Why Selling The Solution & Proper Payment Plan Structures Are Essential For Long Term Sustainable Personal Training Businesses
There are many different ways to skin a cat, and their are many different ways to stuff up a personal training business. Two of the most common mistakes I see done spectacularly well on a daily basis are:
- Not selling the solution
- Selling single sessions and 10 packs
In fact, 10 years ago this one thing turned my personal training business into a quarter of a million dollar revenue machine within 6 months of using it.
I’m talking about selling the solution! Selling the solution means that you give a no BS solution on what is required to achieve their goals and then put together a program that furnishes that solution.
Admittedly the cost involved for such a program is higher, but that’s the point! You get a long term client and they get a leaner, stronger, better body. No one wins by you puring rubbish into their ear that you can help them in 2, 3 or 10 hours. It just wastes every ones time.
I’m sorry if this ruffles your feathers, I don’t intend to offend anyone. I just want you to succeed in business like I have and if I can share my experiences so you don’t make the same mistakes I did, then thats a bonus.
If you’re still following me then there’s two things you will need to make this work:
- Sales systems
- Payment plans
I will talk about the sales systems later in another article. Today I want to discuss payment plans because most people get it wrong, which can severely impact the health of your business.
I will say this once and then leave it alone, In my opinion, up front payments are a much better option than payment plans but they will require sound financial maturity and controls to manage. If you have poor money management skills you can end up in real trouble.
Payment plans on the other hand are a great idea if money management is not your strong point they give you steady cash flow by providing consistent recurring revenue.
In addition, they also make your services affordable to people who may not have been able to purchase otherwise by up-front payment. In any case, I offer both and I advise you to do the same.
However, if you don’t understand finance, or you have the wrong structures in place, payment plans can also kill your business. In my experience many people misunderstand the basic concept of a payment plan.
Before I go any further it’s important to differentiate the difference between the following:
- A payment plan structure
- An ongoing membership structure
To put it simply, gyms sell memberships. The membership gives the member access to a facility. Often a membership will allow some flexibility to accommodate a members absence from the use of the facility in the event that they are away for a period of time, such as an international holiday.
Correct me if i’m wrong here … personal trainers on the other hand are in the business of selling a service.
Therefore I believe personal trainers should adopt the use of upfront payments, or payment plans. The concept of a payment plan is often used by any business that sells a product that might be difficult to pay for upfront.
Here’s where it gets tricky if you don’t sell the solution like in chapter one. A payment plan for a personal training program that guarantees a specific outcome, like losing, or gaining weight is no different to a payment plan for a new car. You chose the car you want and you make the decision to buy it.
A payment plan might be chosen by a customer for either:
- Personal reasons
- Financial reasons
Either way, it’s irrelevant to your business. The plan to pay for the product in full is non negotiable and you don’t have an option to start or stop the payment plan as your lifestyle circumstances change, right?
No car dealership would stay in business if they allowed such flexibility. In fact, no business would survive for very long under such circumstances – and yours is no different.
I often hear of situations where friends or colleagues in the fitness industry celebrate a great 12 month program sale, only to have the payment plan end after 2 months because the client went on holidays overseas and never returned to their gym.
What? You mean you’ve given them the keys to the new ferrari and then let them drive away with it and stop paying you because they went on holidays? That’s absurd!
If this situation sounds familiar then you’ve missed the point of a payment plan big time!
The purpose of a payment plan is to provide some flexibility for your clients to pay for your products and services over a period of time. But once a purchase has been made, the agreement to pay for a product is made at that point too. Then a payment schedule is set up and agreed upon.
Unless your product was a gym membership, which in most cases it wasn’t, the payment plan for your sevices wasn’t intended to allow flexibility for the client to come and go as they please.
Think of it another way. When you renovate your house you employ a contracted builder to do the building works. The builder quotes on the job and once the price is agreeable, a payment plan is scheduled to ensure both parties are adequately happy with the proposed project.
Usually an upfront amount is taken by the builder to purchase products and equipment needed to get the build underway. The down payment is usually used to purchase supplies and to pay his team of tradesmen along the way.
Installments are made by you based on the initial agreement and the build continues. Often in building the final installment will include changes or amendments to the original plan and a contingency is allowed by the homeowner to accommodate, avoiding a budget blowout.
In my opinion a training programs shouldn’t be much different. When you’re employed as a trainer to help improve someone’s health you are like the builder. You make an assessment of their current state of health, construct a plan of attack based on both the starting point and their goals, and then you agree on the price.
If there is an option for a payment plan then the agreed amount should always include interest to cover the losses involved by not having the money in your bank account up front.
Like the builder, there should rarely be flexibility on payments in the schedule. If the home renovations have begun and you (the homeowner) decide to go on holidays, you can’t simply say to the builder “I’m off for a holiday and i’d like to skip the next installment so I have more money to spend whilst away.” The concept is laughable.
But what if you have problems with the end result? What if the client doesn’t follow your program and fails to achieve their goals? Should allowances be given to accommodate the type of contract that is made between a trainer and their clients?
In extreme circumstances maybe, but look at it like this way; if you turn up to your building site and decide to knock walls down, pull timber from the floor and ruin the new roof that he’s been working hard on he’ll most certainly void any guarantee that he’s made about the finished product.
Why should your training program be any different? If you’ve got tried and proven product, which as trainers we all do, (move more regularly, and eat better food – works every time!), then you can guarantee that they will lose weight if they stick to it.
But if they chose to eat junk food on the weekend and drink 15 beers every Saturday night you void the warranty. You definitely don’t give them their money back!
All the client needs to do is get stuck into following the damn instructions. As a coach, your job is to provide the instruction, keep them motivated and injury free to the best of your ability.
Remember, as a personal trainer you are their architect, builder, electrician and plumber. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t sell a product that you can’t furnish either. Learn how to make accurate no BS assessments of what’s required to sell the solution and then stick to it!
Here’s a harsh but true reality; in 99.99% of the time a 10 pack or a random training session every 4 weeks won’t suffice! Every trainer with a good track record will agree that consistency and frequency are the keys to a successful program. So why offer a dud?
The steps to achieving success are:
- Ascertain their goals (needs analysis questions)
- Identify the root cause preventing success (the problem)
- Present a solution (your proven program)
- Get 100% commitment
If their goal is to lose 10kg of fat, don’t waste your time by offering to sell them a 10 pack.
To sell long term programs and stay on top of your clients payments at any given time you’ll need a good client management system that allows you to control payments, track sessions accurately and set up proper payment plans. LinkFit has been designed specifically to do just that.
Best of all, you don’t have to take my word for it, you can try it for FREE for 3 months and you can be the judge.
Then you need a system that will structure your consultations and give you the tools required to sell the solution. That means selling long term training programs that get commitment from your clients by getting them to put some skin in the game. Big dollar financial commitment!
Without a good sales system this will be almost impossible. In my next blog I will explain the art of face-to-face sales consultations and give you all the references you need to become a sales master.
Trust me, you don’t want to miss it!