This article was Originally published on theptdc.com It is republished here with permission from our PTDC partners.
I will never forget him. It was Friday – March 20, 2020 – and I was sitting in the staff room with some other personal trainers in the gymnasium in Edinburgh where we worked. We were listening to a live broadcast from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had just ordered the closure of gyms across the country.
It just felt like something like this was coming. When UK soccer leagues canceled play a week ago, I realized COVID-19 must be dangerous, so I started an exercise library. I’ve pictured every different form of squat exercise that I could think of, every version of a lunge exercise you can do at home, every form of pushup. I was in the gym until midnight, then the next night I scored 20-minute classes.
The other personal trainers kept asking me, “What are you doing?”
You are the only one getting ready.
However, when the gyms were officially closed, it wasn’t real. That night I couldn’t sleep. I woke up at 4 am and built my entire training regimen online. By the time my clients woke up wondering what to do, they already had an email from me with the solution. I kept all of my original clients except for one, and added more at a time when most coaches were losing clients.
In April, I saw a post about Online Coach Academy Level 2. This wasn’t about building a business. It was about expanding the business, which was what I needed. I have since left my personal post because I am very busy online. I earned my level 2 degree and became a level 2 mentor from the Online Coach Academy, helping online coaches all over the world achieve their goals.
What follows are the most important things I’ve learned during these challenging times that can help you grow your personal coaching business online as well.
1. Invest for the long term
Right before I joined Level 2 of Online Coach Academy, my brain switched from just training people online, which other people were doing, to being an online coach. There is a big difference. The first involves watching people play sports; The other includes learning marketing, sales, and retention – a complete system and thought process. One temporary solution. The other is a permanent solution.
So, while personal trainers were contemplating maybe a couple of months ago and trying to save money, I saw an opportunity to invest in myself in the long run.
If you are afraid of losing clients when gyms reopen, or if you do not want to return to personal training, ask yourself, “Have I made the decision to become an online coach and make it permanent?” Or “Have you decided to watch people squat?”
Here’s an example: For many people, running a marathon is a one-time thing. They buy some shoes and clothes, and then they may not run again once they run the marathon.
But if you decide to become a runner, you buy the best shoes, the best water bottle, and the best of everything, and a marathon becomes only one part of being a runner. It’s an investment in a new lifestyle, and that’s what it takes to succeed.
(Discover What is the right investment for your personal online coaching business.)
2. Make yourself indispensable
Think about the experience your customers are going through. If they reach their goals, if you keep your promises, if you set them up in a good program, they will not want to leave you. They will consider you indispensable.
When COVID hit, many coaches were shot down because they were seen as luxuries. My customers stayed with me because they saw me as a necessity. This is a massive change of perception that all personal trainers need to work on. You can do this by seeing the customer as a person. You must understand what drives them. You should take care.
That was the difference for me: I saw my clients as people. I made sure to have a 15-minute conversation with each client every three to four weeks. This was never planned; I’d just like to call. And it was not talking about the exercise. It was in order to verify them as human beings.
How have you been asleep? What is your stress level? How is home schooling for children? Sometimes I send them gifts. And I’m not talking about a shirt or a cup with my logo on it. I’m talking about a personal gift that comes from attention. For example, a customer once mentioned that she is a big fan of Star Wars, so she sent her a cup of Star Wars.
Connecting with clients on a personal level makes you a member of their support team, like a partner or friend, not a luxury.
(Need more clients? Five steps to building your personal coaching client list.)
3. Find the pain point and be the solution
As a personal trainer, I have never had to sell over the phone. Online Coach Academy Level 2 taught me how to do this. The biggest thing I learned is that you have to dig deeply into a phone call and get to the person’s pain points. The pain point is the root cause of someone wanting to work toward a specific goal like losing weight or getting back in shape, and usually won’t tell you this right away. Alternatively, the potential client might say, “I want to lose weight.” When asked what they hope to achieve by working with you.
