In this article, I’m going to outline the things you must have and do to get started on the road to complete domination of your competition. The goal of this exercise? When someone in your town is ready to hire a fitness professional, yours will be the only name that comes to mind.
Create a Web Site
If you want to be viewed as a true professional by your prospects, customers, peers and the media, you simply must have a presence on the Internet. Not having your own web site it completely unacceptable.
These days, it’s easier than ever to create your own site. There are plenty of affordable tools you can find online that will enable you to have your site up and running the very same day, even if it’s just a one page web site that includes the basics. And by basics I mean the information your prospective clients want to know. Namely, who you are, who you work with and what you will do for them? Yes, they want to know you are an expert at what you do, but the emphasis needs to be on “what’s in it for THEM” and not you. That’s Marketing 101.
As you build your site, you can add additional pages that explain your products and services, any articles you have written and everything and anything else that promotes you.
Establish Media Connections
No amount of advertising can buy you the type of instant credibility you receive when you are featured as a fitness expert by the news media. And while your prospects are seeing more and more marketing messages about fitness and everything else, you need to take advantage of free publicity to stand out from the crowd.
Journalists, editors and producers need to become some of your best friends. They are always in search of fresh and unique story ideas. You need to deliver them, so your prospects look at you as being head and shoulders above the rest of the fitness professionals near you.
How do you do that? Pretty simple, really. Contact every single media outlet in your area and introduce yourself. Let them know you are always available to offer story ideas on the topics of health and fitness. And if they ever need comments or quotes for a story they are working on, let them know you’d love to help out.
Produce a Product
The media loves published authors. So when you write your own book, you establish yourself as quite literally the person who “wrote the book on" the subject. Your prospective clients will look at you that way as well.
When you’ve written a book or created your own DVD, you reach yet another level. Products not only add to your credibility, but they are a terrific way of generating serious passive income.
Develop a Newsletter
Whether it be physically mailed to prospects and clients or simply sent via email, a regular newsletter allows you to both educate your target market and raise your credibility in their eyes.
And while there are newsletter services to which you can subscribe, I have found from personal experience that you are much better off creating your own. Why? Because people buy from those they know, like and trust. A regular newsletter allows you to use your “voice.” People want to know how you really feel about topics related to training. People want to get to know your personality. This is about being a mainstay in the public eye and that means having courage and speaking your mind. If you want to dominate your area, it means you have to be willing to take risks.
Become a Public Speaker
If you are unable to get up in front of a group of people and give a presentation, you’re going to have a hard time growing your business. It’s an absolutely vital skill you need to possess.
There’s no shortage of places for you to speak. These include the following:
- Networking groups
- Women’s and men’s clubs
- Civic organizations
- Religious organizations
Getting yourself “booked” as a speaker is simple. Most organizations that have weekly meetings are constantly looking for speakers. Simply call and ask them if they’d be interested in a presentation on fitness. Unless they just had another personal trainer give a similar talk, they’d be thrilled to have you come speak to their group.
Yes, it’s true. They’ll ask you to come for and speak for free. However, speaking adds to your credibility and gives you the appearance of being a much more respected expert than other fitness professionals. And when a prospective client sees your future speaking engagements on your web site, you’ll have a serious competitive advantage.
Plus, public speaking is a great way to sell your products and services. In fact, if you can record one of your presentations, you can sell that as an information product! See how this all ties together?
Write “How To” Articles
Being a good writer is another critical skill because having simple “how to” articles published is a terrific way to promote yourself as the most qualified trainer in your area. There are all sorts of publications that would be happy to publish them. To start with, almost all of the organizations you are going to speak at have a newsletter of their own. Do you think they might be interested in some free content to keep their members healthy?
You can also approach your small neighborhood newspaper and local community magazines. Plus, just about every town and city has their own web site. And what about your local Chamber of Commerce? The great thing is, you can usually write one article and have them published in numerous publications!
If you’re looking for ideas on what to write about, I’ve got two suggestions for you. First, think about the questions you get all the time from friends, family, clients and prospects. Since those people are asking you, you know others want the answers to those questions as well. Second, go to your local newsstand and stare at the covers of the magazines that your target market reads. The headlines tell you everything. If the national fitness magazines are writing about it, you know it’s a hot topic and people will want to read about it.
And if you’re wondering how to write an article, well, you’re reading one! Simply come up with a title, write an opening paragraph or two and then list all the tips that explain exactly “how to” do something. At the end of the article, include a very short bio about yourself and include your web site where they can download even more free information. This way, you can add them to your database and continue to market to them directly. Yet another reason why it’s so important to have a web site. Again, see how this all ties together?
Leverage Your Time
Most trainers never make the time to grow their business. Just like the general population will never find the time to exercise, they must make the time and so must you. That means leveraging your time. To do so, you need to be aware of where you are spending all of your time currently. How much time do you spend doing the following:
- Training clients?
- Searching for public speaking engagements?
- Writing how to articles?
If you spend all of your time training clients, how do you expect to gain competitive advantage and become the dominant trainer in your area? If you said you can’t, you’re right. So how do you leverage your time? The following are some ideas to get you started:
- Hire trainers to train clients for you
- Train clients in small groups so you make much more per hour
- Run fitness boot camps
- Create and sell your own information products
- Write articles for publications for profit
- Develop workshops for which you are paid to present
Leveraging your time also means hiring others to perform professional services for you. For example, spending too much time doing your books? Hire an accountant. Spending too much time keeping track of sessions used by clients? Hire an assistant. There’s any number of professionals you can hire to make your life easier. If you want to become the dominant trainer in your area, you need to be focused on one thing: growing your business.
Mine Your Database
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know a lot of people. In fact, when you list them all, you’d be amazed at just how many people you know. Once you finish making that list, start to think about how these people can help you. Who do they know? What do you need? They might know a great place where you could speak. They might know a web site where you could submit your articles. They might know an inexpensive accountant who can do your books. They might know someone in the media who would love to do a story on your training business. Get the picture?
Plus, I’ll bet they know some very influential people in your community. Take those people to lunch. Pick their brains. What do these successful people know that you don’t know? Who else do they know that you should know? If you want to be the most dominant, and thus, successful fitness professional in your area, you want the most influential people creating a buzz about you.
Learn to Say No
All of the above tips are critical. But there’s no replacing the walking, talking billboards that are your paying clients. If you feel a prospect is not serious about becoming a living, breathing marketing piece, then turn him or her down. Be willing to decline business. Don’t let all the hard work you’ve put into your business be ruined by those who are not willing to do the work it takes to succeed.
Some scratch their heads and wonder while others take action. It’s really pretty simple when it comes to turning yourself into the dominant fitness professional in your area. The formula is proven. The only thing that can’t be handed to you is the desire and guts to take this knowledge and apply it.