// The 5 magic Ps of marketing
by Dax Moy
Only about three per cent of personal trainers earn six-figure incomes, write books, appear in the media, and live a lifestyle that most people only dream of. The other 97 per cent spend hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars a year updating their knowledge and skills to share with clients, yet do little to increase the marketability of these skills.
Industry leaders like Paul Chek, Peter Twist and Douglas Brooks realised a long time ago that marketing was essential for achieving success and wealth. They were all very good at what they did, but without marketing they would have remained as internationally anonymous as the majority of fitness professionals. Marketing was a powerful ally to these industry leaders, and it can be for you too.
If you’re part of the 97 per cent then you may have found excuses in the past for why marketing hasn’t worked for you. However, what you really need are some new and exciting marketing skills. So, let’s explore the 5 Ps of marketing used by all successful entrepreneurs.
PositioningWhy should your prospects do business with you rather than with your competitors? If you can position yourself as the best resource in your area for what you do, then people will come to know you as an expert rather than just one of many personal trainers. Clients will also be willing to pay more for this expertise.
PackagingHow does your packaging portray you and your business? It’s all well and good claiming to be the top golf-conditioning expert in your area, but if you wear a scruffy sweat-top and dirty trainers then you cannot expect to be taken seriously. Similarly, cheap business cards, off-the-shelf logos and poorly presented brochures portray a ‘wannabe’ image rather than a successful one. Think seriously about the first impressions that you and your materials make on your prospect.
Don’t ‘settle’ when, for a minor difference in effort or financial outlay, you could double your professionalism and your business.
PromotionHow do you actually make contact with prospects?
Promotion is all about letting people know that you exist. There is little point in being the best at what you do if nobody knows who you are.
Most successful fitness entrepreneurs are members of several organisations, networks and forums where they share their skills for free with those who can benefit from them. They engage in public speaking and contribute articles to publications and e-zines that their prospects read. They may also communicate via web sites and newsletters that share information for free. In short, they become the trusted resource in their area of expertise. Follow this example and raise your profile.
PersuasionHow do you turn prospects into clients? In my experience many fitness professionals rarely focus on the clients’ main question, which is: ‘If I give you my hard earned cash, what do I get in return?’.
If you truly want their business, you’ll spend most of your time answering this question in a way that will solve their problems. By doing this effectively, you can have clients pleading to work with you.
Ask as many useful questions as you can about their goals and the problems they’ve had to overcome. If you listen to what they say, they’ll give every possible answer that you need in order to secure their business.
PerformanceYou must do what it takes to produce results and keep your clients – forever. I’m always shocked when trainers tell me that their average client stays with them for only two to six months, and that personal training just isn’t a long term option for most people. This tiny lifespan of training should not have come to represent the norm in our industry. In most industries, clients will continue to patronise a business for as long as they are happy with the service or product they receive, even if prices rise significantly.
Be warned: this next part might upset a few people. If you’re losing clients after only six months then you’re simply not demonstrating your value to them. I still have clients four, five or even six years after they have started with me, and during that time my fees have risen by nearly 200 per cent, to the point where my clients are now paying one of the most expensive trainers in the country.
The difference between the three per cent and the other trainers is performance. I’m not just talking about performance on the gym floor, but about ‘going the extra mile’ that really demonstrates your value to your clients, and makes them eager to stay with you. This is the art of under-promising and over-delivering. It’s the practice of continually giving more than is expected of you by phoning, texting, e-mailing, and sending gifts, cards and relevant newspaper clippings; it’s simply working in your clients’ best interests, even when they’re not paying you to do so.
If you’re being paid $100 an hour but continuously provide $200 worth of value, then you’ll never be seen as an expense; you’re a bargain! For the next seven days behave, dress, talk and train your clients as if you were a $100 an hour trainer, the top of your field. Over-deliver in a big way, demonstrating your huge value to every single client, and prospect – you’ll be amazed by the results.
Marketing is the essential factor in building success. The better you are at marketing, the more people you will be able to help with your skills and the more money you will make from dispensing those skills. That sounds like a fair trade to me.
If you are still left in any doubt, remember this: as a personal trainer you are a member of the ultimate service industry, one that manages the health and wellbeing of the nation you live in.
If you don’t tell people about your ability to help them improve their lives, then you are actually doing a disservice to hundreds, maybe even thousands of people who need your help. Now, go forth and market!
Dax is a master personal trainer, educator and journalist working from his own studio in central London. Voted one of the UK’s top fitness experts last year, Dax continues to lead the UK industry through his academy where, to date, thousands of personal trainers have been trained in advanced assessment and prescription, business development and mentoring. For more information, or to subscribe to his e-course to help you build your business from the ground up, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
NETWORK • WINTER 2006 • PP56-58