Fitness Professional Online Show 018: Jeff Drock
Welcome to the Fitness Professional Online Radio Show where you get access to fitness industry news, tips and insights from professionals around the world. Visit us at FitnessProfessionalOnline.com and now, your host, Doug Holt.
Doug Holt: Hello, everyone and welcome to Episode 18 of the Fitness Professional Show. Thank you so much for all of you that have sent in messages via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and have left iTune reviews. I know it takes time so I really appreciate all the feedbacks. The interview with Ron and the feedback that you guys gave me is also helpful. Ron is such a great guy and all the feedback was positive.
Thank you for those of you that gave us some suggestions on things you’d like to hear. That really helps us over here. Obviously, we have an idea what we think fitness professionals are going to want to listen to and with my 20 years in the fitness industry, I get an idea. But sometimes, it’s hard to recall what it was like just starting out. So for those of you that sent in messages, thanks again. You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have another great interview for you today. We have Jeff Drock on of line. Jeff is the president/founder of the Home Fitness Professionals Association and that’s a CEU- provider for over 9 training certification organizations. Jeff’s worked within in the fitness industry for over 15 years and has been a personal trainer to 2-time heavyweight champion of the world Shannon Briggs.
Jeff actually is best known now for enhancing the performance of several national and world champion junior tennis players. Jeff received his Master’s Degree in Sport Behavior and Performance from Miami University, has obtained several fitness certification. You can find all those on his website, won’t list that long list.
Jeff Drock founded the Home Fitness Professionals Association because he knew firsthand just how difficult it was to create and maintain a successful in-home or mobile training business. We’ll talk a lot about that in Jeff’s past in the show today. Jeff currently resides in Florida with his wife Laurie and his two daughters. Let’s bring Jeff on.
Jeff, thanks so much for being on the call and sharing with your wisdom with all the listeners. They have a chance to hear your bio and you’ve done a lot of things in your professional career but let’s add a little deeper. How did you get where you are today as a successful entrepreneur in the fitness business?
Jeff Drock: First, thanks for having me. I guess like most fitness trainers who started lifting weights in high school to better myself for tennis and baseball. Ended up meeting a guy named Bill Hebson. He was just starting out with training and actually doing quite well today, he’s still training. He was doing functional training before they were given a name for “functional training”. And I saw a lot of results from working with him, just kind of great experience. So I decided that in like a great career being able to help people get more fit, maybe better for sports and make money while doing that.
While I was in college, had a job at a gym and on that, it was pretty awesome. We constantly socialize, it gave me a bit of pocket change and it’s pretty cool. Unfortunately, I found that from several of the holder, full-time trainers, they were having as much fun as I was because they end up splitting the fees with the gym and/or kind of scraping by it. They kind of lack enthusiasm. That wasn’t that what I had initially signed up for.
I made a plan that I was going to bet and go to graduate school so I am able to take a job at coaches with tennis team. Then after grad school, I opened up my own personal training studio. That changed, I didn’t have the funds or the business knowledge to open up a studio. So I decided that I was going to do some in-home training. All I need is a portable fitness equipment and some people to train, of course.
At that time, this was back in the mid-to-late ’90’s. I graduated my master’s degree as Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists, all these things but unfortunately, I knew nothing about promoting myself and my fitness for tennis services so I decided to focus on that group because that would be the easiest side than a tennis player.
Now, I found a few players but I found myself spending hours of time preparing programs for these players and pre-testing and really making sure that they would improve. Now, I did find that these players were improving incredibly but I was under this pre-existing notion that my results would stiffer themselves, that never happened knowing nothing about business sales, referral systems, nothing like that. Actually had to leave my job as an in-home mobile fitness trainer.
Doug Holt: That’s where you took the 9 to 5, right?
Jeff Drock: I had to take a 9 to 5 job. It was kind of embarrassing. I don’t know, I felt that, because I had all these nice credentials and degrees and stuff like that, I was going to be successful on the things we catch on. Even made me more embarrassingly, I help these players immensely. So I took this job as especially home fitness equipment sales person.
