7 Tactics Used By Successful Personal Trainers
Following on from our previous articles about running a personal training business, here is a roundup of seven things that most successful personal trainers do to help them succeed with their businesess...
1) Never finish your education
Even after you get your initial qualifications and can say you are a qualified personal trainer, don’t stop educating yourself, gaining new qualifications and developing your skills. Many professional organizations, such as the Register of Exercise Professionals, require trainers to continue their fitness education to remain members, and the more you learn about fitness and personal training, the better equipped you are to help your clients fulfill their goals. Reading professional journals, attending courses and seminars, and going to conventions and conferences are all investments towards your success.
2) Know what the clients know and be ready to answer their questions
In addition to maintaining your own professional education, pay attention to what fitness topics your clients are reading up on and trying to learn about. Reading professional journals and study materials is important, but you also need to be reading the same kind of popular online and offline publications that clients tend to read. These sources are constantly churning out new advice and information to fitness enthusiasts, some of it poorly researched and unreliable. You’ll find that clients will often ask you to confirm or refute pieces of information they’ve got from somewhere.
3) Remember that you're training your client, not yourself
Many personal trainers assume, without realizing they’re doing so, that what worked for them will work for their clients. They have their clients repeat the process they themselves went through to achieve their own level of fitness. When you design an exercise program or diet regime, remember you’re designing it to suit the client’s individual physical and mental circumstances, and that what worked for you might not be ideal for them. Remember to listen to your client at all times; feedback is often what allows you to determine whether something is or is not working for a client.
4) Set homework
Give your clients something to do at home in-between sessions. It doesn’t need to be something big. It can be something like doing ten push-ups every morning or walking up and down the garden a few times every night, or even something as simple as practicing standing or walking in a different way or some basic breathing exercises. Setting these kinds of tasks makes your sessions seem longer than the actual time you and the client are together. It can also be very useful to have your clients keep food diaries or exercise journals that you can look over together in future sessions or by email.
5) Keep the clients focused and happy
One of the main reasons personal training businesses fail is because the trainer fails to build and retain a large enough client base. In order to give yourself the best chance of your clients not giving up and leaving after the first few sessions, follow these tips:
- Never try to make clients dependent on you. Trainers who try to retain their clients for longer by withholding instruction tend to make their clients angry and lose them quicker. Answer any question your client asks you as best you can, and show them how to do anything they express an interest in. It’s fine to advise them that they might not be ready to do a particular thing yet, but still, give them the information or a demonstration if they ask for
- Establish specific goals. It’s very important to establish goals for your client to work towards, as having a target can help drive a client keep going until they reach it.
Otherwise, they’re more likely to walk away once they feel they’ve made some progress and gotten something for their money. It’s also a mistake for a trainer to not find out at the start whether a client already has any specific goals in mind, and tell the client whether they’re achievable. Clients with unrealistic goals will often quit if they find out they can’t accomplish what they intended when they began.
- Provide clients with feedback and progress measurements. Clients will sometimes get discouraged and wonder if it’s worth continuing with their fitness campaign. In these situations, it’s very helpful for a trainer to be able to demonstrate to a client the progress that has been made since they began working together. This will usually be given in the form of weight measurements if the client’s goals are weight related, or the number of repetitions of a particular exercise the client can do, if the goals are strength and exercise related.
6) Don't lose contact with former clients and acquaintances
Keep a spreadsheet or a database or any kind of record of the contact information of your former clients, as well as anyone who went through an initial consultation but didn’t become a client. This will make it possible to send them newsletters and things by email at any point in the future. Let people you’ve come into contact with know about any new services or special offers you’re providing, in case they reconsider and decide to do some training with you.
7) Use yourself to advertise your business
Whenever you’re in public on in a training environment, advertise yourself as a personal trainer by wearing clothing with your band name and/or logo on it. There are plenty of places online where you can get logos designed cheaply. Becoming your own advertising banner is an easy and often effective way to promote yourself as a personal trainer to everyone you come in contact with. You never know when you’ll strike up a conversation with someone who could become a client or who knows someone else looking for a personal trainer. Also, make sure to always carry a supply of business cards around with you so that you can give one to anybody who seems interested.
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