It’s incredible how so many thousands of personal trainers can make the same exact mistakes as the droves of failed fitness entrepreneurs that came before them.
But it shows us that there is an unavoidable flaw in our thinking that causes us to fall, one after the next, into these same pitfalls over and over again.
And if all these others have done it, odds are, you are probably doing it too. Unless you’ve figured it out, overcome your natural yet flawed thinking, and avoided this mistake.
Because that’s the only way these problems can be avoided: anticipation and planning.
I’m going to share today about one of the most common issues I encounter whenever I speak with a failing or failed personal trainers: A Lack of Specialization.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve encountered this crippling business plan.
Personal trainers, when first starting out, get real excited about their new business and they want to cater to as many people as possible. So they advertise that they can help absolutely anyone with any fitness need.
The thought process is simple and, at first glance, seems legitimate. “If I want to get lots of clients,” says our brand-new personal trainer to him or herself, (or, possibly, you say to yourself) “I need to appeal to as many people as possible.” While this seems to make logical sense, logistically, it never works.
Spreading yourself too thin, trying to appeal to everyone, means you don’t look enticing to any ONE person.
Let’s think about it for a minute.
Imagine there is prospective customer seeking the services of a fitness professional or personal trainer in your area. Let’s say he’s a college athlete who has been fit and healthy his entire life but has recently developed an interest in building some significant muscular bulk.
Our imaginary prospect, we’ll call him Geoff, is searching the web for information on local fitness professionals who offer personal training. He comes across your add and it reads:
Killer Personal Trainer who can help with ANY AND ALL fitness needs:
-Fat Loss Training
-Stretching and Flexibility
-Pre and Post Natal Training
Geoff sees “Body Building” in your add and get’s excited. He’s about to give you a call until another similar ad headline catches his eye:
“Train with the Best Body Building Coach in Southern California.”
Without even reading the rest of the advertisement, which do you think Geoff is going to choose?
See my point?
Do you see now why specialization is so critically important?
To explain this, lets break down the ‘appeal to everyone to get more clients’ thinking and identify its flaws. While it may be true that offering many different training packages will make you an option for the most amount of prospective clients, it is also true that, when compared to an expert or a specialist, you, the generalist, will be everyone’s worst option. So is there any point in becoming an option for everyone if you’re everyone’s worst option?
No, instead it’s best to become the best option within one particular niche.
Failing to realize this is one of the most common and most deadly mistakes made by fresh personal trainers.
You don’t need thousands of clients so there’s no point in appealing to millions of people. Instead you need dozens of clients so you may as well only appeal to thousands.
But you should be very, very appealing to those select thousands. And you do this by becoming exactly, precisely, specifically what they need.
However, there is still a caveat that comes along with this advice. Even if you follow the specialization rules, you’ve got to be very careful.
Our example worked because Geoff was looking for just the kind of specialized niche that your competitor was offering. But what if you choose a specialization, build all your marketing and advertising around that specialization, and no one near you is looking for that type of training?
Now our original fears, the ones that told us to specialize in everything so that we could attract clients, are coming back to haunt us. Was specialization a mistake?
Well, yes and no. It’s always the right decision to choose a specialization but you have to select the right category. Notice I didn’t say the biggest or the most popular, I said the right category.
Well, there are plenty of ways to know but hopefully it should be as least somewhat apparent. If you know your local market well enough, if you have a sense of what the industry is like in your hometown, what the current trends are, and what the local demographic seems to favor, you shouldn’t have a problem deciding what you would like to do and where there is a reasonable demand.
So carefully plan out your specialization, make sure there will be enough demand for your services, and start catering to your niche.
Failing to do so will end in disaster. But if you do manage to set yourself up as a specialist, soon you will become the local expert and anyone seeking help in your specific area will come straight to you, bypassing all of your generalist competition.
Committed to your success,