As more and more of the industry recognize personal training as a viable revenue stream, we aspire to develop efficient and prudent systems. As you develop your systems, picture your perfect personal training team. What does it look like? What characteristics do your trainers have? What is the perception of my team from the community within and around my facility? The following are some common variables found in the best Personal Training Systems:

An Entrance Screening Program

Not just a formal interview, this program should challenge the potential trainers, create value in the acceptance to the team, and filter out candidates that would end up wasting your valuable time and resources. It may be hard to believe, but making it more difficult to come on board can be your top recruiting tool. You must have the perception of value. No longer should you say, “I'm trying to hire a new trainer.” You want trainers saying, “I'm trying to get hired by club X.”

Finding qualified trainers can be a constant struggle. If your entrance program is structured correctly, it can prove to be your greatest asset in the development of strong personal trainers. In addition to an interview, the program should incorporate components that establish minimum qualification levels, such as a tryout and a basic training exam; a proposed business plan, which helps to alleviate the acclimation period; and a written record of anticipated work habits.

In no way, though, is the program intended to intimidate or belittle a potential candidate. As this may be the first time these trainers are asked to undertake a formal entrance screening, you should provide as much encouragement and direction to help the candidates through the process.

A Rewarding Pay Structure

Consider the platinum rule when talking pay. Good compensation will lead to a thriving and motivated work force. Good training systems structure training payouts so that the harder the trainer works and the more revenue they earn the more they can take home in their paychecks. Flat rate payout plans don't produce the type of capitalistic environments that lead to continued success for many companies. Two tips here: don't be afraid to educate the trainers as to the cost associated with running your program and plan your expected net within your pay structure.

The Delivery of a Consistent Quality Product

This is an absolute must if you plan to be in business longer than a few months. Clubs with weak educational foundations will find an increased need to conduct excessive prospecting to continually acquire new clients. The best systems base their programs on education. Be relentless, firm, and feasible. There are many creative and exciting ways to provide ongoing training knowledge to your group. A program without continued stimulus will go stale fast. You should link your compensation plan to educational levels and promote career paths for the team. You need the type of trainers that pride themselves on their capabilities. And your members deserve the kind of valued service they're charged for. Education will keep your trainers from over promising and under delivering.

A Comprehensive Revenue Tracking System

No one likes to use the word steal. I like to refer to trainers taking payments under the table as permanently borrowing. Whether you know it or not, odds are you're losing training dollars to theft. This is one of the hottest topics in the industry. Out of all the systems I've researched the best include the following variables;

  • Checks and balances between the trainer and the acceptance of revenue. Trainers should sign the agreements and your front desk should enter the revenue and agreement information into your cash drawer.
  • Training logs must be kept current and in open view.
  • Training agreements for each client must be kept with the training log.
  • Every client should sign before each session.
  • There can be no exceptions.
  • Remember a lock is only there to keep an honest man out. The human element always plays a factor in the verification of revenue.

    A Formal Assessment

    A formal assessment. There is no better way to quantify your training business than with an assessment. Assessments serve many purposes; they overcome objections, create need, demonstrate professionalism and provide the opportunity to redirect trainers during the selling process. They should be utilized in the same manner as a sales consultant uses a profile card during a quest tour.

    Your club should offer initial assessments to every new member as part of their membership. Looking at the industry averages, approximately 12 percent of new club members will work with a personal trainer. So as fitness professionals we should be very concerned with the majority (88 percent) that chose not to get involved with a trainer. Members must walk away from their initial personal trainer contact with a positive and worthwhile experience. Good assessment plans will re-involve those members with follow-up visits and offer the chance to sell personal training at a later date. I take a lot of pride in our assessment and view it as our fingerprint to the industry.

    Of course the best system is the one that works. In my experience I find that most systems work as long as you follow the game plan. I hope that you find these tips helpful and wish you the best of luck in your future training endeavors.

    Kevin Laferriere is the fitness director for Lifestyle Family Fitness and has been in the health club industry for 13-plus years. He can be reached at Klaferriere@lifestylefamilyfitness.com.