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Top 10 Mistakes Personal Trainers Should Avoid 
Feb 6, 2006
Author: Tom Perkins - Business Solutions Coach and Certified Personal Trainer


Whether you work as a personal trainer in a health club or own your own private training studio, finding and maintaining clients can be a big challenge.  Find out if you're inadvertently making these top ten mistakes and how to correct them.    


1. Passive Marketing - Not Marketing Yourself Adequately.


You've printed up professional looking business cards or flyers and proudly display them at your club or at a nearby business.  So why isn't your phone flooded with calls from excited prospects?  To get a response you have to practice active marketing.  If you work in a health club, greet every fifth person and ask them what they'll be working on.  Your input can help turn that member or their friends into clients.  If you display your business cards or flyers at a supplement store, offer to give a free fitness talk over the weekend.  This brings you face to face with people who may have been too intimidated to call you but are ready to hire you.


You may be shy, scared of sales, or overwhelmed by marketing.  Not to worry, there are many easy ways to get yourself and your products and services known to the public.  The key is to find ways that work for you, and then stick to them.  If you are a writer, get published - not just once, but on a regular basis to create a regular reader base and confirm your credibility.  If you are a good organizer, volunteer yourself to your local trade association or networking group.  Allow yourself to stretch and grow.  


2. Lack of Confidence


You're extremely knowledgeable and passionate about what you do, but you feel reluctant charging $60 an hour or asking someone to pay $1500 for a package of sessions.  In order to gain a prospect's trust and turn them into a client, you have to be confident about your abilities and strengths.  Make a list of all you have to offer as a trainer and why people will benefit from working with you.  Mention these qualities during your presentation and you're client base will double if not triple.  


3. Being Non-Interactive - Poor Customer Service


You take people through great workouts, make sure they utilize proper form, and you're always on time but your clients hardly ever buy more training.  The key to maintaining clients is to be interactive.  Talk to your client about their life, use manual resistance and assisted stretching to create a bond, coach their breathing, use visualization techniques, and try innovative moves.  The more involved you are the more attached they become to you and the longer they will stay with you. 


4. Not Adding Value


Are you doing all of the above and still having difficulty obtaining and maintaining clients?  The best way to build a steady client base is to add value to your service.  Go the extra mile by handing out customized diets or grocery lists.  Call your clients just to see how they're doing or email them weekly motivational quotes.  Provide guidance about what to do when they're not training with you.  The more value you provide the more valuable and indispensable you become.


Your present clients are worth a lot of money and energy to you.  If a client has a concern or complaint, handle it!  And if they haven't come to see you in a while, find out why, and listen with open ears.  There may be great feedback for you!  It is much less expensive to offer a free session and satisfy your customer, than have to deal with the ramifications of an unhappy client.


5. Forgetting About Your Present Client Base - Not Understanding Where Your Clients Come From - Passing On Referrals  


It is said that 80% of your business comes from your present client base.  Take care of them!  Make them happy.  Offer multiple session discounts.  Thank them. Ask for referrals.


Ask your present client base how they first heard about you.  Networking? Radio shows? Volunteering from the library?  Maybe you'll find another of your clients is responsible for referring many of your present clients.  Understanding which marketing efforts work will help you concentrate on those areas in the future.  And don't forget to give thanks when appropriate!


You often listen to your clients or friends talk about other people who need a trainer but nothing ever comes of it.  The most successful trainers in the business ask for referrals from their existing clients and friends.  If you feel this is too aggressive establish a referral rewards program.  If a client presently training refers another client they receive 2 free sessions, a diet e-book, or an inexpensive piece of workout equipment.  Be creative with your rewards and word of mouth about what a great trainer you are will spread like wildfire.


6. Time Management  - NOT!


Schedule time in the week to market yourself.  Use the time between clients to return phone calls. Use a time management calendar if necessary and remember to take time to rest, relax and rejuvenate!


7. Trying To Do It All Yourself


Learn what tasks need to be done, and understand the principals of running your business, but don't try to do it all yourself.  If you need help with bookkeeping, taxes or cleaning, get the help. Being disorganized and leaving tasks undone shows when clients come to visit. We can all feel a disorganized office and it leaves us with a feeling of uncertainty.


8. Bad Cash Management Skills   


Learn to manage your cash.  Balance your checkbook, get your taxes done.  Living in Abundance means being able to handle the abundance wisely, and allows more to flow in to you.  


9. Inability To Clearly Explain What You Do


Can you give a 10 second introduction that clearly defines what you specialize in and why clients should come to see you?  If not, take some time now to write out and practice your introduction.      


10.  Not Focusing On Your Mission


Know your competition, but focus on your self.  Where we put our energy is where we will see results.  Don't worry too much about what other people say or do, write out your goals for the week, month and year.  Get a support system that will help keep you accountable, and then focus!


In closing, if you take the time to instill these simple - but important - principles into your mindset and daily actions, in a matter of time your business will double or even triple.

Tom Perkins is eFitnessTracker's Business Coach, a business solutions coach and a certified personal trainer who leads fitness professionals to profitability.