The first thing we need to establish concerning package/session pricing in the personal training industry is that this is more of an art than a science. Often, I find new fitness professionals will base their packages and pricing off what the “competition charges.”
Interestingly enough, when your competition entered the market years ago, they likely did the same thing. Work that lineage back and you’ll find that there wasn’t much of a strategy in the first place. Most likely that person/business priced in what they felt was a fair margin to earn after expenses and basically set the precedent that everyone in the local area now uses as the benchmark. Without diving into a boring post on macroeconomics, this is one of the leading reasons why personal training packages can vary so greatly from area to area.
Certainly, I am not suggesting you should ignore the pricing of your competition, however. Studies have shown time after time that when the perceived value of an offering appears to be of similar value to a competing offer, the least-expensive option wins unanimously. So, you have two options:
- Lower your prices, squeeze your earnings as tightly as possible, and let that be your value proposition or…
- Better identify and market to your unique value proposition(s) so that there is no one competing with you.
In a previous article, I wrote about how one can grow their brand from generalist, specialist, expert through celebrity to watch their income and earnings grow exponentially. So, I won’t go down that rabbit hole again, but I can assure you it’s a crucial read to establishing a long and prosperous fitness career. I will instead lean into how I would advise you consider pricing/packaging your actual offerings.
Regarding package structure, I want all of my prospective clients to sign up for a minimum of 12 weeks of personal training. Therefore, the majority of my packages start at 12 sessions once a week or 24 sessions twice a week. After that, my next tier typically looks like 24 sessions once a week and 48 sessions twice a week. My rationale is that I want long-term clients who are willing to commit to changing their lives. I am at a stage in my career where I do not want to have to onboard and sell new clients every single week. Not only is that exhausting, but it’s also a losing game having to chase people down for money every few weeks.
Now I never lead with an “intro package” pitch but have it in my back pocket in case commitment is an issue. In those instances, I will sell six 30-minute sessions where I use the plank as my tool to sell larger packages down the road. The reason I utilize the plank is simply, most people’s cores suck but after only six sessions they have likely doubled or tripled their time. That allows you to state in the last session, “As you can see John Doe, although you can not yet see or truly feel the difference physically just yet, you can see that the process is working. In only six short sessions look at the improvements you made in your core strength alone!”
Pricing can be a bit trickier though so please consider your unique situation and area before making any drastic changes. Pointing back to the initial quote I referenced at the onset, “Pricing is branding,” I’d rather price myself as the top trainer in my area than be seen as the bargain-basement offering. Assuming you have nailed down your specific and unique value offerings and can now be seen at least as a specialist, I price myself $1 higher than anyone in my market. The strategy behind that is simple, prospective clients at the onset of their journeys will start their research by looking at what the “cheapest” solution is and then compare it to the “best” solution. How do you typically define “best” when evaluating offers, generally by looking for the most expensive offering.
You will find that there are two distinct advantages to being the price leader:
- You will establish yourself (at least in perception) as the top fitness professional in the area. This will open up many doors you are likely not even thinking about. Local news station needs a story on fitness in your area, well they want to talk to the best of the best and who do you think they are going to reach out to? Local fitness conference needs a speaker, well I’d instead tag in the trainer who’s commanding $100 an hour to teach others as opposed to the trainer who can only charge half of that.
- You will find that a lot of people will pay a premium simply to work with the best. Assuming you can deliver results, why wouldn’t they?
In summation, I attempt to establish my packages to encourage long-term relationships while allowing for the “tire kickers” whenever I need to fill up my book of business. Additionally, I want to be the price leader in my area because I will get in front of more prospective clients and truly believe in the value that I offer, and have no problem charging for it.
Jason R. Stowell is recognized as one of the highest-grossing sales performers over the last 25 years in the health and wellness industry. As an award-winning leader, Jason provides expert-level sales training to fitness professionals around the world. Jason shares those lessons today as the host of the “Fitness Business Podcast: Thinking Ahead Show”, via international fitness presentations, in his upcoming book,” The Seven Pillars of Predictable Sales Success,” and through attendance at one of his multi-day fitness sales training workshops. Connect with him now on LinkedIn.