Have you noticed that every personal trainer and his dog is becoming an online trainer? You can’t log on to a single social network without seeing someones ad, post or question about online training. It’s labelled as the next “big thing” and we’re all pretty sure it’ll make us rich.
So why isn’t anybody buying it? There are so few trainers who are “killing it” with online training it makes me wonder whether it really is the next big thing…
If you do a search for online personal training on Google you get ONE good result. Seriously. Just one. The rest are generic advice sites, mediocre DIY fitness website or review sites. It’s not encouraging.
But everyone does hang out on Facebook nowadays. Maybe all the successful online personal trainers are on there? Nope. Search any Facebook group for online training advice and you’ll see everyone is pretty much winging it.
So if there are literally hundreds of thousands of trainers trying their hand at online personal training but only a handful of trainers doing well with it, logic dictates that either;
Here’s what I think is going on:
1. You’re Selling to the Wrong Mindset
Personal trainers sell online personal training in the same way and to the same people they sell their face to face personal training to. But people who buy online training are in a very different mindset to people who buy face to face training.
Ask any number of your face to face clients why they train with you. I’d bet my morning coffee one of the top answers you get is accountability. People pay for your services because having someone to meet and be accountable to for their training sessions helps ensure they stick to it and get the results they paid for.
A study by Deana Melton, Human Performance and Leisure Studies Department, North Carolina A&T State University, found that the main reasons women choose and stay with a personal trainer are:
3 out of 4 of these reasons are much easier to accomplish in a face to face environment. So naturally, it makes sense to include accountability as a feature or benefit of online personal training, right?
Without going back to trading your time for the same amount of money, it’s almost impossible to offer full accountability. Without that face to face appointment and eye to eye connection it’s much easier for clients to lie, bend the trust and wiggle their way out of training.
And here’s the thing. It doesn’t even matter if YOU think you can keep them accountable. If the client knows they’re not, they won’t even give you the chance to prove it and signing up to your service.
So what’s the solution?
Simple. You sell to clients who DON’T need accountability.
That’s right. There are literally millions of people out there who ARE motivated to go to the gym, they do turn up on time 3-4 times per week, but they would benefit from the advice and direction of an expert like you.
These are the types of people who buy online training.
2. You’re Selling the Wrong Service
People don’t want online training. I did just say that but don’t get your panties in a twist just yet.
Going back to what I said above, if the people we should be selling our online training to don’t want accountability, then they’re probably not super excited when they see the words “online personal trainer”.
That’s because the word personal trainer is associated with accountability.
All that leaves us to sell then, is our workouts.
Can’t people find millions of free workouts online?
Absolutely yes. But those free workouts don’t contain the three main ingredients of a workout someone might pay for:
Your experience and reputation for getting results will be the biggest seller of online training. In fact, if you don’t have any solid proof that you’ve helped someone achieve their goals with you, you’re probably not going to sell much.
This can seem like a catch 22. No clients because you have no success stories, no success stories because you have no clients. But don’t worry, it’s not unethical to test your systems on face to face clients so that you can then take that system online later.
Then it’s simply a case of personalising that system to each new client.
3. You’re Marketing in the Wrong Way
It’s not uncommon to assume that when a new client contacts you that they made a decision there and then to get in touch. But in reality, that just isn’t the case.
With an unlimited amount of information at their fingertips, buyers often go through a complex journey before they get in touch with you. We call this the Buyers Journey.
The Buyers Journey consists of three stages:
Your job as the marketer of your personal trainer business is to accommodate clients at every stage of the buyer journey.
You help clients in the Awareness stage by writing helpful and valuable content. For example, a guide on how to avoid shin splints for marathon runners.
You help clients in the Consideration stage by making sure you display your services and pricing on your website clearly.
And you help clients in the Decision stage displaying company reviews, success stories and comparison charts that will help them come to a decision.
Read more about the Buyer Journey here.
Consider selling your services to the people who are most likely to buy, not the people you are most comfortable with selling to.
Position your services as something clients can relate to and identify as a solution to their problem.
Don’t just try to make sales. Provide value to people BEFORE they choose to hire you. Become the best source of information in your niche so that when it comes to the time to buy, you’re the first person on their list.
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