THE $100 PERSONAL TRAINING SESSION!!! – How to Get to the Holy Grail of Personal Training – part 1 of 2 part article

Posted on 17. Jan, 2009 by in Personal Trainer Marketing, Personal Trainer Sales Systems

The $100 training session – you’d have to call it the holy grail of Personal Training. It’s the right of passage – the sign that you’ve made it. It’s what separates the elite trainer from everyone else.

Does money and income define you? Hardly. But in our society it’s how we keep score. And something about the $100 session puts you in a different league in your own mind, you client’s, other trainers, and society at large (after all, how many people can pull a hundred bucks in an hour for their services?).

So let’s get into this issue right here. With all the different tricks and strategies trainers use to grow their businesses and get more money out of their clients, the most simple, obvious, and effective is raising your session price.

Giving this subject it’s just do turned into a very long post, so I’ve decided to split it. Right now, we’ll set up the topic. In part 2 we’ll talk about the strategies I’ve used to get one hundred to over two hundred dollars per hour, along with a few strategies I haven’t used but have observed, and how you can apply them right now to increase your rates.

What separates the $100 session from all others?

There’s a huge psychological element to it. Once the session has passed $100, you are in new territory. No matter how rich your client is, something different is expected of you to justify the higher prices. You’ll feel the added responsibility yourself.

First let’s get one thing established – you cannot expect to train 50+ hours per week at $100/session and expect to maintain it!

Before you start doing the math and multiplying $100 x 10 hours per day, calculating that to $1,000 a day x 365 days a year, and start flipping through your local home buying guide for a nice two million dollar mansion, let me stop you. Despite the high earnings that are possible in training, holding sessions all day every day isn’t a viable option. It’s not sustainable – good luck trying.

Your $100 session is a weapon in your income arsenal. Getting your rates to that level isn’t a license to run your expenses up to match. What that income level gives you is a tremendous amount of leverage. It gives you the ability to hit a very comfortable income level in just a few hours a week. You can start to position yourself and work on your career to take you to even greater success.

What that means is landing the $100 session up front will ensure many more paydays later. You’ll have the time, savvy, and financial intelligence to earn your income through multiple streams in the future, not just from teaching squats and lunges. It buys you leverage. You now have the time to become your own public relations department, new business development department, or publishing and speaking department, whatever happens to suit you. Or if pure training is your passion, you can now focus on creating a high-leverage situation that’ll take your income even higher, like an ultra high-end studio, gym, or utilizing some cutting-edge equipment.

It’s true that in some cases the $100 session is actually very easy to hit. With the right factors in place, the $100 session can be considered the norm. But we’re not going to get into that part of it here because that’s not how I do it.

To get to my $100 sessions I don’t have those factors like location, PR, or connections to make it guaranteed. I need to do a certain amount of life-hacking. Since I don’t have a high-end studio, gym, expensive equipment, celebrity clientèle, pHD in fitness, or Olympic Gold Medal under my belt, I’ve got to use other techniques to stack the odds in my favor. And it’s worked. From what I’ve heard, my lowest-end training rates are higher than the hourly rate of an Olympic gold medalist that one of my clients goes to for private swimming lessons. My hourly rate is much higher than what I pay my kick-boxing coach for private training, even though he’s an acclaimed coach with his own gym, roster of fighters, and over 20 years of experience and the broken bones to prove it. These strategies we’ll get into now will help get you there too.

Getting back to psychological factors again for a sec, we have to be honest and say that if you have those “social proof” triggers going for you, your work is easy. We all live in the real world, so let’s get a few things established right off the bat.

If you’re mega-good looking you can get away with charging $100, no problem. You see this in big cities a lot, where certain trainer’s websites look a lot more like modeling portfolios. Or if through some friend or family connection you’ve managed to train a major celebrity, athlete, or get major exposure in the media, that will carry you for a long time as well.

Those things work, but everything comes with a price. We all know that creating your “business of one”, your training practice, teaches you the major life and business lessons you need to take your success to amazing places. But if this success is just handed to you, you don’t learn any of these skills. Implementing the skills to get to that level will trump getting there by luck in the long run every time.

On the flip side, there are factors that can make it impossible to hit this level. Right now you may be in an environment where your market simply cannot pay you $100 for a training session. Or no matter how smoothly you spin your story, you simply do not have the experience or credentials to back it up. That’s ok – these are exactly the type of problem solving situations we love to tackle here. That’s where the info I’m going to share with you is going to be the most valuable.

