Home Posts tagged "Fitness Professionals"

Fitness Business Entrepreneurship Thoughts: Lead Generation

Most fitness industry folks are convinced that their single biggest area for improvement is lead generation. If only they could get more people to know about their gym - and possibly even take a tour - then they'd absolutely blow up.

I hate to burst your bubble, but while your lead generation might need work, in the overwhelming majority of businesses, systems and retention are where the biggest opportunities for improvement exist. You see, if you shore things up on these two fronts, you'll create a better product and dramatically increase the number of word-of-mouth referrals you get. Over the life of your business, word-of-mouth should blow any direct mail or Facebook advertising you do out of the water, so why not work on the things that impact it the most?

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I should actually talk a bit about lead generation, as the truth is that it's probably more complex than it's ever been.

If you look back 15-20 years, a lot of folks weren't on the internet - and they certainly didn't have social media. It was really, really hard to get in front of people affordably if you were a small business. If you didn't have the cash to pay for radio, TV, newspaper, or billboard ads, your only option for generating leads began and ended with pounding the pavement to shake hands and kiss babies. Nowadays, things are a whole lot different; you can get in front of just about anyone pretty quickly and easily.

If this wasn't the case, a kid from small town Maine named Cressey - who didn't even play high school baseball - wouldn't be training more than 100 professional baseball players each offseason.

This modern marketing world creates opportunities, but also a lot of noise. People are bombarded by more marketing messages than ever before because we have more devices (phones, tablets, computers, radios) and mediums (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Email, etc) than ever before. There is so much noise that people are completely desensitized to the marketing messages that are being sent their way. That means that top of mind awareness is substantially harder to achieve.

What does this mean for lead generation in the fitness industry? You have to get in front of people regularly and via a number of different marketing channels. If you're reading this blog, you probably hear from me here, on various social media channels, and via email. Perhaps you read an article by or about me on another website or print magazine or newspaper. We might have interacted with one another at a seminar, or we might have a mutual friend who recommended that you check out EricCressey.com.

The point is that you have to stand on your head to make expertise easy to perceive. It's just not good enough to just pay for a newspaper ad and hope for people to show up.

This is particularly complex because everyone will perceive expertise differently - and in different places. Teenagers aren't really on Facebook very often, but it's a great marketing avenue for those over the age of 30. Some of the people there might like video content, and others may prefer writing. Every lead must be generated via a unique marketing mix, and that can make it very challenging to be really successful across multiple niches. At Cressey Sports Performance, we can easily market to baseball players, coaches, and parents, but it'd be really hard for us to build a successful discharge program for cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation patients. It's an entirely different demographic that we'd struggle to access.

Bringing things all back together, some closing thoughts:

1. You probably generate a fair amount of leads but need to do better at making sure they aren't disappearing out the back door while you're so focused on getting more people in the door.

2. You may need to prioritize optimizing your systems to put yourself in the best position possible to deliver a high-quality product (both training and environment) that will yield more word-of-mouth referrals.

3. Make expertise easy to perceive across a variety of marketing mediums, especially if you're trying to cater to multiple demographics.

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Fitness Professionals: Competency vs. Fit

I have written several times in the past about how whenever the time comes to expand our staff at Cressey Sports Performance, we only hire from our internship program. In hiring, the goal is to get someone who is both competent for the job and a good fit for your culture. We can teach that competency in an internship, but just as importantly, an internship give us 3-5 months to evaluate whether an individual is the right fit from a personality standpoint. We actively involve our current staff in hiring to make sure that they're the ones helping to shape this culture. I can't recall exactly, but I believe I initially heard the competency/fit discussion in a book from Richard Branson and his hiring practices at Virgin.

This is an important lesson for all businesses, but particularly in the fitness industry. Many of your clients aren't intrinsically motivated to exercise; they probably don't get as excited about rolling out of bed and getting to the gym as us fitness nerds do. Rather, they may be more extrinsically motivated by a gym culture that makes exercise more palatable or even fun. If you hire someone who hurts your culture because they aren't a good fit in one way or other, your clients suffer.

What fitness professionals might not realize, however, is that the competency and fit consideration is also something that potential clients are considering in their mind (whether they recognize it or not) before they hire a trainer.

As an example, I am not a good fit if you are a ballerina. I might have all the knowledge that you need for a successful the design training program, but I don't look the part, nor can I speak the language.

Likewise, if I weighed 350 pounds and looked like an NFL offense lineman, I probably wouldn't be a good fit for the baseball players I train. The giant meathead persona actually turns a ton of them off. No matter how confident you are, being a bad fit overshadows that intellectual preparation. 

