Pete McCall by Pete McCall

What do auto mechanics, attorneys, plumbers, and personal trainers have in common? We are all professionals who provide service-oriented solutions or results for specific consumer needs.

What is the difference between personal trainers and the other three professions? Mechanics, attorneys and plumbers charge a fee based on the amount of time required to achieve a specific result whereas personal trainers market and sell their services in blocks of time. They charge one price for a single session and offer discounts if a client purchases a series of sessions.

If you go to an attorney, mechanic or plumber, you need a service to address a specific problem such as creating a legal document, repairing a clutch or fixing a leak. You pay for the service because you expect a specific result from the professional providing that service.

The business model we use in the fitness industry is flawed because by selling discounts (for multiple sessions), we condition consumers to make purchasing decisions for our services based on price — not value.

But other professionals do not do that. An attorney does not reduce his or her price for a challenging case, and a mechanic or plumber does not offer price breaks for a more complicated or technically challenging repair job.

Like the other professions, personal trainers provide a valuable skill derived from education and experience. Therefore, we should look at business models that can properly reward us for our knowledge and ability to deliver results.

Shifting Business Models by Offering Results-Oriented Programs:

While the argument could be made that those other skills are necessary for a specific solution whereas a personal trainer is more of a luxury, the fact remains that there is an opportunity for personal trainers to shift their business models by offering results-oriented programs.

Instead of marketing series of individual one-hour sessions by discounting the price, design programs to achieve specific results.

If most clients identify “toning up” and “losing weight” as their primary fitness goals, why not offer a specific “Toning” program of two sessions a week for six weeks. Or a “Weight Loss” program of two sessions a week for six weeks.

In both cases, you are offering a specific solution to common exercise goals.

At the very least, advertising programs such as “Toning,” “Weight Loss” or “Fat Burning” would cause individuals interested in achieving those results to contact you to ask for more details about the benefits of personal training. It also allows you to establish a non-discounted price for all twelve sessions, as well as schedule all of the sessions for the next six weeks to establish a regular training schedule.

Think of it from another point of view: When marketing a package of ten or twenty one-hour personal training sessions, you are actually trying to sell ten or twenty hours of exercise.

Individuals who have difficulty committing to an exercise program see a ten or twenty session package and identify that with ten or twenty hours of exercise, which is something they don’t feel comfortable with and often want to avoid. Rather than selling the process, it makes more sense to offer a solution and market results-oriented exercise programs.

As you look at your plans for 2012, instead of marketing packages of five, ten or twenty sessions, think about offering programs based on providing a specific result. Stay true to the science of exercise program design, remind clients they will need to do the hard work and change certain behaviors, but be creative in how you position yourself in the marketplace and communicate the benefits of your service.

Apply one of the Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and advertise your services by offering workout programs with a specific end in mind. 

Developing and marketing results-oriented programs will provide you with a service that potential clients can identify with; and it’s worth trying something at least once to see if it will work.

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