Now, I walked in there, I thought, “Okay, this is going to be pretty cool.” I met with sales shark manager who hired me at that time and next thing I knew, he showed me his large paycheck and then gave me an application, showed me [inaudible 00:06:26.29] and then next thing I knew, I was accepting a job on commission only, that I would have to sell treadmills that’s worth $4,000 plus to people and they could just go across the street and get their treadmills or other piece for about $300 or $400.
Doug Holt: Wow.
Jeff Drock: I would have more successes taping a pack a hungry last thing hyena. Anyways, I actually somehow survived. I mean, in that type of job, they usually don’t even fire you. They just let you starve to death or starve your way out of the business. So that’s really where I started learning about sales skills and was able to really get by. While I was there, I’m hitting with thousands of in-home fitness trainers. Some of them were quite successful and others were struggling and right about to change careers or do something else, whatever, have to train for a gym for example.
So basically, I started selling slowly from what I had learned the different trainers. I started training these different things and saw success in getting my own clients and helping them with able to build the business and things ended up really, really catching up. Then undoubtedly, they saw a lot of success. I just noticed picked and right some books, continued my education course and then self-worth about running a fitness business that I just want to see. I want to see anything that pertained the in-home fitness training. Definitely nothing I can actually apply to the real world.
Doug Holt: This time, is that the one who prompted you to start your own business, the Home Fitness Professional Association?
Jeff Drock: I kind of jotting things down and making it successful. What I just really wanted is to write a small helpful book for trainers, ended up showing what I had written to several trainer friends of mine and they really like it. They saw that I should make it into an advanced certification course.
Then one trainer friend of mine who is an industry expert, he’s an educator for major certification organization, he had done a lot of many continued education courses in the past. He prompted me to actually create a course and then submit it to several organizations as a continued education opportunity.
Some of the organizations that I was going to submit this to such as the NSCA had never accepted any business courses in the past. I mean, I felt like my friend was a bit over the top crazy. But anyway, I said, “What the heck?” and then I submitted the course. After thought that the information was too lacking in scientific theory but the way I had written it, I wanted to see information for trainers that they can bring these stuffs into the real world and I have to go through crazy trial and process of trying to collect, checks and the bill collected the people who had made all these errors. The people could do things in the right way.
So, I wanted to open-up people’s eyes to what we’re thinking about. They will think that it was too expensive to make and run a personal training studio or open-up their own gym and they might think initially that running an in-home fitness training business would be easy because it crossed very little to start-up and more [inaudible 00:10:46.16] a very good mind from client training. They thought to share the fees with anyone and there’s no reoccurring cost, the rent, electricity and so forth. But in actuality, I wanted to open their eyes to the fact that they really would have to work there butt off there in really cool themselves up and do specific things in order to be successful. It might cost a little financially but there’s a lot to it.
Doug Holt: Yeah. They’re running their own business now. This is a comment thread that we hear all the time from successful people like yourself. You know, you get into the fitness industry like I did in college to help pay for college. It’s fun, it’s a great place to be, you love it. But the reality is, in most educational resources out there, it really comes down to you also running a business. You have to learn the business aspects.
And your story is very common, we’ve had from a lot of guests and myself that as you start up with this passion of wanting to help people and you quickly realize that you really need to learn the business and marketing side of things. If you can’t reach people, you can’t help them.
Jeff Drock: Absolutely. I guess things trying to came around at nice time at last but not least. Even if you’re successful as an in-home trainer, you can steadily working some crazy hours. Now, I’m still training clients but you’ll notice the course came about in February 2009 and my daughter, she was probably born in June 2009. So now, I can sense more time with her which is a great little side note there.
Doug Holt: Yeah, you’ve created yourself a reoccurring revenue stream which I think it should be the goal of everybody, really, especially anybody that is an entrepreneur as you. And I have worked for some of those big certification companies so I have written some courses in the past and I could tell you that’s a huge undertaking.
