|By the time you have gotten past the title and read the first line of this article, you should already have the one reason in your head why a prospective client would hire you. If you don't, then you may have already discovered the biggest obstacle to the success of your personal training career!|
What we're talking about here is a very important sales tool known as a "Unique Selling Proposition". Basically, this is the single most important thing about your business that makes you stand out from other professionals in your industry. The basic, bare bones, from the gut, instinctive answer that comes to your mind when someone asks, "Why should I train with you instead of another trainer"?
After all, isn't this the absolute most important question that you could possibly answer? Isn't this similar to a question that you ask yourself every single time you are about to spend money?
When you are headed out to the grocery store, you decide to go to a particular store. Why? Better prices, usually, although that is not always the answer.
If you are going to get gas in your car on the way to work, you choose a specific gas station to fuel up. Why? Price sometimes, but often with a convenience store, location is more of a deciding factor.
What about if you are going to go shopping for clothes? What makes you decide to go to an anchor store like Sears or JC Penney instead of going to Target, or Wal-Mart? Certainly not price, since the department stores are usually cheaper. Why did you go to the mall?
By now you should be starting to see a pattern developing here. Whether you are talking about buying groceries, gas, or clothes, each time when you decide to shop at a certain establishment, there is always some underlying reason WHY you decided on that store. Whatever that reason is, that is the Unique Selling Proposition of that store, and the way they got your business!
For grocery stores, it is often selection that brings in customers. Gas stations have price wars, but in the end it often ends up just being about convenience. Clothing stores get a lot of their business from the brand names that they carry, rather than their rock-bottom prices.
Those 3 examples were chosen to illustrate an incredibly powerful point for you in your personal training business. That point is that you need a Unique Selling Proposition, and contrary to popular belief, having a lower price is not the one that you want to choose. In fact, lowering your prices can help you to actually LOSE customers, and will definitely help your business to a lower bottom line!
Now ask yourself the same question again, only this time, really take the time to think about the answer. Why should someone train with you instead of another trainer? It is possible - in fact, even likely - that you may not have a good reason! If that is the case, your business is surely suffering as a result, and coming up with your own Unique Selling Proposition should become your highest priority.
Here is a brief but hardly all-encompassing list of ways that your business may stand out from your competitors. Even if none of these ideas apply to you, utilize this list to start thinking of other ways to make yourself a more appealing option for potential clients than your competitors.
Customer Service. This has been one of the most basic business success secrets since the dawn of time, yet personal trainers often don't take care of their customers nearly as well as they should. For some great tips on customer service, see the article 'Personal Training: 6 Secrets of Award Winning Customer Service' at the following URL: http://www.completepersonaltrainingbusiness.com/article2.html
Experience. People have always valued businesses who have a lot of experience in the service being provided, and that is certainly true for personal training. Your client's very health and well-being is in your hands! Don't expect long-term personal training clients if you don't have the knowledge to get them the results that they are looking for.
Education. Although education is certainly no substitute for experience, in a health profession such as personal training, you won't get far without the knowledge to get your job done properly. This can include your basic certification, your Continuing Education Credits, and any applicable college or trade school classes you take during your career.
Niche. Having a niche market is probably the most effective way to stand out from the crowd! If you are a trainer who "trains everyone", how can you possibly be very good at training a particular group of people? How can you claim to be the best trainer in town for athletes if you only train one athlete, and your other clients include a housewife, a corporate CEO, a teenager, a police officer, a kindergarten teacher, an elderly couple, and a swimsuit model? Specialize in ONE group of people, and not only will it build your credibility, but you can charge more for your sessions, since you are specialized in training that particular niche.
Value. Another basic tenet of business success, yet one that trainers often overlook. When all is said and done, what does your client get for signing on with you? Just training sessions? All trainers are doing that! What ELSE are they getting for their money? If you have to think about it, then you might need to build some more value into your business model!
Facility. If you work at or own a fitness facility or training studio, what makes your facility stand out from other facilities in town? Do you have more equipment? Do you offer more unique training programs? Does your facility have child care? A locker room? Private training areas? Think about why someone would walk into your door instead of the gym across the street.
Hours. Whether you work in a facility or do home training, what are your hours? Are you willing to train someone at 5:00am? What about 9:00pm? Today's world is full of incredibly busy people! If you try to stick to "banker's hours", you will have a hard time succeeding as a personal trainer.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can make your service or your facility a better option for your potential clients rather than them hiring one of your competitors. You should take the time to brainstorm even more ideas than those covered above, as that is a short list at best. There are many other ways that you can make your business the best option for your target market!
Once you have a few ideas in mind, choose the one thing that you feel truly makes your business "unique". What is that one single product, service, or business practice that has the power to yank your potential customers away from your competition?
Once you have the answer to that, promote that idea in everything that you do! Don't promote the fact that you are a trainer. Promote the fact that you are the best trainer for your target market because of your Unique Selling Proposition.
Make your business unique in some special way, promote that idea, and your business will grow in leaps and bounds. As you get more successful, you will come up with even more ways that your business is the best option for your target audience.
You will get more and more clients and those clients will be happy, healthy, and spreading the word about your great services. That, ladies and gentleman, is what we call a Win/Win situation!
About the Author
Aaron Potts is a Personal Trainer and Fitness Success Coach whose customers include consumers as well as other fitness professionals. Sign up for his free Fitness Journal at http://www.fitnessdestinations.com or visit his coaching site at http://www.ptsuccesscoach.com
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