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3 Simple Personal Training Systems Every Trainer Should Use

by Jonathan Goodman | Follow on Twitter

These 3 simple personal training systems will help you build your business. They cost nothing and are easy to implement. So get your personal trainer business cards out and get ready to step it up!

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Want to be the most popular (and therefore busiest) trainer in your gym or neighborhood?

Want a turnkey personal training business?

Unfortunately both of these things have much less to do with your training acumen than they should. Your training skills have to be adequate and, of course, you have to be able to get your clients results. Once you reach a certain level of technical skill, learning more isn’t going to make you busier, help you get more clients, or enable you to remove the operational stress of your business and have clients approach you ready to train.

If you really want to set yourself apart you need to connect with a lot of people on a personal level. If you’re like me and don’t have a memory that gets invitational letters from MENSA then I suggest you put these 3 personal training systems in place to help you.

The following 3 personal training systems will take all of 20 minutes to start and maintenance takes minutes a day. They don’t cost anything. I suggest you incorporate every one of them into your business immediately. Before long you will find yourself as the go-to trainer with a turn key personal training business. Life’s pretty good when that happens. Cold calling sucks about as bad as being forced to watch any Keanu Reeves movie other than the Matrix trilogy, do these three and you shouldn’t ever have to make one again.

The Reminder System

Take a sheet of paper and write down all the important dates in the clients life: birthdays, anniversaries, kids birthdays, and anything else that you can think of. Create a reminder system on your phone or calender.

Enter in all important dates for your clients that you already know. That may only be their birthday, that’s fine, put it in your phone and set an alarm. Whenever a client mentions an important date take note on your clipboard during the session and enter it into your calender at the end of the system, setting an alarm for each.

When the phone beeps, send the client a quick email, text, or phone call wishing them a happy birthday, anniversary, or asking how the preparations are going for their giant dinner part.

Better yet, set the reminder for 5 days in advance and buy a stack of birthday cards. When your phone beeps, put a hand-written card in the mail.

It’s a tiny bit of effort that goes a long way.

The Referral Spreadsheet

From your emails I know a lot of you are already meeting and networking with local merchants and mavens to get more personal training clients. However, a lot of you are missing the most important step — which is to follow up.

For example, whenever you meet a doctor or a chiropractor and speak with them about a referral exchange or if you decide to give a commission to the local barista for sending you clients, add their name and email to a spreadsheet. Once every two weeks, take an hour and send everybody on your spreadsheet an individual email saying hello and asking how they are.

There’s generally a lot of excitement with very little follow-through when networking. Trying to get referrals later on down the road almost never happens and the relationship falls flat. Staying in touch like this keeps you at the top of their mind and helps to cement the relationship. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t answer. Just keep sending an email every two weeks. Only stop if they ask you. Don’t ask for anything in these emails, just give them a nice hello.

My Files

If there’s one thing I learned from publishing my first book, Ignite the Fire, it’s that people will be drawn to aspects of any piece of work that the author didn’t expect or intend. In the book I included tons of different systems — pretty much everything I thought a trainer needed to know to become successful.

Some of these systems are found in almost every personal trainer manual, like the time management tips. Others, like the focus system, are stuff I came up with through years of testing. I knew that trainers struggle with programming for beginners and I was correct in assuming that that part of the book would be popular.

One small section of the books popularity has surprised me. I didn’t go into detail in the book because I didn’t think it was something that would garner as much interest as it has. That personal training system was my filing cabinet.

Whenever I came across a good article or research paper I categorized it and kept a copy. On my computer the files were organized electronically and I also printed out a hard copy and put it in the filing cabinet in my now famous desk.

The files were organized as: research papers, newspaper or magazine clippings, and blog posts. My categories (and yours may vary) were:

  • Nutrition
  • Injuries
  • Post-rehab
  • Muscle gain for young guys
  • Female weightlifting advice (both young and older lifters)
  • Soft tissue considerations and pictures
  • Exercise pictures and explanations

In my desk I also kept paper clips and my personal trainer business cards. Whenever a client or prospective client had a question or wanted more information on a subject I was able to quickly sift through my files and give them a great takeaway (with my personal trainer business card clipped to it). Depending on the person, I gave different levels of information. For example, if the person was a physician I might give them a research paper. If they were a college student, I’d give them a blog post. At the end of the day I printed a new copy of whatever article I handed out and added it back to the file.

I came across this system by accident and unfortunately many of my files were lost over time as my computer crashed. That being said, if you’re reading this you already actively seek out information to better yourself. Now take an extra minute to categorize the content and file it away for later use. Develop your categories and file all of the articles you think are helpful in both hard and soft copy form. Whenever a client has a question over email or in person it takes two seconds to give them great information.

For getting new clients I found this system worked wonders. Whenever my client told me about a friend of theirs that had a question about a workout I was able to give them information to pass on or email an article (with my personal trainer business card attached or course).

If you work in a gym, why not take the initiative to set up a filing system and have everybody add to it?

Keeping a client is much easier and cheaper than continually finding new ones.

Take some time this week to institute these systems and pass on this article to your colleagues. These systems take a tiny investment in time and have huge rewards. You’re different and you’re better — now show it.

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Further Reading

5 Secret Neighborhood Mavens for Personal Training Referrals – Jonathan Goodman. Here I talk about 5 people you absolutely should approach because of the power they wield in your neighborhood.

How Do I Get More Personal Training Clients? – Jonathan Goodman. This is a free short Ebook I wrote on getting more personal training clients. You can read the entire thing straight from the site or download the .pdf to keep — or both.

About the Author
Jonathan Goodman

Jonathan Goodman is the creator and head coach of the PTDC and has a distaste for third person bios ... Hey, I'm Jon and I'd have to say that this site is pretty awesome. Thanks for being here. If you're interested in my brand new book, it's called Ignite the Fire (revised, updated, and expanded). My team and I have also created the first Academy and certification for online trainers. Click here to check out the Online Trainer Academy.