So … you want to be a personal trainer? That’s AMAZING! But before you venture down the path to becoming a certified personal trainer, and signing up for a personal training certification course, you probably want to know what you’re going to get for the hard-earned money you pay … and what you won’t.
What You’ll Learn in a Personal Training Course
Most credible personal training certification courses are designed to prepare you for a career as a personal trainer. The information covered includes:
- Anatomy of the human body (i.e., skeleton, muscles, ligaments and tendons)
- Physiology of the human body (i.e., heart and lungs, energy systems, digestive system, etc.)
- The science of exercise
- How to design safe and effective exercise programs
Unfortunately, this information does not include everything you need to become a “successful” personal trainer. You may know about exercise and how it can be used to produce measurable results … but you learn little to nothing about how to run a successful personal training business on your own. For example, below is a list of things that most personal trainers should learn before they build their business but don’t learn because these topics are not included in personal training courses:
- How to write a business plan (and why it’s important)
- How to build my own personal training “brand”
- How to sell personal training
- How to build long-term client relationships
- A code of conduct (professional relationship between me and my clients)
- Marketing strategies to retain clients and get referrals
- How to stay ahead of the competition
How to Write a Business Plan
The goal of any business (from a large corporation to a sole proprietorship) is to sell products and/or services and generate a profit, earning more than what you spend to operate the business. Obviously, successful businesses generate more profit than those that are struggling. Successful businesses don’t happen by accident … they follow a well thought out plan to focus on ongoing growth and long term profitability! A business plan is the “road map” of any (and every) successful business … including businesses for personal trainers.
How to Build a Personal Training “Brand”
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2012 there were over 260,000 jobs for fitness trainers and instructors. With so many “other” fitness professionals how do you stand out and get someone’s attention? Although you may not be competing against hundreds of thousands of other personal trainers in your area there are many competitors that may be drawing more attention (and business) because they have established a strong brand. For example, imagine standing in the vitamin aisle at your local drug store. You see the wall of bottles and boxes and struggle to narrow down the choices hoping to find the right one for you. In the end you choose the bottle that looks the most professional and has the list of ingredients you “think” you need. The same holds true for choosing a personal trainer. Most people aren’t quite sure what they need but go with the trainer that presents themselves the best (on their website, the biography on the trainer board, etc.).
How to Sell Personal Training
Sales does NOT come naturally for most people. It’s even more difficult for people who are selling services versus tangible products and commodities (i.e., a car, real estate, or food). Selling consists of a group of skills that require time and practice to master (i.e., prospecting, asking the right questions, listening, presentation skills, building rapport, handling objections, or asking for the sale). That’s why the most successful organizations in the world invest time and money to put their employees through rigorous sales training to prepare them for the job.
How to Build Long-Lasting Relationships
The business of personal training is seventy percent relationships and thirty percent skill and service delivery. This explains why some of the most extensively educated personal trainers have a hard time building a business and why some minimally educated trainers explode their client list. Building long-lasting relationships with your clients is essential to a successful personal training business … but it requires a balance between good practical skills and great interpersonal and communication skills.
Personal Trainer – Client Code of Conduct
Because of the “personal” nature of the business there may be times where a client may cross the line when it comes to the personal trainer-client relationship. In addition, the awkwardness that occurs after that happens may end up affecting your bottom line in the end. Knowing how to manage this type of situation when it occurs, and ensuring how to avoid this scenario, are important learnings for any personal trainer.
Marketing Strategies to Retain Clients and Get Referrals
Both sales and marketing are integral parts of any business. Although sales is an easy concept to understand marketing is somewhat confusing. Marketing helps with the sales process by creating awareness about your business to prepare potential buyers of your product and/or services. Marketing essential makes the sales process easier and more effective.
How to Stay Ahead of the Competition
The fitness industry is constantly evolving and changing and personal trainers who don’t stay up to date on current trends and proven tools that work … they will soon find themselves at the back of the pack. Knowing what trade magazines, websites and trade shows to attend are invaluable to growing and sustaining a successful personal training business.
For More Information
“The Business of Personal Training: Essential Guide for the Successful Personal Trainer”, written by Andrea Oh, outlines the steps to building and maintaining a successful personal training business. To download the front matter (foreword, preface, introduction) and the first two chapters of the book, click here.
For more information on the topics covered above and more strategies to focus your personal training business, visit www.businesspersonaltraining.com.