Yes, You Can Make More Money

Premium programs are key to raising your personal training rates.

By Aja Davis
Jan 22, 2019

Imagine earning $2,000–$5,000-plus for programs lasting 30, 60 or 90-plus days. You, too, can command these rates—if you offer premium programs that deliver exceptional results.

To land premium rates, you first have to take a hard look at your current pricing. Many trainers set prices by checking out what the fitness facility down the street or across town is charging and pricing their services lower. That’s a dangerous game: When you compete by undercutting your competition on price, you’ll lose out every time a cheaper alternative comes around.

Some trainers price themselves slightly above their competition because they have better equipment or a better location, etc. The problem is that those prices do not reflect your individual goals—they reflect the goals of the business you are copying. And you have no idea where that business got its prices.

The key is to differentiate yourself from your competition in a way that’s hard to copy and that allows you to reach your financial goals without competing on price. Creating premium programs can get you there.

I love this approach for three reasons. First, you deal only with deeply committed clients who are motivated to improve their results. Second, it’s easier to get clients to adopt a longer-term membership, because they’ve already done the hard part of getting started and they already know your prices. Third, you keep your program from becoming a commodity that’s just like your competition’s offerings. Let’s dive deeper into the details of making more money through exceptional offerings.

Creating the Right Mental Framework for Higher Rates

The idea of charging more for a premium service often induces anxiety, fear and avoidance. I assure you that overcoming these reactions is easy. First, you need to identify why you believe you can’t raise your prices. In my experience, the trouble is twofold:

  • You don’t believe your services are worth it.
  • You don’t believe people will pay.

My response?

Yes, your services are worth it. Most trainers have no idea of the value they deliver to clients. If you’re a good trainer—meaning you have the education (and keep it updated), you care about client outcomes, and you deliver those outcomes—then you are providing immense value. It’s okay to charge for it.

When I coach other fitness professionals, I have them write down every single thing they help their clients do, including what they help prevent. For instance, as a fitness professional, you likely help clients do some or all of these:

  • Avoid joint or weight loss surgery.
  • Stay off medication that they may otherwise have to take for the rest of their lives.
  • Feel better about themselves, so they have more confidence at work and in their relationships.

What is all that worth to someone? Fitness professionals touch so many aspects of people’s lives; understanding the inherent value of that is key to pricing your premium program.

Yes, people will pay. Write this down: “For any amount you charge for a service, there is someone out there who will buy it.” Post the statement on your wall. Make it your cellphone’s screensaver. Next, make a decision: Do you want to serve a lot of people at the commodity level or a few people at the premium level? There is nothing wrong with either, but if you choose the commodity level, your business model must account for large numbers of clients, high levels of failure and constant lack of follow-through. That’s the $10-a-month gym model. However, if you want to provide a premium level of service, you won’t appeal to everyone, and you’ll need to adjust your marketing, your offers and your mindset in order to work with fewer clients—but they’ll be clients who want a superior experience.

Why Premium Is Better

Having a premium service is better for you and for your clients. As the saying goes, “People who pay, pay attention.” And we invest in the things we care about. When people invest a large amount of money in something, they are more likely to ensure that they get value from that investment. Clients who pay more show up, follow your instructions and get better results.

The $10-a-month gyms count on people not following through, because it’s impossible to serve all their clients at once. These facilities have so many clients that they can afford to treat people like a commodity. Most fitness pros do not have that luxury. On the flip side, when your clients pay $2,000-plus for a program, you better believe they’ll show up and get results.

How to Get Started

Here’s how I recommend fitness professionals adopt premium programs:

Stop Selling Sessions and Packages

This is true whether you are a one-on-one professional or you’re selling packs of classes. If you sell 5-, 10- or 50-packs of sessions, stop! Why?

  • You’re not setting clients up for success from the beginning.
  • Packages do a poor job of providing reliable cash flow.
  • You have to resell to your clients every time they use up their sessions.
  • It’s too easy for clients to price-shop and start comparing you against the competition.

The better way: Switch to a monthly membership model with commitment terms (e.g., recurring, automatic payment), so you can build predictive cash flow into your business.

Create High-Value Transformations and Exceptional Experiences

All of your programs should focus on transformation. Weight loss alone is not enough to warrant a premium price. Clients can go anywhere to lose weight, but they come to you for transformation. Each of your programs should have a set timeframe with specific expected outcomes and an ascension promise: “With our program, we’ll get you from where you are [here] to where you want to go [there].”

When you charge more for your programs, you have a bigger budget to spend on clients to create world-class experiences. Surprise and delight your clients. Send them a bottle of their favorite wine or a subscription to a healthy snack service while they’re in your program.

Shift Your Mindset

You cannot raise your prices if you have limiting beliefs about your value. As I noted above, a lot of reluctance to charge comes down to a faulty belief system. Your belief system’s recognition of the value you provide ultimately determines your success. Failing to address your mindset properly will only hurt your efforts.

Implementing premium programs depends on understanding your true value and building the confidence and mindset to ensure that your pay reflects that value. You don’t need any more letters after your name (unless you want them). You are worth it. You know enough. You are enough. Just go do it!

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Aja Davis

Aja Davis is passionate about helping fitness professionals create greater impact and higher incomes. As a former fitness studio owner, she sold her studio and now coaches other fitness professionals on the systems and mindset necessary for creating high value, premium programs in their facilities. To get in touch or find out more about her programs please visit www.alchemyignited.com

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