Five Tips To Make Your Personal Training Department More Profitable
By Patrick Rigsby
July 10, 2006
Pat Rigsby is the co-owner of several businesses in the fitness industry including the Fitness Consulting Group. He also serves as an industry consultant focusing on the development of profitable personal training departments. To learn how you can improve your club’s retention, referrals and profitability, sign up for his free newsletter at www.fitnessconsultinggroup.com. Pat can be reached at [email protected].
Here are five simple strategies that any health club can use to make their personal training department more profitable:
1. Raise your prices. This is the most simple, yet overlooked strategy for increasing your income. If your training department performs 100 sessions per week and you raise your prices by just $5 per session, you’ve increased your yearly department revenues by $26,000. Not a bad improvement considering that you didn’t have to do anything else differently. Most of your clients won’t even bat an eye at this increase and your members who have a problem with a small price increase will almost always be your “headache clients.” Simply move on and you’ll soon replace them (if there are any) with several new clients happy to pay your fee.
2. Have a “back-end” strategy in place. The lifetime value of a client is the total amount of money that a client spends with you during the time you do business together. Most training departments limit this number to the amount that each client spends on personal training sessions. Since your clients undoubtedly view you as their fitness resource, don’t make them look elsewhere when they need to purchase supplements, foam rollers, nutritional coaching or anything else that would be complimentary to your personal training offerings. You’re helping your clients achieve better results, ensuring that they make the right choices when making fitness-related purchases and increasing your profits as well.
3. Practice “takeaway selling.” Most health clubs’ approach to selling personal training is to tell the prospective client how much they (the trainers) can do for the prospect and then close by almost begging the prospect to become a client. Unfortunately, this approach de-values the trainers’ services and gives the prospect all the power. Simply turn the table on the prospect. Tell the prospect that you are accepting a limited number of clients and then proceed to tell the prospect what will be expected of them should they be “fortunate” enough to be accepted as a client. Explain that they will have to be a “walking billboard” for your personal training department and they will be expected to refer people who fit the mold of the client that you want to work with. You’ll be amazed by how many prospects literally beg you to take them on as clients.
4. Offer semi-private training. You can create the ultimate win-win-win situation by offering semi-private personal training. Your members win because they can reap the rewards of using a personal trainer at a more appealing price point. You win by making more money and getting more of your member base involved in personal training. This means that you’ll get more referrals and improve your retention rate significantly. Your trainers win because they can make more money per session. Their time is more valuable because they can work with two or three clients at a time instead of one.
5. Institute an automated payment system. It works with your memberships, so why not in personal training? There will be little if any resistance to using this approach, and it yields several benefits. Simply set your clients up on four-, six- or 12- month automated payment plans that are directly drafted from their checking account or credit card. This lets prospects know that you are only interested in taking on clients that are committed (that “takeaway selling” approach again) to getting results and it prevents you from being a bill collector. You’ll also get great piece of mind knowing what your receivables base is for the next few months.
These are just five of many strategies that you can use to make your personal training department more profitable. Go back through them and think of ways that you can implement at least a couple of these strategies into your business. Remember, if you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten.