I'm sure most people would agree the beginning of each New Year has to be the peak of fitness awareness. You'd think just being in any aspect of the fitness industry that you are poised for automatic success come January 1, but this isn't always true for personal trainers.

The holiday season is now upon us. Christmas parties, late nights, bad food, and major expenditures, and an average weight gain of 9-12 lbs. January 1 is a very special day, it's the beginning of all things anew, especially when it comes to health and fitness. I call this the "clean slate" mentality. As emotional creatures the prospect of wiping away all worry and sweeping last year under the rug is both healthy and appealing. We're left with bursting motivation, inspiration, and enthusiasm that has us single-handedly ready to take on the world. As one considers their weight loss options another reality sets in, that of fiscal responsibility. The added expense of the holidays has many feeling the crunch; no matter, though, as with this level of motivation the simple cost effective product will be good enough. To me this is known as a "public gym membership." The problem with a public gym membership and our highly motivated prospect is that it doesn't often include a lot of tailored instruction, guidance or the accountability to help them surpass the lull in motivation once the body reaches it's first plateau after rapid change.

I suspect collectively we could almost circle the day on the calendar most people's motivation will fail. Late January to early February our personal training studio is flooded with new prospects. These faces of frustration are looking for answers, as their seemingly simple New Year's plan hasn't delivered the expected results. They're now left with a difficult choice: give up or seek other help.

Now sure as a personal trainer looking to grow your business this sounds promising in a way you can plan for. However, these prospects come with added objections. They're much more cost sensitive because many have made long-term commitments to public gyms in an effort to minimize their fitness expenditures because they were so highly motivated. They're apprehensive about creating more expense or paying for multiple things.

Now that you understand the mindset of the consumer you can prepare for it.

In January I recommend you use low-cost, high-value programs that offer the consumer a logical choice to satisfy their emotions. Offer a price competitive product to the public gym membership with more value and see people flock to you. Most consumers feel they just need a "kick start" and can continue on their own from there, so short-term programs fit their mentality and give you the opportunity to develop your relationship with them to lead to conversion and ongoing service.

In late January through February consider leveraging small group programming into aggressive discount strategies. The savvy entrepreneur might openly promote this as a "we'll buy your gym membership" promotion in an effort to speak to the concern of the consumer that made an impulsive commitment at a time when they were emotionally charged with enthusiasm.

In any case, whether it's New Year's or any time of year, start planning each marketing campaign by defining who your audience is and what their most likely emotional behaviors will be.


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

Topic: Entrepreneur Web Column

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