As health club operators know, personal training can be a major revenue generator for your club, especially if you engage your personal trainers by sharing some basic business principles with them. Doing so allows you to capitalize on the inherent competitive nature of personal trainers. Trainers know about body mechanics, fitness and how to improve human physical performance, but most of them do not know how to run a business and sell.
Here are nine things you can do to energize your personal training team and increase revenue:
1. Create a business plan specifically geared for your training department. Understand that although personal training is a department within your club, it needs to operate as if it is its own business. This will instill a sense of entrepreneurship among your trainers and help them understand how they have control over their income and can drive their own business. Your trainers need to be career-minded and fully committed to their profession.
2. Educate trainers about the club business. Show them how their individual business positively affects the club and increases their own individual success. They need to know what is in it for them.
3. Get rid of small, low-profit margin programs. Put all of the effort into programs that have the most participation or potential for higher profit.
4. Develop a sales-focused training program. If your club has a sales trainer, ask him or her to teach your team the sales basics. Match the right trainer to the client based on need and specialty. Coach them on ways to build rapport with new clients, such as sharing testimonials from past clients. This helps the trainers demonstrate how they will meet the client’s goals. Most importantly, teach them how to ask for the sale.
5. Coach each trainer to develop a personal action plan that includes a minimum monthly sales goal. The expectations need to be set, and the consequences of not meeting goals need to be clear. This training is fundamental to the process. That action plan could include being visible, building small training groups, participating in club fitness programs and social events, maximizing floor service time and providing solid fitness orientations. Set up an action plan for low achievers by giving them a short window to produce results. They either have it or they don't. If they fall in the latter category, you need to be prepared to cut them from the team. Low performers impact your bottom line, but more importantly, they negatively impact the team camaraderie. On the positive side, be sure to have a compensation package in place that rewards your strong performers. Provide incentives for meeting individual benchmarks. For example, pay a cash bonus for going above and beyond the expectation by mid-month.
6. Develop a marketing plan and brand your program so it has an identity. Use that brand for all the fitness programs you offer. Marketing support to help get the word out is an integral aspect of the overall plan. Feature personal training specials in your regular marketing materials, such as flyers, emails and newsletters. Highlight the trainer of the week in the club. Open social media channels for your trainers. Facebook posts about new training programs and classes help encourage members to talk about their experience publicly to spread the word. Encourage trainers to create short videos to post on YouTube. These videos do not need to be professionally produced; even simple videos on a specific training program or trainer can be effective when linked into other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
7. Implement a friendly competition. Given the inherently competitive nature of personal trainers, creating monthly incentives for the top performers goes a long way. Give them options to be creative and the leeway to branch out with new ideas to reach new clients.
8. Encourage your trainers to do small group training. Small group training is an excellent way for trainers to touch more people and show off their skills and knowledge. Some trainers prefer one-on-one training because it creates relationships and accountability for the client. However, small group training can have the same effect and more. The fee per client goes down in small group training, but by increasing the number of clients in each session, it can be cumulatively more profitable. Additionally, in a group setting, clients are developing relationships with other members, which we know increases member retention. Clients who have experienced small group training also are more likely to advance to personal training in the future.
9. Regularly communicate with trainers. This is one of the most important parts of the whole plan. Make sure you set up regular meetings to communicate and motivate. It helps everyone stay focused on the goal. They need to know when they are achieving and when they are falling behind.
Revamping your personal training department in this way is not an easy adjustment for everyone. You may find some trainers will not be able to live up to the task. However, you will find this is a great opportunity to reward and recognize the successes of the trainers who can. Peer recognition and competition plays a large part in motivating trainers, particularly when they see how they can increase their earning potential.
Jarod Cogswell is the general manager of ClubSport Oregon. With almost 25 years of club experience in a variety of capacities, he has transformed struggling fitness facilities into prosperous clubs. Cogswell firmly believes winning club operators are disciplined, they believe and invest in their products and people, and they make service a genuine part of their daily operations.