Early in my career as a personal trainer, I was confused as to why my client base was growing at a glacial speed. After all, I had spent years preparing, applying principles, learning program design and getting certified so that I could have a career that would change people’s lives for the better.
I wanted to be busy. I was prepared to sign as many clients as possible. To accomplish my goal, I attended every social and networking event I could. At these events, I was proud to tell people I was a personal trainer. I was vocal and honest about how much I charged for my training packages. I would say excitedly, “Come in as soon as you can! It’s only $50 per hour! It’s going to be awesome!” Most people would stop right there, astonished at the price. Of course—you knew this was coming—they never showed up for a session. Finally, after I’d spent countless hours second-guessing my decision to become a personal trainer, it dawned on me: I was going about this the wrong way.
Can you remember a time when you paid $1,200 for something you knew nothing about? Me neither. I was communicating the price of my service before demonstrating its value. In effect, what I was doing was scaring people away by telling them right off the bat how much I charged for my training. Heck, here I was, a 20-something-year-old, telling people to buy a package of personal training from me that had the same price tag as their mortgage payment.
While I knew that health was a priority—and that the value of my training was worth every penny—I desperately needed a way to communicate this to potential clients.
One day I was attending a social gathering (and answering yet another question about nutrition bars) when I was asked how much I charge for my sessions. This time I did not respond in my usual way, showcasing my hourly rate or the cost of an entire package of personal training. Instead, I replied, “I let everyone try a week of personal training with me for under $100.” And unlike my previous, failed attempts to get people interested, this worked. People’s faces lit up, and my questioner asked, “Really? When can I come in?” In that moment, something clicked for me. I had stumbled upon a principle that was paramount to my success as a personal trainer.
Through an introductory offer I could make the experience of my service not only accessible but also special; it was something that demanded people’s attention. An introductory offer fixes the problem of communicating price without value. The offer removes the barrier of cost and makes the training service the star of the show—which is what we want.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of creating an offer, the mistakes you’ll want to avoid when promoting your offer and the best ways to implement the offer on your own.
Benefits of a High-Quality Introductory Offer
Here’s how a well-developed introductory offer can help both you and your possible new client.
- Trainer: Gets 1 week to show the value of the service.
- Client: Has to commit to only 1 week.
- Trainer: Having a set price (versus offering free sessions) eliminates customers who make purchasing decisions based solely on price, and it increases the odds of attracting high-quality, long-term clients.
- Client: Anything under $100 is an impulse purchase, so the price commitment doesn’t call for emotional processing, budget analysis or even a consultation with a spouse or partner.
When discussing price, your first step is to create a safe, nonintimidating channel of communication. This reduces sales pressure and makes the potential future client more comfortable.
When customers want to purchase a service or product, they are evaluating their options deep inside their brain. The evaluation is typically centered on price and commitment. The introductory offer creates a bridge between you and your potential customers, and a well-developed offer will satisfy both pricing needs and commitment fears or desires.
Your offer will provide you with an entire week to show the quality of your service. More importantly, as clients build training into their routine and begin to enjoy the benefits of it, the newly developed habit of exercise will be more difficult to break.
Things to Avoid
You want to make sure you don’t go too far in either direction when creating an introductory offer. One extreme is to give too much, and the other extreme is to give too little. It’s a balancing act.
For more insights into what to avoid and how to set up an offer, please see “The Importance of Introductory Offers” in the online IDEA Library or in the September 2017 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.