You’re a good trainer. You’re attending certifications, networking, and the clients you have are seeing big results. But you’re having trouble landing new clients and you don’t want to sound like a used car salesman when promoting your services. Sound familiar?
We’re not here to lie to you and pretend you’re just facing some bad luck. There might be something broken in your process. But don’t worry — the quicker you can identify the problem, the quicker you can get to a level where you’re happy with the growth of your business.
The following information is for any of you who are facing a plateau with your business, just starting out, or looking for any information that might help your business grow. Keep in mind, if you catch yourself reacting to any of the following statements, that’s more than likely the one that you and your business need to hear the most.
Here are seven reasons your training business isn’t where you want it — and how you can fix it.
1. You’re Offering the Wrong Prices
You’ve probably wondered many times whether you should cut your prices, offer a sale, or even do a Groupon. At times you’ve likely also blamed people for not seeing the value in your training. Clearly you’re worth every dollar yet too many potential clients are duped by quick-fix solutions and aren’t seeking the kind of high-quality training you offer.
You’re a knowledgeable trainer with tons of experience but you may have to adjust your presentation in order to attract more potential clients. The average consumer needs to be educated on what value they’re receiving so they can understand the price tag. First, you have to identify what matters to them. For example, when a customer is deciding on a purchase at the butcher, they may be concerned with what the cows are fed, how they’re cared for, etc. Seeing this information will help them decide whether they should pay $10 more for a grass-fed, organic, ethically raised a piece of meat.
That’s why you have to meet your clients where they’re at — and you do that by figuring out what your clients care about. You can either offer cheap services by releasing an assembly line of one-size-fits-all programs or you can go for quality and tailor your product to fit your clients’ needs. The latter will naturally come at a higher price.
Always remember that price is only one factor of value when clients are looking for the right coach. If they complain it’s too expensive, chances are it’s because you didn’t show them the value related to what they care about.
2. You’re Not at the Right Location
When you chose your space, maybe you went for your ideal or dream spot but sacrificed being in the location you really wanted or knew would make your business most successful.
There isn’t a right or wrong place to open a facility. What matters is that your culture and services line up with your location. For example, if you’re offering a progressive training style or that’s the way you are marketing it but you’re located in a conservative market that wants what they’re already familiar with, you may not be in the right location. As John Wolf, Chief Fitness Officer of Onnit, says, “There are two things people fear: things that change, and things that stay the same.”
Consider this: companies such as Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s spend millions of dollars on research for real estate, population growth, traffic patterns, and future development. Personal training is a luxury service, as is going to a special facility such as Crossfit or F45, so at the end of the day, demographics will play a role in your success. Know the demographic you’re targeting and make sure your location aligns with your mission.
3. You’re Not Marketing Correctly
If you’re the facility that’s all about inclusivity, community, and accessibility but all of your social posts, ads, and website copy speak to being exclusive and offering limited access, it becomes confusing. It actually gives someone one more reason they shouldn’t buy from you. People are naturally skeptical and looking for reasons to not buy. So if you’re unable to communicate effectively or you’re causing confusion, this offers reasons not to buy from you.
Consistency is key. You don’t want your Facebook to have splashes of violet when your website and other creative assets are teal. It shows a lack of attention to detail, which indirectly affects their decision-making process.
Let’s say you want to work with athletes or hardcore fitness folks but the only people showing up to your facility are individuals who want to improve their health yet aren’t willing to do all the necessary things to get there. Once again, it comes down to meeting people where they’re at and identifying what your culture and brand are, as well as who your clients are and why they choose to spend money on you. Then you have to communicate it clearly, leaving no room for confusion. If you aren’t getting at least double-digit leads on a regular basis or at all, there might be something missing in your marketing which could be one or all of the following: imagery, theme, or even copy.
4. Your Sales Process Needs Work
Don’t make the mistake of thinking your sales presentation or gym is so special that people will magically hand you their credit card and not ask any questions. You still have to present what you can do for them based on where they’re at and then offer the sale.
