- The reader will learn about the importance of integrating corrective exercise strategies into their personal training business to help them cash in on this lucrative service offering.
- The reader will learn three client communication strategies they can implement immediately to help boost revenue from corrective exercise services.
- The reader will learn three low-cost marketing strategies they can utilize to increase word-of-mouth referrals and attract new corrective exercise clientele.
In the past, people with aches and pains typically sought the help of physical therapists, doctors or surgeons. However, things are rapidly changing. That’s good news for personal trainers and fitness professionals because these very same people are now seeking out your help for assistance with their musculoskeletal problems. In fact, the current demand for personal trainers that have a corrective exercise specialist qualification is nearly double the current supply (IDEA Trends Survey, 2013). To cash in on this lucrative service area, it is imperative to have musculoskeletal assessment and corrective exercise skills, but you must also hone your business and marketing skills in order to profit from these services. This article highlights three effective ways to create immediate demand for corrective exercise from your current clients and three proven strategies for attracting new clientele to boost revenue through corrective exercise service offerings.
Immediate Solutions with Current Clients
To successfully integrate corrective exercise into your personal training business, you first need to have a polished approach to performing musculoskeletal assessments. You must then communicate these methodologies to your current clients in a manner that will arouse their interest in your corrective exercise qualifications. Once you have mastered and demonstrated your postural assessment skills, integrating corrective exercise into current client programs becomes a relatively simple endeavor.
Create Dialogue to Increase Demand
As a personal trainer you have a unique advantage over healthcare providers in that you actually get to spend time getting to know your clients. Seeing clients on a regular basis, and for a substantial amount of time during each visit, enables you to develop strong relationships through the use of both verbal and nonverbal communication techniques. By listening and observing cues from your clients during their workouts, you can introduce them to your specialty assessment and corrective exercise skills when their program (and your business) can benefit most from the conversation (Bratcher & Price, 2012). Here are the top three ways to do this:
- Conduct pre-exercise assessments to address old injuries: You probably already know which exercises particular clients find difficult, or can’t/won’t do correctly due to pain they may be trying to avoid. You can also easily uncover which exercises they have anxiety about by paying attention to their body language as they attempt movements that they think may hurt them or aggravate an old injury. When you see a client incorrectly perform or try to avoid a movement, use that opportunity to introduce a simple musculoskeletal assessment to help determine what might be causing their pain/dysfunction. For example, if your client has difficulty performing exercises where they have to lift their arms over their head, this could be due to excessive rounding of their upper back (i.e., excessive thoracic kyphosis) which causes the thoracic spine, shoulders and neck to be pulled out of alignment. Introducing a simple postural assessment for their thoracic spine will help highlight the cause of their problem, and give you the opportunity to integrate one or two corrective exercise strategies into their program to help relieve their symptoms of shoulder pain.
- Utilize assessments during exercise: Another way to introduce your clients to the benefits of corrective exercise is to utilize assessments during workouts. For instance, if a client is performing a lunge and their knee hurts, ask them to remove their shoes and socks and do a visual assessment of their feet and ankles while they lunge to see if these areas might be causing their problem. While they are performing the exercise, explain that overpronation of the foot causes excessive movement of the foot, ankle, lower leg and knee toward the midline of the body and that, over time, overpronation can lead to excessive wear and tear on the inside of the foot. Let them know that signs of habitual overpronation will appear as bunions, calluses and/or the big toe moving out of alignment toward the lesser toes. If your client overpronates on the right side, and they have right knee pain, you can then link any visual problems you both see to why the client might be experiencing pain when they lunge. When your client is able to see for themselves how their foot overpronates, puts pressure on the inside of their foot, and over-rotates their knee toward the midline, you are then in a perfect position to introduce corrective exercise strategies for their foot and ankle into the program.
