Less than 2 percent of all people who join gyms do so because they want to hire a personal trainer. About 5 percent of the American population can afford traditional one-on-one personal training. Many gyms never even reach the 5 percent mark, meaning that for every 100 members, there are only three or four who are working with a trainer.
But so many people could benefit from working with a coach or trainer. So, how do you sell this life-changing service to more of your members? How do you get 40 percent or more of them to reach into their pockets for more money, in exchange for a service that many of them do not fully understand?
1. You must let them try the service before they purchase the service. This can be best explained by the Ferrari analogy: Before a person buys a Ferrari, are they going to drive the Ferrari? Of course they are, and it is the same with personal training. No more consultations. No more fit scores, or fitness scores. No more poking and prodding, proving to the member what they already knew — they are overweight and out of shape. Put them through an actual strength workout. Use functional exercises, and make sure the trainer is your best and only salesperson.
2. Have one trainer sell, and only one trainer sell. Personal trainers did not choose their career path because they wanted to be salespeople. Most of them suck at the sales process. BUT, with some effort, and trial and error, you can find Bigfoot. Sasquatch is out there. He or she is the elusive creature who meets the following criteria: Three or more years as a personal trainer with solid program design skills and experience. In addition, they should have demonstrated sales experience.
Basically, the ideal candidate is someone around 30 years old, or older, who is tired of sweaty bodies, and is not afraid to ask for money. Find this person, and make him or her provide a complimentary workout to as many people as possible, all day, every day. At the end of the workout, this trainer will present the training membership options.
3. No more focus on one-on-one training. People can’t afford it, as I mentioned above. Traditional one-on-one training, at around $400 a month, forces most of your members out of the market of getting the help they need and want. Instead, sell them team training and small group personal training.
Team training, conducted in groups of 10 to 15, costs around $99.00 per month in most markets and includes gym access, costing consumers only about $50 to $60 per month for a great group training experience.
Small group training is conducted in groups of two to four people and includes intensive coaching. It costs about $139 per month in most markets, and includes gym access, making this only about $100 per month for a member to get a regular, intensive coaching experience.
One-on-one training is not going away completely, but it is becoming less and less common as smart gym operators capitalize on opportunities to help their members get results, without breaking their bank accounts.
By chasing general athletic conditioning while training all people upright, using functional movements, and doing this in a group setting — only after the member experiences the service with that one trainer who can sell — are you are going to be “in good shape.” Pun intended.
Keep changing lives.
Jason Linse is president and founder of The Business of Fitness, a consulting company. He graduated from Minnesota State University with a degree in public health and corporate wellness. He started working in the fitness industry in 1995. In 2005, Linse started with Snap Fitness at its headquarters, helping them grow from 14 locations to 1,100 locations by October 2010, when he left to start the Business of Fitness. Linse also owned a gym for two and a half years before becoming a consultant. He also owns a personality assessment company called People Plus+ Fitness. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 612-310-1319. Visit www.jasonlinse.com.