Here we are yet again at a time of new beginnings. 2010 is almost upon us, and it’s time to trot out our goals for the new year. I’ve found that goal achievement comes from not only creating goals but from making sure your goals are specific, actionable, time-oriented and realistic. Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about:

  • Specific: Being rich is a dream. Earning $100,000 in 2010 is a goal.
  • Actionable: Getting five new leads a week is not actionable. Performing one speaking engagement to generate new leads is an actionable goal.
  • Time-oriented: Developing a $10,000-per-month business is a goal, but developing a $10,000-per-month business in the next four months is a better goal.
  • Realistic: If you currently earn $50,000 per year, then earning $75,000 to $100,000 next year is probably reasonable. Earning $3 million next year is not.
Once you’ve identified your goals, the next step is to write them down. Set goals for income, gaining clients, specific marketing efforts and other specific targets to aim for. Then create your action plan, detailing what you’ll do to achieve these goals, when you’ll perform these actions, which members of your personal network and what assets do you have at your disposal that can help you and any other keys to bringing your goals to fruition. Then it’s simply a matter of execution.
Every day you need to be proactive and take specific actions that will bring you closer to your goals instead of just reacting to whatever comes your way. Here are five of the most valuable actions you can take to increase your income over the next year:
1. Optimize your approach to marketing and sales. To maximize your potential income, you will need to work on these sales and marketing components:
  • Lead generation - Having multiple ways to generate a steady stream of qualified prospects each and every month is crucial to your success. In a club setting, having a system for calling inactive members, working the floor to meet active members, setting appointments with all new members and doing in-club activities like testing body fat and holding seminars are all effective lead generation strategies. These leads would then be directed to a complimentary goal assessment and personal training session.
  • Consistent sales process - Once you have a prospect, now you have to convert them into a paying client. Refine your sales presentation through role plays, post-presentation evaluation and simple repetition. This will result in more sales and bigger packages sold.
  • Offering an immediate up-sell and backend sales - The real money is in maximizing the lifetime value of each client, so after the initial sale, find ways to maximize the purchases your clients make. If your club offers supplements or weight management, those are ideal complimentary offerings for your clients. You can also sell additional sessions or upgrade your clients to bigger packages to increase their value.
  • Systematic referral and retention system - Since referrals are the preferred type of prospect, you should ask for referrals on a regular basis (point-of-sale, assessment, re-sign, etc.) and reward your clients for the referrals by giving them gift of some sort. The foundation of your retention strategy is getting results for your clients and overdelivering on everything from their newsletters to remembering birthdays. One unique thing you can do is to send periodic greeting cards showing appreciation of their choice to do business with you to both enhance retention and ask for referrals.

2. Raise your prices. This is the most simple, yet overlooked strategy for increasing your income. If you perform 30 sessions per week and raise your prices by just five dollars per session, you’ve increased your yearly income by $7,800. Not a bad improvement, considering that you didn’t have to do anything else differently. Most of your clients won’t even bat an eye at this increase, and the ones that have a problem with a small price increase will almost always be your “headache clients.” Simply move on, and you’ll soon replace them with a new client happy to pay your fee.
3. Have a “backend.” The lifetime value of a client is the total amount of money that a client spends with you during the duration of the time you do business together. Most trainers limit this number to the amount that each client spends on personal training sessions. Since your clients undoubtedly view you as their fitness resource, don’t make them look elsewhere when they need to purchase supplements, foam rollers, nutritional coaching or anything else that would be complimentary to your personal training services. You’re helping your clients achieve better results, ensuring that they make the right choices when making fitness-related purchases and increasing your profits as well.
4. Apply leverage. This is probably my favorite strategy. You can leverage other trainers by hiring them to train clients for you or farming out some of the clients you acquire and charging a finder’s fee. You can leverage your time by running boot camps or only semi-private training instead of the traditional one-on-one that forces you to trade your time for one client’s money. You can leverage your knowledge by creating an information product that you can sell to your client or online. You can leverage your clients by having the “backend” I previously mentioned. Remember, you don’t always have to trade your time for one client’s money.
5. Specialize. If you want to be perceived as an expert and compensated accordingly, you have to specialize. Generalists are never compensated as well as specialists in any field, and personal training is no different. Identify the type of clients you like to work with, and specialize in that market. Prospects will immediately start chasing you instead of the other way around. Marketing will become easier because you’ll know exactly who you’re looking for, and referrals will come in more frequently because you’ll be perceived as the resident expert in your area of specialization.
Set your goals. Develop an action plan with these and other income boosting strategies. Start executing on a daily basis. Before you know it, your goals for the upcoming year will be a reality.
Pat Rigsby is a co-owner of the International Youth Conditioning Association and the youth fitness franchise Athletic Revolution. He is also a fitness industry consultant, serving thousands of personal trainers and fitness entrepreneurs. You can sign up for his free fitness business newsletter to discover proven marketing, sales and business strategies, along with blog updates, news and more at