep you healthy and vibrant while all the gyms are closed. As a trainer and fitness professional, remember that all your clients are experiencing the same feelings of frustration as you are, perhaps even more so because they feel lost at home without any guidance. That’s why it’s up to you to continue to show up and help them get through this difficult time.
Being an online coach during normal circumstances demands enough brain power and attention as it is, but the COVID-19 shutdown has required coaches to step up their game and online presence more than ever before. If you’re feeling a little lost or overwhelmed, Jill Coleman is here to help you out. Jill is a highly successful online coach with more than 16 years of experience in the fitness world; we have a lot to learn from her. She sat down with Sam Pogue, Vice President of Brand at TrueCoach, for an in-depth conversation about maintaining your online business during the quarantine. Here are some takeaways that will help you grow your remote coaching business.
The Top 3 Things to Take Care of
First and foremost, take care of yourself and your health. “Prioritize yourself,” Jill advised. “In order to show up fully for them, we need to take care of our home. Prioritize your health, prioritize your family and friends, because if you’re serving from a place of anxiety, desperation, urgency, scarcity, that’s not going to help anybody.” Acting from a place or urgency or anxiety will only encourage your clients to experience the same feelings. Make sure you’ve got yourself a good daily routine—eating well, exercising often, being outside in the sun, and enjoying time with your loved ones (if you can, that is).
“Second, take care of your paying clients,” Jill continued. Ask your clients, even the in-person ones what they’re interested in: “Do we maybe want to do Skype sessions? Do we want to do Zoom sessions? Do we want to do more stuff on TrueCoach?” Jill reminded us that our clients aren’t sitting around thinking about us and what we can offer. We have to reach out and offer them ways to help them stay on track.
Number three is your social media. “Take care of your audience,” Jill concludes. “If you have not been building your social media audience, now is a good time to double down on that.” This only comes after taking care of yourself and your paying clients. Social media isn’t just a place for you to scroll and look through other people’s lives and hobbies. It’s where you present yourself and attract new clients. “I want you to show up with service and value,” Jill said. “I usually use Facebook and Instagram because they’re the lowest hanging fruits, and most people are hanging out on those two platforms.” Start posting more often and be consistent.
Share the Unique Story of Who You Are
People don’t buy products. They buy into the people who sell them. They need to believe who you are and that you are someone they look up to. “The person that you’re trying to help is a previous version of you,” Jill noted. “Maybe you overcame obsessive eating or maybe you lost 50 pounds. Now you want to help someone who is in the position you used to be in, so when we share our story of success or transformation, people can see themselves in that story—and that’s important.”
Tell a personal story about how you overcame binge eating or were battling depression. Go into as much detail as you feel comfortable. The more you let people into your lives, the more likely they will feel a strong connection to you and want to work with you. At the end of the day, you are the sell—not your programming.
How to Sell Things Without Being Salesy
You’ve probably seen the annoying sales plugs online that just seem sleazy and unconvincing. We get it—you don’t want to end up like them. But you don’t have to! Jill has some solid advice for you: “Don’t pretend you’re not selling. Talk about your products and services.” But don’t tell them that you straight up want their money. “Be human about it,” she advised. “For example, ‘I’m doing a fitness launch in about a month called Lean Building, and I’m doing beta testing for it right now. I have a whole bunch of people who are trying out some of the workouts for me.’” Tell them more about the program and ask them to sign up.
“Transparency from start to finish” is the name of the game. “All selling should feel like a win-win,” Jill said. “No one should ever feel like they’re on guard or they’re being convinced. Everyone should just have all the information and then be able to make an informed choice.” Customers these days are pretty savvy so they can sniff out BS faster than you think. That’s why Jill instructs you not to insult your potential client by pretending that you’re not going to sell them something.
Talk about your services in a real, relatable way. Tell your followers what you offer, what brought you to this point in your career, and how you can help them reach their goals.
Show Your Face For Everyone to See
“If you are a personal brand, people need to see your face,” Jill advised. “They need to hear your voice.” She also reminds us that half the content being consumed on the internet right now is video, so you’d be crazy not to cash in on that opportunity to show your face. Whether it’s doing a live video of your home workout or posting a video on your opinion about intermittent fasting, just get yourself in front of the camera. “I love Instagram mini trainings because you can see your energy,” Jill said. “There’s no better connection for someone to be able to see your face, see the way you animate, see your energy in the moment, and then have good intimation in your voice.”
Jill suggests getting in front of a window so you can get some good lighting on your face. Be in a comfortable, private space so you loosen up in front of the camera. “ But don’t expect it to be perfect,” she said. “Sometimes we think that if there’s a pause, or we say ‘um’ a couple times, that people are immediately going to log off—but they just don’t.” The more you practice, the better you’ll be at it, even just a couple weeks later. Don’t think of this as a quick trick to get more clients. If you do get more clients, great. But at the end of the day, if this task simply helps you get better at public speaking or feeling more comfortable in front of the camera, it’s well worth it.
Don’t Forget the Importance of Market Research
“Market research is really the number one way that I’ve stayed on the pulse of what’s happening in this industry,” Jill shared. “I’m constantly talking to people.” She has been working from home as a fitness professional for 10 years so she wants to make sure she is up to date with what’s happening in the fitness world. You should do the same.
Look at various accounts online—see what they’re offering, what they’re interested in, what they’re struggling with. “Don’t assume that you know,” Jill said. In order to provide the best programming and support for your clients, you need to know what’s out there in the market.
“As soon as you start getting all of that intel, turn it right back around,” Jill said. “Ask, ‘Cool, how can I use this on social media and help my clients be better too?’” Think critically about what you see and apply it to what you offer to your clients.
How to Talk About Subjects You’re Not an Expert in
It’s OK to admit that you don’t have all the answers. In fact, if you tried to tell your clients that you know everything, they would smell BS from a mile away and run while they still can. During quarantine, you might be getting a lot of new questions from your clients or potential clients about health and fitness—and you might not know the answers. That’s why Jill advised, “Send people to other places. You don’t have to be the best at everything, so give yourself permission to do that.”
At the same time, now is also a good time to start initiating “tangential conversations.” In other words, talk about subjects that are related to what wheelhouse but may not be your expertise. For example, if you’re really into barbell training, perhaps start a conversation about kettlebells and their supplemental benefit. Talk about what you know, tag some kettlebell experts, and ask questions about the things you don’t know. Your audience will appreciate the expansion of content.
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