As trainers we’re all fitness consultants, and in consulting, there’s something known as the consultant’s paradox …
It’s how clients are often your biggest problem, but you need them for your survival.
But it doesn’t have to be that way … because Personal Training is different …
Unlike any other health service, you only need a handful of loyal, dependable clients to earn six figures as a personal trainer –
And if you do it right, these will be clients you like to see and enjoy spending time with.
How did I go from a totally over-worked studio owner to pulling in the highest rates in the business, working only part time, with a waiting list (what I like to call semi-retired)?
It was from being picky about the clients I had and what I charged, but once I had them, treating them better than they could have expected. This resulted in them treating me the same way, and a great income and career was born.
So let’s take a break from talking about ourselves and talk about clients for a bit – how to deal with them and how it relates to your training business.
How did I climb out of my rut and reach the promise land? It was because of my clients. For your role models, you don’t have to look to people just in your area of expertise …
I looked to people outside of fitness for inspiration – to my clients – through my pricing, marketing strategies, and career choices, I purposefully sought out and attracted the highest level clients.
And that led to something that I believe in very strongly in training – that you can get as much or more from your clients as they give you – and we’re not even talking about the money.
Because if you haven’t had enough successful, driven, and wealthy people in your life to teach you lessons about money and focus, they I’m sure you’re probably feeling like you’re missing something.
But the nature of training is that it gives you the vehicle to meet and interact with these people, and more than that, it lets YOU take a leadership position in the their lives. The lessons you’ll learn from that go beyond any money you make (although that should be up there).
That’s the secret to my success, my clients. And that’s why I dedicated my book to them, and why I’m still in touch with many of them that for whatever reason I couldn’t train anymore.
I charged high rates, was passionate about what I did, and practiced what I preached, and lived it, so there was a mutual respect there …
And I gave them outstanding value so that led to tremendous referrals – you don’t need any new client getting strategies if your current roster of clients is paying you the highest rates and sending you waves of new people – you’re basically set.
That’s why out here in New York, I know dozens of trainers who don’t have websites or even business cards, and are booked solid and making tons of money (one of them even drives a Lambo).
They completely understand what I’m talking about here – that’s where I learned the concept of Top-Level Training, and decided that the boiler room studio life wasn’t for me – I simplified, put my clients first, and they took care of me in return.
A lot of this comes down to stepping your game up, and the rest comes down to drawing lines and boundaries in your life about what you’re willing to accept and not accept from yourself and others.
But getting yourself set-up with a strong, stable client roster is what I think every trainer needs to set as their immediate goal (we’re talking in just a few months). You can then sit back and earn, make yourself the person you want to be, finally get to travel and do some of the things you want, and plan your next big move in your fitness career (and you’ll have the cash, time, and connections to make it happen).
It all starts with clients – with who they are – making sure you found the right people – and then what you do for them.
Hope you got something out of what I wrote above – now if you want some client getting info on a different level, you need to talk to Dave Parise.
It looks like this blog is turning into the Kaiser and Dave show, but as long as he keeps sending me hot content, I’m going to keep posting it. And Dave is a guy doing at least 10 times the numbers I was doing at my peak, so he’s someone to pay attention to.
Dave recently forwarded me an article that IDEA wrote about him, and I though it would go perfectly along with this post. Here it is:
Company: Results Plus, Hamden, Connecticut
Types of Clientele. The majority of the company’s clients are in their 30s–70s. “When you market to an upscale demographic as we have, it is much easier to maintain those clients, as long as you provide the level of service they are used to,” Parise says.
Booking Sessions for Trainers. Parise, who has been in business for 24 years, focuses his efforts on running his business and helping his 15 trainers. He has cut down on the number of clients he personally trains. “The number-one concern of myself and the vice president of Results Plus [Krista Parise, MBA] is fostering a great working relationship with our trainers,” he says. “We make sure all clients are setting their appointments—three per week. We want the trainers to worry only about training plus some administrative work. The rest we take care of so they can do what they do best! We fill all open time slots as often as possible to keep our trainers’ paychecks steady.”
Providing Exceptional Service. Parise says he has built a successful, profitable business because of excellent customer service that has contributed to the company’s strong reputation. “Customer service is all about creating a pleasing atmosphere,” he says. “When a client enters our facility, his towel is waiting for him on his cardio station, next to his labeled water bottle filled with ice-cold spring water. A fresh, cold piece of washed fruit is available before or after his session. We have cold towels with organic oils for the more intense clients to use to keep them cool and in motion. We clean the equipment and clean and dry the showers after every client. In the rainy season we may greet clients at their cars with an umbrella and escort them to the front door or they are welcome to borrow an umbrella on their way out.”
Weathering Potential Slow Times. Parise prides himself on making proactive choices for his business. “The month of August is slow in the personal training industry. [This past year] we worked on positive customer experiences during June and July, and that effort snowballed. In August we grossed over $80,000 in client renewals and new retainer fees.”
Working With Medical Professionals. Parise says that the “value of your services increases tenfold when medical professionals work with you. I believe a trainer’s role is to design the right series of functional corrective movements based on the client’s present condition, and then fire a cannon of motivation! The neurology of why a client is not complying is left for the physiologist; the total health profile and blood lipids for the endocrinologist; and recommendations for food are best formatted by the registered dietitian.”
Using DVD Business Cards. Parise utilizes mini DVDs as business cards “to be creative and to set ourselves apart,” he says. “When we hand out these DVD cards, people are amazed. Pictures speak louder then words.”
Why Clients Like Training With His Trainers. Why has Parise’s business been able to reach the million-dollar mark in client retainers? One reason is the clients’ devotion to his trainers. “Clients [like training with us because of] our attention to detail and our obsessive focus on nurturing and pampering them,” he says. “We create innovative ways to keep exercise fresh and exciting and to make our business a great place to train.”