So what you did not only just taking the risk of submitting it because there’s fees involved and all that good stuffs as risk but that’s a lot of time to develop a course and sit down there and do that. You’ve obviously put a lot of effort into that, I’m sure.
Jeff Drock: Yeah, that took me sometime. I wanted to be filled with things that people can actually take with them into starting their business not just a bunch of theoretical things. I was under the impression that the course was possibly going to be too, I would have say, “basic” but too simplistic to reach in extra audience that are really well-received by, have all the certification organizations and people who have had the opportunity to take it.
Doug Holt: Yeah, someone like yourself who has spent so much time learning I think, we forget that the average fitness professional that’s out there may not have any experience. I know for me in my businesses, marketing has been gigantic. I was able to start in the late ’90s with an internet company and learning internet marketing and that has really allowed me to stay on top of the game and ahead of the curve. I know without that knowledge, it would have been really tough. And a lot of our peers just didn’t have it or they started like yourself and myself with the need to learn and make sure you had it.
Are there any books that you’ve encountered during this journey? I know just even having masters degree alone is a lot of books but what would you say is the biggest book for someone that’s listening right now? Besides your own, what’s the biggest book that has made the biggest difference I guess in your professional career?
Jeff Drock: I don’t know if there’s one specific book that has made a difference but something that might be interesting for anyone, the sales or personal training, it’s a book by Peggy Klaus and the title is BRAG!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It. Basically, explains with you about how to tactfully tell about themselves and their accomplishments without being in over of not shift turn a lot. But I think for all personal trainers who are on the sales, you want to tell your clients many good things about yourself and all you can do but a lot do it in a tactful manner and of off a lot of book.
Doug Holt: I’ve heard about the book, I haven’t read it myself so I’m going to add that to my reading list. For all those listening, I’ll put those on the show notes so they can pick it up as well. That’s the first time that book has been mentioned on here. We typically hear the same books over and over again. So it’s always great to get some variety from somebody like yourself that has been there and done that. That’s fantastic.
And I know you’ve spent a lot of time on marketing yourself as well and maybe on Brag on here. Somebody starting off in the late ’90s when the internet was relatively new. I mean it has been around for a while but not a lot. Google was a household name in the late ’90s, doesn’t start to get to early 2000’s. How was the internet helped you market yourself and your business?
Jeff Drock: I got internet shift then. It was amazing. It’s just social media especially Facebook, LinkedIn, those are considered to connect with people who are in the fitness industry. I found people that are just kind of receptive, people that could help each other so easily in that way, that’s for business-wise I guess for trainers trying to find clients, there’s all kind of local Google pay-per-click thing, pay-per-click and it’s getting to no people and reach out to them online and offline. It’s a very inexpensive way of parking yourself and bringing to the world closer.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. And you mentioned a couple of things and that would mean the internet is really kind of leveled the playing field if you know what you’re doing and utilizing that technology. In fact, my company has actually, what’s called a “Google Partner” it’s just on the side but I’m only saying this because we know that Google has announced that they are going to put a lot more emphasis into local search.
So if we know that a funny fact that there’s more people actually have a Smartphone in the world than a toothbrush which is kind of scary but it’s true. And your potential clients are searching for you on a Smartphone and Google ads or AdWords is the official name for it is a great way for a local fitness professional to get found and take some learning or hire a pro to help you out but it really does level the playing field. Now, you’re able to play with large multi-national corporations essentially but on a local field and Google has really leveling that playing field. There’s a lot of cool and neat exciting things that we’ll talk about later that are coming out on that round.
Jeff Drock: Yeah, absolutely.
Doug Holt: So for someone just starting out Jeff, they’re just in the industry, maybe the 20-year-old trainer or somebody that’s doing a career jump or maybe as a trainer that has been in the industry for a while and just hasn’t quite made it. They maybe haven’t taken a step because they are scared or what have you but something is holding them back or they just new, what advice would you give them on how to jumpstart their career and get ahead of the game?
