Thursday, February 9, 2012

Be the Product Your Clients Seek

Here is an email I received earlier this week:

"Hi John, I follow your blog religiously. I opened my own facility last year (just like you) and wanted to ask you for some direction. My facility is great. Me and some partners invested well over 15K into the place and it shows in the ambiance, equipment, and juice bar. We've been doing pretty good--but not good enough. Many of the clients that come in love the atmosphere and the hospitality we provide. We've hired 2 other trainers that are learning our system, but we are struggling with client retention. We have 2 other studios nearby that don't look nothing like ours, but they are succeeding in keeping their current clientele and it seems to me that they are attracting new ones. What do you think we are doing wrong and what can we do to make my facility better?

-Timmy C.
Biloxi, LA

It sounds like you have a very nice facility. And it also sounds like you invested alot of money (forward) to make this facility your dream. My question to you is this: should your facility be your dream or your toolbox?

Let me explain further:

I have had the wonderful opportunity to interview many strength coaches and fitness professionals in the past 3 years including: Mike Robertson, Eric Cressey, and JC Santana (among many others); and one thing seems to be a common thread. All these professionals tend to use the word "teaching" to describe their training methods used in their respected facilities.

You will find that the thing that separates a good fitness professional from a mediocre fitness professional are two very distinct adjectives: show and teach.

If you are a "show-trainer"; you are a fitness professional that "shows" clients how to perform certain exercises based on one simple criteria: the WOW factor! Your intention is to challenge your client without reasoning; other than to overload their body and muscles to simply see them struggle and overcome such a challenge. Not bad, right? Well, it is our intent to challenge a client and expect outcomes, but the truth is, this kind of fitness professional creates a recipe for injury and the client doesn't retain much.

If you like to "teach" your clients, I will assume you are a fitness professional that not only shows HOW to perform an exercise, but knows WHY it is strategically placed within an exercise program. I recently interviewed Mike Robertson for the blog, and he made a note that there are far too many trainers that set clients up for injuries because they have one intent...and it is to fatigue them and load them inappropriately. B

Basically kick their asses.

Coaches or trainers that teach rely on their methods of instruction to make a client smarter, and more and more dependent on oneself. You can always spot a person in the gym that currently works with a trainer or has worked with a trainer. 

You see, your dream is to be successful doing what you love to do. That is the grain of your dream. Sure you want to help people achieve great things in fitness, but your dream is to be happy doing it. Your facility is your toolbox. It will facilitate your journey to achieving your dream. Your facility should not be the end all be all reason people are buying sessions from you. Your coaching, reputation, and customer service are the reasons why they buy. And as I mentioned above, it all depends on the type of trainer you want to become (including your staff): do you want to "show" people new exercises, or do you want to "teach" them things they probably could not learn anywhere else in an effective manner?

When I opened my small facility, I knew that my coaching style, professionalism, and results had to shine. Wanna know why? My facility is hard to find....not visible from the busy street, and has no windows.

Outside of IZZOSTRENGTH in Manchester, CT
It is your typical small warehouse that fits around 6 people comfortably. There are no fake plants, trees, or artwork on the walls. When people visit me, they are impressed with what I have to offer and what I can do for them. They are not sold on the facility. They are sold on what HAPPENS in the facility.

You have to ask yourself: is all the money you invest in your business helping your business in the long-run? Does your facility have all the things you need to help your customers achieve the greatness that you promise them? Or is it filled with alot of extras that make them feel "warm and fuzzy" inside? Follow these 5 simple tips to improve your facility and see your client retention soar:

1.) Under promise, over deliver your goods. 
2.) Be supportive and transparent.
3.) Care about what you do and show it at all times.
4.) Invest your time and energy in your clients. Let them see that.
5.) Put 100% effort in coaching during sessions. Never put yourself on "auto-pilot". 

Make your facility a teaching facility. Your business a business that teaches its clients how to make themselves better by applying your coaching schemes.

1 comment:

  1. Great post!! I agree 100% with you. I find that only those with a true passion for the exercise/ sports sciences take the time to teach and want everybody they work with to have the same passion. Unfortunatly, too many people are in it for a quick buck.


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