Let’s face it: people buy from those they trust.
You ever see a basketball player in a commercial for some sneakers? What was your first thought?
Probably, “This guy plays basketball. He must really know what shoes are best to play in.”
“I trust his opinion.”
Now maybe the player gets paid to appear in that commercial. But you can’t deny that you’d pay more attention to his opinion on shoes over any Joe Schmoe on the street.
When you want to learn how to cook, you could just pick any random person in your life and ask them to teach you.
Maybe they have some culinary chops. Maybe they’re a complete novice when it comes to cooking…
OR you could order a recipe book from Martha Stewart or watch one of Gordon Ramsay’s cooking shows and learn from the best.
Those people are authorities in their field. They made you believe that their cooking advice is top-notch, and so you might take everything they say as gospel.
Believe it or not, people are the same way in the fitness industry.
Prospects can be like someone learning how to cook. They really don’t know where to begin when it comes to getting fit, so they naturally seek out fitness authorities and do whatever those authorities say.
Then, if those authorities aren’t the real deal, those prospects end up getting subpar service at ridiculous prices. They don’t lose those love handles or reach their goal weight, and they eventually stop working out altogether.
As fitness professionals, we can’t let people settle for mediocre fitness results. They deserve much more than that. And frankly, you can make much, much more money and keep growing a solid business when you deliver real results.
So how do you get those prospects excited about working out with you before they even meet you or your staff?
How do you stand out from the crowd of average fitness studios and intimidating, impersonal “big box” gyms?
You become a fitness expert.
Be the face of your business. Or at least train your staff to be as open and honest as possible. Now I know you might be reluctant to take on this attention…
Look at it this way. By taking on the attention that comes with being the lead of your brand, you can attract more people to your gym or studio. That means you can change more lives for the better.
When you market in social media, magazines, or by email, be personable. Share your own story and your own motivation for becoming a fitness business owner.
Now, let me warn you: this isn’t an overnight deal. You can’t just wake up and buy people’s trust.
No, when you deliver results, people trust you. When your training helps people feel better about themselves and get fit, and when you effectively communicate your results and unique message to the community, that’s when you start earning your stripes.
When a prospect sees your Facebook ads or reads about you in magazines, they should KNOW they will get top-quality training with you. They should feel like they have a good idea of who you are and what you stand for JUST from that marketing.
Once they come in, get to know them and make it impossible for them to say no before they even hear the price, by showing them a clean, high-energy environment and a training program tailored to their unique needs.
Take your area for example. You take a nice drive up the main street, you’ll probably come across a few big box gyms, some yoga studios, maybe a Zumba studio or two…
People have more fitness options to choose from than ever before. That’s a fact.
But let me ask you this: how many of those studios and gyms personally connect with their clients?
How many gyms go out of their way to establish a relationship with their clients?
In fact, how many of those places even know who they’re marketing too? Especially if you ask those box gyms and mediocre trainers, they’ll say “everybody,” which is just a code word for “nobody, we have no marketing plan, we’re bound to fail.”
I mean, we live in the social media age. Yes, that does mean there’s a lot of shallow relationships, a lot of shallow engagement between people and businesses, but the brands and businesses that are absolutely crushing it right now make their audiences feel as close as family.
You need to operate on that same level if you want to establish yourself as a fitness authority.
It’s an absolute must to treat your clients like family. When someone knows you and feels connected with you, it does two things.
First, it lets them know that you care about them. They won’t get lost in the shuffle like other gyms that only care about their clients’ cold hard cash.
These people will be your raving fans. When they pitch you to friends, they won’t just say, “Hey, his training is great,” or, “Her meal plans helped me lose weight.”
Instead, they’ll say things like, “Wow! She wants me to lose weight just as much as I do! She invests in me as a person, and I appreciate that.”
Those are the rave reviews that drive in referrals by the boatload.
The second advantage to building your gym or studio on relationships is that your clients won’t want to leave.
Let’s say there’s a spat between two members one night at your facility. Some of your clients feel uncomfortable with how it played out.
If they don’t know you, the owner or trainer, as a person, they might just leave for an average gym with less drama.
But if you have proven to deliver results and care about their lives, they’ll be willing to stick it out through thick and thin.
Here’s a little secret: folks love transparency. They want to know that the people they deal with are honest and straightforward.
They look for the same thing in the businesses they associate with. Who wants to deal with some shady enterprise that operates behind closed doors?
See, what this does is it hooks the prospect’s emotions when they read your ad or get your snail mail. You’re not just any old business; you put your heart and soul into helping every client that walks through your doors.
When you reach out to your mailing list, add fitness and health tips with no strings attached. Your prospects will see you less as a marketer and more as an authority in the health field.
That’s the combo, man: sound advice and personal care.
There’s one more thing you cannot afford to skip if you want to become the fitness expert in your area:
This is where you plant the seeds to grow your exposure. These are the connections that will spread your brand to every possible prospect in your area.
You can go into the local massage parlor, for instance, and offer all their employees free workouts at your gym. If they have a great experience, they’ll most likely spread the word about your facility to their customers.
That’s how you get people buzzing about you.
You can even do this for your local news station and use it to earn yourself a guest spot on TV! Imagine what THAT would do for your business and reputation.
One other thing to note is that you want to focus on building your social media presence.
If you sign up for every single platform you hear about, you’ll spread yourself too thin.
If I had to choose, I’d rather be a widely-known Instagram personality than someone who’s somewhat known on every social media site. (Of course, by this point I’m well-known on all the big ones.)
Again, it’s all about focusing your message, nurturing that family-like relationship with your audience, then letting them help you spread the word.
And even before that, it’s about delivering results and being a superstar trainer/owner that changes lives.
Committed to your success,