Growth can only come from reaching greater numbers of people with your valuable message, funneling prospects into clients, utilizing a forum that optimizes the value of your time and continually building the number of thrilled customers with a spillover mechanism that prevents excessive drain on your energies or your time. And if the goal is to find financial and emotional reward by bettering the lives of others, all three of these elements must be developed and refined. If you have a passion for this industry, it is not only possible, but likely, that the combination of focus, commitment and strategy will ultimately take on a sense of "flow," a sensation equating to effortlessness.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Oftentimes, frustrations stemming from the efforts of "beautifying" their professional landscape plague fitness trainers who fail to identify a primary weakness. They plant "seeds" by getting certified, printing business cards, purchasing insurance and attracting their first handful of clients. Three months later, however, they decide "it isn't working." Some of the clients drop off, nobody else is interested and "you can't earn a living as a fitness professional." However, in its naked form, fitness training marketing is based in client cultivation, talking to people about the value you offer.
A commitment to speak with five people each day about what you do is a guarantee that your reach takes on a life of its own. Can you create impressive direct mail campaigns and drive traffic to a website using Internet promotions? Sure, but those options incorporate risk, expense and a stream of variables that make the anticipated return a best guess. As basic as it seems, speaking to five people a day is a scientific approach, a pure numbers game. Five people per day amounts to over 1,500 people per year 1,500 people you've personally touched, 1,500 people who serve as evidence of your reach.
You will find that connecting with these 1,500 people brings you power. Some of them will work for or own companies with scores, or perhaps hundreds, of employees in need of fitness. Some will have connections with media. Some will know people who know people, and the expansion of your Reach becomes a habit fueled with contagious enthusiasm. I am not discouraging you from launching promotions and ideas that excite you, but I am suggesting that Reach becomes effortless only when the action you take becomes an enjoyable habit and the continued outward ripples expand without any further investment of your time.
The Big Marketing Question Revisited
"What segment of the market is your 'universe?'" is a key question in thousands of marketing books and business-building protocols. As the fitness field matures, trainers are accepting common business practices; thus, fitness professionals, everywhere, seek to answer this question in their respectively unique marketing universes.
The reality is, as fitness professionals, our potential goes far beyond "training" a given market. The opportunity for strategic growth is vast and limiting your marketing to a segment of the universe may hinder potential. Your Funnel and Spillover will allow you to "recruit" from areas of specialty. So, even those clients who fall outside of your preferred demographic can become a contributing and appreciative part of your client stable.
A View of the Entire Target
If "targeting" prospective clients, using the target as a metaphor, the bulls-eye represents the smallest number of prospects, but it may, in fact, represent those who are most likely to commit. As you move outward from this center, the willingness to commit may diminish, but the raw numbers and the actual need increases significantly. And these outer rings are growing and growing and growing. So, you can see that there is a considerable opportunity within this ring for your professional advancement. But as we move further away from the center, the market becomes less pinpointed and less definable but clearly needier. And conversely, as we move toward the center, as we look at the piece of the universe inhabited by the physically fit, we find a proven commitment, an elevated sense of "the norm," in terms of physical prowess and functionality, and a desire to be better with each successive year.
By helping any person inhabiting any ring in this circle realize that the fitness trainer is the vehicle in which to transport them from the physical place they live in now to the physical place that they'd like to be, then the fitness professional is no longer an option, it's a must.
Commit Without Boundaries, and Tap the Outer Ring
Commit to tell five people per day, every day, about what you do, and approach "the Reach" without boundaries, recognizing that, in the long run, every person you touch can become a source of new business. At first, this commitment asks for discipline, but within 90 days, this discipline can change to an enjoyable habit. After all, you love talking to people about fitness, and you have an absolute passion for what you do.
When viewing the "target" from a distance, your greatest potential lies in the masses, in the outer ring. So, how do you optimize your Reach, making certain you touch the outer ring? First, dismiss the perceived need to "target" your market, and recognize that your universe, ultimately, has few borders or barriers. Find "outer ringers" wherever you find people. In fact, think of throwing a net out into an ocean, then, throwing it out again and again and again. Consider that a fishing pole with specialized bait, only appealing to a prize fish, will attract few catches. But casting a net will bring in volumes, which, by the rules of statistical probability, will pull in some genuine prizes in greater abundance than a single-baited pole.
A Positioning Insight
Fifteen years ago, I found a leap in revenue and appeal by learning to combine my Reach and my Funnel, although I hadn't yet perfected the process. The leap came primarily from understanding how I could, using the media, seminars and group gatherings, position myself not as "a trainer," but as "an expert." If I were to offer "position yourself as an expert" as advice with extreme value, I'd be selling you short, however. The terrain has changed over the last 15 years, and the phrase has been passed along and its methods have been so watered down that the phrase itself almost appears impotent.
I'd encourage you to get into the media, to speak at public forums and to appear in front of a group whenever possible. But in today's marketplace, it has to go way beyond the same "expert" approach, which so many professionals are muddying the water with. The idea is to stand out. Fitness trainers with five-minute segments on the regional news discussing New Year's resolutions or diet scams is commonplace; thus, simply getting into the media is no longer going to make you a stand-out. Get into the media with a hard line, a challenge against convention and the willingness to exploit problem and solution. Think of yourself not as an expert but rather, as a rescuer, as someone who holds the formula to success and then, learn to present it so it comes across as bold, confrontational or even absurd. Love what you do, do what you love, but do it with thought, direction and in
appreciation of your unique gifts. Then, effortless prosperity is more than a dream. It's your destiny.
Phil Kaplan is the author of the new "Change Your Mind - Change The World" program, available in downloadable format at www.philkaplan.com. Be sure to look for the third installment of this series in the April issue, which discusses "The Funnel," the strategy for driving those you touch to generate continued revenue.