The first step to answering this question is to ask yourself right now, “What do my clients value?”
Your value as a personal trainer is obviously important to your short- and long-term business growth, but take note that your client’s valuation of your business starts with their first interaction, before they actually speak to you. These things must always be considered in your analysis of ways to improve the value of your business and coaching.
The most direct way to increase your value, in general, is actually very simple and straightforward: build on top of and improve your pre-existing value.
In essence, you should be “intensifying” what you are already doing in your business, not adding new services or features. Simply do what you are already doing, but do it better. Remember, training is an outcome-based business. You are hired on the basis of future results, but these are outcomes that are built upon every moment. Therefore, you should increase the value of those moments.
As a whole, though, training with your client is an experience. There are plenty of opportunities for you to build value. To name a few:
* Do not make yourself unnecessarily hard to get ahold of. Create clear channels of communication where you can be reached.
* Have a working phone number for your business that you actually answer. Set up a voicemail box that works and lets people know they’ve called the right establishment by explicitly stating your establishment’s name in the voicemail.
* Respond to all electronic correspondence within 24 hours. Use an autoresponder in emails, especially for weekends and busy times when you cannot respond in a timely manner. Services like MailChimp offer ways for you to script automatic follow-up emails, where you can say that this is an automatic message that has received the customer’s query, and you will be getting back to him or her within 24 hours (or some other reasonable timeframe).
* If you have a website, update your website with current contact information.
* Follow up with people. Don’t let communication die out of laziness.
* Clean your gym. This demonstrates that you care about your facility. By extension, you care about the comfort of your members. You’d be surprised but simply doing this can increase perceived value immensely.
These suggestions are all basics in excellent customer service, but by emphasizing excellence, you really show that you value your clients–and by extension, your own services.
Let me start by asking you a question. Which do you think would make you feel someone is invested in you: if someone asked a technical question or a personal one?
Obviously, it’s not going to be asking how motivated they are on a 1-10 scale, and then taking them through a numerically scored assessment.
The relationship you have with your client is your value.
Don’t ask clients only about their “goals”. Goals mean nothing in and of themselves. Ask them why they are here. Having had thousands of conversations with clients about themselves, I found the best way is to simply say:
“Tell me about yourself.”
And follow that up with “So tell me more.”
In the beginning of the relationship, this is an open-ended question that can go in multiple directions. The goal of this is to develop a framework of relevance. From that question we can ask:
“What specifically brought you here today?” “What are you hoping I can do for you?” And lastly, “why is the (above) so important to you?”
Rather than ask yes/no inquiries, we now have a big-picture perspective about the individual, and we’ve personalized the interaction to a conversation, rather than just a line of questioning.
I always believe that your energy must always be higher than that of the client.
Managing your daily energy and being “high” energy all the time are paramount to training success. The reason is that if you are perceived as “tired”, your value falls.
Training is physical, and it demands focus from people who may not otherwise have it in their daily life.
Personal training may very well be the only time in the week that they can focus solely on themselves.
In other words, the more engaged and lively you are, the better.
When someone is excited to see you, it’s a very gratifying and energizing feeling. When someone is obviously tired but he sees you having low energy as well, the person wouldn’t value you as much.
Recognize that the concept of being “high energy” is always going to boost your value for your training and business as a whole.
When was the last time you asked your clients or members for honest feedback on how they think your services and facilities could improve?
Whenever I ask trainers and gym owners this, the majority of them are always aghast by the idea.
This goes back to our two earlier principles of importance and perception: your clients’ feedback on what is important is probably–well, important. And what they think is important is probably what can increase your perceived value.
Rather than hire a business coach or invest in courses that may or may not enhance your business, ask the people who are already there for ideas about improvement.
You’ll be surprised by the level of insight they might have about what you could do better. Just don’t be afraid to ask!!
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Daniel has been featured in IDEA Health and Fitness Magazine as Top Fitness Professional in Washington DC and magazine contributor, ToddDurkin.com as Mastermind Member in the Spotlight, Fitnessmagazine.com, Ideafit.com,and SparkPeople.com.
Daniel is a ACE certified trainer,MS,WLS,PES,TRX Coach and Nutrition Coach with Precision Nutrition.
Daniel was named Argentina’s most successful personal trainer and worked in the Washington DC Metro area as a Fitness Specialist until 2008 when he opened Fit for Life Fitness In-Home Personal Training Specialists.
Daniel can be reached via email at email@example.com
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