My focus on systems, planning and structure in addition to marketing and promotion has surely been what's helped me establish myself as a fitness professional business mentor. In this column, however, I want to remind you to get back to roots and be sure you're keeping up with the simple things that every great trainer needs to do.

Recently I was attending a chiropractic appointment with my wife. I don't know about you but over the years I've had dozens of clients who could really benefit from chiropractic care but were afraid to see one. Through the power of relationships I was able to direct a number to a trusted colleague who knew exactly what to expect when he was told they were referred by me. Together we were able to help many more people overcome physical obstacles that they may not have been able to achieve with the use of personal training alone.

While sitting in the chiropractic office waiting I looked to my left and noticed a framed photograph of three x-rays of a person's neck. It had a caption that said "spinal correction of one patient." It was nicely framed hanging on the wall and upon a closer look the change in the positioning of the vertebrae was miraculous. In fact as a fitness professional and massage therapist for almost 20 years I would have been reluctant to believe such a significant structural change was even possible. Seeing is believing!

We all know the power of social proof, or if we don't we've certainly been told, yet still I find many fitness professionals really lack when it comes to before and after photos or powerful testimonials. I'm constantly surprised at how many fitness professionals are afraid to ask to take before photos, or struggle to get their clients to give powerful testimonials. Here's some tips that may help.

1) Consider adding basic postural assessment. This gives you a good 'reason' to take a front and side before photo of every client so you may review their posture with them.

2) If the client is uncomfortable with a before photo being taken ask them instead to find you a goal photo of what they wish to look like. In the coming weeks remind them that after the first session they are no longer the same person because of their decision to change. Once you gain their trust ask them to share with you an old photo from home so you may review their current progress with them.

3) Within the first week ask them, "what they love most about training? And what changes they feel?" At the very least write these things down, better sill have them say them on camera so you can add to them later making powerful testimonials.

4) When recording a testimonial with your client use emotional language, ask them what they feel is different, and remind them to be as specific as possible. Encourage them to tell a story.

5) Most important keep asking! Not everyone is comfortable at first but also remind them that something inspired them to make the difficult decision to inquire and get started, empower them to save a life by sharing their story with others and be proud!

My recent experience at the chiropractor was just a pleasant reminder that every industry benefits from social proof, and ours is often much to lax in this department. The continual display of new and recent social proof ensures the continual success of your business.

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.

Topic: Entrepreneur Web Column

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