Times have really changed. Thanks to technology, things like social media have changed how we make decisions as consumers and even how we relate to one another. Acknowledge and accept the way we do business has also changed. If you understand the rules you'll see what an opportunity it is.

1. Monthly billing is critical
If you haven't heard of EFT or automatic billing by now, than you have been living under a rock. If you're still selling sessions than you are doomed to fail, it's that simple. A business is built on continuity, predictable income and sustainable results. Stop selling sessions.

2. Guarantee more than just results
By now many people have adopted a guarantee. If you haven't it's likely because you may be afraid to. You might be concerned about how you can guarantee results when it's so dependent on your client's compliance outside of training sessions. The truth is the guarantee is as much or more for you than it is for them. Think back to the last big ticket item you bought -- a big screen TV, a car maybe. Pretty much everything these days comes with a guarantee or a warranty for one simple reason: the purchaser's peace of mind. As consumers we're deathly afraid that we're making the wrong choice or getting ripped off. If you want people to commit then offer them a money back satisfaction guarantee, ease their concerns and make it easy to commit.

3. Ask first what you can do for them, not what they can do for you
I've coached dozens of new and struggling trainers and my initial advice is always the same thing: Get busy, go train people, don't worry about them paying you, just get busy. Seriously, though, as trainers we're total technicians at first. We're good at one thing -- training people. We're not good at sales, marketing or business. Let your skills do the talking. Just offer to help them with their current workout and follow it up by offering to meet with them to review their goals and further develop their plan at no-charge. After they've seen real value then ask them to make a financial commitment to you. This can be offered a variety of ways -- low cost trials, free sessions, bonuses and guarantees at the beginning of long-term programs and so on. If a client trains on average three times a week for 30 min, that's 78 hours in a year you'll spend training them. If the cost of that training were $6,000 let me ask you, would you be willing to work 84 hours instead of 78? I don't meet too many trainers that say no. You can afford to invest in people; your compassion will build you a great business.

4. Social proof and customer reviews are more important than ever
When we buy something expensive we all do the same things. We search for reviews and the opinions of other people who have used the product. If you're like me I don't really even know how credible these review sites are or who these people are, yet their opinions on the item I am interested in are often the key elements to push me to buy. We're all the same so ask your clients to write a Google or Yelp review or a Facebook recommendation. You may soon find yourself with a lot more clients.

5. Content is still king
You can fight all your competitors for the small audience of people that are ready to make a decision, or you can attract the much larger audience that doesn't yet know you are the solution. Pay attention to what's happening in the media when it comes to health and fitness, write your opinion on the topic and post it on your website. The media ensures people are looking for information on these topics, work smarter not harder and let the media lead these people to your doorstep.

Adopting these five principles in your fitness business will change everything. The best part is they are entirely congruent with the core of what we do: listening to our clients, making change comfortable and providing practical solutions.

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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