Well, I will need more. A good follow-up question might be why do you want to make this change? Because I want my clothes to fit better, so when I look in the mirror I like what I see. Here you go. This is the pain point. You may not reach the customer “why” in the first question. You can get this by being curious, asking questions, listening without judgment and understanding, and showing unconditional positive respect.
This can be effectively accomplished on the phone because people don’t expect it. They expect you to say, “Oh, I have this program running XYZ; wanna give it a try?” Instead, take them on this trip and once you understand what really drives them, don’t just offer a program, offer a solution.
And this is irresistible, so they signed up.
4. Pay for the solution, not your time
Customers expect things online to be less expensive or even free. Every personal trainer who goes online worries about this. But don’t fall into the hourly charge trap. Online do not charge people for your time; You charge them for the solution.
If a customer needs a 50-minute call with you instead of 15 minutes, they’ll get it. If someone needs more support from you, they will get it. This shift in mindset changes the psychology of the entire relationship – for them and for you. This allowed me to double my monthly price due to the perceived added value.
The Online Coach Academy Level 1 She taught me that the people who pay, pay attention, which means that when they pay the highest price for something, they will be more invested and do whatever they will agree to do. And of course, you will get better results, which in the end will make you look good and be more successful.
Not sure what to charge? These tips will help you understand the cost of your personal training.
5. Never mention a time frame
If you’ve registered a customer for 12 weeks, never say, “Okay, you’re in the fourth week” or “You have eight weeks left.” Instead say, “You’re making a lot of progress. Imagine where you will be in six months or a year!”
This is because the moment you start talking about a specific time frame, they will start seeing 12 weeks as an endpoint. And you don’t want them to think that way. Instead, when the eleventh week comes, say, “You’ve done a great job for the past three months. You came to me wanting X and we’ve achieved XYZ. What else do you want to achieve in the next six months?”
Once you get them to think this way, say, “I’m not sure if it works for you, but I have an old program that will allow you to continue training with me so you can smash these goals. Sounds good? Let’s do it!”
6. Don’t be afraid to hold your customers accountable.
If a customer says he’s having difficulty making decisions and then hesitates when you tell him the cost, say, “Do you mind if I’m putting you in charge of something you told me earlier in the call?” She told me that you struggle with making decisions, and we are now in the same position. Are there other times you can think about where this has prevented you from improving yourself? ”
7. Talk to your customers the way you would like others to talk to you
I often get messages from business coaches saying, “I can help you grow your business to six numbers in the next 30 days.” I find this approach unconvincing. If you do, too, don’t use this strategy with potential clients. Instead, ask yourself how you’d like this conversation to happen.
You might prefer the coach to get to know you, interact on some posts, and then contact you when you show interest. If so, this is how you should interact with potential clients, because that’s what feels natural to you.
8. Celebrate all forms of success.
Many of the issues that personal trainers face can be well resolved before they are even posed. I’m talking about doing simple things like making regular check-ins with clients; People yearn to connect during this unprecedented time in history.
And be sure to celebrate all kinds of success, not just losing weight or putting on your best. Celebrate a mental shift, which can be a huge win for many people. For someone to be able to eat a bar of chocolate and not punish themselves for days afterward is a victory. Eating normally the next day and not feeling guilty will have a much greater impact on this person’s life than being able to squat an extra 10 pounds.
Find these things, summon them, and celebrate.
9. Lead your customers
When I switched my clients to online training in April 2020, nobody had any answers. I’ve never trained online before and haven’t had any of my clients. I had no idea if it would work, but I didn’t tell them. You have shown confidence. You led them.
This is the key. If you are driving, they will follow you. If you work with your clients to break down barriers, collaborate on next steps and set goals to find the best way forward for them – they will be more invested in the program and feel more invested in them.
And don’t forget the free upgrade! If they used to do an hourly Zoom call with you in private every week, and you were concerned about their reaction if you took that away and went for an hour in an online group, tell them that they would get more support because they would be in a community and they would be able to ask you questions anytime . (Even though you answer them at your convenience.)
Say, “So on April 1st, this is the model we’ll have, and I’m going to give you a free upgrade for that.”
You drive, they will follow you.
If you are an online coach, or want to be …
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