I recently left a very successful in home personal training business in NJ and moved to TX to start over. I have tried to form alliances with doctors(150), physical therapists(25), dietitians(3), hair salons(8), golf clubs(7), equipment stores(2) and no one wants to help out with referrals or displaying brochures(which I have offered to pay for the space or offered free training) etc. I have an impressive resume, countless NJ client testimonials/referrals, NJ doctor referrals and I still haven’t made any progress. It was much easier in NJ to get brochures displayed or have another professional as a referral source. My introductory letters and e-mails have been professional and to the point. Any ideas on how to turn this around?
It is hugely difficult to move and reestablish. That is one reason I left the industry for a while when my family moved. That (presumably) is neither a wish or a possibility for you, but you will still need to take some time to establish.
What were the stated reasons for the referrals not being useful? It is possible that the market is very saturated and others already have established connections with many of the local establishments. I found when I went back to work that it was not my decades of experience, but the connections I had made that brought me entry to work. A letter of introduction and referrals are good, but unless someone is actively looking for such a connection themselves they are more likely to connect with people with whom they already have some alliance, or common interest.
Are you willing to work for some gym or service for a while to get to know people and develop a sense of the way the community functions?
Meanwhile go to every school function, every party, community meetings, join a newcomers group, a book club, take lessons at a dance studio, or martial arts studio and chat up the people there“. such places do not offer what you do, and there may be people there interested in what you have to offer. Most importantly get to know people. Sooner or later you will meet someone looking for a trainer, and perhaps they will mention you to their doctor, or massage therapist“. Personal connections trump pretty much any other hand.
Ariadne has some excellent points. I used to have a very successful business in Chicago before I sold it. A year ago we moved to Madison WI and I have to say the mentality and attitude towards in-home personal training is not the same as in Chicago. However, I was able to find a couple of clients here and they did refer me other whom I now train. It’s a lot harder to infiltrate a new territory when you are new to that location because other trainers already have establish relationships and connections that are paying off for them.
If you can afford to be spent some more time looking for that one break it would worth the waiting. If not, do as Ariadne suggested and get a temporarily job at a local gym or studio or school district until you get your other business up and running again. Sometimes it only takes one client or connection to take you off the ground and start making a living again. It’s not you, it’s most likely the market around you is saturated with other trainers (some good and some not) and so you have to go thru the cycle. Our profession is primarily based on referrals and good reputation. Until you establish these things again, do what ever you need to do to stay afloat. Moving from one location to another where the mentality might be different, it can be hard.
I lived in Dallas for many years and I know the market very well there. Grapevine is not the best place to be, but not the worst either. If you can afford to be mobile you should try to make connections around Southlake, Plano, Frisco, Prosper, around the SMU area (Highland Park) and McKinney. I think that’s where the money is located around the metroplex area.
I hope this helps. Good luck!
Thanks for the responses. Actually, although I live in Grapevine, my main focus for business is in Southlake, Trophy Club, Westlake, Colleyville, Coppell and Flower Mound. I have applied to 2 fitness studios, but no response yet. I do plan to join the Southlake Chamber of Commerce in January. As far as the referrals not being useful, these businesses can’t be bothered to check them out. My referrals have full first and last names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers – easy enough to check if they wanted to. I don’t think offering $50 – $100 per month to a high end salon for a few square inches of counter space(for brochures) is a bad deal for them at all. Again, I have offered to train the owner, so they could see my level of expertise and refer with confidence. The thing that bothers me most is that I didn’t have to go overboard with getting to know people in NJ. I presented my materials, got the clients and focused on training.
I THINK THE HOW FITNESS TRAING IS VEIWED THERE IS IMPORTANT. PINPOINT A SPECIFIC CROWD YOU WANT TO REACH STYUDY THIS CROWD VERY WELL. FIND OUT WHAT IS MISSING IN THEIR CURRENT FITNESS ROUTINE. TRY READING UP AND, SPECIALIZYING IN A GAP THEY ARE OVER LOOKING. TRY TO ENTICE YOUR CROWD WITH THIS KNOWKEDGE OF WHAT THEY ARE MISSING. SOMETIMES SPECIALIZYING IN A NICHE CAN BE REWARDING.