Jeff Drock: To start out, people should actually start off by taking a job in a gym or on a private personal training studio to get that kind of experience and confidence. While they’re there, they should not be thinking of doing those things that they drop their entire career. They should be writing things and making plans trying to get their docks in a row to figure out what exactly they want to do.
One thing I know were a big on my course and that’s different from what you could do with in-home mobile fitness training first at gym training, you can really place the focus on specially market. Let’s say, myself, I worked with junior tennis players. And you can start reading and learning more about those markets instead of just being a general practitioner in the gym thing, you’ll be able to elevate yourself at it and actually charge more money and get more clients than if you were a general practitioner.
Doug Holt: Basically, get some experience, find a niche and develop that niche rather than just trying to be all things to everyone because really, when you try to be all things to everyone, you’re really nothing to anybody. It’s was what you’re trying to say, right?
Jeff Drock: Yeah. And some people may think that it’s harder to market yourself if you’re subtracting out a bunch of populations but I found it’s actually much easier to market yourself if you have a laser-targeted crowd and you’re the go-to person or let’s say, senior golfers or whatever it maybe.
Doug Holt: Yeah, that’s just so true. I know when I first opened my private training studio, almost 15 years ago I think, I tried to be all things to everyone. But as soon as I had narrowed my focus down to who my target market was, which was really the people that were choosing me more than the people that I chose, I saw a trend there.
But what I found is when I personally started marketing or like you said lasering on that focus for marketing, I found I not only got more clients and clients that I really enjoyed training but I also was able to get referrals from their friends as well and to expand that business to other trainers that need referrals.
Jeff Drock: The referrals are huge. Actually, when you’re working with a specialty, a small specialty market, that ends up being one of the lifeblood of your fitness and focus of your business of course and you have pre-qualified people coming to you.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. Well Jeff, we’re almost out of time here but if someone wants to learn more about you and more about your certification, where do they go? How do they find you?
Jeff Drock: You could go to www.HomeFitnessPro.org or you can e-mail me or call me and I’ll be readily available. Find me on Facebook or LinkedIn. And for anyone trying to learn a little bit more about using portable equipments and modalities, I have a site that’s totally free to use. You don’t have to sign-up for anything at all, you just kind of check out the different things and putting keyword searches or whatever [inaudible 00:21:56.21] whatever that is, it’s called FitnessExercisesVideo.com and Doug, I’ll send you a link on that but that just all kinds of video based on little portable training modalities and what not and I found that pretty helpful for a lot of people.
Doug Holt: Fantastic. Well, I’ll put that link into the show notes as well as your website. And you’ve been very generous by offering your e-mail to people too. I know how e-mail can get bug down but I’m sure you’re going to get several e-mails from people looking for a mentor as great as you.
Well Jeff, that’s it for our time. I want to thank you again for taking the time. I know you’re super busy today. And for all of you who are listening, please get into the show notes, contact Jeff and definitely check out his website. Jeff, thanks again.
Jeff Drock: Thank you very much, Doug. I appreciate it.
Doug Holt: All right. And in this Professional Online fans, that’s it for us today. Make sure to go to the website, FitnessProfessionalOnline.com to get all the show notes and links of the things that we talked about today. Also make sure to continue the conversation on Facebook where myself and other fitness professionals will be answering questions that you might have based on the show. Also share your comments, we’d love to hear your feedback on how we can make this show better. We put a lot of time into it although with my voice it may not sound like it. But there are a lot of behind-the-scenes editing to make sure these shows become available to you as well as scheduling with these fitness professionals.
And if there’s someone in particular that you think should be on the show or questions you’d like to get answers to, let me know. Go over to Facebook and go ahead and hit me up a message or Twitter. Also e-mail always works as well and at FitnessProfessionalOnline.com.
Thank you for listening to the Fitness Professional Online Radio Show. You can share your thoughts and join the discussion on this episode by going through our website or on Facebook.com/FitProOnline. Let us know what you’d like to hear on future shows and please feel free to contact us via e-mail or give us a call at (805) 500-6893. We look forward to hearing from you.
Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Sources from Jeff:
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