Preparing for the New Year rush is something that personal trainers can never leave too late. The sooner you start devising a plan to first attract, and then cope with the inevitable deluge of those New Year’s resolution makers looking to get in shape, the better.
It may seem a bit obvious to say that more people take up exercise in January, but here at Protectivity, we’ve seen evidence of that ourselves.
In the last five years, nearly a quarter of all Sports Accident Insurance sales for ‘Gym Work’ or ‘Fitness Training’ have come in the month of January. All told, the first month of the year outperforms the monthly average by over 75%.
With the extra potential clients comes with the opportunity to earn more cash. Another thing that there is more of in the fitness industry at the moment, though, is competition. A study in April 2016 suggested that there were 23,000 PTs in the UK, with that number undoubtedly on the up.
Standing out and selling yourself and your business as an attractive proposition starts with having a plan in place. And with 2017 approaching its climax, now is the time to set out how you intend to attract and keep hold of newcomers to the fitness world.
The first thing to think about is what you specifically offer. It’s all good and well being a personal trainer, but specialising in a certain area will give you a reputation as a subject expert. Whether you’re more knowledgeable about weight loss, building muscle mass or good cardio health, being the most informed person in your local area on a subject will stand you in good stead.
If you operate in a busy gym, spend some time scoping out both the competition and the opportunities. Is there a gap in the market that is not being exploited? If the demand is there, why not capitalise on it?
‘Trends’ is a phrase that gets trotted out all too often, especially in the fitness world. Whether it is ‘Trampoline Fitness’ or ‘Anti-gravity Yoga’, there is always a new fad taking the market by storm. Keep on top of what is happening in the industry and ensure that if there is a new class or exercise that is working elsewhere, don’t be afraid to try something similar yourself.
Once you know the direction you want to take yourself in when the new year comes, it’s time to think about how you are going to attract those new customers. Just ‘being there’ and hoping the New Year Resolutioners will find you is no good. Putting yourself in the forefront of their mind and pulling those eager exercisers in is vital.
This could be as simple as running an advertising campaign on social media (read our blog on how to best tackle this), or by distributing flyers in your local area.
Christmas lends itself well to providing a temptation proposition to your potential new clients. Many people will have decided that January is the start of a new fitness journey weeks and weeks in advance. This then, gives you a great opportunity to run an offer to get them in ahead of the game.
Frame the offer as a Christmas present to those looking to get in shape in the new year to capitalise on the season of goodwill. Whether it’s a discount, or free sessions, everyone loves a bargain. And by starting that advertising in November or December, you’re already one step ahead of your competitors.
The downside with January’s fitness recruits is that many will not make it to February. Research by active-wear brand Sundried found that 43% of people expect to give up their New Year’s resolution by the time February comes around. And with 95% of those commitments fitness related, that’s a lot of people you need to keep focused.
Obviously, keeping those who do sign up interested and willing to train is the number one aim. However, thinking commercially, it is inevitable that however hard you try, there are going to be drop-outs along the way.
Therefore, it could be in your financial interest to make the most of the early desire to get fit or lose weight of those joining in January. For example, by running a ‘Buy 10 number of sessions, get 5 free’ promotion (the specific numbers can obviously vary), not only do you lock in payment for a set number of sessions early on, but you also give your clients the incentive to keep at it further down the line.
Of course, it’s not about fleecing your customers to get them to pay for more sessions. But by ensuring that they have already committed to a set number of sessions, it provides them with the financial motivation to keep at it.
The main barometer of your success and ability to retain your clients falls down to you, as a personal trainer though. By providing a bespoke, quality service to your clubs you increase the chances of retention with these new recruits. And by devising your plan of action early, you put yourself in a much better position to do just that.