Changing gyms isn’t easy. Personal training is a profession built upon your personal reputation and relationships. These are both optimized when staying in one location.
Whether it’s due to a spouse relocating, opportunity at a gym that suits your niche, or leaving due to a negative environment, change can be difficult. There are new relationships to build, new clients to seek, and new gym policies to adopt. With your livelihood at stake, moving gyms is a daunting decision that must be carefully analyzed.
The decision to switch gyms is never easy and an introspective look at your business is necessary. Ask yourself:
How far are you moving? Will your clients join you at your new facility?
If so, how many and what income does that ensure for you while you rebuild your client base and for how long?
Do you have connections in the area? Reestablishing relationships and find mavens. Jon Goodman outlines some ideas here, such as Real Estate Agents and baristas.
What’s your target market or niche? Does the area support the niche and do you have a mentor to learn from?
Is there potential to grow and/or hidden expenses, such as increased driving time, huge parking fees, and a different income split with your gym? Ten percent more of each sale might seem great, but if you drive an hour each way with traffic and spend $200/month extra on gas and parking the deal isn’t quite as sweet.
Things to Do
1. Start by seeking out mavens in your new area. Mavens like coaches, realtors, manual therapists, supplement/health food storeowners, and human resource departments have dozens of high-quality daily interactions with potential new clients. Build trustworthy relationships with these individuals ASAP to build a new network and steady stream of new leads.
2. Greatly reward referrals. Word of mouth referrals are paramount to your success. Create a clear referral program and let your clients know about it up-front. Attach big-time value, such as cash, gift rewards, or resources to help them reach their goals, but never devalue your business. Then, ask. No sales will be made if you don’t ask.
3. Gather testimonials. Do a great job, and then let someone else do the bragging for you. Potential clients know you are trying to make a sale, seeing the proof from past clients words and pictures calm’s their nerves and speaks volumes better than a five-minute sales pitch.
4. Make yourself available. The block system is great, but when getting started you make yourself available when it’s inconvenient. Get clients in front of you at any cost, then set guidelines on your availability when your income matches your needs. In most cases clients will be more flexible for your good deed when you set limitations. If not, they aren’t worth your time.
5. Show your appreciation. If you’re relocating and hoping to bring clients I suggest showing your appreciation for their service. Whether your clients are coming with you or not, you’ve worked with this person through a difficult situation and been a big part of their life. Show your appreciation for their business and leave on a good note.
Make sure you do this
Get online, whether it’s a Facebook page, website, Twitter, or all three. Get online, be active on social media, and be part of a community. Let people know where you’re going and that you’re open to taking new clients. Tag your new location in comments, make a video, or outline a workout with new equipment. Not only will those promote new business, it will make your past clients want to join you.
Even better, attach links for articles with actionable strategies to new posts in your new location. Do a great job, and let people know you’re there to help.
Best yet, develop an online training program.
You’re already familiar with your clients. You’ve performed assessments, created lasting results, and you know how to reach them. These clients trust your expertise, know your style, and hopefully exercise safely on their own.
Online training creates a revenue stream and provides a fantastic service to dedicated clients at a discount from your in-person business. Clients receive expert guidance at a great value on their own schedule while you automate some income and continue to grow your business and reputation.
Changing gyms is a scary proposition — you need to weigh pros andcons and make the best decision for your career. With this blueprint you will retain past clients, rapidly generate new business, and continue improving lives in your community.
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