A New Way to Manage Your Client Flow: Changing your relationship with everyone who wants your help

 

Watch this if you don't feel like reading below!

 

The recent changes we made to Trainer+ completely change how you can manage client flow for your business. Our goal with this platform was to empower trainers to help more people and focus on fitness support, not sales. In order to do that, we believe trainers need to:

  • Aggressively follow up, rather than aggressively close
  • Reassess EVERYONE, whether they purchase initially or not (give them a reason to see you again)
  • Let people fail on their own
  • Make sure everyone has a customized program
  • Have a long term relationship with your clients, just as other extended health care professionals do

Over the past couple of months, and especially this past week, we have added a number of features that should allow trainers to do all of the above, and change how clients are managed.

Assessments

The first interaction that you have with any potential client is in the form of a consult or assessment, so it is important that our trainers can enter this information into the system. Not only does it give more data on every client in addition to their workouts, but it actually sets the tone and expectations with your potential client right away. You use an app to enter all of the relevant information about their fitness, which will let you...

  • support them in new ways for training support;
  • know when it is time for follow up or changes, and;
  • have a long term record of their fitness and results

Reassessment Email/List

We made it mandatory for you to enter a reassessment date with every client assessment you submit. Not only does this set the tone for you with the client about ongoing engagement, it puts the responsibility on the technology to follow up, not just you. This also communicates support to your clients, instead of sales. We send an email to your client one week before their reassessment date with you cc’d on it, reminding them it is time to book a check in if they have not yet. We have also made a list of past and upcoming assessments, so you can see an overview of who needs to be followed up with.

Potential Clients

What about those clients that you know need your help, but they are not ready to buy? We created a new client status for potential clients which will allow you to enter assessment information for them (and a reassessment date) and prescribe a program for them to track. However, you do not have ongoing oversight for this type of client (i.e. you cannot see workout details or edit their program). It is the program oversight that allows you to deliver your real value (talked more about in this video here), but at least this way they have their first program and a date for reassessment (which they are much more likely to attend if you have given them some initial value). This way, when they come back for a reassessment, there are usually 3 possible outcomes:

  1. They have not gotten to the gym or executed the program and you have proven that they need your help for accountability, so you can talk about a training package.

  2. They have executed the program you gave them, so now you have demonstrated the value of at least having a monthly program and oversight from you.

  3. They have executed your or their own plan and already have the next phase figured out, in which case, they don’t need your help and would not likely have purchased anyways.

This feature was especially asked for from our facility customers who wanted a good way of introducing Trainer+ and engaging more of their members. It gave them a way to show a little value from their training team, but also showed that they had a level of support for all members to retain them in the long term. For facilities that are less driven by the profit motive (school gyms, YMCA’s, etc) this provides a great way for them to provide support for all of their members while letting them sell training in a service-focused way. For facilities more profit driven, it provides a way to sell more initial training options and ensure reassessments where clients can be upsold.

New Pricing

To bring it all together we changed our pricing model to make it easier to get started and less confusing about the monthly charges. Rather than the per-client model we have been using, we decided to go to a tiered model that gives you a set number of active clients, with unlimited potential clients. Everyone can still earn their first two clients for free and track their own workouts on our basic free plan to get started, then upgrade to one of the paid plans to get more active and unlimited potential clients. This way you should be earning new revenues from services delivered through Trainer+ and only be paying for clients that are paying you, while having a pipeline of potential clients for you to follow up with and convert in the future.

Putting It All Together

Provide a variety of training options and keep your (potential) clients engaged at all times. 

Provide a variety of training options and keep your (potential) clients engaged at all times. 

With all of these features, delivering the above client flow/management model should be much easier. Every single assessment you do should end up with at least the following:

  • Their initial assessment information entered into Trainer+ for them to view
  • An initial workout plan customized for them and their goals
  • A date for a reassessment and follow up regardless of whether they purchase training

With these features in conjunction with the workout building and tracking tools already in Trainer+, you can provide a range of training options to your clients. For example:

  1. Regular weekly training with online tracking and support

  2. Monthly fitness programming that involves one in person session, with ongoing online oversight in between

  3. A scaling back or less involved option that starts with more in person sessions and scales to monthly programming over time

  4. An initial plan and let them try it out on their own

If they do not purchase training from you initially, you still should be able to prove some of your value and share some of your knowledge with them that can be reinforced on the reassessment. As one of our early success stories puts it, "it is not a matter of if they are going to buy training with this approach, it is just a matter of how much support they will initially go for."

