Weall love this time of the year. The holidays are coming, and New Year'sisright around the corner. Clients will be making their resolutions and justflockingto us, right? Wrong! People are not flocking these days. If you wanttosee an increase in business in 2010, you've gotta earn it. And I've got justtheplan for you!

Gofor greatness in the new year. A little planning, creativity and thedecisionto work on your business and not always in your business will helpyouto realize growth in revenue for 2010. Here are some solid growth-orientedplanningtools and ideas for you to try to do just that:

JanuaryWeight-loss Contest
Yes,people do want to lose weightinthe New Year and often set overzealous goals. Here is one contest I havefoundto be tremendously successful. It's a six-week "Biggest Loser" typeprogramwith a goal of both motivating clients and boosting your business.Tryusing this structure as a template for your contest:

  • Teams of five people (two of the five people must be non-clients or non-members).
  • The cost of the contest is $50 per person.
  • Weigh-ins are every two weeks.
  • The team with the greatest percentage of weight loss within six weeks wins $2,500.

Useyour current database or newsletter to advertise, or get the wordoutthrough social media, direct mail and newspaper. Think outside of theboxto capture new clients and gain visibility for your business. Keep everyonemotivatedby raffling off your own services to help the newcomersexperienceyour business first-hand.

CreativeMarketing for New Clients
Thereare several ways youcanattract new clients or members to your studio or facility:

  • Write a press release. Contact the local media, and pitch a story that makes you and/or your business unique. It takes a lot of persistence, but it's worth it for the free advertising you gain.
  • Donate to silent auctions and charity functions. Give away packages for personal training or massage therapy at fundraisers or community events. Get your name out there.
  • Develop eye-popping marketing brochures and flyers. This doesn't mean expensive, but it does mean professional, creative pieces with excellent graphic quality aligned to your brand and culture. Consider www.printsmadeeasy.com or www.vistaprint.com.
  • Create unique attractive specials. Make your marketing about them (the prospective clients), not you! Use a catchy title, strong offer, swift call to action, powerful testimonial with picture and high-quality graphics. Sell the benefits, not the features.
  • Use guerilla tactics. Small marketing budget? Place flyers on windshields after a race, develop a relationship with a local sporting goods or running store, or visit local businesses to introduce yourself and inquire about leaving some marketing brochures.
  • Position yourself as the expert in your community. Donate and volunteer your time in the local schools or at community events. Offer free educational programs at your studio or local businesses to develop your network. Write educational articles for your local newspapers, media sources, blogs or newsletters. Collect rave testimonials as you go.
  • Add new revenue streams to your business. You need at least five revenue streams coming through your training business. In addition to training, maybe you add corporate fitness or sell retail items or nutrition products. Bring on a chiropractor, physical therapist and/or massage therapist to work at your studio. Develop passive revenue through strategic affiliate partnerships that work for you 24/7. Mine range from fitness products (i.e. TRX Suspension Trainer) to corporate fitness programs (www.corporatefitchallenge.com), to detox programs (www.thefitnessjeanie.com/love-my-body) and nutrition products.
  • Network, network, network. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are tools that can help drive your products, programs and affiliates via viral marketing. Dedicate an hour or two of time each week to these media channels.
  • Blog. Besides getting your message out there virally, blogging is a great way to improve search engine optimization on your website. One blog entry per week keeps information fresh, builds a following and educates your readership. Start writing!

Whileit is common to focus on how to attractmoreclients, it's less expensive, more efficient and much better businesstoinvest time in your existing clients. Client retention is the key tosurvivaland success.

  • Improve your customer service. Develop and deliver legendary customer service. You do this by making people feel special each and every session, whether it be their first, 10th or 48th. Call, email and text on a regular basis to keep your "voice"â❠in their ears. You are their coach, and it must go beyond the one-hour session. Connect, motivate, and inspire daily!
  • Throw a party for your clients! Everyone loves a party, and this is a great way to connect to your clients and celebrate. Have an open house, an educational event such as a cooking class or a more formal talk. Consider an actual evening out open to all clients and members. Connection is the name of the game. Give something away with a raffle or "party gift,"â❠and make people feel special.
  • Get all of your clients a gift! It doesn't matter how big or small, do something special for your clients at the holidays. Choose a massage, a bottle of wine, a gift certificate for a local restaurant or store - just do something for each person.
  • Be creative with the options you provide your clients. Semi-private options and group training/classes make your services more affordable during this tough economy. Semi-private sessions can be two to four clients training at one time and paying between $30 to $40 per session. Group training or classes can have up to 20 people who are paying between $10 to $20 per session. Leverage your time and potentially create more revenue per hour as well. Announce a January start for these new opportunities.
  • Do the little things. I call this the "and then some"â❠effort. Handwrite a card to say "thank you."â❠Write a note of inspiration or to wish someone well at a big event. Greet clients at the entrance, and never stop making them feel like a million bucks. Give 100% of your undivided attention, and leave them with a focus for the day. When you can deliver an experience that goes beyond the workout, you are making a difference for each client, mentally, emotionally and physically.
  • Deliver results. The bottom line: You better be great at what you do. Good doesn't cut it anymore. Focus on constant improvement of your skills, invest in yourself, and watch your clients achieve the results they desire.

Today'seconomy will weed out the mediocre trainers from the greattrainers,and I personally believe there will always be opportunities for thesegreattrainers. If you are creative with your programs and your marketing,willingto put in the hours, surrounding yourself with great people and connectingwithyour clients on a deeply personal level, and you get your clientstheresults they desire, 2010 will be your year. Help your clients not only tobecomebetter, but also to become their absolute best. It's the right time forafull-court press to ramp up for the best year in your history. Take a standforgreatness today!

ToddDurkin, MA, CSCS, is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego(www.fitnessquest10.com),where his team of 35 focuses on personal training,massagetherapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training and nutrition.Toddis the Head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council. Hehasappeared on 60 Minutes, ESPN, NFL Network and has been featured inseveralpublications. Men's Health recently named Fitness Quest 10 one of theTop10 Gyms in the US. Todd has authored 28 DVDs on strength and conditioning,functionalfitness, massage/bodywork and business/personal growth.Formore information, visit www.ToddDurkin.com.