When I started out 20 years ago, I was in a large, upscale gym. The bottom line, at the time, was to make as much money as possible, so I focused on developing a very broad knowledge base, so I’d be able to work with any prospect. I think this mentality persists today; trainers don’t specialize because they feel it may limit their income. In fact, the opposite is true. If trainers do not specify who their niche market is, it is very difficult to differentiate themselves from the next trainer.
For example, let’s say that two trainers each want to work with female tennis players. One develops marketing for ‘female tennis players’ while the other markets to ’25 to 40 year old female tennis players competing in league play.’ Who will have an easier time targeting her market?
Even in a big-box gym, trainers can effectively specialize. Here’s a quick how-to. Talk to the membership reps. Learn who the gym’s largest demographic is. (30-40 year old women? 25-30 year old bodybuilders?) Choose a specific niche within that large demographic who you’d really like to work with, then communicate that to the membership reps, or whomever it is that assigns clients to trainers. Let them know that you are specializing in only that market, and that you’d prefer to let other trainers have the prospects who don’t fit the niche. When you do get a new prospect, be sure to contact her in advance and invite her to bring a friend to her first session as a bonus. Last, bring enthusiasm to the session, and make them feel like they’re your only clients.
Specialize your niche until you can”t get any more specific!
Some trainers specialty is general fitness…not mine, but some. I personally feel that a good trainer needs to know a little of everything and as much as possible about something.
I have a niche and it is strength training with a emphasis on Olympic lifting for sports performance. I rarely get to train my niche though as most people just want to “tone up” lol
My outlook on this is that I prefer to have a niche and if we all had this mindset we would all be better professionals, trainers, coaches, educators, and provide a better service to our clients/patients. It is when you try to handle to many diverse clientele when things take a turn for the down. Obviously if you are not working with someone to refer a specific client too I can understand not turning down someone looking to progress – However, if you cannot provide the best service for the individual is it really worth the risk, satisfaction?
Fuel the Movement,
This is a truly interesting question.
Having thought about it again, here is my position. I deliberately did not use opinion because my statement is based upon fact supported by industry standards.
There is a fool-proof way to refer clients to fellow fitness professionals even if one lists many specialties on their profile–simply look at their scope of practice. Working within one’s scope of practice guarantees that the fitness professional carries insurance for the population that they are serving. If a fitness professional decides to offer their services to the general population, then look at their profile to determine if the general population falls within their scope of practice. If a fitness professional decides to offer their services to a particular niche, that make sure the fitness professional is performing services within their scope of practice.
I am not in a position to pass judgment on how a fellow fitness professional decides to market themselves on the IDEA Fitness Connect portal. Too, I don’t mind being perceived as “jack-all-trades” as I know that is not how I define myself professionally.
For me it is not about specialties. It is about scope of practice.