Why is it that some people can confidently charge $400 for a personal training client, while others get a lump in their throat at the thought of charging anything over $50? Is it just a matter of self-esteem or acquiring rich clients, or are there other factors at play? Charging the correct fee for your service is vitally important. Let’s have a look at what you need to keep in mind.
For many of us, particularly when we start out, we simply look at what others are charging and basically see “what we can get away with.” We try and quote a little less than some of the more experienced professionals, yet make sure we’re not at the bottom of the range as we don’t want to appear “too cheap”. This may be an acceptable starting point, but it is a method that is somewhat flawed.
According to Brett Jarman, a coach and consultant in self-employment, there are three principles for personal trainers that are important to understand about pricing.
1. Customers buy on value – not price
We all do this. We buy a pair of sunglasses because we like to be associated with the brand, we drive a car because of its particular reputation, we’re happy to pay extra at a late night deli when we could have bought the goods at half the price at Coles.
We value many things: convenience, exclusivity, location, the right timing, or because someone we respect or admire is associated with the brand. Let’s be honest, sometimes we value things simply because they are not the cheapest.
Personal training is a product like anything else, and the same rules pertaining to value apply. Each potential client will be making a decision on your proposal based on their own valuation criteria – in other words, what’s important to them.
2. It’s not you, it’s a product
The best way to get rid of your anxiety when dealing with a sales transaction is to realise that the potential client is buying a service, not you. It isn’t personal. The decision will ultimately be based on what they think they will be getting out of the service. If you remind yourself of this before you go into the transaction, you can get rid of a lot of anxieties that may be hindering your communication. When you can do this, the sales transaction will happen a lot more freely and naturally.
3. You can’t lose what you don’t have
Keep this in mind: you’re not losing a client if you don’t yet have them. Anything you gain is a bonus. Don’t be hung up on the fact that you might be losing out if you say the wrong thing, push too hard, don’t push enough and so on. As Brett Jarman says, “If you’re worried about “losing” a prospect it probably means you aren’t convinced that your offer is equal to what the client is willing/able to pay.” If this is the case you need to take a closer look at understanding your own value, because once you are clear about this you will be comfortable knowing that the client is willing to work within your expectations or not. And if they are not, it’s nothing worth worrying about.
Understanding value and communicating it
You have to know what it is that your client values in order to be able to provide them with a good service.
Many people have unrealistic expectations as to what a personal training service should cost and what it entails, so it pays to straighten this out as soon as you can. If you can find out from the client as soon as you can what type of budget they are planning on spending, it may do you a huge favour. If they only want to spend $40 a month, and this doesn’t fit your pricing structure, you can quickly move them on to someone/something else and not waste any more of your energy on it.
If they have a sum in their mind that they’d like to spend weekly, ask them how many sessions that would be for. They can tell you what they think they want, but you can give your professional opinion as to what that would achieve, and/or what would be recommendable.
Find out what they want
Does your client want to lose weight? Fit into a wedding dress? Compete in a triathlon? Once you find this out, dig deeper and find out what emotionally motivates them to do this, e.g. “ So I’m not embarrassed about myself anymore”, “So I looked fantastic on my big day and I will be proudly looking at my wedding photos for years to come.” These are all emotional responses that people place a high value on. You’ll need to refer to these later.
Get to know the obstacle
Ask them what’s stopping them from achieving those results themselves. Try and remember what they say in their own words; even write it down, if necessary.
Piecing the information together to communicate your value proposition
From Brett Jarman, “So let me check in and see if I’ve got this correct. What you’re after is a program that will help you achieve [enter desired results here] so that you can [enter an emotional expression of desired results here].
You’ve told me that you don’t think you can get the results on your own because you don’t think you’d push yourself hard enough, and you also consider that you might injure yourself through poor technique. Is that correct? Great, based on that, what I do recommend is [enter program details and pricing here]. Does that sound like something you’d be able to commit yourself to?”
By ticking all the boxes and finding out what the client wants, what’s stopping them achieve it, and how you can help them achieve their goals the client will have a clearer understanding of the overall value, giving a greater chance for a successful deal.
Finally – relax
People get way too caught up about money and what to charge. Relax. Be clear about what you want and need, and find out all that you can about what is important to the client.
You must communicate your value in terms of what they value to get them to sign up. The both of you will then feel that you have a “fair exchange”, and you’ll be surrounded by clients that share the same values as yourself.
Sage Institute of Fitness – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.
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