Two Simple, Attainable Steps to Start Getting More Clients Today
If you’ve been in the personal training industry for any length of time, I’m certain that you’ve previously experienced or are currently experiencing the uncertainty of maintaining a full client load. Some months you’re booming and others you’re barely breaking even. Although you can easily budget and plan for those ‘downtimes’ as many coaches do, pick up a part time job on the side to supplement your income, or just give up on being a professional coach altogether, you could also build out your schedule so that it’s always overflowing. This of course does NOT happen overnight as many would wish but it’s not as complex as marketing gurus would lead you to believe. You don’t need to by a $9,000.00 e-book, nor do you need to attend a sales marketing master class. There’s no doubt that these classes, courses and events offer value when put on by experts (not the wannabes that seem to be EVERYWHERE on social media), but for now let’s focus on developing a consistent income without spending a dime.
When I landed my first “professional” position at a boutique fitness facility I was fortunate enough to be handed a previous trainer’s remaining clientele. He had moved out of town and the owner of the facility was able to provide me a certain 15 sessions per week to start. This was an excellent base foundation of course, but regardless, I still had to put in the effort to get from 15 to 50 as efficiently as possible. Bills had to be paid, food had to be purchased and gas had to go in the car among other expenses. I worked my ass off and although there were fluctuations week to week as often happens in this industry, I was closing in on 35 sessions per week more frequently than not after 6 to 7 months. I was feeling confident, the future looked grand and then July arrived. Rather suddenly, my sessions almost halved for what seemed like forever. Realistically of course, it wasn’t forever, but my pay cheque and pride both took a significant gut punch. That summer taught me two lessons.
1. Keep ‘pedaling’ (as in peddling). Just as when you learn to ride a bike, you MUST keep pedaling in order to move forward. If you stop pedaling, you lose speed and the bike will inevitably stop or tip over at some point. In my first year, I made the common mistake of assuming that the momentum I had built up thus far would carry me forward to all my lofty goals and aspirations as a coach. I learned quickly that this was not the case. In all industries, there is no ‘holding ground’. You’re either moving ahead or you’re falling behind. If you aspire to grow in this industry, the initial actions when you were building momentum must be maintained throughout your career in some capacity in order to continue to make progress. Therefore, keep ‘peddling’ your services as you would keep pedaling that bicycle – for the vital momentum necessary to keep you moving forward without falling down!
2. You must block out time to work on your business all the time. So many professionals get so caught up working ‘IN’ their businesses that they give up valuable time and energy to position themselves for future growth both in terms of their self-development as well as their business development. This is a balanced amount of invested time allocated to work ‘OUT’ of your business as well.
If I could offer you two, solid, attainable steps that you can start doing consistently TODAY to begin growing your client schedule, they would be the following:
1. Schedule time EVERY SINGLE DAY to network. Call people, text people, e-mail people, reach out through comments on social media posts, direct message people on different social media platforms, strike up conversations at your local coffee shop. Don’t overthink this one. You don’t need to do this for 5 hours a day. Start with 15 minutes. Do you know how many conversations you can start on Instagram through DM’s in 15 minutes? Do you know how many relationships you can rekindle through Facebook Messenger in 15 minutes? I’m not suggesting you begin throwing sales pitches into every conversation either. Show genuine interest in others and check in to see how they’re doing. You will be amazed at how quickly this will improve your recognition as a professional in your field, not to mention how many people will be completely taken aback by your interest in THEM.
2. Depending on how many clients you currently have compared to how many you require to make your desired income, set a regular time to ask your current clients for referrals. Wait… wait… don’t get scared off by this one because it will be one of the easiest actions you’ll ever take for building your business. I am often amazed at how few coaches reach out regularly for referrals from their current clients. The reality is that referrals fuel your business and I’ve never come across a client who a) didn’t understand this reality or b) was offended by my inquiry as to whether they knew someone who might benefit from my coaching services. Most often clients assume that if you’re not asking, you’re fine. Furthermore, they certainly want to know if they can help when needed. Your staying in business is a crucial component to them maintaining the ability to benefit from your professional coaching services. If you’re still building your base foundation of clientele, reaching out as frequently as once a month is most acceptable. Clients often make new business connections, touch base with old friends, or meet up with a relative they haven’t seen in months over the course of those 3 to 4 weeks. Last month they may not have had a referral for you. This month they may have met two cousins at a family reunion who are looking to lose 10 to 15 pounds for their upcoming vacation! Keep the referral requests rolling!
Never lose sight of the fact that your services are directly reflected in the ‘spark’ of your clients, not to mention their noticeable, improved health and physical gains serving as a natural sales ad for your business. Of course they are valued clients, but don’t lose sight of the fact that they are also ‘human sales ads’ because of the positive changes exemplified in their lives through your health services!
Before you return to your usual Sunday habits, let’s ensure that you didn’t just read this and nod at its importance. Yes, it’s simple advice, but before you go blowing your already limited capital on Facebook ads, sales funnels and expensive courses, let’s start with the basics. The more expensive tools and marketing tactics will ALWAYS be there and yes many of them do work BUT if you haven’t even managed to master the basics – the ‘tried and true’ that are likely never going anywhere – you will find yourself frustrated and frantic when certain sales channels inevitably become obsolete.
Attainable Step 1: Block out 15 minutes at some point every single day to network. How you prefer to network is completely up to you. You could spend all your efforts messaging people on Facebook, answering people on Instagram fitness posts or perusing forums on your coaching niche and offering assistance / advice.
Attainable Step 2: Set a consistent time dependent upon your desired clientele load to regularly ask for client referrals from current clients. Block enough time into your schedule to reach out whether it be monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually to keep the referrals rolling. Remember that you will get many ‘nos’. That’s okay! You’re not looking for an influx of 50 clients tomorrow, just one or two more will continue your growth in the right direction.
Next week I’ll be sharing with you a simple script that you can use to ask for referrals and a few simple but creative ways to bring new clients through your doors! Stay fit, stay strong, stay inspired!
Committed to your success,