Once you’ve nailed the basics of being a good Personal Trainer (and just a decent human), you’ll likely be at a stage where you want to kick on.
‘Kicking on’ can mean many things in the fitness industry (i.e. simply getting busier, starting an online business, creating digital/physical products to sell, etc.), but let’s assume you want to fill your diary.
You’ll probably bumble up to 15-30 hours per week of Personal Training by just being there. You’ll build relationships with people in the gym and the ones who you connect with will hire you.
But once you get to a certain level (i.e. likely above 30 hours per week of Personal Training) you’ll find that you have something that resembles a bit more of a business than a part-time job.
At this point, probably before too…but definitely after this point, you’ll most likely want to start paying a bit more attention to how you attract people into your business.
I think that there are a few crucially important elements to understand, regardless of where you are in your Personal Training career journey at the moment.
These are your training philosophy and your message.
Your philosophy is essentially your interpretation of fitness.
Are you the body composition trainer who peels people to the bone before they step on stage?
Are you the powerlifting trainer who helps people lift bending barbells?
Are you the moderation trainer who helps people improve every aspect of their health and fitness without necessarily focussing on a particular area?
The last one on the list probably looks like a bit of a half-arsed cop-out, but that’s actually how I’d describe my own training philosophy
I want to help people feel better about themselves – plain and simple.
I want to work with people who are prepared to work hard but have a laugh the whole way through the session. People who want to improve themselves but don’t want to give up everything they enjoy in order to do so.
I want to work with people who don’t really like gyms but know they have to exercise for their health and waistlines sake; who enjoy eating out and having a few bevies at weekends; who want to train in an environment that’s more like a pub than a gym.
Because this is my philosophy, I’ve got to make sure that my message (i.e. everything I ‘put out there’; from Facebook statuses to podcast interviews to blog posts to everyday conversations) is aligned to it.
So, my main objectives for any and all pieces of social media content, blogs, conversations, etc. is to convey the message that you can achieve your goals without having to eat chicken and broccoli 3x per day and going ‘beast mode’ 5x per week in the gym.
I talk about how friendly and welcoming our gym is, how supportive and non-judgemental our coaches are and how ‘normal’ people achieve great results just by showing up, sweating and smiling.
If I were to start harping on about weighing food and eating out of Tupperware it wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, because doing those things will likely help people improve their body shape.
But it would be wrong for my business because it’d attract people who I wouldn’t enjoy working with…and who likely wouldn’t enjoy with me.
Stepping further into the ‘messaging’ realm…
The quality of your message is going to directly influence the quality of ‘lead’ you attract into your business.
How you present yourself – uniform, hair, body language, etc., the stuff you put on your personal Facebook profile, the blogs you write, how your website looks and the conversations you have all contribute towards your message.
They all have to be consistent with each other, with you as an individual and with your business.
Something you’ve got to realise is that there are people in the majority of cities who are:
– Not willing to spend more than £20 per month on a gym membership;
– Willing to spend £100+ per month for a health club membership;
– Not willing to spend any money on Personal Training;
– Willing to spend up to (and over) £1,000 per month on Personal Training.
The quality of your message and your marketing (i.e. the vehicle in which you express your message) will determine which ‘type of lead’ you attract.
(NOTE: A lead is someone who expresses an interest in your services. The ‘quality’ of the lead ‘officially’ refers to the likelihood of them paying for your services and the amount they’re going to be willing to spend on your services.
As much as that’s the ‘black and white’ definition, I believe there’s more to the quality of a lead than their income/bank balance, but I’ll go into that later.)
In simpler terms: If you charge £40 per hour and your marketing is generating loads of leads who aren’t willing to spend more than £20 per month, you’re in trouble.
Likewise, if you charge £20 per month for a membership at your gym but you’re attracting leads willing to, and wanting to, part with several hundred pounds per month then you’re also in trouble.