Look out for PART 2 of this post, where we’ll get into specific strategies on how to create $100 training sessions no matter what your training level or environment.

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12 Comments

Doug Groce

17. Jan, 2009

Great idea, Kaiser. Amazing how stuff like the psychological triggers you’re about to talk about is absent from all other personal training business articles you can find. Much less how to RAISE your rates (rather than play it safe and look to your competition for what to charge). Looking forward to part II of this.

Hey Kaiser,
Its good to be back reading your blog again. I have missed you! 2009 has started off crazy busy with 19 new clients for Somagenesis, many I had had to sell, due lack of appointment slot availability with myself of my associates. I do know, if I solicited $100 per session hour from San Diego clients, then my closing rate would be non-existent.
I am somewhat perplexed at how you can command $100 per hour wage. It is probably due to the NYC demographics and cost of living. I am 100% convinced that you would never get that dollar amount here is San Diego, CA As a matter of fact, I am willing to fly you here, put you up, and send you out in one of our company cars, on multiple consultations on a daily basis. I can guarantee you at least 5 consultations per day.

At best you will get $85 or $1020 for a 12 session package. Majority of our prospective clients have done their due diligence when shopping for personal trainers and have attained multiple bids from fitness business’s. Clients are savvy, and look for the best dollar value, especially in a shaky economic climate. I sure you are cognisent of this.
Hey , I know a handful of trainers who charge $100 per hour, and they are all sitting around on their asses twiddling their thumbs. I’m much happier averaging $17K per month on an ongoing basis, than having my salary fluctuate like the Dow Jone index, because of clients falling out of fitness programs, due to financial ramifications.
I look forward to part two of this interesting, but controversial thread.

Kaiser

18. Jan, 2009

Yeah Doug – I think a lot of what’s talked about is the idea of working harder, but people don’t often consider what it takes to make something sell – what makes a product (ie training) successful? That’s why I think working on yourself as a person is important, because that directly affects the training product your selling – this is kind of what was explored in the “The Tipping Point” – what makes a product “tip”? In my mind personal training has this huge tipping point aspect to it – once your training hits, it can blow up out of control –

Hey Rivak – I was wondering where you went and was gonna shoot you an email – happy new year man! No I’m totally on your page – in my area $100 sessions won’t fly – just like I talk about in the post, there’s a glass ceiling aspect to it that can be difficult to pass – only two of my client pay me $100+ – to earn that much for the rest I have to use some training structures that you’ll be able to apply to your business too – look out for part 2!

bill moore

18. Jan, 2009

$100 per session? with 30 min sessions my hourly rate is 110-140$, I use supply and demand, and cost of living increases to increase our prices. Pricing becomes easy when your schedule is full !!

Doug Murphy

18. Jan, 2009

Hey Kaiser,

Finally back to reading your blog myself. Came straight off a 2 week vacation into the January surge of clients and Inauguration Madness in DC, but getting caught back up! Some good comments here-there’s several ways to sell the $100+ session. Like Bill mentioned, it can be achieved through a half hour session price, and Rivak touched on the package discount price. I see several trainers in my area charging $100+, but at closer glance, their packages are priced the same as mine! They charge a little more than me, but discount their sessions much more than I do. I was already close to this rate, and I may be raising my rates later this year to put me there. You do have to watch your market and what it will tolerate like Rivak said, but I think it’s probably more doable than many trainers realize. The important thing is to emphasize what people are getting for their money vs your competitors-experience, specialties, etc.

Kaiser

18. Jan, 2009

Yeah Bill – that’s definitely a way to do it – not surprising at all – with the way you’ve positioned yourself in your business and the credibility it gives, the client expects to pay more to train with the top dog – to not have the highest rates that are on par with your experience is looked at as strange –

Hey Doug! Welcome back – how much are you renting sleeping space for out there?!?!? Yeah my brother went out to take it all in and he said it’s nuts! –

Yeah, it’s a line you’ve got toe, but there are ways to do it – since high level trainers that really get this business are few and far between, the factors are really in the trainers favor to create a situation where they can make at least $100 session – just takes a little work and balls!

