Monday, January 4, 2010

Do Free Sessions Really Hurt Business?

Question: Hi John,
I have 2 quick questions.

I am a trainer trying to expand my business into corporate fitness-do you have any tips or tricks to get corporate fitness accounts.

Also-do you give a free first session-why or why not?

If no-what do you say to a potential client who wants a free session?

Thank You, JD
Answer: Hi JD,
Thanks for the email. I worked in corporate fitness for about a year, and I think if you are an independent trainer, it may be tougher to get into the big companies. You may be able to enter the small businesses and begin with a proposal to help keep their workers healthy through low back programming, nutritional counseling, stress reduction, and strength training. However, be prepared to accomplish some of these things without cost or fees. In the beginning,  a fitness professional looking to expand their business base may need to market without some sort of compensation. The trick into conducting free seminars or pitching free programs in high-end businesses, is to develop a list. It is important to keep track of attendees or anyone interested in your product. Following up with these people instantly turns them into potential clients. Don't be over-bearing! Simply dropping a flyer or email to those guests will give you the advantage in pitching a sale. Caution: always be responsible about it. it is possible to pitch without becoming annoying. Most sales people specialize in the latter.

Write a proposal and begin pitching your services to Human Resource departments of some businesses in your area. Make sure you emphasize how you can help them with minimal cost to their business--meaning you can transport equipment, conduct lectures, or perform demonstration with virtually no inconvenience on their part. Or if the company has a gym...even better for you.
For your second question, I don't mind giving a freebie session if I know it will lead to a commitment. Most fitness marketers will tell you that is committing a cardinal sin, but those are the guys that don't train others for a living. I'd rather give a free session than give up $500. Want to know what I mean? Personal training sales are closely knit with customers' emotions. Sometimes a potential client needs to "feel you out" in order to feel secure and "safe" (in your hands) before they commit to a larger package. My free sessions are typically consultations and are usually 30 minutes in length. My goal is to sell them a package. I'd rather lose my 30 minute fee than a potential 16 session package.

Check out my book, "Secret Skills of Personal Training". It will definitely give you a bunch of ideas this early in your career.

Hope this helps.



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