- Get corrective exercise qualifications to pique clients’ interests in your new skills: After you have attended a conference or workshop on corrective exercise, or completed a new education course, be sure to start up a conversation about what you have learned. This will help your clients feel confident you are keeping up with the latest industry trends, and give you the opportunity to present new corrective exercise methods into their programs (Benjamin, 2009).
In each of the above scenarios, you are simply enlightening clients as to how postural assessments and corrective exercises can help them overcome pain and eliminate musculoskeletal, exercise, and/or movement limitations that may be preventing them from reaching their fitness goals. Pairing corrective exercise knowledge with performance-based exercises improves client satisfaction with your services — leading to increased word-of-mouth referrals and current client retention, even when you decide to raise your rates.
Planning Ahead for New Clients
Using your specialty corrective exercise services and qualifications to attract additional clients will further grow your profits. Any new corrective exercise clients you sign means more money in general, but also a higher hourly wage as you can require them to pay increased rates. Following are three effective and low cost marketing strategies you can use to get prospective clients in the door and develop a steady stream of customers who desire corrective exercise services.
Develop Interest to Create Demand
- Provide recommendations to help a client’s family, friends and peers: Word of mouth referrals are your best source for new clients because the recommendation a person receives to utilize your services comes from a source that person trusts. To encourage your current clients to speak favorably to other people about your corrective exercise skills, ask them if any of their friends, family members and/or work colleagues experience aches and pains. Then, when you are creating corrective exercise homework for your client, suggest that they share particular exercises with those friends or family members that might benefit from them. For example, if you learn that a client’s friend has plantar fasciitis (i.e., sore feet) you can recommend that your client share their homework exercise of rolling a golf ball under their foot as a way to help their friend alleviate their pain. Better yet, provide your client with a professional-looking workbook or folder that contains their homework exercises. This way when your client shows their friend the golf ball exercise for their foot, the friend will see how to do the exercise correctly — as well as your business contact information on the materials.
- Invite a client’s family, friends, and/or peers to observe: The family, friends and peers of your current clients are sometimes skeptical when they hear about how much a personal trainer has helped relieve that client’s pain. This is understandable, as historically people have relied on medical professionals to treat musculoskeletal pain. To help overcome these stereotypes and build your reputation as a corrective exercise specialist, invite your client’s family, friends and/or colleagues to observe one of the client’s sessions with you. You can entice companions to attend by having your current client ask them if they would assist with a portion of their corrective exercise program or homework. This tactic will enable third-party observers to witness your superior skills firsthand and substantially increase their confidence in your abilities which can lead to many new referrals.
- Redesign website/client communications: Your website and all client communications (such as newsletters) must communicate clearly to prospective clients that you offer corrective exercise services. It is important to have an area of your website dedicated to injury prevention or pain relief and to clearly summarize these service offerings. Similarly, it is essential to review the content of your website to ensure it does not dissuade prospective corrective exercise clients. If your website contains pictures of you dressed in revealing clothes looking incredibly fit and feeling great, for example, a client in chronic pain might assume that you have no idea how to help someone in their condition and, as a result, you will lose their potential business (Dibb & Simpkin, 2008).
Helping your clients overcome aches and pains can be a profitable and rewarding experience. A well-qualified corrective exercise specialist who is able to utilize their practical skills effectively, as well as market their unique services and abilities, will continue to be one of the industry’s most sought-after professionals. By continuing to enhance your education, improve your client communication skills and develop new markets for your services, you, your clients and your business can all cash in on the field of corrective exercise.
Benjamin, S. (2009). Perfect Phrases for Professional Networking; Hundreds of Phrases For Meeting And Keeping Helpful Contacts. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Bratcher, M. & Price, J. (2012). The BioMechanics Method Corrective Exercise Business Professional Course. San Diego: The BioMechanics.
Dibb, S. & Simpkin, L. (2008). Market Segmentation Success: Making It Happen! Oxford: Routeledge.
Schroeder, J. & Donlin, A. (2013). IDEA Fitness Progamming and Equipment Trends Report. San Diego: IDEA Health and Fitness Association.