Gaby

18. Jan, 2009

Actually even before I met Kaiser and had him help me with taking my current training biz to the next level I was charging $80 per hr. Now I charge $150 per hr and im still no where near the most expensive trainer in Manhattan. Thanks Kaiser!!!!!

Atlanta Personal Trainer

19. Jan, 2009

look forward to part 2. I know there are trainers here in Atlanta that charge well over $100 and are not worth $5. I have set my prices on the low end and need to get out of that mindset. I do not want to compete for a price point because I have a top notch service and I am not looking for people that just want to price shop. I have to get that psychological element and pass it on to clients. Look forward to part 2

Kaiser

19. Jan, 2009

Yeah Gaby I really like your attitude with this man – from working with you, you’re always asking the highest level question – “how can I charge $150+ an hour?”, no excuses – and I’ve seen it giving you answers to create an approach that will get you there – people usually don’t have the guts to ask those questions, and they don’t get the result they’re looking for –

Yeah APT, in certain environments $100 is the norm – it’s not questioned – I certainly saw this in some time I spent on the upper east side a few years ago – every trainer charged $100 per session – it really blew my mind open to what was possible in this business – these trainers were just regular guys and gals, not superheros – the price tag just came with the territory – and the trainers were not trying to justify it – the had that psychological aspect, like you said –

HAHA – sharp comments – really got some good ideas spelled out here for everyone to see already, and a nice build-up for part 2 – with all the overall input, this should be a very valuable topic and couple of posts –

JMJ

21. Jan, 2009

Looking forward to part II. In general, a lot of people associate a high price with better service. The old adage “You get what you pay for” is very powerful. For the most part, we all do this in our everyday purchases-from electronics to eating a nice steak. A $40 steak always tastes better than a $9 steak…..always. I think if client’s are price shopping for personal training and they see trainer A is charging $100/hr, there is instant interest and curiosity. At the very least, they will look into it the trainer’s services, do some research and find out why trainer A is one of the higher trainers in the area.

Dave Parise

22. Jan, 2009

Hey Gang!

JMJ, ATLANTA, DOUG, GABY, BILL,Somagenesis San Diego Personal Training…
I am trying to understand why the talk about the $100.00 training session. This fee may sound over the top…however I believe professonal fees SHOULD NOT be looked at based on what the market bares in a specific region. When a franchise has a training company…they will dictate the fee structure. The synergy is made up of the client fee, the trainer pay, and the head trainers commission. When people hear the fee, they are on auto pilot with the thought that this is what a trainer charges for said service globaly Like a virus unseen the word spreads…from there all fees higher are now equated as out of what the market bares. Who mandates that market…The national board of fitness examaners does not mandate, why should the general public…based on a trainers fee in a specific region. I believe professional fees should not be based on what the market bares, or what an industry leader charges. Professional fees are dictated by results, rewards, service intensity, nuturing, pamparing, follow-up, giving more then expected, going beyond the typical 1-hour session. Our clients are not time slots..not numbers, they are not amex cards, visa, or renewals that are due. They are the bloodline, backbone, neron pools responsable for our livelyhood. When you offer more…MORE than any other…and you prove, show it..then you set the stage for the service fee rendered. Write your own ticket…and ask for what you are worth. I believe there are those one-size-fits-all-rent-a-buddies..they can’t hide behind the mask of dysfunction. However for the rest of us who are confident, not cocky…let people / clients wonder why you charge $50.00 more a session than any other trainer. Now if I may gang…When I travel my fee is $250.00 per 90 minutes. I have six clients per week outside my center. In my center my fee is $150.00. I have 22 sessions at that rate per week. My staff $75.00. All sessions are paid prior to the 1st visit. No payment plans…and most are on the one year retainer fee of $7000.00 per year…thats three times per week with my staff. When you give the service that is so uncommon…the word spreads, and the phone rings. I would love to talk more..but up at 5:30am off to westchester NY…THE POINT…I am training a husband and wife team. I was on vacation when we met. I talked about my field of choice…they hired, paid, and set a date. I educated them on information that was never told before. I will design a program module, short talk on proper eating patterns…all for the small fee of $500.00 for two hours. My lesson is stop thinking of the typical 1-hour in the gym session…create a relationship based on what the client really wants in their life…not a segment of their life. It’s late… I hope I came across like a team player…

Good night Gang!
Love to talk anytime…

DAVE~

Kaiser

22. Jan, 2009

” …… and that’s all I have to say about that.”

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