I hate to say this. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. For the longest time I hated hearing that. The thought of someone not getting a job that he or she is qualified for based on the fact that the hiring managers chose to hire someone who they’ve know for months or years is still as distasteful as ever. The cold hard reality is that you have to know someone. You can be the best trainer and be the most “deserving” person ever, but unless you take the time to get to know someone who might know someone who needs a trainer, you probably won’t get far just starting out.
Of course, I wouldn’t know any better. I got my first client because I let everyone know that I needed business. Your social network is probably your best bet in landing a client. From then on, treat that client like a diamond because he or she will be your biggest marketeer! You also need to make sure your gym doesn’t have a non-competitor clause in your contract that might prevent you from getting clients outside the gym.
Marlan gave some great ideas, but I wasn’t sure if you are working in a gym or independently (in-home or studio)?
If you are working for a gym, you do have to make sure you adhere to non-compete or other employment agreements…
That said, if you are out there looking to build a book of personal clients, here are the top 3 ways I built my book & business ($100k+/yr).
1. Networking. At least 1 a week you need to get out there, “boots on the ground” and meet up with your “target market”. So if you want to work with new moms, then you should attend new mom’s class and offer to do a FREE fitness or nutrition class. If you want to work with over 30 professionals, then go to after work mixers where professionals network and take your business cards etc. A good place to find events to attend or even start your own group is meetup.com.
2. Ask for the sale! If you have a blog, facebook fan page, or other social connecting site…let folks know you are available. On my blog, I have a tab that says “training options” or what works also is a “hire me” tab. On that page you are letting them know that you are looking to take on new clients, what your rates are, and who your ideal clients are.
3. Use social media to the fullest. Also if you are blogging, what are you blogging about? And who is reading your blog? If no one is reading your blog or finding your posts interesting, then you won’t get any leads to go there and see your “hire me” tab. You can have a “pop-up” that offers a free fitness report or sign-up for a free session/consult. I use pop-up domination. Visit my blog for examples http://www.livinthefitlife.com/
On your facebook fan page, you should be giving fitness advice, tips, uploading videos (get a youtube account & do free videos) and asking potential clients what they need help with the most. Increasing engagement on your social networking sites will get you seen on other folks facebook automatically due to how facebook has changed their system. Visit my facebook fan page for example http://www.facebook.com/pages/DCs-Toughest-Trainer/167876343733
Another BONUS client getting tool…buy a black t-shirt with “personal trainer” on the back or the name of your business with phone number. When I wear my “trainer shirt” to Starbucks or any stores I know my target audience hangs out (run stores, specialty stores) I always get asked, “are you a trainer” Why of course 🙂
Hope this helps your business!
Kimberly provided you with some excellent ideas! Here’s how I went about doing the same…
I think the hardest part to starting a business and building a client base, is getting started, getting that first client and having the confidence that you know what you’re doing.
I started by training friends. I had a few friends that wanted to drop a few pounds and I needed to gain some experience. So for a few sessions I trained them for free. After 4 weeks of training, I started charging them. They stayed on as clients for 2 years (till I moved) and referred me to several other clients who did the same. Before I moved I asked them for testimonials. Those testimonials help me get clients each time I move (my husband is military so we move every 2-3 years and I have to gain a new client base).
I also voluteer coaching a youth running club. A lot of the parents then hire me on as a trainer since they see how much fun their children have with me and I get some free advertising.