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A HFE instructor working with their client by showing an iPad tablet.
A HFE instructor working with their client by showing an iPad tablet.

The Starbucks Approach to Personal Training – Lesson 1

4 minute read

Right now, you might be a little confused about the title of this article and wondering how Starbucks could possibly help your career as a personal trainer?

Starbucks doesn’t provide any training, resources, or funding for Personal Trainers and many of their products aren’t even that healthy, so how can Starbucks make a difference to your Personal Training business?

The answer is simple, Starbucks is currently one of the most successful organisations in the global marketplace and has managed to establish itself in over 150,000 locations (without franchising)! Anyone can see that this company has revolutionised the way we all drink coffee, but Starbucks has actually done more than that – they’ve also revolutionised the level and quality of service we demand from retailers, rendering anything less a huge disappointment.

By observing how Starbucks interacts with their customers and engage with communities, you to will soon realise that this company’s success has little to do with coffee and more to do with the way in which they serve it.

This article isn’t trying to sell Starbucks to you – it has done a pretty good job of that itself! The aim here is to simply draw your attention to the key principles which are at the heart of the Starbucks business, and to illustrate how these principles can help enrich your Personal Training business.

Who knows, maybe you will be the one to revolutionise the Personal Training industry…

Principle 1: Individuality

Starbucks don’t have a code or policy about what their staff should say to customers as they serve coffee or greet people entering their stores.

Instead, Starbucks has an internal recognition scheme that encourages and rewards staff for unique ways to pour their creativity and delight into every aspect of their role. The only guidance provided by the senior management team is what they call “Five ways of being”:

  • Be welcoming
  • Be genuine
  • Be considerate
  • Be knowledgeable
  • Be involved

The above principles don’t really relate to how to operate a business per se, in fact they are really about creating rapport with people, engaging with them on a personal level and making them feel valued, important and special. Starbucks understand this, which is why they discourage robotic, insincere and scripted lines from their employees.

This is a good time to point out to you the fact that you are actually in the same line of business as Starbucks – that’s right, it’s the ‘people business’! Remember the Starbucks success is not just about the coffee; it’s about the experience created when the coffee is served.

Similarly, your degree of success as a Personal Trainer will have as much to do with your ability to deliver effective training programmes as it will also necessitate superior ‘people skills’. This way, you are able to create a unique and enriching workout experience for your clients which is specific for each person, enabling them to reach their goals effectively.

If you are able grasp this concept and embed it into every area of your Personal Training practice, you to might be able to attain the level of customer loyalty and repeat business Starbucks has accomplished.

Such skills cannot be taught solely on a Personal Training course – they need to be sculpted, developed and evaluated by you on a regular basis to ensure that you continue to exceed your client’s expectations and deliver the wow factor. We have, however, written a guide on attracting and retaining personal training clients which you may find useful when thinking about repeat custom.

If you like what you’ve read so far, be sure to check out lesson 2 on the Starbucks approach to personal training, where we discuss how attention to detail has been apart of their success and can be apart of yours, too.

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