In both cases, you’re attracting leads (which is great) but you won’t be able to convert them into paying customers because, basically, you don’t sell what they want; despite the fact that your marketing led the individual to believe that you do.
That obviously isn’t great…at all.
So, if you’re selling a premium service (i.e. Personal Training), which you likely are given that you’ve read this far, you have to make sure that the way you present yourself, the way your website looks and that your written/photo/video content is also premium.
If not, you’re going attract a lot of people who’ll get in touch/apply and be left aghast when you tell them how much they’re going to have to pay for your services.
Simple ways to improve the quality of your message include:
– Make sure you can actually structure a sentence and spell correctly before you start writing.
If you can’t, cool. Just make sure you get someone else to do your writing for you…or stick to audio/video forms of marketing.
– Hire a photographer to take photos of your gym/members training rather than using your phone.
Head back to point 3 in last week’s blog: Put your phone away.
– If you’re doing videos, no matter how short or ‘quick’, invest in a decent microphone to ensure that the audio is quality.
Personally, if I start watching a video and the audio has that annoying ‘fuzzy’ sound in the background you’ve lost me.
– Eliminate ‘emms’ and ‘ahhs’ from your video content.
If you fluff your lines, shoot it again. If you can’t get good, hire someone to coach you to become better in front of a camera.
Messaging goes further than simply the amount of money people are prepared to pay for services
Your messaging also will dictate the types of people (i.e. the demographic) you attract into your business, which is just as – if not more – important than the amount of money people have. (Albeit, it’s obviously important to attract people who can actually afford to pay you.)
If you’re the girl who’s parading around Instagram in nothing more than a piece of dental floss for a pair of pants talking about ‘booty gains’, you’re more than likely going to attract girls who aspire to be just like you. The likelihood of you attracting an overweight 50-year-old mother of teenagers is slim.
If you’re the girl constantly raving about your poor relationship with food and body image issues, you’re more than likely going to attract females with similar trains of thought. The likelihood of you attracting the 35-year-old weekend warrior who wants his guns to hug his sleeves a little more is low.
If you’re boring as fuck, you’re unlikely to attract people who are the life and soul of the party, because they’d likely rather put needles in their eyes than read/watch your content…never mind spend an hour with you 3x per week.
Whilst these examples largely concern ‘the demographic’ you attract, you’ll also find that you attract people with similar behaviours and values to yourself.
For example, if you’re indecisive, constantly canceling appointments, showing up late and forgetting to pay for things, you’ll likely find that you attract similar people into your business.
If you’re decisive, reliable and honest, you’ll likely find that the majority of people you attract have similar character traits and values.
Hopefully, you catch my drift.
Now, if you read that and thought:
“Ross is right. That’s exactly me and those are exactly the types of people I attract.” and you’re happy with it…great – keep on trucking.
However, if you read it and thought:
“Ross is right. I need to change my messaging because I want to attract people like this instead of people like that.”
It’s probably about time you made some changes to your messaging.
And, taking it one step further, if you’re unhappy with the people you’re attracting, it may be time to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself what areas of your own self you could develop.
That way, assuming you’re self-aware and honest enough with yourself, you’ll give yourself the scope to become more attractive to the person/people you want to work with.
Changing your message isn’t particularly difficult.
Once you understand the type of person/personality/demographic you’d like to work with, it’s fairly simple to come up with a strategy to attract them.
If you’d like to attract new mums, don’t worry about talking about men in any of your content (unless it’s to moan about how useless they are in the hope that the mums you’re trying to connect with relate).
If you’d like to attract guys in their 40s who’ve overdone the booze and burgers for the past 15 years, don’t worry about talking about how to help women reduce their cellulite.
Again, hopefully, you catch my drift.
What’s most important when considering your message is that it’s genuine.
If you’re a little socially awkward and introverted, it’s going to do you no favours to change your message to one that’s super ‘out there’ because you’ll get found out once you actually have to interact with the people you attract in.
