The 5 surprising ways to improve your personal training business below are focused on camaraderie and culture. There are thousands of ways to improve your personal training career. (And, I love nearly every one of them.) Let’s take a moment and think through our environment and careers, and, ultimately, how to make them better.
1. Rethink your competition
If you look at all other independent personal trainers as competition, you are technically accurate. Anyone looking for a trainer could look at the other trainers at the studio and chose one of them over you. However, with the number one reason for joining a health club being “weight loss” according to IHRSA and over two-thirds of Americans being overweight or obese according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, there, unfortunately, is more than enough business to go around. Stop looking at fellow trainers as competition.
Instead, see your fellow independent trainers as colleagues. These colleagues can be a source of inspiration, an excellent brainstorming tool for your business struggles and possible confidants in a business that does not inherently offer an outlet for candidly discussing the very unique headaches that arise.
2. Change the status quo
How can you change your relationship with fellow trainers? First, smile and say hello. I know that sounds ridiculous but many trainers dart into the gym, train their clients and the dart right out. And, I have heard all the reasons why: “I’m racing to train an ‘in-home.’” “I’m working somewhere else.” “I only have 30 minutes for lunch.” I get it. I’ve been there. I implore you to reconsider.
Find a window before or after sessions twice a week to get to know fellow trainers. If there is a trainer running their sessions in a highly professional or inspiring manner, ask them to join you for coffee. Email them an invite if you keep missing one another. Once together, listen to how they arrived at their level of training and what their plans are for the future. Briefly share your story as well: where you have been, where you are and where you want to be.
3. Reap the rewards
Once relationships with a few personal training colleagues are established and continue to grow, you will be pleasantly surprised at the opportunities that unfold: referrals, vetted connections for improving your business and resources for clients will naturally emerge. It behooves you to reciprocate. Have a client that doesn’t fit your demographic? Refer them to another trainer at the studio that you now know has an appropriate specialty. Have a physical therapist you love? Send a virtual email introduction with colleagues when they are in need. Are you part of an ambassador program offering great discounts or paybacks? Pass it along and fortify these mutually beneficial relationships and continue to improve your personal training business.
4. Sharing is caring
Care for yourself, your business, your clients and the gym as a whole by recognizing the need to share the space respectfully. Have you ever been at a social event where the vibe drastically changed by the entrance of a few new people? And, as many of us know from experience, the gym experiences the same phenomenon. The energy in the gym affects your business. You contribute to that energy directly. Take a step outside yourself and evaluate if you are bringing a positive, respectful, professional attitude to sharing the space or maybe a slight attitude or behavior modification could prove helpful. People will notice and you will benefit.
5. Put your toys back
As a top complaint from my clients (personal trainers and studio owners), I have four very compelling reasons for each of us to return equipment after use.
- Safety. Many gyms are barely safe with all the equipment put away much less with dumbbells, bags, balls and mats strewn about. No one wants to see an injury at the gym. It should be a place of strength, empowerment and healing. Let’s keep everyone safer by returning equipment.
- If keeping everyone safe isn’t compelling enough, maybe I can appeal to your fear of a lawsuit. If, heaven forbid, someone gets hurt, most often the injured sues everyone, not just the gym or his or her trainer. He or she sues anyone remotely connected to the injury and that includes the trainer that left the dumbbell out the middle of the floor instead of returning it back to the weight rack.
- Not picking up after yourself presumes your time is worth more than someone else’s. I’m certain that is not the message you intend to send, but fellow trainers notice. Leaving your equipment for someone else to put back is taken as an insult or, at best, annoying to your colleagues and gym staff. Additionally, the more trainers that do pick up after themselves, the more obvious the individuals leaving their equipment out become. (Positive peer pressure at work.)
- Clients are watching. Clients are always watching. Many of our clients are professionals with clear codes of conduct at their places of work. They do not want to be associated with a practitioner that doesn’t behave respectfully to others (i.e. leaving a mess for someone else to clean up.) On the flip side, conducting yourself respectfully at the gym makes them proud to be your client and subtly confirms their good decision in patronizing a trainer that conducts him or herself professionally.
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This discussion was originally presented at a semi-annual trainer’s luncheon. It was a pleasure to attend and present for #FitProWest at #CatinaLoredo. Inspiring and delicious! I am always happy to share insights that will elevate our industry and help independent trainers and studios be as empowered and efficient as possible. Email if you have an event, trainer or studio in need of our services. It would be my pleasure: firstname.lastname@example.org