Fitness Marketing – Conversation With Top Personal Trainer Dave Parise – Part 2

Posted on 01. Feb, 2010 by in Marketing Fitness


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Dave Parise: … picture how all the elements fit together, the preview of coming attractions, how one influences the other and the more you work on it, the larger that mental model becomes and the better the return on investment.

So it’s all a positive attitude and it’s always giving them more than they ever expected to get. As an example, when our clients sweat, it’s not that we pamper them like [0:00:24] [Indiscernible] but we have the peppermint towels, cold peppermint towels when they’re sweating. When they leave, they get fresh fruit, their choice of fresh fruit and it’s all organic, that kind of thing. So it’s just kind of a tight niche, kind of a country club atmosphere.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yes.

Dave Parise: But the training – again, the training is very intense from the bodybuilder to the CEO, to the – we have a lot of high upper class business professionals that are in the facility as well because the money in personal training really isn’t with the athlete or with the bodybuilder that I found over the last 22 years. It’s really with the business executive or that person who’s just looking to pamper themselves and get a little more attention, a little more education than they would get at the basic fitness center.

Kaiser Serajuddin: That’s really amazing, that attention to service. I think that’s something that a lot of trainers take for granted. Like you mentioned earlier, they just walk around [0:01:18] [Indiscernible] but they don’t really consider the amount of money that a client is paying with the type of service that they deserve for their money.

Dave Parise: Well, today, it’s funny. Today there are so many so-called experts and I’m not an expert. You’re not an expert. The greatest bodybuilder in the world is not an expert and no disrespect for anyone listening, God [0:01:39] [Phonetic] is not an expert.

So I personally believe that like in every blink of an eye, there’s someone out there changing the face of the industry and we all have the opportunity to think about those changes and make our own analysis. So in regards to exercise, when we see a new exercise or read an article, we have to ask ourselves, “Is this science or is it marketing?”

Does it make sense? Does it conform with specific common sense? Does it have application based on a specific function, the way the body functions? Can it do harm over time? This is kind of a platform to which our results plus all the knowledge is developed and this is how I feed my practice.

It’s about going out and involving your self as an individual in order to evolve in the industry. It’s not about determining which exercise is right. It’s about putting it all together for the client and that’s really what the information is all about, learning from many teachers over the years.

I’ve had many great teachers like – one like Gunnar Peterson, Lenny Paracino, Douglas Brooks and organizations like the Association of Fitness Professionals. I have been fortunate enough to actually become friends with these people and share information and that’s really what it’s all about.

It takes so long to become a successful professional. It’s not again build and they will come. It’s like Tiger Woods. I use Tiger Woods as an example when we’re teaching in our Fit-Pro’s Academy, our personal training school. He’s a textbook example of what research shows. His father introduced him to golf at an extremely early age, about 18 months.

Kaiser Serajuddin: OK.

Dave Parise: And he encouraged him to practice intensively so Woods racked up at least 15 years of practice by the time he won his first US amateur championship at 18. So that’s reinforcing that there’s no free lunch.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yes.

Dave Parise: So it’s basically about hard work. Becoming world class is a 10-year rule. It takes about 10 years and I kind of get a kick out of the trainers who – the people who – or the students that want to become trainers. They call me and they go, “Dave, am I going to be certified after your eight-hour weekend course?” And I want to be professional but I kind of look at them and say, “Well, I don’t know. Are you going to be a surgeon after a year of medical school?”

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yes.

Dave Parise: So exercise doesn’t make you a personal trainer more than having surgery makes you a surgeon. So it’s really hard to explain these days to the trainer wannabes that really you’re not – it’s not about being successful, being certified, getting out there and starting to make money. I’m still learning and I’m in it 22 years. It’s never-ending and you know as well as I do, Kaiser, that this industry keeps changing with all these new products that are coming out and we got to cipher through them, make sure what’s good and what’s bad and how to apply it.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yes. So that’s some really good stuff there. I see that integrity is much a cornerstone of your business as service and exercise. Now beyond just the philosophy of Results Plus which you’ve gone into a lot, what are the nuts and bolts of the business like? How is it like running a facility? What’s the good about it? What’s the bad about it? Because I’m sure a lot of people listening to this, that’s probably one of the goals they’re looking to do, open up their own place. So what’s it like?

Dave Parise: When you ask me a question like that, the only thing I could say is if you have passion for what you do – I love getting up in the morning. When I first started this business, Kaiser, I said, “I don’t want a job,” because the definition of a job, J-O-B, is just [0:05:20] [Indiscernible].

But again, I wasn’t in it for the money. I just liked – I love the fact that I could change someone’s life and that is word of mouth and you and I both know that it’s 80 percent of the business. So if you treat one person well, that’s just a chain of events and it’s eventually just going to keep turning around and keep rolling over and it’s basically my whole philosophy. So I love getting up in the morning at 5:30 AM and coming to work and a lot of people can’t say that. So you say to me how to – about the business, I love what I do so I couldn’t think of anything I would rather be doing. I love the challenge of getting new clients, filling my trainer’s timeslots, getting new trainers, implementing new exercise programs.

I do some work right now with local TV stations. We have a fitness show every Friday at noon which we have – a six-minute fitness show. It’s not long but it’s enough and just the way to get out there and teach and I do it for free but that brings tenfold.

The phone doesn’t stop ringing. So in regards to how to run it, is it challenging at times? Definitely because you have a turnover every three to four years of new trainers and it’s just like the hairdresser analogy. You’re with someone so long and all of a sudden say, “Well, Jason is leaving the program.” Oh well, OK. Hopefully if you’re going to get a trainer to replace him, he’s going to be just as good and I’m going to be compatible with. So that’s probably the biggest challenge in my industry is making sure that I can hold on to a trainer.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yes.

Dave Parise: And that’s basically – I would say in business, that’s my number one concern. It’s really about the trainer, making the – as a business owner, it’s making the trainer happy, keeping his timeslots full, keeping him happy so he stays onboard and I know that’s probably not what most people are thinking. It’s about the client but it’s really about the employees. The employees to me come first because if I keep them happy, I always have a flow of clients. I’m not worried about that. I just got to make sure that I have the tools here so I could provide the service that’s necessary.

Kaiser Serajuddin: I can totally understand that in dealing with employees myself. Just transferring that own passion and just – the way that you do things to someone else and have them implement the same program. That is one of the biggest difficulties that we come across.

Dave Parise: I hope I wasn’t a little corny and a little cliché with the things but that’s a huge part of our thing is the more goals you set, the more goals you get and we have all these corny things and we use them all the time.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yes.

Dave Parise: It pumped everybody up.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yes. No, no. I think that was great. Yes, that’s what the site is about, just to pump people up, to make them know that this is a real profession. You can go into it wholeheartedly. I mean I think – because too many people think this is a sideway to make money. It’s an extra job and …

Dave Parise: Thank you. I wish we mentioned that too.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yes. Well …

Dave Parise: That’s exactly how I feel they go. I want to supplement my income. I think I will do some training and you just get [0:08:24] [Indiscernible] throwing you on a machine.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yes, yes. That’s just horrible. So that’s why having guys like you on there will just get people convinced that this is a real business and I can devote myself to it and I need to learn more, become more qualified and that’s just my little way to get back to this profession that I love. But thanks so much, man. Bye-bye.

Dave Parise: OK, thanks.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Thanks. Bye.

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