How to Build a Stellar Reputation as a Personal Trainer
Whether you realise it or not, reputation is the lifeblood of a personal trainer's career. When your clients, colleagues and fitness associates hold you in high regard as a fitness professional, the word will spread, and you don't have to worry about obtaining or retaining clients. Thus cash flow won't be a problem either.
If that's not the case, you might find that you need to fight for every new client and keeping existing clients might also prove challenging. In today's article, we'll dig into specific actions you can take every day to ensure your reputation stays excellent.
What is Reputation?
Cambridge Dictionary defines reputation as "the opinion that people, in general, have about someone or something, or how much respect or admiration someone or something receives, based on past behaviour or character."
For personal trainers, this means how clients, prospective clients, online audiences, ex-clients and other personal trainers who know them think of them as fitness professionals.
If you're not sure, you can always ask them yourself or pay attention to the communication that happens between people you've worked with in the past. Are your clients leaving raving testimonials and reviews about you? If yes, you're on the right track. If not, you might want to check the following ideas and see where you can improve.
When is the best time to work on your reputation?
Well, the best time was your first day as a personal trainer. Your second best time is today. Keep in mind that if your reputation suffered a hit at any point between day one and today, you'd need to work harder to make that right than a trainer who's been in the positive right from the get-go.
Check out how things might turn out according to PT Direct:
7 Tips to Build a Stellar Reputation as a Personal Trainer
The following list is based on the principle of "clients first". This means that you primarily focus on your clients during your business hours, and if you'd like to go the extra mile, look after them outside those hours so long it doesn't interfere with other aspects of your life like family, holidays, etc.
Reputation is built over time by consistently doing what you said you would do and even going above and beyond to exceed your clients' expectations. Let's see what those actions might be in practice.
#1. Honour People's Time
One of the essential traits of a reputable personal trainer is being on time, whether for workout sessions with a client, a training buddy or a consultation appointment with a prospect. If you're late, how do you expect your clients to be on point?
Now being on time doesn't mean that you're around the gym floor chatting to other people, or quickly trying to finish your meal at the start time of a client session. It means you're there, ready to get started and give full attention to the person of the hour.
#2. Be Professional
It's quite a vague term and might be challenging to define, but one thing's for sure when a trainer isn't behaving like a pro, people around them will know about it. First of all, dress for the occasion, avoid shirts and bottoms that reveal too much, regardless of your gender.
Second, keep your voice to your professional tone, even if you're a little frustrated inside. The person coming to see you might not want to hear about other clients that annoyed you on that day or even family troubles. Granted, you likely develop a more personal relationship over time with some clients, and some sharing won't be an issue for them. Still, since they pay you for your services, keep the things about yourself short and focus on them instead.
#3. Manage Expectations Early
Paperwork is becoming more and more crucial as data protection laws are updated. Ensure you've got everything in order. Expect new clients to want to read the terms and have at least PAR-Qs, Informed Consent and Terms and Conditions ready for them to check and understand. This will benefit them and you when you need to refer to your cancellation policy or other terms they agreed at the start.
#4. Be Invested In Getting to Know Your Clients
That includes their family, their close friends, birthdays and anniversaries. Pay attention to what they share, refer back later on, and ask how their plans are going. Cheer them on for professional achievements but also care for their stress levels and recovery management. In a nutshell, show them that you care.
#5. Do What You Said You Were Going to Do
Now, this might be where things get a little tricky for some personal trainers. Way too often, people will say something that they either don't mean or forget by the end of the day. However, as a fitness professional, this is where you can really shine and earn a stellar reputation.
Did the client mention a problem in session, and you said you'd send over some articles or materials to help them? Do it and do it on the same day. It'll only skip your mind after that. Even better, mark it in your calendar there and then so you don't forget.
Did you promise a mini mobility workout, an updated plan or something else to your client? Follow through ASAP, obviously this is very easy if you have PT Distinction! The principle applies to package renewals as well. Most people like to plan their finances, so if their package is due to renew and you need to send them an invoice or a payment request, don't delay it.
#6. Be The Go-To Guy or Gal
Make an effort to chat to people in your gym and answer their generic questions. Always wear a smile and make some time for dedicated Q&As so the members know they can trust you, and that's how they will start liking you too. Trust and likeability are crucial factors in building a reputation as a personal trainer.
If your personal training contract was straightforward and you managed your client's expectations well, there is no reason why anyone would ask for a refund when one isn't due according to the terms. However, there will always be one person who will not want to play by the rules, and you might have to ask yourself what your reputation is worth to you. More often than not, it's better to offer the refund fairly and part ways peacefully than having your reputation suffer a hit. You never know. They might refer clients to you in the future.
Building a 5-star reputation doesn't happen overnight, but it helps if you start working on it right away. Don't forget that one lousy opinion can cancel out many good ones, so focus on doing as much good as you can.