This Friday I get the opportunity to travel to Anaheim, California for the day to present at the National Personal Trainer Conference, hosted by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. My topic title is “Successful Strategies of Running a Personal Training Studio”. It was a year ago that I was approached by a fellow speaker who thought I would be a good fit for speaking at events. I have spent many years being an attendee at events and now I get to be one of the people in the front of the room. One of the reasons I never considered speaking about many of the strategies I use at the studio, is because I thought many of them were common practice. After a few conversations with a few gym owners, I realized I was wrong.
My talk is broken up into 5 sections. They are marketing, finances, operations, sales and employee development. I enjoy employee development the most and have a fairly good understanding of marketing. The objective of marketing in the fitness world is to get people results and then share that story. Marketing expert Seth Godin (author of The Purple Cow, The Dip, Lynchpin and many other best sellers) has a great way of defining marketing. When he was asked to define marketing in an interview a few years back, his response was
“Advertising is a price you pay for an undifferentiated product for the masses. Marketing is the way you avoid paying that price. You avoid paying that price by designing a product worth talking about.”
There lies the challenge for both the trainer and the client. Many trainers take the approach that it’s about Facebook ads of woman in bikinis and guys flexing a six-pack. I disagree with this approach. On the other hand clients sometime feel it’s about the price, not the workout or environment. I have a story about one of my female members who fought with her weight her entire life. She’s 50 years old and has tennis elbow. Her doctor told her she was 50lbs. overweight. She knew she needed to lose weight. More important to her is that she wanted to feel better. She went to a wedding last year and didn’t like how she looked. She was depressed and didn’t enjoy going to social events anymore. She found my studio searching through Google and decided to stop by. She instantly felt welcomed. She walked in during a workout that had 4 people working out. They looked like “normal” people to her. If she had to guess their ages, they were between 35-60 years old. She met with a coach who asked her a series of questions. He then mapped out a plan of her working out 3 days a week for the next 3 months. They scheduled a time to discuss nutrition. He explained that to lose 25 pounds, he would need her to commit for a minimum of three months. He answered all of her questions and scheduled her for an assessment. She completed her first week of workouts feeling challenged and very accomplished. She made new friends at the studio. She experienced tough workouts and received emotional support from the coaches. She learned how to push herself more than she ever thought possible. She now feels more confident and makes jokes about how much she sweats. One year and 35 pounds later she tells everyone that she has never felt better. She has decided to schedule a vacation with her new boyfriend and show off her body on the beach.
She did the work. We gave her guidance. Telling her story is how I market. Changing her life is how I grow my business. Making a difference in someone’s life is how I define success. The cool thing is that I have stories like this walking all throughout my studio. I have a wall of testimonials right next to the entrance. I don’t have before and after pictures. I do have a wall of success stories and that’s more important to me. Part of my presentation this Friday is to motivate other gyms and studio owners to strive to do the same.
See you at the studio.
P.S. If you need help reaching your fitness goal, send me an email at Doug@janddfitness.com so we can schedule a time.