Understandably, not all personal trainers want to give up in-person training completely. There are many however, who can’t wait to go fully online and use the time and energy saved for activities they enjoy. May that be travelling the beaches of the world, spending more time with the kids or just simply having the flexibility to pursue a new hobby.
In most cases you may feel you can’t just give it up overnight. Before you can make that move you will need to resolve two main problems:
- What happens to your in-person clients?
- How to establish financial security so you won’t feel the weight of giving up a stream of income?
In this article we will discuss the first question in detail.
Step 1. Preparation
At this stage you have already decided that you’ll go fully online. You probably have also set a deadline by which you wouldn’t work with people in-person.
There are a few key points you’d like to ensure before making this decision final though:
You have already established financial security, so the change won’t have too big of a negative impact on your and your family’s life standards, even if none of your current clients convert to online training.
- Your online training services are already systemised and scaled, so enrolling new clients doesn’t take long and doesn’t require too much extra work from you.
- Once you are happy with the above and are 100% sure you will stop personal training, you can start paving the way and let your clients know.
Step 2. Assessment
Offer an assessment or review session to each of your clients and arrange these as soon as possible after the decision is made. Transparency will conserve trust and show that you care.
On this assessment session you will evaluate their progress with you, assess their future goals, both short and long-term and softly enquire how they are planning to achieve that goal.
This is where you are basically trying to establish for how long they may need you to get where they want to and whether they need handholding, or an online training service would work for them. This will also give you the opportunity to explain your business intentions, draw them a timeline and allow them to go away and consider their options. Unless they specifically ask about your online packages, at this stage you are not trying to sell anything, you are merely discussing the future.
The timing of this meeting can be crucial. If a client is due to buy in for a mid- or long-term package, managing their expectations and potentially steering them towards a service that would better serve them up till you stop training could help you maintain the trust and rapport with that client.
Step 3. Follow-Up
After having given enough time for your clients to process the news, but at least a few weeks off your leaving date you can bring up the topic again and find out about their intentions. There may be a few of them who will refuse to discuss it with you yet or not open to your online training services at this stage and that’s fine. Don’t take it personally and realise you still have a few more weeks with them at least, so just keep providing an amazing service.
There may be a few clients who will want to know more about how you could help them once you ceased to train people in person, but however you package they can’t grasp the idea and can’t imagine what it would look like once you are gone. The next step is about these clients.
Step 4. Hybrid Training
This is something most personal trainers already do, they just don’t use a system for it or may not be even aware of doing it. Basically, you can offer to those interested to trial the online system while you are still training them in person, so you can discuss important matters and help them how to use the system.
PT Distinction reviewed to be the best online personal training software for hybrid training, but whichever online training software you use, you should be able to set your clients up in no time.
Send them a user guide they can keep for future questions and if they need it, offer a free session just to show them around and explain where they can find their workouts, how they can check-in with you, where to log their progress pics and measurements and what to do if they want to get in touch.
Then let them get on with it and provide hands-on support whenever they need it in the first few weeks. By the time you stop the in-person training, those who choose to stay with you don’t need onboarding, they will be ready to go.
Step 5. Exit Offer
As an appreciation of their loyalty you can create an offer specifically designed for your in-person clients to encourage them to stay with you. The package can include some form of discount for a limited time (1-3 months), exclusive vouchers for their favourite online or local shops, a goodie bag or a combination of any of these.
It’s worth noting that this offer wouldn’t replace a goodbye gift. You don’t have to give them goodbye gifts, but if you do, make sure all of them will receive one, not just the ones who stay with you.
Step 6. Understanding
Expecting all your personal training clients to be thrilled by your alternative services and jump right into online training would be damaging for the relationship and your future chance of having them or their friends as clients. Accept, that for whatever reason some of them may not stay with you at this time, treat them with respect up till your last day and if they choose to leave, help them find a trainer that you trust will be able to help them.