Posted August 26, 2009
in News, Blog
We all know that in business there is no such thing as a short cut and your Personal Training business is no different. Since 1998, I've worked with over 60 independent health clubs to help grow their personal training sales and departments. I have also worked as a Personal Trainer, Fitness Consultant and Fitness Director in large club chains as well as in independent facilities.
There is a large movement today that believes that the future of the Personal Training business rests in the hands of group and semi private training. When you dig a little further you uncover that the philosophy and the push behind this approach comes from Personal Trainers more so than club owners. Trainers are trying to convince owners that they can make more money this way because it's cheaper for the client and they'll be able to produce more sales and get more members serviced. What they often fail to mention is that it's easier for them to make more money with less work by packing more clients into a session. They also don't take into account the long term affect that this has on the growth of a Personal Training department. If you just stop for a moment and consider the long term impact on renewal sales as well as the ability to increase prices for sessions you get a very different perspective and picture.
If you've had the opportunity to read Ken Blanchard's book Raving Fans, you'd realize that creating any successful business starts with creating the best possible service and experience for the client. What would the ideal Personal Training experience look like and how do I go about delivering no more than 100% of that service and expectation, predictably each and every time. The clue is in the words themselves - Personal Training. If you want to deliver the best coaching service and experience, it has to be personal. How can you effectively assess a person's lifestyle, nutrition, stress and emotional issues in a group setting? If you're going to be successful long term, and charge the maximum amount of money for your knowledge and education, you have to take a coaching perspective on personal training. Each person has specific issues and tendencies and they need to be addressed in a private, one on one setting to be truly effective.
If it's just about maximizing sales in the short term and packing as many people into a second rate service out of the gates, you will surely jeopardize your Personal Training business down the line. We just went through a recession and we saw the effect on new membership sales. Without this new business coming through the door, many Personal Training departments were ravaged. That's because they didn't establish enough one on one, solid relationships with clients who see their Trainers as life coaches that they can't do without. In 2009, one third of our PFP clients had their best year ever in Personal Training sales. You can contact me directly to get their names and phone numbers. We're moving into a culture where everything is becoming an "in and out" service. I never feel valued when I go to visit my chiropractor and he's running from room to room pushing me through the assembly line. The same holds true when I visit my physician who is bouncing from office to office pushing out prescription sheets without having adequate time to discuss what's going on in my life and what might be really causing the problem.
We are one of the last beacons for true, one on one service that gives 45 - 55 minutes of quality attention and service. How do your Trainers propose to effectively raise their rates on half hour or group sessions with these kinds of experiences? In many cases, clients show up 5 - 10 minutes late and by the time you factor in drinks, rest and getting changed you're down to a less than adequate workout period. Let me ask you if your exercise routine consists of 15 minute workouts with a group a few times a week? Many of our senior and Master Trainers in our PFP clubs are charging between $75 - $100 per session for one on one and get little to no resistance when they go to their clients and up the fees. When it comes to group training the only way to make more money is to jam more people into the class which then makes for an even poorer training experience and a lower retention rate.
Group Training is simply an easy way out, a band-aid for the absence of professional sales people in your Personal Training departments. It's your Trainer's way of saying I'm not comfortable with sales so I need to charge less money. They are one of the only professionals that I know that spend years in a college kinesiology program, and then more years and a small fortune on certifications, and then simply give their knowledge away for next to nothing. Try asking a lawyer to give you free demo or orientation or maybe a nice group rate on legal counseling. This I can guarantee. If you ever dreamed of selling $400,000 per month in Personal Training in one location, on a consistent basis, like the club that I was an owner at in Toronto, you will never get there by building your Personal Training business on groups and semi privates. Most of our current clubs that do between $100,000 and $200,000 per month produce 90% of their sales numbers from one on one training and 10% from groups. The Pro Fitness Program is not designed to be all things to all people. It is designed to make a club the maximum amount of money in their Personal Training department. It just so happens that the focus and process also offers the best possible service and retention. It's funny how the two must go hand in hand together. If you're truly in business to make money, then to date, this is the only proven system to produce maximum sales results on a consistent basis. When it's proven to me, in any demographic or market and regardless of club size, that groups and semi privates can produce similar success, only then will we start to consider a paradigm shift.
In the end, group training should simply be a vehicle to get people into one on one training. I did 2 years of dance classes with my wife at Arthur Murray. I only had to spend 2 sessions in a group to realize that I needed some personal instruction. We invested 2 years of our money and time working with our instructors so that we could feel comfortable going back into a social group environment. But what kept me coming back for more was the great relationship we developed with our instructor from Venezuela who is a friend to this day. If you head down the path of groups and semi privates it will be extremely difficult to switch back to one on one. You will create a culture where members are conditioned to pay a lower fee for your Trainer's knowledge and service. It will be difficult for you to justify why a real training session involves stretching your client out, going over their food and training log book and making adjustments to the workouts based on previous recorded sessions and how they're feeling that day. Your entire system must prioritize one on one as the best possible solution and experience. Only as a last resort, when all objections have been professionally uncovered and addressed, should you ever offer a group or semi private session. That means that if you're a Pro Fitness Program client 30% - 40% of all new members will purchase a one on one Personal Training package between 12 - 144 sessions and renewal rates will average between 60% - 80%. Never allow your members to confuse Personal Training with group or semi private instruction. It's your obligation and duty to educate your members and community as to what is the best possible service and education to get them real results for life.
