Six Steps to Doubling Health Club Revenue through Personal Training

Health clubs have an almost limitless amount of options for revenue under the preventative health umbrella. However, one source that is often overlooked is personal training, but to realize any real profit, it needs just as much attention as you give each member and your business in general.

When you add another source of sales, you must treat that source as if it is another business. If you look at this from an aerial perspective, almost anything you can add to your health club also is successfully being sold outside your health club in other businesses. All of these businesses provide services you could be providing, but you have the advantage of already having the captive audience to create new business—all within your own facility.

Out of all of the business-within-a-business models, personal training is by far the most profitable and healthy stream to tap, mainly because personal training is a high-price ticket item.

Membership monthly net sales should be equivalent to personal training monthly net sales. How do you achieve this, you ask? Here are some ways to do so:

  1. Operate personal training as a separate business. Whether you physically separate training as a different business or maintain it within your facility under the same company does not matter. What does matter is that you watch your bottom line as you would with membership sales. You need to create a structure that equally benefits both your revenue and your employees. Stop looking at personal training as an added service, like the towels you give away, and start looking at it from the top down.
  2. Hire great trainers, not good trainers. The key to hiring great trainers is employer education. When hiring trainers, make them take you through a workout. If you don’t sweat, don’t feel a connection and don’t enjoy yourself, then you don’t have a great trainer. A great trainer will offer educational advice, keep things fresh and interesting, and probably won’t use a clipboard or count reps. The current issue with hiring trainers is that employers lack knowledge and sometimes lack actual physical exercise experience. I see many owners and employers who don’t exercise or have never exercised (except maybe back in high school or college).
  3. Sales and coaching. My business partner, Chris Gellings, often says, “It’s not the player; it’s the coach.” Owners (coaches) expect their sales staff (players) to perform and “close” all the time, when, in fact, the owner may not even be able to do so. It is imperative that every owner/manager teach the proper practice of sales—not just the sale and the close but also proper “leading,” all while maintaining genuine customer service and satisfaction. Get out there and coach your team.
  4. Point of sale (POS) personal training vs. after point of sale (APOS) personal training. Personal training needs to be introduced at POS simply because you may not see the customer again. Nearly 90 percent of the members who visit your facility are novice exercisers who need assistance. Why wouldn’t you introduce personal training at this point? Your customers are walking into your facility, saying they want to lose fat and have been trying to do this with zero success for the past three years. Well, they obviously are asking for assistance. Proper assistance through personal training leads to results and success. Success with a member leads to renewals, referrals and revenue. I call this the four Rs: results = renewals = referrals = revenue. If you present personal training APOS, you likely won’t see them again, but if you do, see the next point below.
  5. The numbers game. Any and every sale is a numbers game. The more opportunities you have, the more sales you have. I will always take 1 percent of 1000 over 100 percent of nothing. If you can get in front of someone to present personal training, your chances are higher. Hence, always present personal training at POS, and make sure your salespeople understand personal training concepts. If for some reason you are able to present personal training APOS, you need to have a sales system in place to ensure you will see them for the presentation (i.e. callback, complimentary workout with a trainer, etc.)
  6. The gel and the glue. Think of the sales team as gel and your trainers as the glue. The two combined are a force to be reckoned with. If your salespeople try to sell training without introducing the member to a trainer, you will likely lose the sale. However, if a trainer attempts to sell training after training someone, you also might lose the sale because many trainers want to “give the farm away” out of compassion and understanding for the client. It is great to have trainers care about their clients this much, but this certainly does not help the club’s bottom line. So, get your trainers and sales team working together so you will see an immediate shift.

Following these six simple steps can help health club owners double their club revenue all through one stream: personal training.

Michael Benso has more than a decade of experience as a club manager, owner and fitness equipment product manager. He has developed or re-designed more than 100 pieces of equipment for Matrix Fitness Systems, a global fitness equipment manufacturer, as well as playing a role in developing a personal training sales strategy for some of the Gold’s Gym International clubs in St. Louis, MO. Benso then co-founded Fitness Management Group (FMG) with his business partner, Chris Gellings. Since its beginning in 2009, FMG has become one of the largest in-house personal training operating companies in the world.

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