Profitable Promotions - December
By Kelli Calabrese MS
It’s no secret that the key to increasing your personal training business is to increase the number of clients you have while getting your existing customers to spend more money.
Nevertheless one of the biggest challenges personal trainers face is keeping a constant flow of new business swinging through the door, especially at certain times of the year.
With gifts to buy and a busy social schedule throughout the month of December, many people believe they have less time and money to spend on their own fitness goals during the holidays.
And the prospect of endless parties and holiday feasts can make it very tempting to just put off the whole idea of getting in shape until the New Year.
But you already know that. Which is why your New Year’s resolutions should include developing strategies to promote your business through the entire year.
Having a marketing plan will not only help overcome common business challenges like the December doldrums, but it will also help you take a more strategic approach to selling your services.
It will compel you to plan ahead to get the most mileage out of holidays, capitalize on referrals, acquire testimonials, position yourself as an expert in your community, get media attention, set up systems to consistently drive new business in your door and much more.
While I will be giving you unique promotions each month, there are actually many systems to be adopted from each one, which will provide you with an arsenal of money-making strategies.
Like some of you, my educational background is in exercise physiology, not marketing, so I learned what worked best for my clubs by trial and error. Taking a tactical approach to promotion and setting up systems to consistently keep new business coming through the door ultimately helped my clubs receive the number one-rating in personal training by New Jersey Monthly Magazine.
Approximately 15 percent of our club members were personal training clients. My hope is that you make good use of the information in my monthly column, Profitable Promotions, and adapt it to your club, studio or personal training business to achieve the highest levels of success and profitability.
As you put these promotions and systems into place you will swiftly see an increase in your personal training services. Clients will start referring quality leads on a regular basis and you’ll begin to capitalize on new revenue streams.
Growing your business will become less of a struggle and more satisfying on many levels. If you implement a year’s worth of profitable promotions, one year from now you will find yourself in a different business one that runs seamlessly and lucratively.
You will have created valuable alliances and positioned yourself to finally have the profitable business of your dreams.
Each issue’s Profitable Promotion will contain the marketing strategies for the following month so you will always have a full month to prepare to gainfully launch your selling strategy. Many of the campaigns can and should be ongoing or repeated several times throughout the year.
The first campaign for the New Year is aimed at generating new client referrals. We all know January is the hottest month for personal training, so it’s the most opportune time to get your new and existing members to refer prospects.
Referral programs are a low cost way to recruit the highest quality leads. And if each new member in January refers even one person, you will double your sales.
You will not get everyone to refer a friend the first time, but those who do refer will do so repeatedly especially if you recognize and reward them in a timely fashion.
To get started, find a grand prize you can barter or purchase at cost like a mountain bike, treadmill, jet ski, flat screen TV or similar products. The prize should be enticing enough that clients will be willing to make the effort to refer a friend in exchange for a chance to win. The more referrals a member brings in, the more chances he or she has to win.
A really exciting and valuable prize makes a considerable difference in getting your clients to refer friends. Yes, there will be some clients who will genuinely refer your services because they love it and are enthusiastic about engaging friends.
However, others need to be stimulated to make the effort, even though they whole heartedly believe in what you offer and may be surrounded by people who would benefit from your services. The secret is to find a great prize without paying full price for it.
For example, at one of my clubs, we negotiated a one-year lease on a Volkswagen Bug for just over a hundred dollars a month. One personal training sale paid for the year’s lease and the promotion typically attracted at least 20 new clients in a month’s time.
I recommended this referral campaign to a personal training studio I was consulting with. The owner’s husband worked for Disney and was able to get unique prizes like Disney leather jackets, original Disney prints and so on.
They used this promotion throughout the year at almost no cost and it was their best sales generator for personal training sessions. The best time to ask your new client for a referral is at the point of sale, when they are revved up and in an action taking mode.
Contact the referral right away, and when they join, include your client’s name into the drawing. To add to the excitement, display the prize or a picture of the prize, on a board surrounded by the names of all those who have qualified to enter.
Schedule the drawing at a time when you believe you will have accumulated about a month’s worth of referrals. If possible, hold the drawing on your local radio show.
Otherwise, choose the peak traffic time in your facility and get a local celebrity to draw the winning ticket. Be sure to get pictures and submit a press release for community media attention.
Make it easier for existing members to refer by sending a couple of invitations for their friends to attend one of your seminars at a special rate. If you have a web site, clients can send an online invitation to a friend introducing them to your services or they can submit their friends contact information to you online .
Make it easy for members to register their friends on your web site for a tour of your facility, a seminar or an open house. It’s easier to follow up with a referral from a loyal customer than from any other contact. In my opinion, the greatest amount of your marketing resources should be spent on referrals.
They are your most qualified leads, the least expensive to attract and the most likely to purchase. So, be creative and take advantage of your connections and your demographics to make this promotion work like a charm.
Like any program you decide to run, get your entire staff involved and engaged in it 100%.
Kelli Calabrese, MS- 2004 Personal Trainer of the Year for Online Trainer. She is a 17 year fitness industry leader, author, trainer, and international presenter. Kelli is on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Personal Trainers, An Expert Fellow for the National Board of Fitness Examiners, and has attained over 20 fitness and nutrition certifications. Kelli is the co-author of Feminine, Firm and Fit and is available for fitness consulting. She can be reached at Kelli@KelliCalabrese.com. For more details go to www.KelliCalabrese.com