Business

4 Steps to Stand Out From Other Personal Trainers

4 Steps to Stand Out From Other Personal Trainers on the Gym Floor

A personal trainer's income relies on their ability to gain and retain clients. It seems there is ongoing pressure for trainers to be excellent 'sales' professionals with less focus on their education and training expertise. Trainers are encouraged instead to spend more time connecting with gym members to 'pitch' their services, a skill that few trainers are prepared to employ. In fact, many trainers spend a lot of their time pitching to gym members, yet few are converted to paying clients. While personal trainers are well versed in fitness and health expertise, they are rarely trained in sales, nor are they interested. This trend is happening nationwide. 

This result can be connected to the psychological phenomenon that ‘a confused customer doesn’t buy.’ With an overwhelming amount of vague options, each trainer sounds the same to the potential client making it hard to choose, so they take no action in choosing at all.   This may be why according to IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, only about 12.5% of health club members actually use personal trainers (compared to 44% who participate in group exercise).

I feel that pressure despite my education and expertise as a trainer,  I have to have a solid ‘sales’ pitch and spend time connecting with gym members. In fact, many trainers spend a lot of their time pitching to gym members, yet so few actually are brought on as clients. I thought this could just be my experience, but discovered this is happening nationwide. 

What these personal trainers are lacking is a clear message that differentiates them from other fitness professionals. They need a unique selling proposition (USP).

Major brands use a unique selling proposition to sell all sorts of products and services. Imagine if you are looking for a specific solution to a problem. For example, let’s say you want to buy a new pair of running shoes that won’t make your heels hurt when you run on pavement. You may go to the shoe store and look through several brands of shoes, many of which sound like they could do the job. But, if you found one pair that said Extra Cushioned Heel for Improved Running Comfort, you would immediately buy them and feel certain you made the right decision.
 
Some of the most popular brands that are known for their unique selling propositions include Federal Express whose tagline is “when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” and Domino’s who offers, “Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.”

 
If you see your personal training as a business, it is vital to understand what makes your training style and personality different from the sea of personal trainers. As in any business, a clear message about specific results is crucial to quickly building your clientele with clients that you’ll retain for months and years to come. 
 
In this article, you’ll discover a simple four-step process to discover your unique selling proposition and differentiate yourself from other personal trainers.  
 
Designing your unique selling proposition is not difficult, though it may take some deep thinking. Here are four steps to discover your own USP to stand out from every other trainer on the gym floor.

Step 1 – Brainstorm Added Benefits

Create a list of the unique features and services you can offer your clients above and beyond being a workout buddy. How can you offer more in-depth information, expertise, or added benefits? For example, maybe you could send a healthy recipe each week to your client list via email, or maybe you could always include an exercise that you did when you were playing professional football each week. Maybe you could give them a written cardio workout to do each week outside of your sessions. Write a large list of ideas that you could easily implement.  

Step 2 – Discover Unique Offerings

From the original list, choose 2 or 3 benefits that your competitors can’t copy or imitate. These are specific to your education, experience, personal insights, or personality. Discover what you can offer in a way that no one else can. For example, if you have skills as a DJ, maybe you can give custom playlists to your clients. Or, your yoga background makes you perfectly suited for assisted stretching that gets into the hips and hamstrings beyond what other trainers can offer.  To get you started, consider your personality, unusual combinations of experience, personal story of overcoming struggle, and greatest achievements to see how you are unique.

Step 3 – Meet Emotional Needs

Put yourself in your client’s shoes and think of the emotional needs that each of your unique benefits can meet. What do they struggle with that you can help alleviate with these benefits? For example, maybe you save your clients time by providing them with a meal plan, grocery list, and recipes for the week, which in turn relieves the stress of planning. Maybe you send them motivational wake up texts each morning to encourage them to get out of bed and get to the gym, which provides motivation they wouldn't otherwise get. Or maybe you offer them peace by writing out a schedule so all they have to do is follow it.

Step 4 – Summarize What They Get

For each of the unique offerings you created in step 2, summarize the benefits the client will get from what you offer. For example, if you are offering grocery lists, recipes, and healthy-eating shortcuts, your summary may be “spend more time enjoying dinner and less time making it.” If you keep an updated Spotify playlist for your clients, your summary may be “providing powerful workouts to motivating soundtracks updated weekly for your convenience.” Include the emotional component and the benefits offered into one phrase. This becomes your tagline.
 
As you complete this process, it’s important to recognize a few things your USP will not accomplish. It will not make you the ‘best trainer ever.’ Instead, you’ll focus on one specific area of expertise. It will not attract every client, only the clients that are best suited to you and your brand. It will not make you a ‘better’ trainer than the other fitness professionals at your gym, but rather position you to bring on more qualified clients whom you’ll love training.
 
Next time you approach a potential client, try introducing yourself with your tagline. “Hi, I’m Alycia, I help professional women regain control of their health.” Tweak it until you find it’s working for you. You’ll be surprised how a unique selling proposition for personal trainers goes a long way to separate you from the other personal trainers on the gym floor.

Ready to add more skill to your training resume? Additional certifications will help you stand out and you'll have more knowledge to pass on to clients. Explore ISSA's specializations today!

Alycia Darby

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