Today I’m going to help you sort out a surprisingly complicated part of any trainer’s career: customized training programs.
We’ve all, at some point, offered a client a customized training program. If you haven’t already, you’ll get there.
Whether it was something as simple as a discount in return for referrals, or a full-on immersion fitness program complete with grocery trips and personal motivation calls, we’ve all made variations in our usual program to try to snag extra clients.
Now as with so many other things, there’s a right way and a wrong way to customize your training.
If you customize your training the right way, you can discover and win some high-quality clients who you might have never worked with otherwise…
However, if you do it the wrong way you can fall into a quicksand of price erosion and frustration as you deal with high-maintenance, low-paying clients who you should’ve avoided to begin with.
Tip #1 – Customize Up, Not Down
If you’re going to tweak your training for an individual or small group of individuals, you want to always customize UP and not down.
Customizing down means cutting your prices (in a way that isn’t already part of your sales process) or breaking your program down into bits and pieces and letting people pay less for less service.
Chasing clients downward is a problem because it sets off a slippery slope effect. See, the people who like to haggle and bargain hunt are almost never satisfied.
Paradoxically, they’ll expect you to treat them like a premium customer, but they’ll constantly try to pay you even less. They’re really just trying to see what they can get away with.
I get this in my own business and it always baffles me. I’ll have people who want my business coaching ask if they can have “just the videos” or “just the phone calls,” as if entering my coaching system halfway is actually going to help them.
The people who truly get what I’m doing – the people who are my highest paying and most fun to work with clients – understand that you need the entire system if you want to make progress.
THAT is the same thing you should explain to your prospects: you have a complete system that works, and the best way to benefit from it is to dive right in and get the most out of it.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to have your program set in stone…
When you customize up, you’re really just showing how much you care about your business and your clients. Customizing up is when you keep your prices the same or even raise them, and then add in bonus features that are meaningful to that specific client.
Maybe you have a prospect who knows they’re scatterbrained and says they’ll need extra reminders to show up to training and keep their diet right. If they seem sincerely committed to personal change, and they have the income to afford your training, go for it!
The key thing to remember with customization is that when you choose to add extra value to a client’s experience, you want to make sure that value flows back to you somehow.
If you’re doing a ton of extra work for someone and it’s leaving you stressed out and taking time away from other projects, STOP!
If you going the extra mile for someone allows you to negotiate a higher price or good reviews and referrals – BINGO! You’ve got it!
Of course, you can and should find ways to give without expectation of receiving…but let those moments stand on their own.
When you decide to be generous, commit to it and plan for it. Letting random people dictate your strategy is not the same thing as generosity.
Tip #2 – Customize for Influencers
Speaking of extra value, that doesn’t always have to mean extra revenue, at least not in the short term.
See, while I usually do take a firm stance against price erosion, there is one very important exception that I’ll allow…
Getting the right influencer into your business can be a HUGE source of well-qualified, ready-to-go leads.
Imagine, for example, getting a local news anchor as your client – someone with huge community trust who will push for your business to get good exposure.
Getting her in the program could maybe even double the number of qualified leads coming through your doors.
In cases like that, I’m happy to offer the influencer training either for free or at a steep discount.
Again, it all comes down to value.
In my mind, giving a discount or free training to an influencer is really a type of investment. Sure, you’re leaving a bit of money on the table in the short term, but you’re doing something that could pay rich dividends for months on end, in the form of new leads coming in faster.
Tip #3 – Accommodate Special Cases
Specifically here I’m talking about people with unique medical conditions, injuries, or disabilities.
Obviously, people in those categories are going to need custom training of some kind, and you should DO YOUR RESEARCH before diving into that.
Now that being said, I do think it’s worth it for you to take on these clients, even though it can require more effort on your part.
If you embrace the challenges of it, it can be an opportunity to expand your skill set and be able to offer something that other trainers can’t or won’t provide.
If you ever find that you’re truly not qualified to take on clients like these, then make sure you’re ready to refer them to someone else who can help. It’s the right thing to do, and people in your community will respect you for looking out for people.
The thing you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT DO is turn a cold shoulder to people and be dismissive of them. You’d think this would be common sense…but I still see trainers all the time showing a bad attitude about prospects who are sick, injured, or disabled.
If you don’t want to train them that’s your business, but don’t be a jerk about it. Trust me: you do that and word will get around that you’re only nice when it’s convenient to you, and people will be way less excited to work with you.
Good business comes from respecting yourself, respecting your community, and respecting the process. Sometimes, it really is just that simple.
Committed to your success,