I also wouldn't be a good fit at Mark Fisher Fitness. My personality isn't theatrical enough, and I'm not the most creative or extroverted guy in the world. My skill set really wouldn't translate, especially since a lot of Broadway performers aren't really interested in throwing a baseball 95mph.

"Fit" was something I had to overcome in my initial work with baseball players. Because I only played up until 8th grade, I had to ask a lot more questions and do a lot more listening. I had to strap on the catcher's gear and catch bullpens. And, I had to work harder to become wildly competent on the actual training side to overcome the fact that I'm technically a baseball outsider. It's worked out well, but I often wonder if success would have come a bit more easily if I'd be a guy who played baseball all the way through college.

I think "fit" is also the area where many fitness professionals really struggle as they work to market themselves. The accomplished bodybuilder who wants to attract general population fat loss clients may have all the knowledge needed to be successful, but if he plasters his website with shirtless pictures of himself, he comes across as a "me guy" who could never understand the needs of a 45-year-old mother of two. And he might not realize this "look" terrifies some of those potential clients - even though this marketing pitch might work if he's trying to add other bodybuilders or fitness competitors as clients.

Likewise, a guy who loses 300 pounds to get to a fit 180 pounds might appeal to this more-easily-intimidated demongraphic, but not be a good fit at all for the competitive bodybuilder. Everyone has different wants, needs, and perceptions.

This quick observation has three key takeaways:

1. Competence is always of paramount importance, but it will be hard to show off your competence if you aren't a good fit.

2. We all have huge blind spots of which we aren't aware. Just as you strive to always work to improve your knowledge base and skill set, you should actively seek out people you trust to give you honest feedback about how they view your marketing message and how you present yourself.

3. This might be the most important thing: you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever be a good fit for everyone. If you try to be everything to everyone, you'll wind up trying to ride a bunch of horses with one saddle. Having a few clearly defined "niches" usually is your best bet, and if you choose to expand into other niches, you're probably better off hiring someone who's a good fit for it. As I've said before, when it comes to long-term business development, look at this chart - and always try to trend down and to the right.

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Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success – Installment 7

I didn't get around to writing up one of these blogs in the month of April, so here's an edition for May. Before I do, though, I should give you a quick heads-up about a one-day business mentorship my business partner, Pete Dupuis, and I are running at our Massachusetts facility on June 16. We did a casual social media announcement and have already sold out 15 of the 20 spots, so don't delay if you're interested. This is a great fit for anyone who owns a gym or aspires to do so. You can learn more HERE.

1. Let other people make the mistakes for you.

I posted this Tweet a little over a year ago, and it got quite a bit of love.

I'll venture a bold assertion: the fitness industry is really bad in this regard. Maybe it's the combination of:

a. competitiveness we get from former athletes

b. stubbornness we get from being willing to endure brutal training protocols ourselves

c. a lot of people jumping into entrepreneurship simply because they like to exercise, not because they really understand what goes into running a business

Whatever it is, the most successful gym owners I know are the ones who have reached out to people who've failed (sometimes miserably) before them to learn their lessons. The ones that struggle to have this success seem to always fail for the same old reasons, not new ones.

I'm sure this is common in many industries, but the fitness industry has got to be pretty high up there. I think that's why Pete and I are in a good place to teach the aforementioned mentorship. We've been screwing up and learning from it for ten years now! 

2. Don't criticize what you don't understand.

A few weeks ago, there was a highly publicized arm injury in Major League Baseball. I got calls/emails from three separate major media outlets asking if I could comment on how mismanagement may have contributed to the problem. I politely declined all the interviews.

It's not my place to pass judgement on anyone else without having full knowledge of a situation - and even then, hindsight is always 20/20. I choose to try to stay unconditionally positive and work on finding solutions instead of pointing out more problems. Moreover, being a Monday Morning Quarterback will invariably come back to bite you in the butt; the fitness and strength and conditioning fields are a very small world. Stay positive.

3. Use "impostor syndrome" to your advantage.

In a recent Facebook Q&A, someone asked about "times when you've experienced, and how you've handled, impostor syndrome. I say that because in the past, when it's crept up on me, I've specifically thought 'I wonder how Cressey handles this.' Because we all do, I wonder how even undeniably successful and accomplished coaches process it."

Wikipedia defines impostor syndrome as "a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a 'fraud.' The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be."

Here was my response: "There are actually a ton of founders of big companies who are massively pessimistic about their businesses. Noam Wasserman writes about this in The Founder's Dilemmas. I think it parallels a lot of high level athletes like Jordan, Kobe, etc. who are insanely critical of themselves and always looking to improve on something. So, my response would be that I am very hard on myself and my businesses, and always looking for ways to improve. My feeling is that it's normal and probably even healthy to second guess yourself - but only if you direct that mindset toward continuous improvement, as opposed to wallowing in frustration."

