Sarah Shore-Beck by Sarah Shore-Beck

When people ask health and fitness professionals why they do what they do, the typical response is “I like helping people.” If this is the case, why do so many professionals only want to help the fit get more fit instead of reaching out to two-thirds of the population who are overweight or have obesity? Where are you finding your clients? How are you connecting with people in your community? Here are some tools to put in your fitness toolbox that will help you strategize a new approach to working with clients who are struggling with obesity.

1. Collaborate with physicians.

As you talk to your current clients, especially those who have been successful at weight loss, ask them if they have talked to their physicians about their achievements. Chances are they have and that the physician has commented on improvements in their health. If this is the case, ask your client if he or she can give you the physician’s contact information. Medical personnel can be great at their jobs, but there are probably areas relating to exercise where many of them lack experience or knowledge. This is where you can make a positive impact. Set up a meeting with the physician to discuss ways he or she might be able to help you grow your business by referring clients. Physician referrals are one of the best ways to build your client list.

2. Use social media to your advantage.

If you are just beginning to build your client base, social media can be a huge help. Connect with individuals (friends of friends or those who are reaching out) through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google plus, Pinterest etc. Those of you who have attended ACE’s Fitness Programming for Overweight Clients and Clients Affected by Obesity Workshop can utilize the training and experience you have learned. This could be a great way to earn the trust of those individuals who may be a little uncomfortable with a personal trainer. Create a quick speech that can be used when introducing yourself to new people through social media.

3. Reach out to local organizations.

Asking someone if they want to be your client because it looks like they need to lose weight is probably not the wisest approach to obtaining new clients. Instead, sell your product by reaching out to weight-loss center administrators, bariatric surgery centers, Weight Watchers branches or even corporations around your area. Ask if there might be a time where you can come in and give a free presentation or consultation on the benefits of exercise and how you can help people improve their lives. Companies are trying everything they can to help decrease healthcare costs. If you can earn new clients in addition to helping a company improve its bottom line, it will be a win-win for both sides.