Why His Work Inspires Him. After 24 years, Parise still looks forward to going to work. “I challenge myself every day,” he says. “I’ve found that the obstacles that get in the way of being a great leader, mentor, trainer and small-business person are only created by your mind. I’ve found that I will move toward whatever I dream and dwell on.”
Was that crazy or what? This guy definitely needs his own blog. A lot of content here – what did you think? Leave your comments below:
Very nice! Once again Kaiser, great piece!
Kaiser, Our purpose today is to become more involved in the art of self promotion. I ask we all give more to everyone who walks in our path. Why? In part because this world need more people who care about the making of what I call Economic wellbeing” the world needs us. But I ask in good conscience because I sincerely believe that the more you give, the more you’ll get.
All of us are motivated to some extent by self-interest. When I ask that you give more to clients it’s reasonable for you to ask, “What’s in it for me?” What are the benefits?
Perhaps the biggest thing it gives us is uncommon knowledge-and the power that knowledge provides.
Inject a small dose of application with that power, shake dont stir, and we have the code for endless possibilities.
Dave Parise CPT FPTA
One more note…You do not want me to have my own blog. Why? I would be the hells kitchen of all trainers. I would take sensation based training and nonsence…water it down and watch it grow as common sence. Trainers would dislike me for I would belittle (professionally) most of the exercises they are married to. I would have to hide behind dark glasses and a baseball cap. While being chased my bullet proof vest would weigh me down I would decelerate and fall. After the beating, and super-ventricular contractions…I would get up and start all over again-
Thanks for all the helpful industry info. I am presently going through a career change. I returned to school, and am taking classes to become a personal trainer. I’ve always stayed in shape, and enjoy helping others, so personal training seemed like a good fit (no pun intended.)
While just getting into this field, I’m doing a lot of research, and am constantly searching the internet for information that will help me acheive success in this new endeavor. I’ve taken a lot from your blog and newsletter on growing a personal training business. But this blog confuses me. You seem to advocate escaping the gym: most obviously from your ebook, “Dump the Gym.” But then you add an excerpt from Dave Parise that seems to be all about owning a gym.
You stress so many times that your clients are the most important people, and giving them your undivided attention will propel you in personal training. But then add loads of information about running a business through a gym owners point of view.
So is that the message? Dump someone elses gym and start one of your own?
Thanks again for all the info. I’ve found this site to be a great resource. Just need to clarify the direction I need to focus my efforts on. Personal training or gym ownership?
Thanks for responding to the blog. I want to help you understand the messege loud and clear. First and foremost I have not worked in a gym, or ever owned a ‘gym’. I started me business as a traveling trainer. I then did some group work with local corporate facilities. My next quest was to gather enough revenue to afford me to open a location for my private clients. The center called resultsplus was not open to the general public. I had a select few clents who paid a premium for my services. They wanted a private personal, profesional cultured environment. They wanted gag orders, and a hush attitude. I wouldnt be caught wasting my time, knowledge, at a slop shop, mom n pop one-size-fits-all-… make your monthly quota posted on the wall- or lose it all- facility! We are trying to say ” dump the gym” and leave the “rent-a-buddies” for those who don’t know any better. You sound like you have the main ingredient for sucess- it is passion my friend…and you cant be passionate and diligent working in a cage full of “monkey see-monkey do- attitude- my guns are bigger than you dude. Professional decision making goes beyond the daily grind and insanity you find at the gyms and fitness centers. Brian see through the trees- and be uncommon. You can create any life you want, however if it’s the robotic lifestyle you find in the tupperware & gallon jug gym you cling to..then you will fosilize.
Thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to reply Dave. That means a lot to me. It tells me you’re truly commited to what’s being written hear, and not just “pumping” out generic information.
I’ve checked out your website and business Results Plus. Nice. Another resource loaded with good info.
And I understand working for a big box gym is not the way to “make it” in the personal training business. I’ve had the idea, ever since starting in this field, of opening my own studio strictly for my clients, and being very selective as to who they will be. But that is a long term goal. Sometimes I just get way ahead of myself. My immediate goals include getting my certification and establishing myself as a credible, if not sought after, personal trainer, like yourself. How to get there is the direction I’m searching for.
Thanks again for the reply.
Just by the way you talk- I know you will be successful. Never look at the other guy, get out and give more, go beyond the call of duty-Once you feel you have learned enough- you will crumble! Go to every seminar that can fit into your schedule- I personally recommend the top level personal trainer manual- No not for Kaiser, for you man! The manual has cultivated in true form- what we all need to know about this industry. Its like someone gave you the combination to the safe, instead of picking numbers from a hat- (very cool stuff). Brian today I have 7-clients all within a 10 mile radius- on the road today making someone smile and feel better. Those are the rewards of personal training- plus that will turn to more client referrals!!!
Make a difference my friend!
Thank you for writing us @ super_trainer.com!
Wow; this resounded with me; not as a trainer; as one who works with trainers (whom I adore). We have a great atmosphere and great clients in our studio. The clients love the trainers and vice versa but the trainers are lookin’ and soundin’ burned OUT lately! Some are workin’ from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. or later, running around between two to three locations but clients cancel at the last minute or don’t even call in. Even being able to charge them for a missed session doesn’t do much when you’ve had to lose sleep and drive 30-45 minutes (uncompensated) to and from for a no-show. They feel diss’d and demoralized by a client who couldn’t be bothered to cancel. The frustration and fatigue level is huge. The greatest thing about going solo is the freedom to build a client base that’s worthy of your dedication, skill and talent. As much as I hate to lose good trainers, I rejoice for those who are not willing but ready to fly solo…. -b