Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fee Structure: Effectiveness vs. Passion

Earlier in the week I posted about the $100 session.

I got some feedback and some questions pertaining to this post and it seems that there is a mix up. Now, before I go further in this post, let me just give you a "scale" of where I come from. I have been interviewing and meeting young, upcoming trainers for the last 6 years. I have conducted countless interviews with prospective trainers for three facilities and I have had the pleasure of meeting many enthusiastic trainers through my lecture circuit.

When figuring out how much to charge for a training session, trainers always seem to commit the same mistake that I have seen in at least half of the trainers I have met. They calculate their fees based on their passion, rather than their effectiveness. THIS IS IMPORTANT. I advise you to re-read that statement again.

Many new trainers ponder their fees with dollar signs in their eyes and base the amount on simply their passion to help others. Passion is a characteristic that is necessary to be successful in this field, however, it does not justify your worth. Having more passion makes you a better trainer because you have more temperament, patience, genuineness, concreteness, and empathy. However, your fees need not reflect that. Passion is what enables longevity. Longevity affords you experience. Experience equates to conviction and diversity in your practice. Ultimately, these qualities ensure your effectiveness with potential clients.

Trainers feel entitled to the big bucks without developing their "effectiveness rating". Passion starts the process, but the numbers are not crunched based solely on this trait alone. So how should you base your fees?

Train people. Train relatives, friends, or spouses. Learn the "intangibles" of personal training and get results.

Use testimonials. Get before and after pictures of clients that are wiling. Build confidence in your ability by showing off your "effectiveness".

Education. It's not only about certification letters after your name, but education is important. I have met many trainers with no letters and were the best "know how" trainers in the biz. However, letters afford case studies and research time allotment that will improve your learning skills, erudition, and problem solving skills.

Interview around. Don't settle for the first job. Shop around and learn the interview process lingo. Know how to present your skills and project confidence. Build a portfolio of testimonials, clients pictures, letters of recommendation, awards, etc, and learn how to display your accolades without looking cocky.

Remember, this is a business. Personal training is a career--not a job. Treat it like one. Calculate your fees based on the above. Passion should stay out of this process. Passion should build your resume, not your ego.
Lastly, I talked about longevity. If you follow my advise as outlined above and in my book, you'll find that these steps will take some time (maybe years). Remember, when you hit the age of 16 and you have a license to drive...it doesn't mean you get the Ferrari right off the bat. You earn your miles.


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