As is often the case, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. I just choose to use it to make me better instead of dragging me down. 

4. If you want to really learn something, teach it.

I've been to a number of seminars over the years and repeatedly heard the phrase, "The hardest day is Monday." In other words, the hardest part of the educational experience is knowing how to apply it after a weekend course is over. 

This is why we often use Cressey Sports Performance staff in-services as opportunities of our coaches to share - or teach - what they learned to the rest of their staff. Three things happen in these instances:

a. The attendee is forced to go back through his notes and "reiterate" the most important points.

b. The attendee has to learn how to take complex topics and make them understandable to an informed audience (our staff) before they go to a less informed audience (our clients), so there is a progressive simplification of things.

c. The rest of the staff helps to clarify how these new principles fit in our overall programming and coaching philosophies. They'll call BS if they see it, too.

Effectively, being forced to teach new topics shortly after you've learned about them serves as an audit that allows you to get to the useful, applicable information as quickly as possible. If you're looking to improve your approach to professional development, start teaching more!  

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The Best of 2016: Strength and Conditioning Features

I really enjoying creating features with multiple installments because it really allows me to dig deep into a topic that interests both me and my readers. It’s like writing a short book, with each post being a different chapter. That said, here were a few of my favorite features from 2016 at EricCressey.com: 

1. Random Thoughts on Sports Performance Training

I really enjoyed writing this series, as I can always build on current events. This year, I drew inspiration from everything from off-season baseball preparations, to the Olympics, to new books and DVDs I'd covered. There's an article for every month:    

Installment 15
Installment 16
Installment 17
Installment 18
Installment 19
Installment 20
Installment 21
Installment 22
Installment 23
Installment 24
Installment 25

2. Coaching Cues to Make Your Strength and Conditioning Programs More Effective

This coaching series has appeal for fitness professionals, rehabilitation specialists, and exercise enthusiasts alike.

Installment 14
Bench Press Technique Edition

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3. Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success 

While most of my writing folks on the training side of things, I do like to delve into the business side of fitness, too. These posts include various pieces of wisdom for those who make their living in the fitness industry.

Installment 1
Installment 2
Installment 3
Installment 4

The Best of 2016 series is almost complete, but stayed tuned for a few more highlights!

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The Best of 2015: Strength and Conditioning Articles

With 2015 winding down, I'm using this last week of the year to direct you to some of the most popular content of the past 12 months at EricCressey.com, as this "series" has been quite popular over the past few years. Today, we start with the most popular articles of the year; these are the pieces that received the most traffic, according to my hosting statistics.

1. 12 Questions to Ask Before Including an Exercise in Your Training Program - I drafted up this article to outline all the things that go through my brain as I'm writing up a strength and conditioning program.

2. 10 Important Notes on Assessments - I'm a big believer in the importance of assessments in the fitness industry, but it's really important to make sure that these assessments are performed correctly - and matched to the population in question. Here are ten thoughts on the subject.

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3. How to Build an Aerobic Base with Mobility Circuits - I just posted this article a few weeks ago, and it already received enough traffic to outpace popular posts that were posted much earlier in the year. Suffice to say that folks were excited about the fact that you can improve movement quality while improving conditioning. 

4. Is One-on-One Personal Training Dead? - In spite of the direction of the fitness industry with respect to semi-private training, I'm still a big fan of one-on-one training - and I think every fitness professional should be proficient with it.

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5. 5 Ways to Differentiate Yourself as a Personal Trainer - Here's a must-read for the up-and-coming fitness professionals in the crowd.

I'll be back soon with another "Best of 2015" feature. Up next, the top videos of the year!

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How to Stand Out in a Crowded Fitness Industry

Today's guest post comes from my Cressey Sports Performance business partner, Pete Dupuis.

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I’ve decided it is time to add an additional component to our internship program. As it turns out, Cressey Sports Performance (CSP) has been doing a disservice to its interns for a while. We’ve been sending extremely prepared coaches out into the world with a lot to offer and no idea how to sell it!

A former intern currently coaching at a commercial gym recently admitted that he had regrets about how he’d approached his time with us. He explained that he’d like to go back in time and spend more hours in my office during his internship at CSP. In his words:

“I learned the hard way that being the best coach in your gym is irrelevant if you’re unable to convincingly sell your personal training services. I walked through the door thinking that my superior coaching skill-set would translate to a full client roster and ended up watching meat-head trainers pack their schedules and even turn away clients as I scrambled ineffectively trying to fill my book of business.”

