How to Stand Out as a Fitness Professional
There are many things to think about as you prepare to start your career as a Fitness Professional. One of those, is: How can you make yourself stand out from the crowd?
You've probably noticed that there are many Colleges training people to enter a Fitness Career. There are differences in how the courses are delivered and some Colleges do a better job of preparing graduates than others, but you're all coming out with the same basic Certificate III and IV in Fitness. Sometimes you might have done something extra (like Padmasters for example), but how do you distinguish yourself from all those other newly qualified PT's, or for that matter the ones already out there in marketplace?
Let's face it, will be hard to do initially and you don't want to offer a 'free steak knife', but offering a ‘point of difference’ is one way of making you stand out from the crowd. If your offering is the same as the rest of your peers, and those from other Colleges, you've got your work cut out for you trying to get the customer ahead of someone else. Unfortunately people often buy on price rather than value for money, which are very different things! So if you don’t want to be the cheapest, you have to make sure that through value for money you can overcome the cheapest price promotion. Value for money is not about price. Something can be great value for money at $10, and something else at $1m. Value could be in the amount of 'service' you offer, or it could be in the type of 'service'. One way to make yourself standout though, is to offer more than a 'service'.
As the service offering 'a personal or group training session' has increasingly become commoditised (a commodity based in large part on price). One way of not falling in to this trap and standing out is for you to offer an 'experience'. Think about how people feel about their training: sure plenty of people do want to train and are happy to do the same old things with weights or kettlebells or gloves, they just need you to motivate and guide them how to do that the right way to get the best results. There are many other people though for whom the idea of physical activity is less attractive and their motivation is low. For these people, delivering a physically beneficial activity that provides an experience may not only help you stand out as providing something different, but also improve both their and your motivation and enjoyment.
Many of the ever increasing number of participation events are based on the premise of being an experience. Doing a 'Colour Run' event is not just about the run, it's about the fun of getting covered in different colours and sharing a laugh with your friends. Things like Tough Mudder are also an experience based on physical activity and the camaraderie. Staging something like those events every group training session is unlikely to be possible, and obviously that sort of experience doesn't appeal to everyone, but perhaps you could come up with an experience on a smaller scale.
A simple example of trying to make a group training session an experience might be to theme it. You might still use the same actual activity or exercise(s), but you might use some event, celebration etc to theme the class. For example, on Talk like a Pirate Day (been running annually for years, Google it), you might get everyone to wear something relevant to Pirates and talk like Pirates throughout the session. That's pretty simple and probably not enough to build your difference on, but if you do a bit of Googling you'll find there is a day for just about everything and theoretically if you planned properly, you could build a group training class around different themed days pretty well every day of the year! This obviously works best for group sessions more than 1:1, but, you never know... And, I wouldn't try and do it for every class, just one per week perhaps...
Other ways to stand out are to develop a niche market with a certain client group, a specific training program, a location etc that makes you different and has your clients getting an experience in that way whilst improving their health and fitness. If you are going to do this you'll need to make sure you get the right skills and knowledge to make it work. Also, make sure your insurance covers you. Importantly, get skills and qualifications in areas that interest you, don’t do something because it is the latest fad or you think you should. If you don't enjoy it your clients will 'feel' this come through and they'll not respond, Finally, it's worth noting that while gaining new sills and qualifications is great for your professional registration (PDP's or CEC's), don't just focus on professional development for the sake of points for your registration.
There are a great many aspects to being successful whether it is in the fitness industry or any other. As a Fitness Professional, you are delivering a service, maybe an experience, to people who are paying to train with you. If you don't deliver, they'll go elsewhere, so it's worth taking the time to think about what you deliver, how you deliver it and how you vary your clients training and keep them interested so that they rave about you to their friends!