The number one point you need to know about instructing personal trainers on member and trainer relations is —educate trainers as to why this topic matters.
Trainers have (by nature of the business) a tunnel vision approach to their work. We focus on our clients’ goals. We focus on how they do things. We focus on what they need. But all that singular focus sometimes leaves a blind spot in the larger picture — which is retaining members that do not train with us. Most trainers don’t see the correlation between the at-large membership base and their own personal clients. I address this topic in three very different ways; numbers, relationships and fiduciary.
Numbers: The first is a fairly easy concept to understand — the more members you have the more possible training clients you will have. Say your club runs a 10 percent penetration rate of your total membership to members that participate in personal training and non-dues revenue. If your membership base is 5,000 members, that translates to 500 training clients. Now, if you lose 200 members (whether they train or not) your potential for personal training clients drops to 480 members. That can be an entire book of business for two personal trainers, not to mention hundreds of dollars in lost revenue. The most important point to remember about this is the more total members you have, the more potential training clients you have.
Relationships: The second item is the relationships your trainers build with members — especially those they DO NOT train. This is a huge element for your facility, your business and their business. Trainers are the most visible employees in your club on the fitness floor. They are the club’s expert in fitness and achieving results. If they are not building relations with your loyal non-training membership, they will develop a negative perception from those individuals. This will in turn lead to zero referrals or no new training inquiries.
Trainers need to understand that by simply saying, or not saying, ‘hello’ on a daily basis to a member that does not train with them, you may be the deciding factor in that member’s mind on your trainers. I have seen trainers that have had no degree or outstanding credentials get more referrals from non-training members simply because they constantly said hello and knew members’ names. When asked how they were referred to him, the member replied, “Well he always says hello and my friend said he was really nice and pleasant.” This member passed up training with highly educated and motivating trainers to spend their money with a trainer that simply said ‘hello’ to them. I cannot stress enough that having your personal training staff make a positive impact on your membership is a crucial element to success for your business.
Fiduciary: The last is the hardest concept for trainers to grasp. The at-large membership is what keeps the doors of your facility open and running. Sure, the personal training department might be the most lucrative — however it is the dues that members pay that keeps the lights of your club on and the rent paid. If the club wasn’t profitable in this area, no amount of non-dues revenue can bolster running a club by itself. In closing, the members that don’t train with you can be your biggest asset or worst detractors — it all depends on how you treat them.
Vic Spatola is the Director of Personal Training for Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood Village, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.