One of my pet peeves in the fitness industry is that trainers, specifically those who work for corporate gyms, constantly feel the need to prove to prospective clients how out of shape he or she is by means of FMS testing, body fat testing or an incompetent ass-kicking, in order to create an easier sale.
But the truth is, the clients who are pressured into a sale are not the type of clients who trainers can build longterm relationships with. In other words, overall, retention rates for these clients are generally lower. These are also the type of clients who are unable to develop a sound understanding of his or her health and how to workout properly.
At the point of sale (if you actually hound the prospect enough) the client will subconsciously have a hard time trusting that fact that you genuinely care about his or her health. From this point forth, he or she will always approach your future dialogue with skepticism and will continually cringe at the thought of renewal.
The client isn’t sold on bettering his or her health. Often times, he or she is timid, confused and pressured from a monetary standpoint. So essentially he or she is sold on a confused inner dialogue of, “Damn, I’m really out of shape, I can’t afford this, but I guess I need it.” And here is the catch. Chances are, the client probably won’t see the results of the training in the 6-week “package” he or she bought because for 1.) It’s a lifestyle; not a 6-week total transformation and 2.) he or she probably didn’t have the right mindset from the jump in order to dive into a program responsibly because he or she was pressured into purchasing training.
9 times out of 10, the client will stick with the trainer for 6 weeks, learn the tricks of the trade, and then the trainer will probably never see the client again.
Seriously, everyone is out of shape in his or her own way. We all have room for improvement. For heaven’s sake, Lebron James has a trainer. You are never not in need of a trainer. This is not about the sale. It’s about providing a service and having a personality, as a trainer, that creates an easy sale, establishes credibility, and allows the client to feel a want, not a need for the service based on the rapport that has been established between the client and trainer.
This industry is cut throat, no doubt. According to Business Insider, “Sales persons feed the training staff new clients and are paid commission as long as they hit their target quota, if the quota isn’t met they are paid minimum wage,” mterwall writes. If the target isn’t hit, “they are essentially working 12 hour days, 6 days a week for about 8 bucks an hour.” Among the shady tactics these sales persons take: “telling you you are in imminent danger of heart disease” (even though they’re unqualified to do so), saying “just about anything to make you feel like you need training,” and offering a “free consultation in order to rope you into a contract.”
I will always choose the instability of running my own business to provide a service that is completely out of my love for fitness, over working for a gym to meet number goals.
This industry is about changing lives, and if you are good at what you do, and you make a difference in your client’s lives, the money will inevitably follow. You truly have to be passionate about what you do in order to make money from doing it. Of course there will be times where projections are off, and clients fall through, move, or can’t afford your services. But you have to be prepared to deal with these kinds of situations in order to roll with the punches that lead you to success.
Beauty is in the struggle, not in the success.