I would say nearly every trainer I've met, including myself, started their career because they enjoyed working out. In my case, my career began because people just kept asking questions whenever I was in the gym. They seemed to think because I was there frequently and appeared to be in good shape that I must have useful advice. Eventually desperation set in; I needed to raise money for my next college term and my personal training business was born.

I only mention these humble beginnings because I think a similar story is shared by many of you. It also has a correlation to the struggles many trainers have to continually attract new clients. I could share with you some of the most cutting edge marketing tactics or my latest harebrained idea to generate dozens of leads but there would still be some that would struggle and ultimately fail, and it's that which I want to focus this article.

We truly are our own worst enemy. More often than not we get in our own way or are simply paralyzed by traditional thinking.

It doesn't take most new trainers long to figure out that there just isn't going to be enough people beating down your door to not have to learn about sales and marketing. Most trainers shudder at the thought of 'selling' their clients anything -- this becomes one of a series of roadblocks.

I had a real problem taking people's money at first, even though I was dead broke. I felt what I was sharing was common knowledge, and that everyone should know this stuff. The reality is, that statement is entirely true, yet trainers are needed more than ever because of the demands of a North American lifestyle. We can't afford to be experts in many things or we wouldn't be effective at anything. If your neighbors took the time to understand the advanced strategies of effective fitness and nutrition in an effort to better themselves there would be a severe labor shortage in many other industries, or the quality of work would be horrendous. In an effort to better manage all the goals and responsibilities of their chosen lifestyle people rely on you to ensure their health and longevity is protected in the most efficient manner possible.

Consider that for a moment; if that makes sense to you imagine sitting across from your next prospective client and explaining the same thing to them. Imagine if it made sense to them. At no point were you 'selling' them anything, but rather you were establishing valid position for why they might benefit from considering the services you offer. You are an expert. Use your skills to educate others and you will be rewarded with their loyalty and support.

Let's consider this same concept when it comes to marketing. Trainers don't usually have a lot of money to spend on advertising or marketing, yet once we realize we are in business for ourselves we acknowledge that this is part of what we must do. Logically we take note of the things much larger businesses are doing and attempt to emulate. I'm sure you've spent more than you could afford on a variety of things like print ads, radio campaigns, direct mail campaigns, road signs and more. Some may have yielded results and many just made you reluctant to continue to spend money on advertising at all. You may have heard someone like me discuss the value of strategic business alliances or using leadboxes and other marketing tools in other businesses, only to be discouraged when 19 of 20 businesses you asked simply said, "no." Nobody starts a business to help another business succeed. So you shouldn't be surprised when other businesses say no to helping you when it comes to displaying anything from posters, to business cards or leadboxes; but you shouldn't take no for an answer.

If you believe in what you do you must be filled with conviction to spread your message. After all, people's long-term health and well being depend on it. When a strategic partner says no they're really saying the same thing as you are when you turn away the pushy salesman. They're saying they don't know or trust you and they see no immediate benefit to them in that which you are offering. The next time you talk with a strategic partner and they seem less than interested thank them and reassure them that you understand. Then offer them an extended trial of your services at no-charge. If you believe in your message you have a responsibility to help them be more successful by improving their health and well-being with your expert skills. Winning their favor could have long-term positive benefits, and what better way to do it than to invest in them and make a difference in their lives?

Stick to what made you become a trainer in the first place. Remember that people first told you that you were an expert even before you decided you would be one. Don't sell or pitch, but rather use your unique talents to better others and suddenly my hare-brained lead generation tactics will begin to work like magic.


Cabel McElderry, now known as the Profitable Personal Trainer, struggled as a solo personal trainer for nearly eight years before learning the strategies he needed to transform his barely six-figure business to a seven-figure (and growing) training studio in just a couple years. His studio (One-to-1 Fitness), now 5 years old, has won multiple awards for business excellence. Cabel has been recognized as one of the top 100 fitness entrepreneurs in North America and is currently one of 50 nominees for Optimum Nutrition's Canadian Trainer of the Year. Cabel still trains a handful of clients as his passion to help others will never fade but has also evolved. Cabel now also mentors fitness professionals in an effort to help them achieve similar or better results than his own. www.ProfitablePersonalTrainer.com

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