One of the best sales lessons I ever learned came from watching an amateur 10K race from the finish line. The winning runners made excellent times, easily cruising across the finish line while barely breaking a sweat. The next group had obviously undertrained and overpushed, stumbling to the race’s end flushed and sometimes physically ill. Last were those who clearly embraced the joys of strolling and socializing, but who seemed unconcerned about how well they finished.
Building an in-home personal training business from scratch can be fun, exciting and just a little bit scary. To take as much fear out of the equation as possible, it is extremely important to do all the necessary foundation work so that when your official “start date” rolls around, you feel completely prepared. How do you do that? By joining me in the second of this five-article series.
world for years while working part-time as a group-exercise instructor. The long commutes to work and overtime hours she put in were beginning to take a toll on her spirit, body and family life. She sought me out and hired me as her coach and mentor to help her methodically and honestly delve into the possibility of quitting her job and starting her own in-home personal-training business as a sole proprietor. During our three-month coaching period, she did just that!
“Close” is a worrisome word in sales, often evoking cringe-worthy images of high-pressure boiler-room selling tactics, used-car lots and plaid suits. Canned one-liners aside, the “close” is simply the final part of a conversation when you ask the big question, “Yes or no?” As this involves securing both a decision and money, it can be the most stressful part of selling for both fitness pro and customer.
A telephone-based weight management program, as part of a worksite wellness program, helped overweight and obese individuals to become more active, eat better, lose weight and improve their overall health, according to research published in the American Journal of Health Promotion (2011; 25 , 186–89). Other studies have shown that telephone coaching is successful in producing initial weight loss, but few researchers have tracked subjects for more than 6 months after a program has ended.
When it comes to selling personal training services, a common practice is to require payment for a series of sessions at the start of training. According to data from the 2010 IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Trends report (IDEA Fitness Manager, July–August 2010), 69% of respondents “ask clients to pay for individual sessions/classes or packages of sessions/classes.” Troy Fontana, CEO of Freedom Fitness Unlimited in Sparks, Nevada, believes this method may soon be history.
You stock your training tool kit with uber-adaptable equipment for every fitness level: a TRX, a stability ball, maybe some tubing or a yoga mat. Since you can never be completely certain what your fitness client will need on any given day, your go-to gear adapts to any training trial. But what about the tools you use to gain new training customers--do you have a stash of stand-by sales phrases that adapt to diverse personalities equally well?
The 2010 IDEA Personal Training Programs & Equipment Survey found that approximately 75% of respondents ask clients to pay for individual sessions/classes or packages of sessions/classes. Some fitness professionals suggest this business model should become a thing of the past. “When you sell ‘packages’ of sessions, you’re chasing money and not building projectable income for yourself,” warns Troy Fontana, CEO of Freedom Fitness Unlimited in Sparks, Nevada. “The only security you have is the six, 12 or 20 sessions your client just purchased.
“Daily deal” organizations like Groupon and LivingSocial have increased in popularity over the past few years. These organizations work with local businesses to offer products and services at significant discounts. The catch? The deal must be purchased on the day it is presented or it is lost forever. “What daily deal sites like CrowdSavings offer merchants is performance-based marketing,” says Lisa Bellotti, marketing manager for Tampa, Florida–based LivingSocial.