For many, personal training can be a passion but a difficult career choice. If you're say, an estate agent, chances are you work a nine to five and can have evenings and weekends to yourself. As a personal trainer you have no such luxury. In fact you'll probably find yoruself working high anti-social hours including evenings and weekends.
Last year I met up with Dean Elliot a experienced personal trainer at a conference trade show. He's been in the business for over 16 years and there's not much he doesn't know. For the last 5 years, he's been working as a PT Manager for one of the big UK personal training companies giving him insight from both a trainers point of view and in managing a large team of trainers. We had a great chat and talked a lot about the Industry and the role of a PT and how personal trainers need to always excel to keep hold of their clients. Let's face it, most personal trainers will do their best to make themselves available for their clients. We are in a client-focused Industry and its important to make sure we provide a level of service that will retain that client (and maybe lead to referrals). But the fall-out rate from the Industry is very high with many personal trainers not fully realising how difficult it can be to win and hold on to clients. Clients come and go and there can be great monthly fluctuations with earnings. Lets take this week for example. With the onset of heavy snow I have had numerous clients call me to cancel sessions. Great to catch up with my friends or add a few extra workouts, but not good for my earnings.
To build a sustainable business in personal training there will always be fluctuations in income. Even the worlds top trainers have clients that come and clients that go. You're no different. One key area where a lot of trainers fail is in understanding the clients 'wants' and creating a demand for the exact service that you provide. It can be as simple as phoning your clients between sessions to find out how they are getting on, reminding them about keeping that food log or simnply saying 'well done' on a great workout this morning.
Personal trainers have to move away from the idea that they are with their client just for the hour the client pays for. The reality is that the relationship needs to extent beyond that. Okay, so don't show up at the clients door uninvited and certainly don't stalk them - that's not cool! But your clients really will appreciate the fact that you care - about them and their goals. Thats the main reason they hired you in the first place. They need accountability.
I always try to set my clients goals throughout their training programs. It may be that by the end of 4 months I want them to be able to run 5k. Now this may be something that I suggest rather than them, but most clients who really want to get in shape will feel that they now have a goal rather than just the numbers on the scales. Give clients a goal of simply numbers on the scale and when they fall short they will invariably become despondent and wonder why they are bothering. I remind all my clients that getting fit and in shape is about way more than just the figures on the scales.
By developing plans and strategies to look after your clients and keep them motivated is the best way to ensure you're able to ride out the occasional 'fallouts' and retain a core client base that really earns you a living and one you can be truly proud of.