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Issue Date: December 2011 Web Features, Posted On: 12/9/2011


Keeping the “Personal” in Personal Training
By Robert Linkul MS CSCS-CPT D*

In the midst of a busy day in the certified personal training business we often get caught up in our daily demands -- setting up equipment, writing and instructing workout programs, renewing dues, working on our daily schedules -- that we can easily forget some of the little things that make a big difference in our client's experience with us. Extra emphasis is placed on the word "experience" because that is exactly what our clients are signing up for. This experience could be memorable, challenging, personable and possibly life changing, leaving our clients with a feeling of connection, pride and accomplishment.

As certified personal trainers (CPTs), we are more than just the provider of a good workout; we are required to wear multiple hats. We are often a shoulder to cry on, an open ear to listen, a motivational force, a provider of education and the voice of reason. These small roles we play in the lives of our clients are commonly meaningful and this is why we need to make sure that the "personal" attention and connection is provided and achieved with each and every one of our clients.

Often, it's the little things about our experience with our clients that are most memorable and personal for them like a greeting prior to their morning workout with positive energy, solid eye contact and a genuine smile. Acknowledging a meaningful anniversary date for your clients is a great approach to show them that they are special to you. Celebrations like your client's first day-of-training with you, their completion of a culminating event like a marathon or summating a mountain, remembering their birthday and maybe the day they were declared cancer free or no longer obese are great ways to remind our clients of the "personal" aspect of "personal training" that they deserve.

Along with proper technical instruction while exercising, well-organized workouts and providing consistent feedback to show our clients that we are "in the moment" with them; it's our job to make our clients feel accomplished with each and every workout experience. Often, we are the best part of our client's day and by going the extra mile and taking a minute or even a few seconds out of our busy day to show our clients some extra attention and appreciation for their commitment and dedication is worth its weight in gold. Here are a few things that you can do to make a closer connection with your clients leaving them feeling extra special.

Follow Up Text Message -- nothing makes a client, especially a new client, feel some extra attention than sending them a follow up text message asking how they enjoyed their workout, how their body is feeling and complimenting them on what a great effort they made that day. This technique is very simple, quick, is a great morale booster and can have a massive impact with your newer clients whom you wish to make a great first impression with.

No-Special-Occasion Gift -- every once and a while, especially with your lifers, it's nice to give your clients a gift for no particular reason at all. Maybe you go on vacation and see something that reminds you of one of your clients or you are out shopping and you remember something your client was telling you they liked at a store. This doesn't mean that it has to be an expensive gift, just a personal one. This shows your clients that they are on your mind more often then just during their workouts.

Thank You Card -- have you ever received a card in the mail for no particular reason? If so, it felt pretty good, huh? It’s nice to receive a card but feels even better to give one. A thank you card is a very simple, personable and cost efficient way to go the extra mile and to show your clients some love. Thank them for their dedication to you as well as their commitment toward improving their health and quality of life.

Highlight Accomplishments on Facebook -- first thing, make sure you have their written permission to use their likeness as a marketing tool. Once that is completed, Facebook is a fantastic tool that can help you promote your clients and all their success. Show videos of them performing a lift correctly, a photo of a healthy snack they had packaged and ready to be consumed after the workout or post a celebration comment acknowledging them on completing a culminating event (weightlifting competition, 5K run, triathlon, etc.). Most of our clients love to see their name representing you, your training and their accomplishments on the Internet (just make sure you have permission).

The ultimate goal in utilizing these tools is to develop that "personal" connection or trust with clients. Not every client you train is going to connect with you on a deeper level, however, each and every one of your clients should develop a level of trust in you. If that level of trust cannot be developed it would be best to find that client a CPT in which they would have the potential to do so. Do anything and everything you can to demonstrate to your clients that you are all in, that you have their best interests in mind and that you want nothing more for them then to succeed.

Remember that your reputation precedes you wherever you go. By making this connection with clients you can only positively improve that reputation by showing you go the extra mile for your clients. The feeling you give to your clients when you connect with them on this personal yet professional level is infectious to those around you. This in turn, will assist in improving your business and in developing your career as a certified personal trainer.


Topic: Career Builder Web Column

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