Paul Kuck is the founder of Fitness Tutor (www.fitness-tutor.com) and owner of a personal training studio in Singapore that focuses on helping busy professionals transform their body and health. He has more than 10 years of experience working as a personal trainer, manager, speaker and writer. Kuck has a master’s degree in exercise and nutrition science, and is an ACE-certified clinical exercise specialist. He can be contacted at [email protected]
Are you struggling to find new clients or prospects to fill your pipeline? I’m sure many of you are. Marketing personal training services is no different from marketing other services. In fact, it is easier to market a fitness business because this market is far from saturated. Also, various authorities are encouraging a healthy lifestyle for the public, and more people are looking for a fitness solution to improve their body, enhance their self-esteem or improve their health.
However, you still need to do the right things to see results. Handing out brochures and name cards are not the best ways to go. Here are some tips that work:
1. Speak up, be heard and be known. Speaking is one of the best ways to establish you as an expert and generate qualified leads. Not only that, you can also easily sell front-end products (fitness assessments, books, videos, etc.), which can lead to more sales of back-end products. There are many ways to land a speaking gig. You can join a speaker’s bureau, promote your services to companies or create your own venue.
2. Start writing. Writing is another effective way to tell people that you are the obvious expert and increase your visibility. Magazines, trade journals and newspapers are some of the publications that you can write for. Make sure your articles are interesting and easy to read (e.g. use shorter paragraphs and bullets).
3. Cross-referring works like a charm. Every business refers business to others and gets business in return. They have their own preferred business partners. You should do the same. Start building a list of five to 10 service providers who serve the same market as yours. Physiotherapists, hairdressers, sports coaches and equipment retailers are a few examples. Remember that a referral partner wants to work with those who can refer clients to them, so you should proactively do so. It must be a win-win situation for everyone.
4. Be an expert. Establish yourself as an expert available to take calls from reporters and editors. Develop relationships with them, and let them know you are a good source that they can turn to for information and story ideas. Once you are able to achieve that, your name will show up everywhere, and readers will notice and remember you as the expert that they can rely on when they need your services.
5. Differentiate yourself. I know about 20 financial consultants who all want to sell their products to me. I often ask them, “What makes you or your products different from my other 19 financial consultants?” If there’s one who can answer the question in a satisfactory way, then there is a great chance I will sit down and listen to him or her. Similarly, in the business of personal training, you must set your business apart from the sea of competition out there. Think about what makes you unique (or what you can change about you to make you unique), and make this the entire driving engine of your marketing efforts. Differentiating your business makes it unique and interesting and a lot easier to target your desired niche market.
6. Periodically send a newsletter to your prospects and clients. The newsletter can be electronic, a hard copy or both. What matters most is that you must deliver one with great value and send it out frequently, at the minimum each quarter. Newsletters are a great way to stay on top of your prospects’ minds.
7. Have a Web site. If you haven’t got one, you are losing out big time. Just about all service providers have a Web site of their own, so this is not an option. People are turning to the Internet for information. Your Web site is like a brochure and therefore should contain basic information such as your credentials, programs and location. Also, include frequently updated fitness information--this is one trick that gets visitors to return regularly.
8. Get referrals from existing clients. This is by far one of the easiest and the least expensive marketing tricks you can do. If you are not already getting most of your business from referrals, you need to work hard in this area. Getting referrals is not that difficult--you just need to ask for them. A simple question such as, “Do you know someone else who might be interested in enrolling in a fitness program?” at the end of a completed session with a client works fine. It works especially well when the client starts to tell you how your program is helping them.
9. Be there and everywhere. Here’s the ultimate tip: If you have already identified a certain market to target, relentlessly appear before them in as many ways as you can, using some of the methods above but not just relying on any one method. Appearing in many ways reinforces a strong impression in the public’s minds that you are the person to see when their fitness wants and needs arise. This works far better than doing a mass-marketing approach (such as advertising and sending flyers) that people see, hear and forget. You want people to come to you and say, “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
At the end of the day, don’t have the expectation that business will come tomorrow. Just like a fitness program, it takes consistent efforts, skills and patience to see results.