Back in 2007 I launched my first coaching program – the very program that later turned into what’s now known as the 7 Figure Formula Mastermind.
In 2007 I started working with a handful of personal trainers who wanted to get a better handle on their business as it related to fitness marketing, referral generation, systems, and a sales…
…kinda of the core fundamental business building concepts.
One of those trainers I started working with was Cabel McElderry from Red Dear Canada… and over the years Cabel took his training business from making under $100K a year… to breaking the six figure barrier, then multiple six figures, and ultimately growing his personal training and boot camp business to a 7 figure producing business.
As a friend and business coach, I can’t tell you how proud I am of this guy. He’s easily one of the most genuine and giving guys in our industry and these days Cabel coaches other trainers who want to better their business, get more clients, and improve their productivity.
In fact, “the student has become the teacher” because Cabel is now my partner in the 7 Figure Formula Mastermind coaching program – which brings me to the reason why I’m writing this blog post.
One trainer that Cabel is coaching has an awesome story. And I thought you’d get a lot out of it since you probably want to know how to grow your personal training or boot camp business to – so I asked Cabel to write this guest blog post for you.
** Enjoy **
I find these days whenever I’m interviewed or even talking to groups of fitness professionals the most common question I’m asked is, “what would you do if you were starting from scratch?” or “what advice would you give fitness professionals just starting out?”
I can tell you exactly what I do, or better yet I’m going to tell you the story of our coaching client Daniel from Texas.
Just a few months ago Daniel was like many fitness professionals (including myself way back when) he was smart, skilled, frustrated, and financially stressed.
At the time Daniel didn’t really have a list, he didn’t have a website, he didn’t have his own studio, and in truth he didn’t even like the gym he worked at. In the first couple weeks Daniel and I talked about different gyms or spaces he could approach to setup his fitness business. If I recall he actually moved or tried 2-3 different locations before settling on his current location as a sub-contract trainer paying rent inside a public health club.
This is step 1. Find a location to operate from, I highly recommend looking for a public gym that you can pay rent or a share of your personal training revenue to you. This minimizes risk and lowers your barrier of entry by minimizing upfront investment.
In an ideal situation this location will let you market how you want, set prices however you want and as a stretch manage your own billing; but what I’m about to share with you will work just fine in any big box gym that gives almost no control. The big box gym is just a little trickier to exit later, that’s all.
Step 2, do what you’re good at, train the shit out of people! This is where most people get stuck, their first thought is, “but I don’t have any clients.” So to solve this problem they forget what they’re really good at (helping people with fitness and weight loss) and go try to do something they really suck at (marketing, sales, advertising and so on.)
Enter frustration, wasted time, wasted dollars, and my broke trainer client Daniel.
After spending a couple weeks finding a gym to call home as a sub-contractor Daniel was still frustrated and eager for the magic bullets of marketing to help him grow his fitness business. He wanted to know about websites, email campaigns, lead boxes and more, but I don’t think he was prepared for my answer – which was.
Train the shit out of people!
Pick 4 hours a day, the busiest peak times of your new gym home. Typically this is between the hours of 6 AM and 8 AM and 5 PM and 7 PM. Be at the gym at this time. Approach people, introduce yourself, and offer to help them with their workout. This could be spotting them one set, teaching something new or spending their entire workout with them. But offer every ounce of knowledge you possess to help them right then and there.
After helping them offer them a business card and write on the back (really important that you hand write this) “free assessment and training session.”
Explain to them that you’d love to meet with them and evaluate and show them how you can make their current workout way more effective or things they can do at home that will speed up their progress. Assure them that your intention isn’t to sell them anything but rather to introduce yourself to as many people as possible in hopes of creating referrals.
In his first week Daniel met 16 people, this reluctantly turned into 4 follow up assessments and 3 paying clients. In 7 days he created more than a $1000/month in recurring revenue, and in truth more revenue than he had previously created in months. In the next 3 weeks Daniel met 68 more people training in the gym, he was growing an email list and gained an additional 12 clients. In just 4 weeks he was more than half way to be on pace to break six-figures in the next 12 months.
The best part is the momentum this creates essentially makes growth automatic. The more people he met and trained the more direct leads he created. But all around, without lifting a finger, his marketing funnel was filling. You see by just one day appearing as the brand new trainer and suddenly being at the gym ALL THE TIME in the peak hours created a buzz around Daniel. To just appear and be in the gym helping so many people identified him as the expert, the go to guy, and someone who was there to HELP and not just to sell a program.
Continuing with this strategy and beginning to learn others (more traditional means like creating an effective website and email marketing) Daniel easily broke six-figures in 60 days and has continued to grow his business by still another 50% which is HUGE!
In just months he’s done what has taken many years. In fact his status has grown so much he was able to negotiate with the gym he worked at to allow him to hire additional trainers to work under him and slowly take control of all personal training in the facility. In fact he’s so well respected by the facility owners they are actively promoting and directing referrals to Daniel and his team.
It’s marketing at it’s best, without even trying.
Daniel has just hired his second trainer and also an assistant, things just keep growing.
The moral of this story as I’m sure Daniel himself would tell you himself is, to “find a mentor.” Mentors can teach you many things, such as the simplicity of focusing on what you’re good at, avoiding distractions and the affirmation of hope in times of struggle.
Sure Bedros and I teach a ton of marketing, lead generation and prospecting strategies and systems that involve the internet, websites, email marketing, lead boxes, direct mail, referral generation, Facebook and pay-per-click ads, and a bunch of other stuff. But when your goal is to break your first 100K in the industry leave all that stuff alone and remember that focusing on the simple things that you’re good at is your first and best fitness marketing tactics you can deploy.
This weekend you’re likely to meet Daniel and myself at Fitness Business Summit – if you’re registered to attend or if you plan to watch it on the LIVE FBS13 WEB CAST.
All the best,