// Realise your PT potential

By establishing your true goal you can overcome the barriers to success that prevent so many personal trainers from reaching their true potential, explains Yvette Nevrkla.

Why do some personal trainers have hugely successful businesses while many more seriously struggle to make their venture work? The good news is that success is not just due to chance or good luck. Success in anything comes from consistently working towards a clear goal using the best knowledge, skills and strategies available. By adopting the behaviour of the most successful personal trainers, you can build the foundations of your own successful personal training business.

Following are seven of the most important behaviours for personal training success. By adopting these, you can increase your flow of clients, your income and your freedom while building a successful personal training business.

1. Know your target market

The majority of personal trainers believe they need, and want, to serve everyone and anyone, but the truth is that no successful business does this. It’s rare to find a personal trainer who has really defined their place in the market. If you research personal trainer web sites, it’s impossible to tell the difference between one trainer and another. This makes it impossible for potential clients to identify the right professional for them. One of the keys to your success is your ability to market and sell your services. Your ability to do that successfully will be determined by knowing exactly who you are marketing and selling to. Choose the right target market; one that is ready and willing to invest in the solutions you offer, and you have one of the key ingredients for creating a steady stream of clients.

2. Think with a business mindset

Are you thinking like a person who owns a business or as a self employed personal trainer? It’s sometimes easier to think and behave like an employed service professional and to be led by your club and the industry. But by doing this you are doing a job rather than building a business. You end up being led rather than leading; controlled rather than being in control of your own destiny. If you want to build a successful business you need to start thinking like a business owner and start doing the things that successful business owners do. It’s time to start thinking differently about your roles and responsibilities as a personal trainer. It’s time to start working on your business as well as in it.

3. Have a clear vision and business plan

Without a clear vision and a set of goals to work towards, how can you develop a business plan or make effective decisions regarding the direction or growth of your business? How can you choose the best strategy if you aren’t clear on the outcome you want to achieve? How can you find the drive, energy, motivation and courage to move out of your comfort zone, to overcome the challenges and do whatever it takes to make your business successful if you aren’t clear about what it’s all for? If you haven’t yet spent time working out your vision for yourself and your business, then do it now. You can’t be successful at something unless you’ve first defined what success is for you and only you know the answer to that.

4. Be your own person

Sadly, there are large numbers of qualified personal trainers who find it so difficult to get started that they quickly become disillusioned with the profession and feel forced to give up and go back to a job. One of the challenges is to find the business resources and support that will help you to do what you want to do. It’s quite normal to look around at what your colleagues are doing and copy that in the hope that this will be the road to your success. However, you should choose your role models very carefully. Just because your fellow personal trainers are moving in a particular direction doesn’t mean that you have to follow. You could be following them on a path to frustration and failure. This goes back to getting clear on your vision for your business. Don’t judge what’s possible by what you see around you, unless of course what you see is exactly what you want!

5. Specific, solution-based marketing

Just as the websites tend to look and sound very similar, so do the other marketing tools that many personal trainers use; the leaflets, adverts and business cards. If you’re trying to appeal to everyone out there, then it’s impossible to create promotional materials that speak effectively to anyone in particular. Generic, catch-all marketing tactics just don’t work. You have to get specific and decide who you want your clients to be. Another common mistake is to make your marketing all about you, your qualifications, skills and services. There is a place for this but it’s not the key to attracting great clients. Clients are interested in just one thing: finding solutions to their problems. They want to know that you understand their problem and that you can offer the solution and the benefits they are looking for. Stop trying to prove yourself and start focusing on your clients. Find out what they really want and deliver it. Nothing builds your credibility faster than this.

6. Incorporate trust into your sales process

Expecting individuals to go from stranger to full paying client in one step is risky if your aim is to build a steady flow of ideal, high paying clients. This strategy results in a lot of rejections and low prices. Remember, people buy from people they know, like and trust. Achieving this in one step is a tall order. Your customers need to go through a process where they come to know, like and trust you as a professional personal trainer. A great sales process takes your potential clients on a journey from complete stranger to a point where they know, like and trust you and are ready to invest in the products and services you have to offer. It allows customers to experience what you have to offer and enables them to grow into your highest priced services. Developing an effective sales process for your clients will not only attract more clients your way without any hard sales, it can also create opportunities to generate additional income streams along the way.

7.  Utilise other people to build your business

Nobody builds a successful business or career on their own. Successful business owners don’t underestimate the challenges and obstacles involved in turning a profession into a successful business. Failing to build professional networks and valuable personal and professional relationships leaves you isolated and missing out on a wealth of opportunities, not to mention a wealth of clients. The contribution of others to your career and your business is not only essential, but can be stimulating and energising. Every successful business person has invested in resources and built networks in order to learn, develop, create accountability and stand upon the shoulders of those who’ve gone before. Your personal training clients invest in you to ensure their success. What resources will you invest in to ensure yours?

By considering these points you can establish a credible, professional and profitable training business.

Yvette Nevrkla
Yvette is a business coach for personal trainers, author of The PT Business Gym and founder of The PT Business Gym, a business that offers business-building resources and support for personal trainers. To purchase the book, or for more information on increasing the professionalism of your training career and business, visit www.theptbusinessgym.com