Personal Training & Getting More Clients
The first question that I’m asked as a Business PT the most by Personal Trainers I meet is always ‘How do I get more clients?’
It’s an obvious and necessary question as without our clients we don’t have a business and can’t do the thing we love for a living. However, getting more clients as a Personal Trainer is a HUGE topic with a ton of different methods, tactics and approaches.
For example, do you want to pay for introductions? Do you want them to come from word-of-mouth? Do you want people to simply find you online and book in? Do you want to be referred to by a doctor or physio? Do you want to build a following from bootcamps and convert into 1-2-1s?
These are just some of the factors you can consider when looking to increase your client base - some trainers focus on 1 specific way whilst others take a more holistic approach.
However, PTs often get carried away by simply chasing after new clients and don’t take the time to work out exactly what sort of client they want. Clients are not made equal - especially when it comes to running a successful and fruitful Personal Training business.
Getting More Clients - What Sort Of Client?
When I set up my PT business back in 2005 I was working in the local council gym and learning my craft which was brilliant, loads of fun and an excellent start as it gave me the opportunity to talk to hundreds of different people, from all walks of life and made me come out of my shell as I was not a confident person.
After a year I managed to pick up a good client list as I honed my skills selling my services, but I was struggling to make the sort of money I thought I could as clients would never be consistent with their sessions. They may purchase a batch of 5 or 10 sessions, then have to take a bit of time off to save up some more money then come back to me and purchase another 5 or 10 sessions.
These clients were amazing, but I realised pretty quickly that if I wanted to create the Personal Training business I wanted, earn the income I wanted and ultimately have the lifestyle I wanted, these sorts of clients wouldn’t bring me that.
I needed high-end, high-rolling clients, with greater disposable income who would take a slot with me each week, every week going forward. This would create stability in my income (the holy grail for PTs) and add structure to my diary into which I'd be able to add more clients into.
The only issue was, I was looking in the wrong place for my clients.
I was at a local council gym.
These aren’t known for high-end, high-rolling clients with massive disposable incomes.
I know what this sounds like and I know there are exceptions to the rule, but if I wanted to build my client base with the clients I needed to make my business a financial success, I needed to move away from the council-run gym and head to where the wealthy guys trained.
Private health clubs and health spas are EXACTLY that place.
I moved jobs and worked as an instructor at a Private health club for 2 days a week where I was seeing members roll into the car park in Ferraris and Aston Martins. These were the guys who wouldn't blink about taking a session at twice the rate I was charging in the local gym and be religious about training with me once, twice or sometimes three times a week.
At the time of writing this, that was 17 years ago and looking at my client list now I can attribute 70% of my clientele now to that job in the private health club in one way or another.
One thing I try to instil in all the PTs I work with is to nail down your perfect client first. Then research them and find out where they hang out. When you have found that, get yourself into that space as soon as possible and don’t delay.
For me it was the Private Health Club, for others it may be Facebook, the local car club or the local papers. But it's vital to put yourself in the right place to get the right results.
Look at it this way, if you went to Tesco and were desperate for a bottle of water, no amount of searching in the fruit and veg aisle will help you with what you want. You need to be looking in the drinks aisle, you need to be looking in the right place for what you want. It’s the same with getting more of the personal training clients you want.
Have a clear image of the type of people you want to work with, what cars they drive, what they do in their leisure time, what they do for a living, then work out how you can enter that space and start selling your services.
Could you run a bootcamp for a law firm?
Could you work as a gym instructor at the local golf course?
Could you join a local business group?
There are so many options, the key is to decide what sort of clients you want to work with, and go out and find them!
Some Personal Trainers looking to work with wealthy clients come to me saying that there simply isn’t anywhere around them where wealthy people hang out and my answer is always the same - look harder! There is wealth in every corner of the country, sometimes you just need to look a bit harder. Yes it’s simple to find wealth in Mayfair and Park Lane in London, but I can assure you there are lots of financially successful people in Cornwall, Sunderland, Chester and Bradford.
It’s by hunting these clients out which will ultimately fulfil you and make sure that your business as a personal trainer not only flourishes but brings you happiness and contentment. I used to cry ‘bullshit’ when someone would say that they love their job and it doesn’t feel like work to them. But now, I am one of those people.
If you’d told me when I started my business in 2005 from the local council gym that in a few years time I would be the head trainer for some of the biggest Polo teams in the country I would have laughed in your face - but that’s exactly what has happened.
How did an average kid, who did average in his exams, who went to an average state school end up as the fitness trainer of numerous multi million pound Polo teams owned by some of the wealthiest people in the country? The answer is, I made the move closer to the clients I wanted by leaving the council gym and working at the Private Health Club, and from there things snowballed.
Initially, getting more clients for your Personal Training business is of course key, but taking the time and thought to get the right client is essential for the longevity, financial stability and success of your business.
If you are stuck with a list of clients who don’t do anything for you, who can’t afford the rates you want to charge and who aren’t consistent with their training, take the time out to really focus on who your ideal client would be. Create an image of that client, create a backstory so you know them inside out, learn what motivates them and the things they are interested in, then go out there and put yourself in front of them.
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Keep working out on your business.