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3 Things You Need To Ask, Do & Say with Prospective Clients

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The first quarter of the year in a commercial gym is a fitness experience that is unlike any other part of the year.

Maybe that is a little dramatic…but what I am getting at is that the population of gym-goer’s that come in to a large commercial gym (maybe any Fitness Facility- not sure on that so don’t quote me) is going to be the most wide spread group of individuals.

Over the last 3 months I have spent time with individuals who are stronger than me, have had bilateral joint replacements, are starting their weight loss journey, are finishing their weight loss journey and now need a different side of guidance, and I have worked with those who know nothing about the gym but are eager to learn.

So. Many. People.

What I would tell you, a Personal Trainer/ Strength Coach/ Rehab Professional who is most likely the person reading this, is that there are some very specific things you need to ask, do, and say when approaching a prospective client of ANY background in your facility.

1) You need to ASK what they are expecting out of your initial consultation.

This was a game changing question for me. As soon as I asked what THEY were perceiving my service as I then knew how to curate their experience OR start to retell my story as to what they were truly about to experience.

Don’t assume that people know or understand what your service offering(s) will be. Ask them then readdress your approach.

2) You DO need to provide value - what that is is up to you.

In my experience, the initial greeting with a prospective client can be a shaky experience for both the trainer and prospect. The prospect may not know what they are about to do (see point 1 above…) and be guarded, nervous, or have alternative expectations to what they are about to be doing (again…see point 1 above). The Trainer is also in a position where they simply do not want to give away their secret sauce (or education/skill set) for free.

The scale must stay in a delicate balance.

I would encourage whomever is reading this to pause after this sentence and think about what value you are offering your prospective clients. If you say a sweeping broad statement like “you have an hour of my time” and then you do nothing to record that time, are you really giving them an hour of your time? Likewise, maybe they are not getting the full trainer experience and they will not be receiving any recorded information, so what DO they get?

You must use this time with your prospective audience to build trust and showcase the value of your service- the HOW you do that is up to you- but first addressing if you are even doing this is the first step to take.

3) You need to say these three qualifying statements….

ANOTHER THREE THINGS- kidding, but these three statements go in to the topics above…

“Have you ever worked with a Personal Trainer before?” - this is going to help set the table for what your prospect can expect.

“Here is what you can expect during our time together” - this sets the table. It informs your prospect what they will be experiencing and also gives you a transitional statement to readjust any preconceived notions on their end.

“From what we’ve done today and get to know you and your goals a little deeper. I would recommend (insert service offering here)” - Ultimately people come to you because YOU are the professional. You’ve got to do your job and make the recommendation. If you’re also in a commercial setting and sales is part of what you do, then this starts the ‘ask’ for the sale.

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3 Things About Gym Ownership Part 3

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The last installment of this very impromptu ‘gym ownership’ series features the timeline I would take if I was 25 year old Casey hell-bent on opening up my doors.

1) I would develop a client roster of 45+ individuals of 5+ years of coaching experience

Why? Whether you are looking to be strictly 1on1, offer semi-private coaching, or even large group sessions, you’re going to need body’s.

Newsflash! You will not have 100% of your clients leave the comfort of their routine and join you at your new spot. People love their routine, yes they love you, but they love the comfort of what they know.

The bottom line, make sure you have a client roster that can handle attrition AND can fill spots in your service offerings when the time comes.

2) I would have 2-4 years of management experience - specifically in financial management.

If you’ve never seen a P/L report, entered payroll, managed employee benefits, or know how a tax ID applies to your business- slow. down.

If you’re reading this you are probably an excellent technician of your craft. Being a great Coach is very different than being great at managing a business.

The bottom line, make sure you get your business reps in. Make low-pressure mistakes in the environment you are familiar with before going in to a high pressure situation with banks ready to repo your car to cover any debt you may have.

3) I would have a big role in our internship program as early as possble

This one is pretty off-script, but hear me out.

If you read part two of this series then you know I would have gone back and asked myself if I could teach. Building off that notion of teaching…Having a kick ass internship program helps establish the skills and experience of creating a program, resourcing people for that program, developing the education and curriculum layout, and then coaching and developing people in that program.

The bottom line, being able to teach your system is one thing, but having the experience of getting your system down on paper and implementing it is invaluable. Again, practice these reps in a low risk environment BEFORE your doors open and things start moving at 100mph!


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