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A personal trainer showing a client an app on an iPad tablet.

3 Keys to Starting a Personal Training Business

5 minute read

Once you have completed your personal training course, you will probably want to find a way to increase your client base and kick-start your new personal training business.

Beginning your PT career can be a daunting prospect. While your level 3 qualification will leave you in good stead, there’s only so much you can learn on a course, with a lot of the hard work beginning in the real world.

To help you out at this time, we’ve created a short guide on the essential steps to take in starting a personal training business. The following three keys are pivotal to ensuring you get your career off to a flying start:

Understanding Why Your Clients Want a Personal Trainer

Do you know why the clients in your club or area use personal training services?

Understanding why people use a personal trainer will help you to target your marking to suit their exercise and fitness motives. There is little point citing benefits of exercise or making generic claims if these statements have little emotional impact on your audience.

Find out what makes them tick, what they are looking for, why they want extra help, what they want help with and ensure that you present yourself as a definite solution to their problems and concerns.

Once you have tapped into the reasons why people use a personal training service, and address them in your marketing strategy, you’ll stand head and shoulders above your competitors.

Distinguish Yourself from the Competition

What makes you different from other trainers? Do you have specialist knowledge in Exercise or GP Referral, Sports Injury, Pre and Post Natal or Strength and Conditioning?

Do you offer nutritional support or are you an expert in helping people pack on the muscle?

As you gain experience in the fitness industry, you’ll want to continue separating yourself from other personal trainers by looking and being different. Your services need to appear exclusive, specialist and not simply run of the mill. Personal trainers are to some extent ten a penny, but exercise specialists, consultants and masters are less common, and to some extent have an exclusive and elite tone to them.

In addition to your new title, you will also have to communicate the advantages of your services to your clients. Here’s how:

1) Find a group of people to whom you can add real value

You may not find the perfect audience right away, but start looking for clues. Do you get a buzz when working with teenagers or young athletes? Or do you love to transform older adults fitness junkies? Whatever your passion, ensure that you get the right qualifications to work with these people and become a font of knowledge in this subject- then you will be worthy of of a ‘specialist’ title.

2) Seek out where your audience meets

One mistake PTs can make is looking for clients in the wrong places. There’s no point specialising in a certain type of client if you never come across them to advertise your service.

For example, if you wanted to work with young athletes, you could consider volunteering for events or programmes at colleges, universities, or amateur sports clubs – places where you’re likely to find your target market. This way, you can introduce yourself and your services to the people that are going to be interested, rather than wasting your time on people who won’t.

3) Let your preferred audience know about you

Look for a group in your niche and offer to give a fitness-related talk for free. Position yourself as the go-to trainer for kids, for seniors, for pregnant women. We’ve spoke about this in more depth in our attracting and retaining personal training clients article, where we discuss the importance of having a niche.

Become memorable by over-delivering on every promise

Can you think of a colleague or a service provider who impressed you by always giving you more than you expected? Maybe it was a bank clerk who helped untangle the problems with your account, or perhaps a mechanic who stayed late on a Friday to get your car running. Do you remember how good you felt?

That’s the same feeling you want your personal training clients to have. Before a training session are you:

1) At the gym early with all your equipment ready to go?

2) Ready to go with an interesting and energising workout?

3) Greeting your client with a smile and a goodwill gesture (a bottle of water is always effective)?

When a client calls or emails you, do you follow up within 24 hours? Do you look for ways to add value to your customer’s experience? How about contacting your clients weekly with a motivational email or text message? Could you create or source a useful report and give it to your client after the training session?

Any combination of these actions WILL help you to ensure that your clients remember you and recommend you to their friends, relatives and co-workers and become one of the best personal trainers around.

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