We believe these features and this approach will fundamentally change how you deliver your training service, and have seen it already in some of our early adopters. Turn the assessment into an actual assessment, not just a sales pitch. Give all of your members/clients options for training support, and scale it up and down as they need. Have a long term relationship with your members/clients based around support, and not just renewals. Ultimately, do what you got into this profession to do: be a caregiver, and stop feeling like a salesperson.

For more information about why we made these changes, check out the video and blog post here.

For more information about how to take a long term approach to your training business and the assessment process, read our blog series here.

5 Common Mistakes Trainers Make in Their Websites (and How to Fix Them)

5 Common Mistakes Trainers Make in Their Websites (and How to Fix Them)

Over the past year, we have talked to dozens of personal trainers about how they run their businesses and attract new clients. Given our background in tech and experience with digital marketing, we always end up checking out their websites (if they have one) and corresponding social channels to see how they are using the different tools to accomplish their goals. What we have seen has not only led us to create content (like this blog) to help support them passively, but also inspired us to make a 30 minute consult with us a part of being a Trainer+ certified trainer.

This experience has shown us that despite best attempts, most trainers do not do a very good job of setting up their own websites, nor do a lot of website makers hired to do the job. We see the same common mistakes in most of the websites we look at, which we have outlined in this post.

How to Plan Your Client's Fitness Program Based on Assessment Results

How to Plan Your Client's Fitness Program Based on Assessment Results

I wanted to provide a more practical post about how to use the assessment calculators we have developed for you (specifically the body composition calculator), in a more practical way. We also have a complementary goal calculator and planning sheet! So, let’s look at how to use the calculator and the numbers it provides for a sample client: a female named Jane who is 5’6” tall and 150lbs and says her goal is to lose 15-20 lbs.

[Video] Bridging the Gap Between Fitness and Healthcare

Big thanks to HealthTO for giving us a platform to talk about the importance of preventative healthcare at a time when we need it more than ever. 

We've been wanting to talk about this for awhile now, as it speaks to our long term vision of creating a world where everyone has access to a custom and effective fitness plan advised by a fitness professional. By changing the way personal training is sold, we can help fitness professionals make themselves more accessible and affordable so that everyone can get the help they need. Thanks for listening, and we hope to talk a lot more about this as we move forward.

Summary:

With fitness as the top form of preventative healthcare and treatment in many cases, the fitness professional and plan still exist much outside the circle of care. Even though more money is being spent on fitness, and more (and more and more) technology has emerged in the fitness space, there has not been a noticeable effect on decreasing negative health outcomes from obesity, cardiac conditions, diabetes, etc. This presentation focuses on why this gap exists and how technology can be used to actually help close it and make fitness a part of the circle of care.


trainerplus nick corneil tracking software for personal trainers and gyms fitness record

About the Author: Nick Corneil is the founder of Trainer+, a company that builds software that makes it easy for fitness professionals to create, share, track and analyze fitness programs for their clients. For more information, sign up here orcheck out our homepage.

What you need to teach your clients before, during and after assessments

What you need to teach your clients before, during and after assessments

The fitness assessment is a tough art. Most times, you have an hour to build rapport and history, measure, plan and sell to your potential client, who may or may not know what to expect from the process. Hopefully, if you have time, you also try to educate the assessee so they have a better understanding of the measurements, plan and ultimately, value of your services. Even if you don’t sell them the first time, if you leave them with some knowledge that proves true as they start out on their own you have built trust for them to come back when they realize they need your help.

Summer Struggles of a Personal Trainer

Summer Struggles of a Personal Trainer

The summer is here, which is usually a means for excitement, however it’s also the toughest time of the year for the fitness industry. It was always difficult for me as a trainer and manager to hit even modest goals in these lean months. But difficult times were also a good time to experiment to try to mitigate these realities; from varying training packages, to group programs and different marketing initiatives, with varying degrees of success.

Why is it Hard to be a Fitness Professional?

Why is it Hard to be a Fitness Professional?

Looking at the interactions between trainers, clients and facilities shows just how this 'one hour paradigm' is created. Most trainers work at facilities, and those that are independent have their own overhead costs for equipment, facility rental, travel, etc, which all take up a portion of their hourly revenue. That is why even though the average cost of personal training in North America is around $56/hour for clients, the average wage that a trainer actually takes home is $28.64/hour (51%), while the real average take home wage is $15.88/hour (28%) when unbilled time is factored in (i.e. time spent creating programs, managing their business, getting new clients, etc…). At facilities, the cost to clients and the percentage of revenue that the facility takes off the top are both higher. Since there is so much unbilled time and overhead costs that go into training, it has become the norm to seek out clients that can train multiple times per week and commit to long term packages. Unfortunately, this 'all-or-nothing' approach prices most potential clients out of the personal training market entirely.