By Jeff Russo in collaboration with Vince DelMonte
Posted August 05, 2009
in Blog, News
What's on your "To-Do" List Today?
8 Things to Add which will Maximize You Effectiveness
By Sean Walpole CPT, MTS
The Edge Fitness Business Consulting.com
As a Business Consultant, I have had the distinct pleasure of working with some of the most gifted Fitness Directors, Club Managers and Owner/Operators in the industry today. In fact, I too was a Club Manager not so long ago, working with John Johnson and Jeff Russo implementing the Pro Fitness Program at a 30k square foot facility in Toronto Canada.
Posted July 06, 2009
in News, Blog
A successful personal training business is all about a combination of various sales elements that contribute to new sale and renewal business. Up until this month the River Valley Club in Hanover New Hamphshire held the PFP record in both areas. $199,000 in total department sales and $157,000 in renewal sales for a single month with a club of 2000 members.
When you consider that The Athletic Club in Guelph Ontario Canada is only in their second year with the Pro Fitness Program personal training sales system, and you add into the mix the month of June and a recession, you come up with the single greatest perfromance in PFP history. Fitness Director Ryan Flesch and his team of Consultants and Trainers wrote an incredible $271,772 in personal training sales for June with $196,341 coming from renewals.
Two of Ryan's Trainers broke the previous single month Trainer sales record of Chris Poljacik of the River Valley Club at $39,000. Chris Kopichanski wrote $41,342 with a combination of three 144 packs and two 72 packs. In the end, Chrisitian Stoneman set the new record with an amazing four 144 pack sales and a single 208 session sale to finish with $42,566!! Congratualtions to both of you; you are obvioulsy exceptional Trainers who know how to provide value, variety and entertainment, and who are not afraid to demand the best from your clients by asking for long term committed relationships that lead to real results for life.
The Athletic Club's Fitness Consultants Shine in June
In order for a personal training business to be outstanding it must rely heavily on new personal training sales. In the past we've had numerous Fitness Consultants from a club chain write some big numbers. Club Fit in Edmonton Alberta used the Pro Fitness Program to grow their personal training departments to well over $60,000 per month in each of their 5 locations. However at no time in history have we seen a performance like June 2009 at the Athletic Clubs.
In 5 different locations Fitness Consultants from the Athletic Clubs wrote over $20,000 each in new personal training business. Jeff Steinmetz from the Brantford club led the way with $31,232 followed closely by FC Andrew Durand from the North location at $31,173. Lisa Dawn Murison at the North location wrote an impressive $30,950 with Barb DeCook from Amherstburg with $25,525 and Jordan Sharpe from the South location at $23,078 rounding up the record month.
These clubs are in a variety of different markets with vast differences in demographics and size and yet the consistency of performance is a testament to the number one personal training sales system in the world today and the only one guaranteed to grow your personal training business beyond belief!
Posted June 25, 2009
in News, Blog
How do you define success? We all strive to be successful in our field but how do you know when you are successful? Also, how do you determine when your personal training business needs to change direction? I'm pretty sure I know how to answer both of these questions. It's called bottom line profitability!
At the River Valley Club, we measure ourselves based on several things. Inreased personal training sales revenue from the past year, billable training hours and smiles on our member's faces; this all equates to improving people's lives daily. Oh, and by the way 1.8 million dollars in personal training sales in one year with 2000 members is pretty good also!! All of this has occured due to the number one personal training business system, the Pro Fitness Program.
When we first started with Jeff Russo and his personal training sales system 9 years ago, we were grossing just over $60,000 a year. I laugh out loud when I hear that number today. The tipping point for us came after just one year with the Pro Fitness Program going from $69,000 to $215,000. In year 3 we grossed $407,000 in personal training sales, and in year 4 an amazing $765, 000 again with only 2000 members. Yes, these are real numbers from our personal training department and you can call me or the owner Joe Asch to confirm anytime you like.
The Pro Fitness Program is the answer to selling personal training. They have developed a system that drives quality service and personal training sales. The program helped us change our culture here at RVC from being a facility that sells health club memberships to a health club that now sells results and relationships. Due to a shift in our philosophy, we have become a leader in the indsustry in personal training sales. We truly believe that everyone can and will benefit from working with a personal trainer.
Working closely with Jeff and his team of Fitness Business Consultants over the past 9 years has been a wonderful experience. From Sean Walpole, to Vince Delmonte to James Manson, the Pro-Fitness Program team has kept it fresh and exciting and has provided a variety of training and business experience. Not only has RVC grown and developed as an outstanding personal training business, but with the growth of the Pro Fitness Program, my husband Chris Poljacik and I have developed the PFP's number 1 approved personal training certification -MTS (Movement Training Specialist)
The MTS certification provides Trainers with the knowledge they need to keep renewals high and keep clients coming back. Last month our Trainers combined renewals and floor sales to produce $130,000. How many clubs can count on their team to deliver this level of personal training sales on a consistent basis? For more information regarding MTS please visit our web site at www.mtspecialist.com.
