Nowadays you can open up any social media app and instantly scroll through hundreds of popular fitness professionals and models with their picture-perfect abs and finely chiseled muscles. But for every hot, airbrushed bod, there’s an ever-growing opportunity for a serious professional like yourself to make a difference in the world…and be rewarded for it.
The first step is to discover who you are. In this industry, that is. You have to identify what makes you and your services unique because when you do, you essentially make the competition irrelevant. Here’s what you do.
1. Avoid being a knock-off trainer
As you discover yourself and your calling, it’s so easy to see someone’s awesome pictures and videos and want to be just like them. Sure, it’s okay to be inspired by other trainers and learn from what they’re best at, but copying them straight up is career suicide. Why?
- A copycat is second-rate at best: Copying another trainer’s workouts, website, personal style and marketing will just render you a second-rate version of the original. (Plus, that can be considered plagiarism.)
- Clients are smarter than you think: Potential clients usually follow more than one professional on social media. Clients are getting savvier all the time, so when they see a copycat they will figure it out right away.
- You may get the wrong clients: By being generic, the only type of clients you will attract will be price shoppers, or customers who only look for the best deals out there. Is that the kind of client you want? Or do you want someone who is willing to invest in you and your services?
- They’re not even your goals: Following another trainer’s path is futile because you’ll always feel like you’re chasing an unattainable goal. Their goals are not your goals, and you’ll never win because those goals didn’t come from your own dreams and aspirations
Don’t be a copycat. You have to learn your own target market in order to build your own dreams. In fact, we’re going to eliminate the competition altogether.
2. Use your secret marketing weapon
In order to do something as bold as eliminating your competition, you have to figure out what makes you different.
In other words, you have to know your unique selling proposition (or USP, for short). The USP concept was developed by Rosser Reeves, a television and advertising pioneer at Ted Bates & Company. It describes your own personal brand and essentially offers a real benefit that isn’t already dominated by other brands or individual trainers.
In order to find your USP, you need to map out the common thread and characteristics shared by those “generic trainers” in your target market, then figure out what makes you different. In other words, what’s your competitive edge?
Here is a chart to help guide you in this process:
The above is just an example. You can use the chart to analyze your differences too. By differentiating yourself from your perceived competition, you know who you are, and now you’re ready to define your target market.
You may not initially think so, but you have your own personality, dreams, stories, hardships, and heart that can connect with potential clients. Let all of these things carry your brand, and no one will be able to copy you. They can try, but they’re not you.
3. Share your personal story
Many years ago, I learned an expression that remains with me today:
Voids equal Values. – Dr. John Demartini
What this quote means is that if we spend a considerable amount of time feeling like something is lacking, that “something” becomes very important to us.
Put it another way, many of us got into this profession of health and fitness because of our own interest in helping ourselves. Maybe we faced weight problems, physical challenges, emotional or physical abuse, and economic hardship. Along the way, we learned a lot and gathered many stories that we can share with our clients, colleagues, and the world.
We need to share these stories we’ve collected as much as we can. Everyone has a story to tell. And all storytellers have their listeners.
By sharing these stories, we create bridges between ourselves and other humans within our target market. Many of us may be afraid to share our stories due to fear of judgement and ridicule from others. Well, I’m here to tell you to not be afraid. More than likely, the people you reach can relate. Remember, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from having the courage to share your stories on your blog, or on social media.
Your target market will love and respect you for it.
4. Visualize your success
I want you to take these new ideas and visualize yourself as exactly the kind trainer you wish to become. This is actually an important meditative exercise, but can also be just pure meditation.
Visualization is a powerful exercise. It sounds strange at first, but it’s possible that by imagining and believing in what you want to (or will) achieve, you can rewire your brain for a success-driven mindset, as this article on The Washington Post wrote. So, why not give it a try?
Find a quiet place and put your phone timer on for five minutes. Next, focus on your breath and on the positive visions you create in your mind.
If you’ve never done this before, don’t fret if you don’t get it right the first couple tries. In the worst case, you’ll be able to de-stress. At best, you’ll know what to do to make your goals a reality.
More awesome articles to read
- 5 Rookie Personal Trainer Mistakes That Are Killing Your Business by Mike Samuels
- 5 Tips to Convert a Free Consult Into a Sale by Jonathan Goodman
- How to Find Your Niche and Separate Yourself From the Rest of the Industry by Elsbeth Vaino
Photo Credit: fdecomite