Do you remember learning about the revolution of hand washing in history class? Doctors had finally dismissed the idea that evil spirits caused illness and based more of their care decisions on scientific research. After much trial and error, in 1846, a Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that hand washing and disinfectant saved the lives of hundreds of women and children in the maternity ward. The willingness to think differently led to a revolutionary change.
Are you willing to think differently? This year, I invite you to look at your training education anew. You have 12 months to soar past the accomplishments of 2015 — what a wonderful opportunity. What if, this year, you looked at the business side of your personal training career? I believe, like hand washing, the work will be easy, but the impact will be game changing. Here are my top three suggestions:
1. Sales. Stay with me here; I understand the general loathing of this topic. Although it has gone through a revolution in the past decade, sales still seems tricky, shady or at the very least confusing for most of us. This is where most trainers quit. You won’t, though. Find a book, podcast or seminar on current sales training. Rethink the point of sales education. It’s not to hit your numbers and make as much money as possible. It’s teaching you to listen to the client and deliver a service that is treasured by those who enjoy it. If you do nothing else, think of sales as paying attention to the customer’s reasons for reaching out to you in the first place. Understand what your clients need, deliver it (or get them to someone who can) and then continue listening as they evolve.
2. Customer Service. This is a very low-hanging fruit, folks. Reach up and grab it. We in the fitness industry as a group have historically been lax in this area. Take a look at how you care for your clients, establish clear expectations for training and communicate professionally. This will improve your clients’ customer service experience. Positive changes in this area are simple and impactful. Why not use your next shopping trip as research? Look at establishments with outstanding customer service and examine the simple elements you too could adopt.
3. Networking. I understand that connecting with other trainers or other independent trainers might seem like you are mingling with the competition. But after 13 years of doing this, let me assure you, you are not. Having professional conversations with colleagues is a great way to learn, stay in touch with changes in our industry and create a support system that could help with future professional dilemmas that can and will present themselves.
2016 could be an incredible year for you. Take a look at the business side of your training and you could deliver a better experience for your clients and elevated reputation and income for yourself.
As founder of See Jane Train, Michelle Blakely cures the business headaches of independent female trainers. Twice named the city’s best trainer by the Chicago Reader, Michelle pens columns, speaks at training groups, and gets tapped as a go-to source by media outlets like Prevention, Good Housekeeping and Oprah.com. Connect anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org.