MTS is offering a Level 1 certification at the River Valley Club, Hanover, NH. Sept. 26th and 27th. Space is limited so you should sign up on line today to reserve your spot. If you're an existing Pro Fitness Program client ask for your preferred vendor discount.
RVC Fitness Director/Co-owner MTS/Business Consultant Pro Fitness Program
Posted June 19, 2009
Our personal training business model is very much dependent on the successful integration between the membership and personal training departments. I would suggest that successful new personal training sales are 70% dependent on the way your Membership Rep interviews, tours and presents the club's programs. With the Pro Fitness Program personal training system, we sell based on education, results and knowledge as opposed to just facility and price.
By now we all know the benfits of using a personal needs analysis form (Guest Register) in the interview process to uncover objections, reinforce needs and wants and build rapport. That's a great first step to segue into our trade mark 20 page Fitness Consultation Journals that ever new member takes home with them. If this tool is used effectively in combination with our assessment printouts and temporary access cards, we create a unique selling propostion (USP) that greatly differentiates us from the competition.
Even in the event that the prospect in not ready to commit to a membership, the visual tools and aids that we train each Membership Rep to use effectively will leave a lasting impression when they visit the competition. By the way, I can't begin to tell you how many memberships I've sold using this program without ever touring the facility. They came in to get results and I was able to demonstrate our ability to offer service, education and guaranteed results - any facility and equipment will do just fine!
When our company realized how much our personal training system and overall personal training sales are dependent on the new member experience, we made the decision to develop another aid to the process. Since we build so much value in our membership presentations, and many tours end up taking anywhere from 30 minutes to as much as an hour, a lot of information is forgotten by the time the client leaves. As a result, we decided to put together an audio presentation of what a client should be searching for when making a decision to purchase a fitness membership.
This MP3 is ideal for prospects to listen to at home or in the car on the way to see the next club. If you have the Pro-Fitness Program personal training system, the message will fully support the way you present memberships and your core philosophy of selling service and results above all else. Simply contact your Pro Fitness Business Consultant to receive a link to the audio presentation which you can then burn to CD or simply email to new prospects.
Since I joined the company over 4 years ago, it's amazing to see how many different business support materials the company now provides for all of the various departments in the club. It's little wonder why the Pro-Fitness Program is the leader in North America in personal training sales and member experience.
Senior Fitness Business Consultant / Western Canada
Posted June 18, 2009
in Blog, News
What do you do if you're a Fitness Consultant or Personal Trainer and membership sales are down, it's the summer time and it's difficult to get members to come in for re-assessments, and you're having a problem achieving your monthly goals in terms of number of completed consultations?
First of all, I would make sure your Membership Reps and Club Manager are doing everything possible to market to as many different groups as possible at all times. My business consulting team wrote a series of marketing articles for Fitness Business Canada called "Who Are You Marketing To?", and you can access them at www.edgefitnessconsulting.com if you click on About Us and Edge Articles. There are so many examples of low cost marketing programs that will immediately have an impact on increasing membership sales.
At the same time I would never just depend on the Membership Department for leads and consultations. As a Fitness Business Consultant I have worked with over 60 fitness club organizations in the USA and Canada. Fitness Business Consulting 101 will teach you that one of the most effective ways to market your club is through your fitness department. The best message for a prospect to receive involves weight loss and guaranteed fitness and wellness results. Market your fitness centers and Fitness Consultants similar to a weight loss center or nutritional clinic and you'll see the difference in terms of the quality of prospect that walks through your door. With this kind of marketing, prospects have their initial club experience through the Fitness Consultation office and not a Membership Sales office. In many cases clients will end up purchasing assessment packages and personal training prior to the membership. That's only if your club's vision involves selling education, results and knowledge not just facilities and memberships.
Personal Trainers and Fitness Consultants have a lot of down time when you consider client cancellations and no shows. In order to increase personal training sales we have to better utilize our fitness professionals and keep them accountable for the business side of the relationship. In all of my years of presenting at fitness conferences and speaking with thousands of Personal Trainers, I've always empahsized the importance of being a well rounded fitness business professional not just technician or Trainer. 80% of any Personal Trainer's success will come from skills in human engineering (communication, listening, personality, energy, integrity) with only 15% coming from skills in technical engineering. Yet we spend so much time and energy on certifications and more and more technical learning. Any of our PFP Clients can request a video on my NEHRSA key note presentation on 'the Successful Qualities and not Qalifications of a Successful Personal Trainer' by emailing a request to our Administrator through this web site.
If you're an existing PFP client I want you to contact your Fitness Business Consutant today to discuss our new 5 step marketing plan to generate leads and personal training sales from your personal training department. These are low cost, highly effective programs that will allow you to exceed your summer sales targets and keep pace with many of our top PFP locations that are generating between $70,000 -$160,000 per month in pt sales through these supposed slower periods.
Jeff Russo / President