Often times consumers think they may or may not be in good enough shape to work with you. Have you ever heard that line before?
So if they’re in front of you, they already showed up, which is one of the hardest parts. It’s now up to you to help educate them as to how you are going to help them get to their goals. Start by putting your message into words they will understand.
There’s a fine line to being the fast-talking car salesman in a polyester brown checkered suit and delivering a personalized solutions approach to helping the client see their success with you. The car salesman is focused solely on “objection managing” and that’s what everyone has come to believe sales is. But if you want clients to get excited to work with you, you have to be a good listener first and ask more questions rather than talking about what you do and how you’re different. Asking questions allows you to understand what your client needs to be educated on right now.
So don’t be caught up in telling your “lead” everything they’ve been doing wrong why the place down the street sucks, or that you’re the only person worth working with.
At the end of the day, sales are about understanding your client, which helps you understand how you can help them remove the obstacles in their way. If you’re converting less than 70 percent of the leads coming in your door, your sales pitch is likely broken and needs some work.
5. Your Onboarding Isn’t Successful
Maybe you think those six-week challenges are cheesy or you just don’t have the resources to run a fundamentals class or program. However, if you don’t offer a comprehensive onboarding service for your new clients, you might leave them feeling lost or, worse, neglected. This will greatly impact their decision-making process when it comes to renewing their services with you.
The way you make people feel when they’re brand new — and thus most insecure — will go a long way. The faster you can make them feel comfortable and a part of your community, the higher the likelihood of them being a long-term client in your schedule.
If the onboarding experience is poor, they may not say anything in the beginning when they’re going through it but when push comes to shove in their lives and when they have the choice of buying more sessions, they’re more likely to not keep hiring you if they didn’t feel comfortable in the beginning because in their gut from the very beginning it just didn’t feel right.
When clients have poor adherence or poor consistency from the very beginning, this indicates you didn’t do a good job easing this person in and showing them you’re there to support them and make them feel safe. Because if fitness came easy to them, they wouldn’t be hiring you — they would do it for themselves.
6. Your Culture Isn’t as Strong as You Thought
Have you polled your current members lately and asked for feedback on how they felt during their experience with you? Feedback is a powerful tool; if you’re not using it, we suggest you start.
If you only train clients online, know that culture is still a factor. It may not hold the same weight as if you own a physical brick and mortar gym, but it still matters. Maybe you can build a digital culture by having a Facebook group for all your clients so they can interact with each other and ask questions.
If you’re someone who’s able to get people to sign up for sessions but retention is low, that means you might be great at marketing and getting them to come in but your culture experience is lacking. Now’s a good time to see how you can strengthen the culture of your brand.
7. Your Communication Isn’t Effective
“Remember, people will forget what you say and what you did, but they will not forget the way you made them feel,” Maya Angelou once said. Even if your clients’ experience is only digital, you still need to capture the excitement, connect, and build value. If anything, doing it digitally is even harder.
Do you have office hours for your clients to reach you? Do you send them emails that make them feel unique or do they only receive cookie cutter content? How often are you checking in with them out of the blue?
More often than not most problems don’t lie in the technical specifics but more from a lack of meaningful communication. We realize communication is a word with a broad meaning, but it’s not hard to see dysfunction or a broken process when it appears. In fact, most issues in life, business, and relationships all stem from poor communication. And when you have poor communication, it leads to mixed feelings about your product.
Success has everything to do with how we conduct ourselves and how we communicate, so never underestimate the power of connecting with your clients in an authentic way. Ask them questions and find out how you can best support them. Establish a friendly rapport so they feel comfortable notifying you when something goes wrong. The more you show you care about them, the more likely they’ll be repeat customers.
All in all, we just want to see good people succeed. That won’t come through not helping each of you overcome the challenges you’re up against. The fitness industry is not short on customers or consumers and it has nothing to do with a lack of options. Review these seven steps as many times as you need and apply them as soon as you can. You already know how you stand out from your competitors and how much more you have to offer clients. Now’s the time to ensure your business decisions reflect that.