For the past 3 years now I have had the pleasure of coaching, working with, and getting to know Dan Ritchie who also happens to be a top 3 finalist for Personal Fitness Professional Magazine’s Trainer of the Year – so be sure to vote for him when the opportunity comes up.
Since 2010, people have been telling me that boomers and seniors were the next big niche in personal training and, in fact, his 7 figure generating personal training gym in Indiana mainly focuses on the senior and boomer market.
Honestly, I never really thought much of that market… old folks, who really wants to train them? What if they break? How do you market to them? Can they even afford working with a trainer?
In fact, I once told Dan in my office you wouldn’t want to train an 82 yr woman with a hip replacement, just stop doing that there are other trainers that can do that. But Dan pushed back, saying “no this is my passion, these are the clients I am called to serve.” And I’m so glad he did, because I don’t know anyone who’s more qualified and as passionate about serving the boomer market than Dan Ritchie – and the metrics of his business and his client satisfaction rate prove it.
In 2012, I asked Dan to speak at Fitness Business Summit and he shared about his unique niche and everyone in the audience loved his presentation. In the beginning of his presentation Dan shared a video of 5 Taiwanese men in their 80’s, and even some of the toughest trainers in the audience were brought to tears.
I know Dan knows his stuff when it comes to training this population or any for that matter, I mean for crying out loud the guy has his PhD in Kinesiology, among several certifications from NSCA and ACSM. He is even on such good terms with ACSM, we did a seminar there together and he was even able to get ME in there… not a place they usually just let me wander in to 😉
The boomer market is a very gigantic niche. The numbers simply don’t lie… every day 10,000 people turn 65 years old. 10,000. One thing Dan made me realize was that these people who are turning 65 are approaching it very differently than people did even 10 years ago, and way different than 20 years ago. They don’t want to be called Senior Citizens, they probably find that term offensive. They have no plans to age quietly… and as Dan puts it, they are going kicking and screaming into old age fighting getting old with everything they’ve got. He has clients that bike 30-40 miles a day in the French countryside in between days staying at 5 star Chalets. These clients take multiple flights to get to remote places like Patagonia to go on 14 day Hiking Excursions. Exotic trips to New Zealand and Antarctica, trips that require tremendous physical ability, and of course a level of affluence. Dan tells me about these clients, and I have to say, honestly to me this doesn’t sound like the growing “old” I have heard of.
In fact, the numbers don’t lie… Baby Boomers now ages 49-68, hold 70% of the wealth in the US. So when I think of a fitness niche, I usually don’t assume they already possess nearly 75% of all the nations money!
This age cohort has a tremendous amount of buying power and a tremendous amount of free time they control. I started to realize the top two objections… cost and time simply aren’t an issue with this demographic. Now mind you, they aren’t going to just give you their money, you have to show value, but your training is a service they actually, desperately need… and here is the real big one. Once they start training with you they really can’t stop!
Their primary goals aren’t weight loss, or dress sizes; they don’t reach a goal or finish line and no longer need you. In fact, the older they get the more they need you to maintain independence. This is why Dan has had clients for 6 years, and keeps his older clientele year after year after year… I mean, what is the alternative? Stop training and quickly go downhill and head off to the nursing home? For Dan, this is where the passion comes from, he is really dramatically changing lives for the better in real tangible ways! People are able to enjoy life more to the fullest and do and accomplish more with their later years! How is that for a renewal Hook? Well, Mrs. Jones you could stop training with us but don’t you want to keep living in your own home?
How We Surged Money Into His Business
Last year, Dan needed to raise some capital quickly for moving into a brand new building, so he ran a Labor Day Sale, and with 2 simple emails and pulled in $56,000 on Labor Day, and over $80,000 in 4 days. Now, that promotion was huge for him and when we thought it up and crafted the offer we knew it would work because his clients love him and are super loyal to him.
This year, Dan was able to close on that brand new building and now is the owner of a 9600 sq. foot building and has a tenant moving in paying him rent for 2500 sq. feet of space. In October, when his first mortgage payment hits, he will have nearly the entire mortgage paid for by his 2 tenants. So this Labor Day he ran the same promotion, but first he raised his prices in August on his Small Group Training by 10%, and on his 1-1 training by 20-25%. While the offer made to his clients and prospects this time was technically less appealing, he out sold his numbers from last year.
Here’s how the promotion from a couple weeks ago broke down for him… He sold $27,000 the weekend prior to Labor Day, and then he did $66,000 on Labor Day, and ended up generating $120,000 (in hand) over the 5 day promo. And he signed up 32 brand new clients in the process!
This year, he promoted it a little more with 3 emails and a couple of Facebook blasts, two of which reached over 10,000 people. He spent just $80 on Facebook promoting this. Yes he says “Grammy” is on Facebook, and definitely on email as his numbers prove it. Like he has been telling me, this isn’t just a tiny niche in the fitness industry it is a Tidal Wave of clients here to stay, pay, and refer for years to come. And Dan says it best, “of course in business you have to make a profit, but it is rewarding doing it in a way that impacts lives in such a meaningful way”.
If you want to learn more about all of Dan’s business strategies from how to train older clients to how to market and attract this clientele just Click Here to check out his “Train Mature Clients” program.