Running your personal training business goes beyond the course book. It's a hands-on process that takes time to learn. As a certified personal trainer the course work teaches you the basics, but it doesn't teach the details that make your business run smoothly or successfully. With all the course studies there are still five useful tips a certified personal trainer can't learn from a book. They must be learned through experience.
1. Run your business with good communication
Use every form of communication to keep your clients informed of what's happening. I use everything from Twitter to text messages to e-mail and phone calls. My clients know I'll answer their e-mails and phone calls and not be ignored. I keep files, and updates, and track their sessions even when they don't. Even in a huge Washington D.C. health club my clients feel like they are getting one-on-one special attention; all the time.
With good communication my clients are more inclined to update me on their personal progress, and future cancellations. Since I know of future cancellations I fill those slots with other clients. This helps clients get extra workouts, I don't lose work hours and my clients still have their normal time slots when they come back.
2. Find a specialty certification that works for you
When I became a certified personal trainer I realized how much I wanted to help women during their pregnancies. I also wanted to help them get in shape post partum. For me this was a great specialty niche. When I began work at a facility with 30+ trainers I was the only one certified with a pre- and post natal specialty. Beside book knowledge I had firsthand experience of being a mom and my clients could relate to me.
Luckily, there are specialty certifications to help certified personal trainers grow a clientele that they may not have without it. For example, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) has specialty certifications in fitness nutrition, youth fitness and even weight management.
3. Do something nice for your client
I am a personal trainer because I love what I do, and because a paycheck is beneficial to my family. However; I do not charge clients when they train on their birthdays. I believe a client who comes to the gym in the early hours on their birthday deserves a free session.
There are other ways to do nice things that will not affect your pay check, but this is one I adhere to. It may be a financial loss at the moment, but my clients feel great for getting something free on their special day.
Whether it's a free session, or a random "You're doing great!" card, something simple can perk the mood of your client, and make them want to push harder. However, it's still important to get paid for your hard work. It's one thing to be kind and offer tips, or one free session, but this is still your business and should be run accordingly.
4. Be flexible and customize fitness programs
A fitness program that works for one person does not always work for someone else. Treating everyone with an inflexible, cookie cutter program says you're not putting your client's needs first. Many of my clients have neck and back injuries so I certainly wouldn't train them like a healthy athlete.
Personal trainers who can't change a fitness program on the floor, or worse yet, decides their program is the final say, can injure their client or deter them from coming back.
5. Don't chase the money
One thing I see a lot in personal training is "chasing the money." What does this mean? It means personal trainers take on every client and invest in quantity over quality of services. As trainers, we're paid for the hours we work; however, having a surplus of clients isn't a bonus if you don't run your business effectively.
Double booking, or completely forgetting about clients because you work too many hours should never become a common practice. Poor quality workmanship and bad experiences spread by word of mouth. It won't take too many complaints before losing clients.
Lisa M. White
Copyright ©2011 CPT Lisa M. White™. All rights reserved.