6 tips to build a solid Fitness Professional reputation

6 tips to build a solid Fitness Professional reputation
I love to work out.  Exercise is my hobby. I do not craft, I do not paint things for fun, and come Lord Jesus if I try to bake. Just pray for the whole family if the neglected Kitchen-Aid Mixer comes out. Pursuing my fitness goals is my happy place. I train hard for about an hour and a half, 5 days a week. I ask for things like lifting belts and wrist wraps for Christmas. I own more pairs of workout leggings than jeans.  I am serious. You know what I also am? I am a Big. Fat. Payday if I land in your facility or I choose you as my trainer or coach.  As a wife, a mom to 2 little boys, an owner of 2 businesses, a volunteer board member and active community member there are certain things I look for as hallmarks of a solid professional whom I want to give my money and my time.  As I fall in love with what you are doing for me, how my body is changing and responding, and my mind is blown by what I can do that I never thought possible, I start bringing my friends to meet you and they are a lot like me. If you want to be the type of trainer or coach that attracts athletes like me (my coach told me to call myself that), by building a solid reputation in your community, read on my fit friend.
I know, that sounds diva-like with a side of pretension. So, let me break it down for you. I am busy, I have multiple people I am accountable to in the day and places I absolutely have to be, on time. Schools really do not like it if you are late getting your kids, and mine even charges me if I am outside of a 10 minute grace window.  And, I too have clients that I am committed to showing up on time for.   So, tip number one, be on time! When I walk through the door, be ready to start. Also, unless it absolutely cannot be avoided, please do not make me reschedule my appointment. I got that ‘ish locked in like a month ahead of time. I wish I was kidding. If I am making time for fitness, I am working hard to make that time. Help me out. I want to train with you, but not if you flake on me.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  
As a fellow small business owner, I know that solid customer service is everything. No matter what service we offer, we share this truth. You know what else we share? A general reputation for not doing what we say we are going to do, when we said we would do it.  If you tell me you are going to email me, text me or invoice me, please follow through and get it done when you said you would.  In order to live life at the pace I choose to, I have to plan (see above).  
Ask me about my husband and my kids, but also be curious about who I am in addition to a mom.  In that first session, ask me why I am here and what I want from this journey. Go deep, do not just make it about pounds and jean sizes. Push me to talk about belief in myself and my capabilities and how I want my kids to see me, what I want my truth to be. How do I want to change my narrative and my inner dialogue? What are my passions? What is my life I live outside of the gym? This kind of relationship building takes time, but it goes so far. My fitness is about me, and my goals and what drives me.  There are few spaces where a woman can come and get in touch with inner badass. Create that space and help me remember her or find her and feed her. And once you start training me, tell me what I am good at. Tell me I am strong, marvel at the weight I can move, or the speed I gain.  Be authentic, and tell me how I can improve to meet the goals that are deep inside of me. If you are doing 1 and 2 consistently, number 3 is when you start changing my life and when I start bringing my friends to you.   It is also when I start posting on social media like a teenager with a new crush. Word of mouth has forever been the most powerful marketing, and organic social media is the new word of mouth.  
The fitness industry is currently undergoing a revolution where micro-gyms are flourishing (hello CrossFit, Soul Cycle and Orange Theory) and the market for individualized programming and training is also growing (I see you OPEX and FitBot).  The result is a raised bar for any fitness professional in this game who wants to make it. As a fitness consumer, I am exposed to models that are showing me things I should be looking for when I work with you. Please have your paperwork in order. Now, given my background as a cofounder of a Summit for Micro-Gyms and Affiliate Owners , and a Management Consultant, I am a tough audience.  I will be looking for waivers, media release forms and disclaimers. If you have a contract, I am going to read that thing three times before I sign.  However, consumers are getting more and more savvy and the higher your price point, the higher the expectation for professionalization on all fronts. For example, if you are sleeping with your clients, I do not want to know about it. I also do not want you on your phone when I am training with you unless it is relevant to what we are doing. If other members approach you during our workout, please kindly redirect them until my time is up. Make sure the facility is clean. If I do burpees, my shirt should not be filthy when I get off the floor.  
Moms talk about this as a driving force for leaving a gym or a trainer. Here is the deal, most of us actually like our kids. We want you to like them too, not view them as an inconvenience and shove them in a room with a tv and a crap babysitter.  If you offer childcare I am paying for, engage my kids, have cheap crafts for them to do, play games with them.  Make that person earn the money they are making in that childcare room. We do not want the babysitter on the phone either. And word to the wise, if you do not have children yourself, never ever utter the words “kids are not an excuse”.  Until you have not slept through the night for years, had a kid who screams the entire you time you leave their side, or suffered with a sick baby, that phrase will make me want to throat punch you.  
Become involved with something bigger than yourself. Do a fitness challenge or competition that benefits a charity. Be a local, industry leader and coordinate your competition in town to work together on a project that benefits your community at large.  Reach out to coaches and leagues to support and engage local, young athletes in programs built for them. Run a killer kids’ program and make it accessible to all kids, regardless of cost. These are just a few examples of ways you can serve the community you live in.  People notice this. This matters, a lot. I sound like a lot of work. But If you invest in me and follow the tips above, I have the potential to bring in thousands of dollars for you annually, and we all know, nothing worth having comes for free.  And if you get 10 women like me on your books in a year, we will rally hard for you and make sure your reputation thrives.  I mean, we are at the end of the day, moms.   Photo by Toby Marshman on Unsplash
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