Louis Grenier, the host of the podcast Everyone Hates Marketers, says it best: you've got to show your clients the top 2% of the iceberg that's above the water—not the bottom 98%.
Let's explore that.
Keeping it simple
When you're putting in the hard work day in and day out, it can be tough to wrap your head around the idea that it's smart to keep most of your hard work from potential clients.
Your clients want to know that you understand their needs, and showing them that you get where they're coming from falls into the 2% that you want to show on your social media. From a marketing standpoint, most of the behind-the-scenes work of personal training is irrelevant.
Applying the iceberg concept
Potential clients don't need to know that you'll take them through a 16-week workout progression, or how you'll correct muscle imbalances before moving on to strength development—they'll simply want to hear that your workouts are flexible, or family-friendly, or fast. Clients want to know that you have a program that will meet their needs, not the ins and outs of how you put the program together.
Think about your own purchase behavior: It's unlikely that you rationally compare all similar products and come to an informed, educated purchase decision. More often than not, we rationalize our decisions in a way that provides permission to spend our hard-earned cash. We're looking for a way to tell others, "I bought X because of Y," and our clients are doing the same thing when they decide to sign up for training.
Ignorance is bliss
Most of us are ignorant consumers of the items we purchase. When you want to buy a TV, it's unlikely that you spend hours researching TVs. You likely choose one or two aspects that are important to you (like size or color) and make a decision. If a salesperson guides you in the right direction, you don't need a 20-minute explanation on the intricacies of TVs—you want to know that you're getting the aspects that are important to you, and that's it.
The same is true in the personal training world.
Our customers need to know that we can help them get where they want to go. They don't need to know our reasoning behind their tempos, how you decide how much rest they get in between sets, or why you recommend vertical loading over horizontal loading for their particular situation. They simply want to know that you can help them move forward in their fitness.
Finding out what clients need—and delivering results
You need to know what your clients need—and you need to show them that you can meet their needs as simply as possible. In order to find out what your clients need, just ask.
Some clients may express that they need to include their kids in their workouts, while others might tell you they have a very limited time frame. Some may express questions about how to meld their ethnicity or religion with their fitness routine.
Your job: Use your knowledge and skills to develop the right program for your client—without overwhelming them with the details. Whether your client wants to fit into a particular outfit for a big event or is working to change their heart health, you don't need to tell them how you developed your program—let them simply see their results shine through.