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Darren Jacobson

Darren Jacobson is the innovator of the franchise personal training concept for Virgin Active South Africa, where he manages over 750 personal trainers in 88 health clubs. He holds a bachelorÔÇÖs degree in human movement science and is a featured writer for numerous industry publications. In addition, Darren sits on the IDEA Personal Training Committee and has presented at fitness conventions across South Africa, Canada and the United States.

Article Archive

Programming for Profit

March 28, 2011

As the health and wellness industry has developed, so has the understanding of what constitutes fitness “product” in the minds of consumers and facility operators alike. Nowadays, a company’s product is more than a tangible “thing.” It includes every aspect of fitness: personal training, group exercise, kids’ training, the facility, staff training and development, studio-based classes, floor layout and, above all, member experience.

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Above and Beyond Customer Service: A Worthy Experience

February 10, 2010

Creating a great member experience is one of the key success factors for personal trainers. To differentiate yourself in an environment that is moving toward more regulation and codification, you must maintain unwavering focus and dedication.

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Recruiting the Right Trainers

April 14, 2009

Traditional personal training systems tend to focus on day-to-day management, which is often reactive as opposed to proactive. Unfortunately, a reactive approach to problem solving can lead to contractual breaches or drawn-out performance counseling, both of which can be avoided by taking a more proactive approach during the screening and recruitment phase.

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Details and Documentation

December 31, 2008

Managers who pay attention to details and have accurate, structured documentation in place can avoid a common managerial pitfall. In my experience, neglecting this aspect of business is the Achilles’ heel of many personal training managers.

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Identifying and Managing Risk Among Trainers

November 1, 2008

 9  Business Basics:
Pricing Your Services
13  Technology:
From Mobile to Mobility
17  Training for Growth:
The Struggle for Significance
21  Best Practices:
Build Your Team

By nature, personal trainers are passionate, driven, organized and excellent at communicating, or so we would like to believe. In reality, within any team there are radical differences in terms of trainer competencies.

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Build Your Team

November 1, 2008

It is said that if you want to be successful, you must surround yourself with great people. One of the most challenging aspects of running your own business is finding great people and then keeping them.

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Seeing the Small Picture and the Big Picture

September 18, 2008

One of the most common pitfalls I find with program managers is that they tend to focus on outcomes, or final products, and forget about the processes or action steps that need to take place in order to reach those outcomes. In many instances, program managers are driven by the club’s key performance areas, such as month-end results (i.e., trainer revenue, number of completed sessions), and their focus is fixed on those bits of data.

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Taking the Emotion out of Sales Pitches

August 23, 2008

Most trainers are ill-equipped to sell their services. Without specialized business education, many trainers get emotionally involved when selling their services to prospective clients. Armed with the proper tools and resources, you can successfully pitch your services without falling prey to emotions.

Wearing the Sales Hat
To circumvent the emotional aspects of the sales process, look at the whole picture in four manageable chunks.

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Taking the Emotion Out of Sales Pitches

June 30, 2008

It used to be that only those with disposable income availed themselves of personal training services. Now that more middle-class consumers are turning to personal trainers, the field has become even more competitive. That means trainers need to find a way to separate themselves from the pack. One way to do that is to generate more sales.

Unfortunately, most trainers are ill-equi…

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Understanding the Ego-Income Relationship

April 30, 2008

Being in this industry requires an entrepreneurial spirit, flexibility and a drive to achieve. Personal trainers aren’t just selling a service; they’re selling themselves as the purveyors of that service. This can lead to the perception that success in gaining clients equates with success as a person. And since there is often an undeniable relationship between ego and income, …

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