Some things are just common sense, right? Some things are so blatantly obvious it’s mind-boggling. To me, one of those things is the fact that in today’s extremely crowded marketplace, you need to absolutely thrill your clients with your products and services. It’s so easy to lose someone’s favor and attention in our over-connected world that you cannot afford to let people be anything less than thrilled with you. Customer satisfaction doesn’t cut it anymore. If your clients tell you they are satisfied, they might as well tell you they’ve got one foot out the door. Now, more than ever, you need to stand head and shoulders above your competition.
So, how do you know where you currently stand? You need to start with the hand that feeds you. That’s right. You need to ask your clients how you are doing. And I don’t mean a cursory, “What do you think so far?” I mean getting down and dirty. What do they like about you? What don’t they like about you? What could you be doing better? What do they think you need to work on? Yes, this is going to be uncomfortable for you. At the same time, don’t forget this can be uncomfortable for your clients as well. You’re going to need to reassure them you are striving for excellence, and to reach that goal, you need brutal honestly. You need to hear it all. Some of it you may not like, but that is precisely the information you are seeking. You need to hear the bad much more than the good because every last little comment that stings will improve your business.
Let’s look at it another way. Before you start to survey your clients about your business, ask them this question: How many thoroughly outstanding businesses do they deal with? Ask them to name any sort of business, regardless of whether it's a service being sold or a product, they never hesitate to spend money on because they are consistently thrilled with their purchase. I mean the type of business where they would spend double or triple the amount they currently pay just because the product or service is that superb and dealing with the company is an absolute joy. I bet they can’t name too many. But if they do have one, you should investigate it immediately so you can model yourself after them. Be sure to ask your client as much as you can about the business. What makes it so special? What is it about the experience? How much value do they feel they receive for every dollar they spend? Then you can ask them what they feel you could be doing so you are looked upon in the same way.
Ok, let’s get back to the obvious. I’ve got thoughts of my own on how to develop such a business. In fact, I like to think I’ve created one of them. Here are some very obvious things you can do to make your business stand out. And yes, most of them are downright obvious. However, it is my belief that these simple things are the ones that most companies miss. One thing is for sure: in today’s business world, they will make you stand out.
- Become religious about returning phone calls. Set a policy and stick to it. If you have to delegate it to someone, then do so. Remember, it’s YOUR business, not some job.
- Deliver 10 times the value for every dollar your clients spend with you. Amaze them with valuable information they can use. The beauty of it is, it’s low cost to you.
- Treat each client like gold regardless of how much money they spend with you.
- Don’t take on everyone as a client. Remember, you are going to be treating them like gold so they’d better be people you WANT to work with. Plus, refusing to work with certain people actually makes you look super exclusive.
- Send hand-written cards to all clients and customers. Thank you cards are mandatory as soon as they sign up. But birthday cards, get well cards and congratulatory cards are always greatly appreciated and never forgotten.
- If they’ve got their own business and provide a product or service you need, do your best to be their client as well. It’s not always a fit. Or perhaps you can barter. Regardless, your trust in their business will go a long way towards building a professional relationship.
- Have a deep concern for all of the people who are affected in a positive way by your client’s success.
- Keep your promises. Sounds simple, but you’d be amazed by how many people compliment you on the fact you are a person of your word.
- Keep your client’s physician abreast of their progress. Both will be extremely impressed with your concern and the results you provide.
- Consistently reward your clients with certificates and trinkets when goals are reached. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make people feel good about what they’ve accomplished.
- Give back to the community. You have a moral obligation to help people. Use your fitness knowledge to benefit those that aren’t able to afford your services.
- Don’t be afraid to let it be known you care about people more than you care about profit. In today’s society, most consider that remarkable.
- Get used to saying this to your prospects: “I only work with clients that are 100% results driven. Is that you?
- Don’t be afraid to fire clients. If clients aren’t holding up to their end of the bargain, politely get rid of them. It’s uncomfortable to do. Believe me, I know. However, it must be done because they are poisoning your business and will sap you of your passion.
As I wrote earlier, it’s pretty obvious stuff. But think about businesses you know and see how they measure up. How many companies do you spend money with on a regular basis that may charge more, but you would never go anywhere else simply because whatever it is they provide and how they provide it is worth every dime?
The next thing to do is take a step back from your personal training business and decide whether or not you are happy with it. Are you still passionate about it? Do you go to bed every night looking forward to waking up because you love what you do? Or have you grown weary of training clients? Perhaps you still love working with individual clients, but wish you didn’t have to work with so many to earn the amount of money you currently make. Do you ever get the feeling you don’t own a business? Instead, what you really own is a job?
While the answers your current clients gave are paramount to the success of your business, the answers you gave to the above questions are paramount to your own happiness. Is it really worth growing your company if you can’t stand to even think about it anymore? As I’m sure you’re fully aware, that’s no way to go through life.
If you don’t like the direction your life and business are taking, you merely need to change it. And if you want to complain about how hard that will be, then let me ask you this: What do you say to people who are a physical mess who tell you exercise is too hard and they don’t have the time? Well, the same holds true here. If you want a different result, you are going to need to do something different. Here are some simple things you can do to give you a start:
- Dream BIG. Imagine everything you want out of your life and how your business can provide for it.
- Create a crystal clear vision of how it will look in five years. What will your role be in the company? What will you be selling? Products? Services? Who will work for you? What will their roles be? How much money will you be bringing in each month?
- Focus like a laser on the things you will need to do and learn to create this new company.
- Make a realistic plan. The business of your dreams won’t be created overnight, but with a solid plan, it will become a reality.
- Get excited! Whatever it is you’re dreaming should be what you are most passionate about. Just thinking about all the possibilities should keep you up at night.
You may well be in the middle of building the business of your dreams. You may have just discovered you want to change things and will take action to do so. Whichever the case may be, I applaud you. Take pride in exceeding your clients' expectations every single time, create a business you are passionate about and you will build your fitness business the “right way.”