It's been nearly five months since I opened my private indoor bootcamp facility. As you can imagine, the first few months were rough, but now we're rolling. I have a great location, a great staff, and tons of clients I love. Business has been so good that I have my eye on opening a second location in the near future.
Behind all of this there is one thing I can credit for all of my success more than anything else: giving value. I'm always looking to give my customers value that is above and beyond what they are paying for their training services. It's my belief that when you do business this way, it makes life very easy; your retention is guaranteed, your referrals are through the roof, and your own personal work satisfaction will also be very high as a result.
The problem with a lot of business people -- especially those I encounter in the fitness industry -- is they're just way too stingy when it comes to giving value to their clients. Human nature is partly to blame. There's one experiment I remember hearing about that explains this.
In it, the subjects were told they were going to get a portion of $100. They had the option to decide if they were happy with the split of the money, and if they weren't, they could decide that no one would get the money. What was the result? The overwhelming majority of people would rather have no free money at all rather than let someone else get more value than them.
Are you running your business this way? Are you afraid to give away value because you feel you're getting the short end of the stick? If so, then shame on you; and if your profits aren't at the level you want them to be, this probably explains it.
My approach is the opposite. I try to think of every conceivable way that I can give more value to my customers while still running a profitable business and managing my schedule.
On that subject, here are some of the ways I give value in my training business. You can apply a few of these tips to your business. If you do, I have a feeling you'll be shocked by how your business grows and the effect it has on every part of what you do.
Price: We run group sessions here with 10-25 clients per hour. But despite the group size, we try to keep it as personal and customer centric as a private training session. So the result is we can market our program as an alternative to personal training, whereas one month of it costs as much as what I would normally charge for a single personal training session. How's that for a value proposition.
Convenience: I try to have as many hours as possible available for my clients. Whereas some people would just try to shove as many people as possible into existing classes, we open up additional hours whenever the demand warrants it. As long as I'm making money, I know the added satisfaction and convenience for my customers will make it worthwhile.
Environment: These days, I see trainers putting very little thought into the look and layout of their bootcamp facilities. Even though we are just one room, I modeled the place after some of the most luxurious gyms in New York City, and put thought into the little things like the furniture, bathroom design and equipment. This has resulted in a posh environment that adds tremendous value to the experience.
Services: Our facility also offers some of the extras, like a spring water cooler, free apples members can grab on their way out, a towel service, and other things you wouldn't expect from a small facility. Customers get little perks that go way above and beyond what they'd expect. We even give a little light massage to the back of every client during the stretching phase of the workout, even when we have groups of 20 or more clients. Can you imagine the effect this has on them? They are very satisfied, to say the least, and this has given us retention and referral rates that are through the roof.
Training: You'll notice that up to now, I haven't mentioned anything about the actual training, which is the product that we are selling. Don't think I've ignored it. I'm always working with my trainers, constantly refining workout programming, and thinking of ways to make the workouts more fun. This is one area where I can't take any of the credit: I've been lucky enough to consult with some of the top trainers in the country. They've helped me create a training product that is achieving amazing results for our clients.
Customer relations: Even though I'm not doing the training anymore, don't think that I'm sitting back and sipping mojitos all day. I still spend a lot of time at my facility interacting with customers on a daily basis. I really care about them, their results, and their satisfaction, and I do my best to let it show. We also frequently have small parties for our members which I'm sure they enjoy. In the short time we've been open so far, we've already had an early summer nighttime soiree and a mid-summer barbecue, plus we have an end of summer bash planned for the end of the month. Overall, we go above and beyond the call of duty for our clients to create a fun, personal environment that is about more than just the money and the training.
I'm sure it's now clearer how business is done at my studio. And this just scratches the surface in describing what our training business is about. The bottom line is that I've given as much value as possible. And although I could probably charge twice what I currently do, I chose not to. The end result is clients flock to our business, despite the fact that we do little outside marketing. So if you want the same results, I'd ask you to think about the same thing -- what are the little things you could do to add more value to your services? Answering that in a way that still allows you to run your business profitably will help your earning explode. Good luck and let me know how it's working out for you on my Facebook page.
Kaiser Serajuddin is the writer of the popular personal training blog, Super-Trainer.com. He guides personal trainers through the challenging period of starting their personal training businesses and helps them on the road to six figures. For more information, you can download his special report, The Six-Figure Formula, at www.super-trainer.com.