Dan’s Blog – How to get more personal training clients

Identifying negatives and turning them into great customer experiences

Each time you have an opportunity to communicate with a client it is an opportunity to impress your client and grow your business, even if it is something as boring as sending a receipt. There are an infinite amount of ways to run your business and each component of it. With those infinite ways to do anything, only a small percent will be successful in delivering you the result you are after, and only one way will yield the best results. Meaning that in business there are an infinite amount of ways to be wrong, but only a finite amount of ways to be right. Scary thought. I find that each component of business needs to have a marketing eye ran over it not just strict economics.

How do I get more personal training clients?

When you start to market it is important to ask many questions –Who is your demographic? What are you going to market? What is the message? Why is someone going to buy from you? What is this demographic going to enjoy? What is your competitive advantage? Why do you speak better to the customer than anyone else they can find? What kind of customer experience do you want your customer to have? What are some problems that can occur? What do people not like and how can you change their perception of it?

The experience of every component of business counts towards the customer’s overall perception of you and your brand.

If you go to a 3 star Michelin restaurant but the restaurant smells like garbage, as good as the food is you are not going to enjoy your experience.

Let’s use the receipt as an example:

Every business needs to provide receipts for their clients. This would be under the category of accounting. An accountant would see that the receipt needs to be delivered to the customer. As a marketer you have to ask how will I deliver the receipt for my client that will increase their satisfaction or increase my business?

Firstly as a marketer you need to identify any problems:

People already don’t really like getting bills or receipts as it reminds them that money is leaving or has left their hands. When it comes to financial matters you need to be direct, clear, and punctual with people otherwise it can irritate them. How can you make this interaction with your customer better and have it work to your advantage?

Clearly if you bring their receipt scrunched up and half ripped and over a month late your client will not be too impressed with you or your brand. So what is the answer? To bring the receipt nicely folded and on time?

Let’s ask those magic questions again: What can I do to make their experience better and what can I do to grow my business?

Here are two examples and you can decide which one would help your business: Attach the receipt in an email a day after you charged the credit card and write ‘Receipt attached’ in the title with nothing else. It is professional, and on time. It would definitely not upset anyone.

Option two: attach the receipt a day after the charge with a nicely branded email with a message that thanks them for their continued business. ‘{first name}, your receipt and free gift is attached’ written in the subject line. In the receipt there is a free gift coupon to a local nutrition store and it also reminds them that they can save 20% on their next month’s payment if they refer a friend.

From the cost/benefit analysis you should always ask is my time and effort going to help increase customer satisfaction or increase my business? I am not proposing you spend an hour on each receipt with a hand written note, and buying a pair of hockey tickets to provide as a gift each time you hand a customer a receipt, as this would not make economical sense. My suggestion is to find that balance of economics and marketing: A simple copy paste paragraph for the message in the email will do here. The free gift coupon is easy to arrange through whatever business you are working with as this is huge value to that business. This simple idea won’t cost a dime, and won’t take more than 10 minutes per month to implement.

Why will this work? You have changed the customer’s perception of receiving their receipt. They are now going to look forward to it as there is going to be a gift for them in it each month. It is also best to ask for a referral within the first 4 weeks of starting with a client, but it is important to have a referral program in place for longer than 1 day. More often then not people will forget about it and certainly will not ask you about it. The best time to remind someone about your program will be when they are reminded of the benefits it can bring them. The best time for that is when they see their monthly bill and realize that they can decrease it by just telling a few friends about you.

Side note: A referral program needs to be well analyzed before implemented (just like any component). First identify the problems with why people don’t like to give referrals: lack of incentive is usually not the answer. How easy will you make it for them to provide their friend’s name and number? How often do you remind them? What is the best incentive going to be?

If you thought your personal training business was just about personal training now you can see that there are many aspects to address that can make your customer’s experience and perception of your business better or worse. Think about your business not solely from the personal training you are providing, or just the economics of it but with a marketing eye.

