Instead of a cohesive article about just one topic, I have listed 22 informative and instructive fitness marketing power points. Some are real marketing jewels, some are attitudinal realignments and some are fundamental (but overlooked) business building chestnuts. Read through and make notes. I provide you with the two most important marketing questions you should ask yourself in #2 and #13, in #9 you’ll discover a simple system for improving compliance and enhancing lifetime value of your clients, and if you do #17 and #18, your new client acquisition problems will disappear.
1. Sell benefits, not features: People never have, nor will they ever, buy personal training. They buy a solution to their problem, a result, a benefit. The better you are at articulating the benefits of doing business with you and then delivering those benefits, the more business you’ll get.
2. Be unique: The most important question you can ask yourself is “Why should someone choose me over and above any other option, including doing nothing at all?” If you don’t have a compelling answer to that question, you are a commodity, and commodities can generally only be sold based on price.
3. Get your phones working: Having your phone answered by a live person will dramatically improve your lead capture. If someone is “hot” enough to call you now, the last thing you want them to get is an answering machine or voicemail (unless that’s the intended outcome, as with the “hotline” marketing tactic I teach). Have a virtual assistant to whom you can forward your calls while you’re training. If having your phone answered “live” results in just one new client a month, it’s money well spent.
4. Capture contact information: Every prospect who calls you MUST be captured. A simple phone script should be followed for every inquiry to ensure contact information is captured, allowing for proper and complete follow-up. Your marketing efforts are being squandered if you are not capturing leads and following up. You capture contact information by offering something, i.e. “Mrs. Jones, I understand you’re interested in knowing our pricing, and I’ll be glad to share that information with you, but you won’t properly understand all that we do for you if I simply give you a price. So I’d like to mail you our complete information pack…”
5. Understand the lifetime value of your clients: If you don’t know how much your average client is worth to you, you do not know how much you can spend to acquire one (we all buy our customers in some way or another), you cannot accurately test and measure new ways to increase that value, and frankly, you’re abdicating responsibility, and therefore control, of your business. This is one of the most critical points you need to know to effectively run your business.
6. Find ways to increase the lifetime value of your clients: The real money in any business is made by increasing the frequency and/or size of transactions with each client or extending the lifetime. Evaluate your service and product offerings and create new ways to increase, enhance and extend the lifetime of your clients.
7. Get your internal marketing working: All too often we focus the vast majority of our efforts on external marketing (getting new clients) and practically ignore our existing clients, when it should be the other way around. Go above and beyond to ensure each and every client gets a “wow” experience from doing business with you. When your internal marketing is working properly, it alleviates a lot of the external marketing pressures because cash flow is good and referrals are flowing.
8. Read and re-read the book “Influence” by Dr. Robert Cialdini.
9. Use welcome gifts and “stick letters:” Each new client should receive some sort of welcome gift from you (possibly a basket with a good book on fitness [yours?], a shirt with your company name, sample of a supplement you sell, etc.). Each client should receive a series of “stick” letters (make the sale stick, overcome buyer’s remorse, begin compliance programming). I don’t care if you’re seeing the client three or four times a week, receiving a sequence of personal letters with helpful information will go a long way towards cementing the relationship, overcoming compliance issues, maintaining motivation, stimulating referrals and generating testimonials.
10. Niche your services: I just got off the phone with a new Ultimate Personal Trainer Marketing Program Member who is giving birth in five days. My recommendation – immediately begin offering post-natal services to other new mothers. There are so many niche opportunities it boggles the mind. Pre- and post-gastric bypass is another example. Pick one or two and begin offering specialized services and/or products specifically for those people. You can charge much higher fees and quickly become the dominant force in that niche (a big fish in a little pond).
11. Use target farming: Dear neighbor letters should go out to everyone meeting your demographic requirements within a 1-2 mile radius of your studio/home/gym. 200 letters per month, every month, will enable you to personally communicate with 2400 of your “neighbors” each year.
12. Sell cures, not prevention: Use graphic, powerfully emotional words and pictures to articulate and illustrate the benefits of your cure. Target those who already want your cure. Find ways to get in front of those people whether in person, through the mail, internet, television, publicity, advertising, etc.
13. Target your market: Not nearly enough time or mental energy is invested by most of us brainstorming ways to get our message to our target market. If you think your target market is everyone who is overweight, you are in trouble. You must offer your services to those who WANT what you offer. The second most important question you can ask yourself (first was revealed in #2) is, “How can I most effectively reach and communicate with those who want what I offer?”
14. Be an information marketer: Find ways to inexpensively deliver helpful information to large numbers of potential prospects. Example: The Resident Expert model I reveal in the Ultimate Personal Trainer Marketing Program – visit every business in your area that has 20 – 500 employees and offer to provide a productivity enhancement program via email whereby you send fitness tips to their employees.
15. Get comfortable with money: Read Deepak Chopra’s “7 Spiritual Laws of Success.” It will help you mellow out about money and understand the “give to get” paradigm.
16. Work backwards: If you’re doing $8K/month in sales now and want to do $25K/month, determine what it will require to do that by working backwards from your goal. It takes as much effort to increase sales 100% as it does to increase sales 25%. Be aggressive with your goals (within reason) and detail the steps necessary to get you where you want to be by starting with the end in mind.
17. Use a database: The money is in the list. But the list must be good. The best lists are generated by you (lead generation). Phil Kaplan talks about touching five people a day. We recently discussed this topic in one of the exclusive ‘reverse mastermind’ consulting sessions we do with fitness professionals. Your goal should be to touch and capture contact information for five folks per day who have an interest in health and fitness and/or weight loss. Plug them into your database. Send them a personal note. Follow up.
18. Be disciplined: Effective marketing, just like effective fitness, requires discipline. If you do nothing other than #17, and are disciplined in its implementation and follow-through, your business will grow steadily and predictably. Most people don’t have the discipline to make it work. Do you?
19. ABM: Always Be Marketing. Marketing is everything you do to get and keep clients for the lifetime of your business. Marketing is your business. Because without clients, you don’t have a business. The more marketing systems you employ to generate new leads, convert those leads to clients and extend and enhance the lifetime value of those clients, the more money you will make, the more value you will deliver and the happier you and everyone you touch will be.
20. Know your numbers: You’re in business and business is about numbers. You have to know your numbers. There are many numbers that are important, but most of all you should be reviewing a profit and loss statement each month. You have to know the state of your business and the numbers don’t lie. Get an accountant if you don’t have one already. Or get someone to do your books and provide you with a P/L to review each and every month. Know where your money is coming from and where it’s going.
21. Communicate regularly and consistently: Write! Keep a notebook with you at all times and jot down ideas as they come to you. Ideas about everything. These ideas will become the foundation of your communications with your clients and prospects. They will be the seeds of your articles, news releases, newsletters, web copy, etc. If you don’t do this, when it comes time to write something, you’ll stare at a blank screen and freeze up. The two most important skills for any business person are speaking and writing. Effective communication is vital. Do what’s necessary to master it.
22. Get things done: My friend and superstar personal training studio owner, Forrest Walden, is what I call a goal-achieving machine. Not yet 30 years old, he’s already dominating the PT studio business. He’s a regular guy in many ways. What sets him apart is laser-like focus and consistent follow-through. He makes goals, breaks them down into bite-sized chunks, then bites them off one at a time. He gets more done in a week than most do in a month. Make your to-do list the day before, then crank through it during the day. The sense of accomplishment you experience will be awesome.