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Maximize your membership: building your personal training business

Hilary Achauer

Group classes are amazing. People connect with fellow members, push each other, laugh, and get stronger. There’s something special about sharing your sweat and suffering with others. The more your members connect, the stronger your community. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

However, even if group exercise is your bread and butter, you can -- and should -- incorporate personal training into your business model.

Why? Because personal training benefits every aspect of your business.

It’s a great way to improve your ARM (Average Revenue per Member) and bring in revenue when the gym is empty.

Personal training also improves retention. Creating deep, one-on-one relationships between your members and your coaches will help your members feel more connected to your gym.

Finally, giving coaches a way to bring in their own revenue improves employee satisfaction. Most gym owners split personal training revenue with their trainers. A 70/30 split, with 70% going to the trainer is typical. As you know, happy coaches means happy members!

If you’ve never focused on selling personal training, how do you start? Standing in front of a group class and saying, “Does anyone want personal training?” will NOT work. A personalized service needs a personalized approach!

Here are some suggestions for building personal training clients while maintaining a thriving group exercise business.

1. One-on-one onboarding

How do you handle onboarding? Do people learn the ropes through group classes or one-on-one sessions? When new members start their experience at your gym with one-on-one sessions they are accustomed to this type of coaching from the start. The trainer can offer personalized sessions, tailored to the member’s needs and goals, and the member knows exactly who they can approach with any questions or concerns. Many gyms also match a member to a particular coach for the lifetime of their membership during this process. This system also helps newer trainers build their client base.

2. Reach out to members

Many of your members may not know how personal training sessions can help them reach their goals. It’s up to the coaches to point it out! If your coaches are paying attention and developing a relationship with the members, they’ll know what’s going on with the people in their classes. Ideally, they will be recording these things in the CRM software so everyone in the gym has access to this knowledge.

Cobra Command CrossFit joined UpLaunch in June of 2019.  In addition to bringing in 212 leads in two months and converting 56 of those into members, general manager Jill Glasenapp said the emails that are part of UpLaunch's established client journey have helped them increase their personal training clients.

"Our awesome established clients get the 'Don’t forget about mobility emails' and ... a lot of people who I didn’t think would be interested in doing additional stuff reach out to us because of a nutrition tidbit or a mobility tidbit," Glasenapp said. She said after receiving those emails, many members asked for a goal-setting or a personal training session.  

"The goal setting sessions and the reminders through the journey are huge for that and we use it to our advantage big time," Glasenapp said.

"I think it’s effective because it’s hitting the members at the right time," she said.  

She found asking members a month into their membership to touch base with a coach and talk about their goals and how far they've come results in members booking personal training sessions.

Glasenapp said the same goes with nutrition, if your gym offers nutrition coaching. Much of the UpLaunch content covers nutrition, and Glasenapp said they reinforce that information with videos and content on their internal page.

"And once they become comfortable with fitness, what’s the next thing we need to hone in on? Nutrition. Let’s get that on point," Glasenapp said.

3. Sell packages and measure results

As a gym owner you know results only come from consistent hard work. One personal training session isn’t enough. Many gyms find success selling monthly packages of up to one to three sessions a week for a monthly fee. However you structure the cost, make sure the member knows they will only see results if they come in frequently and consistently.

Each trainer should also start with some measurable baseline tied to the member’s goals. Test against that initial measurement frequently to track results!

4. Promote your members’ results

As your personal training clients start to see results, make sure to share their accomplishments on your blog, via email, and on social media (as long as they give you permission first). This will help advertise your personal training services to existing (and potential) members, and it will also make the person you are spotlighting feel good! Everyone loves attention, and you can never go wrong celebrating your members’ accomplishments. Of course you don’t want to ONLY promote personal training clients, but it should definitely be part of your marketing strategy.

All these tips come down to communication and awareness. If you want to build your personal training business, let your members know you offer this service and promote the results!

How to write a Facebook ad for your gym

When was the last time you wrote a new Facebook ad?

If you aren’t getting the leads you once did, it might be time for a rewrite.

We know life as a gym owner is crazy busy. Who has time to spend hours creating the perfect Facebook ad? To help you out, we consulted some of the best marketing minds in the biz and talked to owners of successful gyms to create this free, step-by-step guide to writing a Facebook ad.

Download our guide to writing a Facebook ad customized specifically for gym owners!
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