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Does Your Training Space Repel Clients?


Have you ever considered that your personal training space is the reason your business suffers?

You think, “My programs are great! Clients love them and get results. So, why isn’t my schedule full?

Is it lack of marketing? Nah. You’ve got social media down.

Is it lack of experience? Nah. You have more certifications that you can count on two hands.

Is it lack of confidence? Nah. You’ll talk to anyone.

What could it possibly be?

As both a wellness coach and an interior designer, I help entrepreneurs achieve greater success by taking a hard look at their surroundings. Here’s an account of a real-life client’s struggle to save his business and how simple updates to his studio turned everything around. Whether you train in a gym or a park, this story will help you create a space that promotes profits instead of losses.

A Business in Peril

My client John (not his real name) called me in a panic. He had experienced a decline in business, yet he knew he was a good trainer with an excellent reputation as a fat-loss expert for women over 50. Despite John’s experience, his current clientele had begun to trickle away and he was finding it nearly impossible to convert excited prospects into new clients. Before becoming a personal trainer, he had been highly successful in sales, so he knew that his consultation skills weren’t to blame.

I visited John at his studio, which was located in a highly visible strip mall with plenty of parking and a major anchor store nearby. He couldn’t have planned a better location; the anchor store helped to pull in potential clients within his target demographic.

John greeted me warmly, and it was apparent he walked his talk. He was fit, dressed in a perfect “athleisure” outfit and sported a killer smile. With his charming personality, knowledge and experience, it was no wonder his clients loved him once they worked with him.

Despite John’s great first impression, I was completely distracted by his studio.

The Studio

When I walked through the door, I was hit by an odor that reminded me of a boxing-gym locker room.

I thought about John’s target market of women over age 50. Women have a sharp sense of smell, and an environment that smells of sweat and gear is a turnoff because that means the studio is dirty. A space like this didn’t reflect his target market’s values. Women this age come from a generation that was raised to keep a clean household, and they are generally used to a certain level of earned luxury at their age. I learned that John had once used a cleaning service, but he’d let that go when money got tight. And by the looks of things, he hadn’t picked up the slack.

The next thing I noticed was that, while the space was the perfect studio size for one-on-one training and small-group classes, it was cluttered with a mishmash of equipment of various colors, brands and quality.

Clutter makes it hard to focus and causes distraction. Women flourish in places where they feel safe, inspired, and surrounded by beauty. John’s studio gave the exact opposite impression.

On top of this, the space was painted an odd blue color that had become worn and outdated.

Our Environment Reflects Our State

John was not in a good place. The decline in business had taken a toll on his confidence. He felt frustrated that he couldn’t see the problem and worn out from all the effort he’d made to fix it.

What he didn’t realize was that the studio reflected exactly where he was in life. It was no wonder he was struggling to land clients. Although the potential clients may not have been aware of why they didn’t want to train with him, they were most likely repelled by the state of the studio.

The Fix

Once we knew what the issues were, we put together a low-cost, three-step plan to create a space that would attract John’s ideal client.

1. Clear the Clutter

John went through all his equipment and everything he had at the front desk and bathroom. He got rid of anything that was broken, worn out or outdated. He purged paperwork, shredded files and moved to an electronic file system.

John purchased matching containers and bins to store all his equipment, which helped to cut down on the visual chaos that all the different brands and colors had created.

2. Clean Like Your Grandmother Taught You or Hire a Cleaning Service

Cleanliness is a must when you interact with the public. This is especially important when you deal with sweat. If a person is grossed out, they will not want to train with you. Make sure you have a system to keep equipment clean and a strict hand-washing policy. John elected to rehire the cleaning service he had let go.

For more information, please see “Is Your Training Space Repelling Potential Clients” in the online IDEA Library or in the February 2017 IDEA Trainer Success. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.

Annick Magac

I am an Author, IIN Certified Holistic Health Coach, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Motivational Speaker, and Designer living a life I intentionally designed and love.

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