How to Get Clients as a New Personal Trainer

How to Get Clients as a New Personal Trainer

Starting out is very tough, and many trainers do not make it past the first 6 months because it is hard work to build up enough clients to make a regular income. You need to be willing to put in the unpaid time and effort to meet new potential clients, assess, and sell them training. You also need to hustle on the follow up and feedback for anyone who does not purchase training, focusing on 'aggressively caring' as opposed to aggressively closing. If you don't manage your own expectations correctly, it is easy to get discouraged. Many trainers expect to get busy right when they start, not realizing what it takes to build a client base, and quickly come to resent the non-training side of the business. Instead, use your downtime to learn, iterate, experiment and improve your process and brand. You can not sell or help everyone, but you can definitely learn from the time you spend with them, you just have to make sure that you are listening and paying attention.

Part 4: Building a Successful Training Business (The Bigger Picture)

Part 4: Building a Successful Training Business (The Bigger Picture)

In this fourth (and final) part of our blog series on how to save time and make more money with your training business, I’d like to give you a bigger picture understanding of how all of these parts work together to ensure that your training business is always thriving. From a high level perspective, there are essentially five stages in a member lifecycle: 1) initial assessment, 2) short term follow up, 3) reassessment, 4) renewal, and 5) long term follow up. There’s also a bonus sixth stage, the dreaded membership cancellation, but hopefully not all of your members end up here. The tools and techniques that we’ve outlined in previous posts can be used to retain clients and build up your clientele at different points in the cycle (Program TrackingAssessmentand Long Term Follow Up tools).

Part 3: The Most Effective Ways to Spend Your Downtime as a Personal Trainer

Part 3: The Most Effective Ways to Spend Your Downtime as a Personal Trainer

Workout? Write fitness programs? Work toward your latest CEC? Or is it more like: Nap? Shop? Facebook? There are many ways to spend the downtime in between clients, and depending on how you manage your business as a trainer overall, there may be more of it than you would like. Similarly to how you encourage your clients to take a long term perspective instead of a short sighted approach with their fitness goals; our aim at Trainer+ is to encourage you to adopt new solutions that allow you to take a more effective and long term approach on how you manage your business.

Part 2B: The Long Term Approach to Assessments

Part 2B: The Long Term Approach to Assessments

The key to the approach I use is changing the sales mentality that is often preached of aggressively closing, into one of aggressively caringThe service you are trying to sell is one of support after all, so how better to build your value continuously than setting that relationship up even before they purchase? The best way to demonstrate that care is to take your time to work through the key steps of the assessment and planning process, and make sure there is a follow up system in place that has been communicated to the potential client. I know this is unbilled time for the most part, but it just has to be looked at as your investment in securing a future sale, or at least retaining a gym member (who could lead to or refer a future sale).

Part 2A: Why the Current Way of Assessing Clients is All Wrong

Part 2A: Why the Current Way of Assessing Clients is All Wrong

Welcome back to our 4-part series about how fitness professionals can save time and make more money by taking a long term approach to managing and executing your business. In the first part of the series we talked about the language of your relationship with your clients: their fitness programs. In this part we will focus on the mechanism that sets out the expectations and measures progress of that relationship: the assessment.

Part 1: Why You Should Be Taking Time to Write Fitness Programs

Part 1: Why You Should Be Taking Time to Write Fitness Programs

Trainers are always too busy for their own good. In fact, even given a tool to help trainers save time, I have found that most of our first users are too busy to adopt a tool to get less busy. At least, that seems to be how they feel given the realities of being a personal trainer: selling time in one hour blocks and not getting paid for all of the unbilled time managing your business before, after and in between clients. But the reality is that it is this unpaid time that crowds the schedule with trainers balancing the common activities to manage your business, with maintaining your own fitness and ongoing education.

The Evolution of Fitness

The Evolution of Fitness

In doing some research recently for another blog post, I was struck at how, in many ways, fitness has evolved on a cultural level over the ages in an eerily similar fashion to how the fitness life cycle happens for the average modern North American. As any fitness professional will tell you, especially those that do lots of assessments, there are some predictable factors that influence an individual’s ability to build and maintain their fitness level as they age. As man has evolved, there have been similar macro-factors affecting society’s ability to include and prioritize fitness as a part of the culture.

Confessions of a Terrible Blogger

So, apparently I suck with social media and blogging. I’d like to be able to tell you there is a great reason for being out of touch. That I was too swamped coding the app or chasing the people and funding we need for success to write blog posts or share memes via Twitter and Facebook. The reality is that I was embarrassed that we did not have any positive updates to share with you about our progress on the app, a weak excuse at best. Of course, I compounded my own problem by frequently talking about how close we were to getting it out in the past and not managing your (and my own) expectations correctly.

Mobile Analytics