Marketing strategy for an in-home personal training business

I have found that a lot of personal trainers get stuck for marketing ideas, so here is a simple idea that will certainly help an in home personal training business get in front of the right demographic with a very positive introduction.

Where do in-home sessions occur? In the home. So how great would it be if every time a person buys a new home they would receive a $100 gift card to your company?

Why I like this idea is because you can target certain neighborhoods that you know are more affluent. Also, the introduction or reminder of your business’ existence is positioned far better than a paid ad can deliver.

So how can we accomplish this? Who sells the homes? Realtors. What do realtors want? They would like to keep their customers happy.

When a realtor sells a house they make a very good commission. They know that it is far less expensive to keep their current customers happy then to find new ones. (Just like any business) So they reward them with a gift. Supply the realtors for free with your gift cards.

Pretty simple if you can get through to the realtor. This will make the realtor look like they spent $100 on a thoughtful gift for their client, and will introduce or remind that client of your company in a very positive light, if done correctly.

How can this be done incorrectly?

If you have bad branding most likely the realtor would not be too happy to associate themselves with you. If your gift card looks like a seven year old made it during arts & crafts, most likely the realtor would not see any value in passing it out either. Even if you convince the realtor to do so, it would most likely not drive the client to try your services.

OK, I have made a cool brand, I spent $300 on a great design, I spent $500 on some plastic gift cards with a backend software that tracks them, I’m golden right? You have certainly increased your chances of the realtor passing them out and the client being interested to learn more about the gift card they received. So what would be the next step for this client? They are probably going to look at your website. Making sure that your website is well written for strong conversion is very important. If you spend your days setting up ideas like this one and others, but don’t get any clients from it, it doesn’t mean that your marketing efforts are not working. It can simply be that your website just isn’t producing for you.

A Better Customer Experience

Marketing gives your business its appearance from the outside, but marketing also shapes the appearance of your company from the inside. A successful business will grow from within. So what will make the appearance of your company better for customers? It’s their experience with you. In a personal training business I believe your customer experience is most important, as your customers are the ones that will spread their good experience and will stay with your company for far longer if they are enjoying your service. If you solely focus on getting more business without having a great customer experience, you are trying to build a business from the outside which will make your cost per acquisition very high, won’t lead to many referrals, and your business will ultimately stop.

So what is a great customer experience? Customer experience is every time a customer has an interaction with you and your brand. Each interaction will affect their feelings and perception towards you and your brand.

Which airline do you prefer to fly? Didn’t each airline take you from one city to the destination you wanted to? So what made you prefer one over the other?

How long did you wait at the check in? How did the plane smell? Did they give a free pop or did you have to pay for it? How was the food? Did you receive your baggage quickly? There are a hundred other points of contact to create your experience in this example, and the best airlines will address all of them. Clearly there needs to be a balance of cost benefit analysis on each point, but usually the most influential ideas are the cheapest ones.

My favourite example of a simple idea for an amazing customer experience is the salt and pepper shaker from virgin airlines:

The cute looking salt and pepper shaker had “Pinched from Virgin Atlantic” written on them, which told the customers they could “steal” them. This idea would not cost more than $15 per passenger but made a world of difference for the customer experience. It gave them a great story that they can now tell their friends, remember their experience as extremely positive, even if a few things were negative, continue to be customers of Virgin and continue to spread a positive word about the brand.

An example I did with my personal training clients was give branded alarm clocks to any clients with sessions before 8am. They weren’t the most expensive alarm clock you could buy, but they weren’t junk. They cost me about $40 each. I knew that the value of this customer being happy from receiving this gift, and telling a friend about the cute gift they received is well worth the $40, even if they never use the alarm clock. If they do use it, then they would be reminded of me, and my brand every morning– pretty cheap and powerful advertising!

So think of every point of contact you have with your customers and think of how you can make it better, as they are the key to your success.