Similarly to attracting people who can’t afford your services (or those want something more expensive than what you charge), by being disingenuous with your content, you’ll attract people who want to work with the ‘made up’ version of you, not the real version of you.
So even if you do manage to sign them up initially you’re not going to retain the client for very long, which is a topic for another post entirely.
A good example of this point is a gym in Manhattan called Mark Fisher Fitness.
His gym has dildos on the wall, unicorns everywhere and their coaches often burst into ‘dance parties’ mid-session where they encourage their clients to let loose and dance for a few minutes.
(Not sure about the dildos, but…) If I were to have unicorns in my gym and asked my members to dance mid-session, they would be phoning the local psychiatric hospital and recommending I be sectioned.
It just wouldn’t be aligned with my message, my personality or the ethos of my team/the gym itself and so it’d end up with me looking like a total bellend.
Simple ways ensure you’re attracting the ‘right’ people include:
– Look at your content over the past few weeks/months and objectively critique it.
What has my message been recently? Has it been quality/premium or have I rushed it and ‘got it out there’ because “something is better than nothing”? What type of people have I attracted into my business recently?
– Ask yourself what type of people you would like to work with going forward.
Mums, athletes, men over 50, girls between 18-25, the morbidly obese, those looking to get on a bodybuilding stage in the next 6 months…
You can niche down as much or as little as you’d like to.
– Ask yourself if you’re the person the people you’d like to work with would want to work with.
If not, what do you need to change about yourself? If it’s doable, change it. If not, it might be a better idea – and a quicker solution – to change your target audience.
– Decide what you want your message to be going forward to attract the people you decide you’d like to attract.
Base this off of your training philosophy and decide how you’re going to communicate it with your audience.
If you don’t have an audience yet, it doesn’t matter.
Everyone you come into contact with on a daily basis either in person or on your personal social media profiles are ‘your audience’.
– Decide how you’re going to communicate your message
There are a hundred and one methods to communicate your message; including, but not limited to:
Blog posts, Facebook statuses, Instagram photos, Youtube videos, social networking events, partnerships with other businesses, speaking events, etc.
What you’ve got to do is figure out two things:
- How you, as an individual, communicate best;
- Where the people you want to attract ‘hang out’.
For me, I’ve always communicated best via the written word.
I’m decent in person, too, and I’m now okay on camera (after years of struggling with it), but writing is my best skill when it comes to marketing.
Because of that, I’ve always focused on writing semi-long Facebook statuses and longer blog posts.
It’s worked well for me because the people I want to attract are typically on Facebook more than they’re on Instagram and in their email inbox/on websites more than they’re on Snapchat.
Because of this, I don’t do much on Instagram and I don’t touch Snapchat at all because I really don’t think that either would yield a high enough return for the time I’d have to invest into putting decent content onto either platform.
If I was selling £20 products, Instagram would be a solid place for me to hang out.
But, with £139 Personal Training trials, I just don’t think it is.
(NOTE: I’m not saying there aren’t Personal Trainers out there killing it on Instagram or Snapchat, I’m just saying that I don’t think I could ‘kill it’ on either platform, based on my personality, values and beliefs.
…In more simple terms, both platforms make me feel old and uncool so my motivation to spend time on them is as close to zero as can be.)
Once you’ve decided on what the best method for communicating your message is and you’ve worked out where the people you want to attract ‘hang out’ (i.e. Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, offline in cafes, etc.) then you can get your skates on and start firing content at them; i.e. marketing to them.
Next week, I’ll dive into marketing itself but, hopefully, that’s given you enough to think about (and do) for this week.
If you enjoyed this post (and maybe last week’s too) you’d perhaps be interested in being locked in a room with me and subjected to my ramblings on Personal Training for the day.
You might be even more interested if I was to mention that it’ll be a double-team affair with my friend Joe Parish.
If so, email: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: ‘Keep Me Posted’ and you’ll be first to know the details.