Marketing By Building The Client-Trainer Relationship
Phil Timmons, the national director of group training for Life Time Fitness in Chanhassen, Minn., put it best when he said, “There are over 600 different ‘gym brands’ in the industry, and hundreds of thousands of certified personal trainers in the U.S., all competing for market share.”
Considering this, club operators need to employ unique marketing strategies across multiple platforms in order to make their personal trainers’ services stand out. According to Timmons, the most effective way to stand out from the pack is to build a solid trainer-client relationship.
“Don’t take a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to personal training, and ensure the focus is on the people for whom you’re training,” he said. “It’s imperative trainers are approachable and engaging, and truly listen to client needs. When this happens, it’s the best marketing there is.”
After all, who’s not engaged by a truly successful member experience story? Often, members who have succeeded through personal training are the first to share their success, whether it is on social media or through word of mouth. Members thank their personal trainers for their success, therefore marketing the club and its trainers in the process.
In order to position personal trainers in the best possible light to forge a successful relationship with members, Life Time Fitness’ trainers have been branded as “Certified Fitness Professionals (CFPs)” and are introduced to all new members via “Member Engagement Advisors.”
According to Timmons, this is great in-club marketing. “Our CFPs meet with new members individually,” he explained. “In addition, we have a designated area in our clubs where our CFPs can answer questions and meet with people who are considering using a trainer to meet their goals.”
Jodi Sussner, the director of personal training and programming for Snap Fitness and Kosama, agreed that true client-trainer connections are the best way to market personal training. “We use the typical social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter because we want our customers to know that we offer personal training,” said Sussner. “But, the reality is that people want to build a personal connection and build a rapport before signing on for personal training. Our social media becomes educational, inspirational and ultimately starts the conversation. This introduces our customers to us, our trainers, and encourages them to check out our location and continue to build that relationship.”
Essentially, social media has been used as a tool to drive Snap Fitness’ members into its clubs, where personal training services could be seen in person. However, that marketing strategy fails, said Sussner, if your personal trainers are nowhere to be found.
“As a personal trainer or personal training manager, make yourself available,” she said. “I have been to other clubs that say they offer personal training, but you never see them around. Or if you do, they are working with someone else. Trainers need to put in the time to build a culture of training, community and connectivity within their club.”
Ultimately, the word “connect” echoed in both Sussner’s and Timmons’ thoughts as the most effective strategy for uniquely marketing your training services.
“At Life Time, we’re committed to connecting one-on-one with our members to understand their fitness goals and objectives,” said Timmons.
That connection, said Sussner, requires a bit of effort.
“For trainers, expect to put in the time and effort to get to know the members and provide consultations in order to gain new clients,” she said. “Many new trainers step into the job field expecting managers to hand them new clients on an ongoing basis. Though some new clients are given, most, if not all, should be earned.”