We’ve all been there, especially at the start of our personal trainer career. In an attempt to get more clients, we offered free trials and ended up attracting people who were only interested in getting some freebies but weren’t the type of “lead material” that we could turn into paying clients.
Across all the fitpro forums there seem to be a debate whether personal trainers should give out free trials or not. Some say it’s a waste of your precious time and automatically means you don’t value yourself enough, others believe it’s essential to build rapport with people who don’t know you yet.
We say a free trial offer's success depends on who you are targeting, how you time the offer and what your strategy is to convert these prospects into clients. Here are three efficient ways to offer free trials.
1. Free Trial From the Start
You can use free trials from the very start of your funnel when you have a low-end service like an online group personal training program. It must be easy to add people to the program and the program would help them achieve a small goal in a set period of time.
You'll get a lot of freebee seekers but you'll be able to sign up a lot of them so long the actual free trial is well designed and there’s a solid follow-up process in place.
Our client Chris, founder of Synergy Fitness Studio runs small group PT sessions several times a week and his promise is that people will feel more energised, can start losing weight and feel better in their skin soon after signing up. It makes sense to put a permanent “Free trial week” offer on his marketing assets, like website, Facebook page, flyers, etc because he can deliver on that promise.
If you run a free trial to the public, you need to make sure you have systems in place to follow the progress of all new attendees and keep them accountable so that they don't fail on the free trial.
Once the free trial is over, schedule a follow-up consultation to find out how they found it and to showcase all the benefits of signing up.
Because you are already running the sessions, it won’t take too much extra effort to add these people, so if they don’t sign up you don’t have much to lose. However, if your sessions and your follow-up consultation is on point, you will be able to turn most of those prospects into clients.
2. Free Trial in the Middle
This type of offer is not visible on any of your front end marketing assets, like your website and leaflets. An outsider looking in would not know you ran a free trial until they become an insider. Usually by joining a group or signing up to an email list.
This type of free trial is especially effective in signing up new members because you have already established some rapport by the time the person requests a fee trial.
Thereby eliminating freebie seekers while at the same time, only offering a free trial to people who are serious about working with you.
You have a lead magnet on your services page set up to capture details of those who are considering hiring a professional but not ready just yet to get straight in touch to find out more. The contact details of those who downloaded that lead magnet would be added to a segmented email list created solely for this purpose.
The email sequence would attempt to persuade the subscriber that your services are the best choice for them using logical and emotional reasoning.
Should attempts at persuading them fail, you offer a free trial as a low barrier to entry.
You target these “leads” with an email series of great value content and in the middle of it you drop in a “Free Consultation and Goal Setting Session” offer. You can be sure that if you have your consultation process on point, most of the people who take on the offer will be easy to convert.
3. Handpicked Free Trials
Handpicking people for a “Free Trial” offer is a great solution when you have a group of leads who interact with your business on a regular enough basis that they know you well. Offering a trial to the ones who show more interest and are in a “maybe” position might just be the push they need to turn it into a “yes”.
When you work in a commercial gym there will be members who come to you with their questions and may even ask you about your services. When you feel the time is right offer them a free trial session.
In the session reflect on their individual issues, provide value, but keep it reasonably short and ensure you wow them with the exercises and your expertise.
At the end of a great experience people tend to be more inclined to buy as they feel they found the solution for their pain. This doesn’t mean you should try to hard sell there and then, but ensure you give them the opportunity to sign up if they wanted to.
This method also works with people who are already clients on a low-end package, like group classes and are asking about your higher end services, like small group or personal training.
Free trial offer is not at all evil, but if executed poorly you can end up investing too much energy without making any profit, so make sure your free trial offers are strategically planned, they target the right crowd and their timing is on point.
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