Frustration -- that was the look on my old friend’s face as I walked into the club last week and headed up to do my cardio.
    Irritation -- that was the look on my face because I despise cardio so much!
    I understood the reason for the look on my face, but I was a little puzzled by the look on my friend’s face. So, out of curiosity, I asked what the frustration was from. He told me he wasn’t as busy as he wanted to be. He said he has tried everything he knew in his years of training to add a few more clients but couldn’t seem to find a solution.
    I think many of us in the fitness industry find this problem every now and then. This doesn’t mean we aren’t good trainers or are losing our special touch, it simply means it may be time to do a little self-evaluation and see if we can expand our horizons.
    Let me explain.
    At one point in my training career, I was training 10-12 clients a day. I was heavily into the bodybuilding, fitness and figure scene. What I realized when I look back was that 85% of the people I was training were also competing in bodybuilding, figure or fitness. Once I decided to get out of the competitive scene, I found the client shift gradually changed to weight loss or conditioning training.
    What I have come to realize is many trainers train in areas they either have strong personal affinity to such as sports or competition or they train in an area that is simply a comfort zone. Sometimes what we may need to do to attract new clients may be to attract a “different” client from what we have been working with.
    Take a look at your active client list, and look for similarities. If you notice there are similarities, ask yourself if this is a niche, a comfort zone or something you are personally into. There is nothing wrong with a niche, comfort zone or personal interest, but remember, we are trying to find a few new clients in a difficult time.
    Adding to your portfolio of client will not only broaden the base on potential candidates to train with you but also help you become more well-rounded as a personal trainer and master of your craft. The more you know, the more you can do and the more respect you will earn in the industry. The more you are respected, the more in demand you become and the more you can justify the fee for your services.
    So here is what I would suggest:

    • Determine what your weaknesses are. What do you know the least about? Are you familiar with sport-specific training, special populations and geriatrics? If not, go get educated, and broaden the customer base you can cater to.
    • Find someone who is strong where you are weak. Talk to them, shadow them, find out where they got their knowledge from, and go get your own!
    • Help the trainers who are weak where you are strong. This is a network business of referrals and strengths. Help other trainers become better at what they do, and you will be talked about!

    The idea is not that there are no more clients left to train, the idea is we have to be able to cast a larger net of clients we can attract. You know things the average people need to know, so go find them and prove your value. Become a more well-rounded trainer, earn your respect, and get busy!
    Happy training and wishes of good health!
    Mike McDaniel is an authority of leadership, goal-setting disciplines, sales strategies and corporate physical fitness. He has been a professional trainer for over 18 years and owned two health clubs, employing over 75 personal trainers. Mike can be booked for speaking engagements, sales training or consultant at