Lawrence Biscontini by Lawrence Biscontini

If you’re like many health and fitness professionals, adding more clients—and boosting your income—is a primary goal. Here are seven ways you can do just that. 

1.Task Your Current Clients

One of the best ways to boost your client base is to utilize your current clients. Tell them that you are looking to expand your client base and that you would like to count on them as your first point of contact because of the success they have experienced since working with you. This technique uses the clients you already have to bring you into contact with the clients you need.

Here’s a sample script: “I would like your assistance in my new outreach project. Can you please tell me about one person in your life, within a 10 mile radius of us, whom you would like to see reap similar benefits from personal training that you have received from working with me? Can we invite him or her to train with you next week—on a complimentary basis—to see if we can generate some interest in training with me, either with you or during another timeslot?”

Because they will be working out with their friend, there is less chance to be nervous. At the end of that session, explain to potential new clients all of the ways in which you could enrich their lives based on what you have observed during that session.

2. Offer Corporate Wellness Programs to Smaller Businesses in Your Area

Identify businesses in your area that do not currently offer a corporate wellness program. Schedule a five-minute maximum meeting with the director of human resources/talent recruitment.

Here is a sample script: “I would like to speak to you for less than five minutes and I'm not selling you a thing. In fact, I’m offering to bring corporate wellness to your facility. I need just 15 minutes of time for your staff to meet with me on a voluntary basis for, say, three times per week. In that time, I’ll have them sign a waiver and they don’t have to do anything else but have fun. I will be your ‘recess and happiness expert,’ encouraging your employees to get their hearts pumping and blood moving. You will find that performance, energy and overall well-being will increase, while sick time, lethargy and colds may decrease. I bring everything we need—which is usually just music—and I promise nobody will have to change clothes or break a deep sweat that would preclude returning to work. This could be just 15 minutes of their usual lunch hour. Would you like to be responsible for starting a corporate happiness and wellness program here?”

For those who become interested in extending your time with them (which becomes quite probable) you can work out a private arrangement with each of those individuals separately. Think of this as a marketing campaign in which you only give away 15 to 20 minutes of a sample session to hook others on your amazing talent at spreading wellness strategies as an ACE Certified Professional.

3. Consider Social Good

To increase your client base, enhance your message. Choose a cause that speaks to you in a meaningful way and create a way for fitness to support that cause. Use social media to promote your social good. For example, start a shoe drive in which people take their shoes off for a special flexibility class you create inviting all of your clients, and then those shoes get donated to a local shelter. Offer free classes at a homeless shelter and teach some self-defense skills. Show children in a low-income school how to increase their performance in sports with balance and agility drills.

Jeff Howard, fitness director of Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness Center based in Louisville, Ky., recently created #fitnesscares, an outreach program encouraging fitness enthusiasts around the world to conduct a special class in which proceeds benefit those who are economically struggling from this year’s massive hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Erin Gargan, a social media expert for companies like the Oscar Awards and Disney, and author of Digital Persuasion, recommends “showing over telling,” so be sure to include pictures and tell stories that show you and your cause in action while making the world a better place. At the end of your post, always offer a way for interested parties to contact you “to get more involved and inquire about your services.”

4. Offer 30-minute Sessions

 “I don’t have the time” is the most common given reason for not exercising regularly. As a personal trainer, offering 30-minute sessions obliterates this excuse. For shorter sessions, simply focus on the large muscle group movement patterns, while providing easy-to replicate movement patterns like side planks and crunches that the client can do at home.

Some trainers charge more for shorter sessions because, like espresso costing more than coffee, the preparation time for the trainer significantly increases and the concentration of potency (movement patterns) is high. For other demographics, however, some trainers charge less for 30-minute sessions because they are spending less time with their clients. In either case, offering shorter sessions also brings the possibility to double your income, create private groups who train in shorter sessions, or both.

5. Walk the Floor!

If you are a personal trainer wanting to add more clients to your program, you probably experience moments of “down time” during your day. Whereas most trainers would be tempted to go have a snack, hide away in the staff break room to check social media or chit-chat with co-workers, giving others the public impression of your busy-ness spreads the message that your services are in-demand.

When you are not busy, consider spending time on the weight room floor with those who are working out on their own. Offering your spotting services on a complimentary basis for a few minutes with those struggling with their own routines gives you the opportunity to put yourself in front of new clients, showing how knowledgeable and non-intimidating you are in your approach. Be sure to cue to the solution, not the problem, and never say, “May I make a suggestion here?” because that is a sure-fire way to raise someone’s guard.

Here’s a sample script: “Hi. I’m [______] and I’m a personal trainer here. I have a few moments before my next client arrives and I also love this [machine/move/equipment]. When I do it, I find I get faster, better results when I [insert specific suggestion here] because [insert rationale here to show your knowledge base].”

6. Spot Me!

When you work with a client or two for an hour, you have the privilege of spreading wellness to those one or two individuals, while a group fitness instructor is responsible for ensuring the safety and enjoyment of a room full of people. While many of these individuals would love to work with a personal trainer, the prospect of hiring one can seem intimidating and overwhelming.

In a crowded group strength class, instructors usually bear the burden of having to spot dozens of moving bodies simultaneously. As a personal trainer with down time, consider offering your spotting services to a group fitness instructor to free up his or her duties to concentrate on motivation, progressions and more.

Here is a sample script to pitch to the leader of the most popular strength format during prime-time: “Hi. I see how busy you are in there during your boot-camp class. Sometimes I’m free during the same timeslot. How would you feel about me coming to take your class? I’d take a spot in the back and not distract anyone. When appropriate and participants are doing compound movements, like the deadlifts or side burpees I saw you doing, I could help you by walking around—especially in the back of the room—and being an additional spotter. I won’t talk loudly, but just offer ways for everyone to stay safe and get the best results they can. You get some assistance in class because you can’t be everywhere at once in that crowded class, and I get to show your members how easy-going and non-threatening I am as a personal trainer.”

Ultimately, putting yourself in the presence of 50 potential clients during prime time offers a huge potential marketing opportunity for you. Furthermore, participants will see how fun and approachable you are with regards to movement and, in many cases, end up asking you about your services and availability after class.

7. Socially Share Your Successes!

Use social media platforms to let others know about your success stories. Remember Gargan’s suggestion to show instead of tell? Invite others to tag you when discussing their physical and emotional successes, goals they have obtained and even events you do together (like a charity-based event).

When posting success stories with clients’ photos, consider posting “before” and “current” photos instead of “before” and “after” because this sends a subtle message that you are still working together and have even more successes ahead. Also consider having your clients tag their friends to bring more possible clients into the post. If their contacts make comments, you may wish to reach out to thank them, and they may appreciate your personal gesture and reply with inquiries about your services.

Here is a sample script: “I’m so proud of the TRX® series you did today. Just think back a few weeks when that wouldn’t have been possible. Your progress really inspires me, and I know you must be proud of yourself, too. Would you mind letting me record you do that move again for us to show your friends and my other clients on social media as a motivational clip? You can tag your friends when you post it and I will share it on my own wall as well.

Contrary to some current email and social media ads telling us that we need to invest thousands of dollars to evolve your websites and develop online marketing campaigns, building your client base as a personal trainer simply requires a shift in mindset and a willingness to invest your time and talents to take your career to new levels.

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