It’s officially time for me to put some thought into preparing our interns for the realities of the personal training world beyond the basis of coaching.

Pay Attention to those Who Sell Effectively

I should start by acknowledging that I have never been a personal trainer. I am, however, the business guy at a fitness facility that has employed a number of fantastic strength coaches. I’ve seen the difference between the good and the bad, and know that every successful coach has at least one redeemable quality outside of their coaching skill-set. More specifically, my staff members with the infectious personalities are always the ones who draw people in.

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In a recent post, I discussed my new initiative of training alongside our clients to improve my “feel” for our training environment and client experience. It was during one of these afternoon training sessions when I realized we have a team member who routinely puts on a clinic when it comes to client interaction. His name is Matt Blake, and he’s actually not even a strength coach here at CSP. Matt is the CSP Pitching Coordinator and also the only guy in the room who doesn’t count on me to fill his coaching schedule. Much like your typical personal trainer, Matt’s time spent mingling on the training floor and in the offices of CSP ultimately drives his earning potential.

Since Matt routinely has his winter pitching instruction schedule fully booked by late October, our interns could stand to benefit from paying attention to how he handles himself in the gym. Here are four valuable lessons any current or future personal trainer can take away from Matt Blake:

What you deliver off-the-clock is often just as important as what you do during a session.

On the surface, Matt sells pitching instruction here at CSP. As far as the general public is concerned, there’s standard one-on-one pitching instruction, and there’s video analysis sessions where the mechanics of one’s delivery are broken down step-by-step. What they don’t realize is that Matt actually offers what he casually refers to as a “suite of complimentary services.”

2013.01.26 - CP (139)

More specifically, Matt over-delivers with his clientele by making himself available in an informal setting outside of the pitching cage to discuss the complicated college recruiting process, the intricacies of the word of summer/AAU baseball, the importance of strength training and manual therapy as it relates to pitching, and more. He makes time “off-the-clock” to help his athletes understand that the effectiveness and usefulness of his pitching instruction is ultimately going to be driven by a variety of factors lying outside of the pitching cage.

Matt explains:

“In my field, if you’re going to charge a premium rate for your services, you need to be able to justify the price-point by delivering more than an agreed upon block of time in your schedule for the week. When I under-promise and over-deliver, parents and athletes are quick to spread positive reviews of my services.” -MB

As a personal trainer in a commercial gym setting, you have the perfect opportunity to replicate Matt’s efforts. I’m sure you see your clients executing unsupervised training sessions outside of your regularly scheduled appointments, so why not approach them on the training floor (in front of other gym members) to give a quick deadlift refresher free-of-charge? Why not catch them by surprise by saying, “I was thinking about how your shoulder was bugging you last week and tracked down a really fascinating article for you to read about addressing the issue with manual therapy.”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz often says that while coffee is the product, his company is in the “people business.” Personal training may be your product, but make no mistake; you are in the people business. Differentiating yourself from other trainers (or pitching coaches) is essential to building and sustaining a career in this industry.

2013.01.26 - CP (348)

Know More Than You Need To Know

“The general working knowledge of pitching mechanics is very superficial, so I stepped away from the commonly used jargon and lazy coaching cues during instruction and began to focus closely on the fundamental movement patterns involved in throwing a baseball.” -MB

The message Matt is sharing here is actually very simple: If you continue to do what everyone else is doing, you will continue to get the results that everyone else is getting. He’s taken the initiative to step outside of his comfort zone and obtain a working knowledge of cutting-edge arm-care protocols, the basics of self-administered manual therapy, and more. Matt sits in on every one of our CSP weekly staff in-services and doesn’t receive a paycheck for it. His dedication to understanding fundamentals outside of his niche not only helps him “talk shop”, but also inherently improves his craft by broadening his relative knowledge.

Differentiate by Association

Matt is smart enough to know what falls outside of his scope of practice. With a comprehensive network of qualified professionals, he is quick to refer out to when appropriate. He knows who his go-to physical therapist is in each part of New England. If an athlete complains of throwing-related pain, he has the contact information needed to get a fast-tracked appointment with one of the country’s best orthopedic surgeons. He can get an athlete in need of nutrition assistance in front of a qualified professional in minutes. Matt’s referral network has become one of his most distinct assets.

2013.01.26 - CP (441)

Manage Expectations without Selling a Dream

“I’ve created a model that is focused on long term incremental gains. I don’t place a huge focus on the use of radar guns. I don’t count balls and strikes on a daily basis. That certainly has its place, but I put a lot more focus on mindful effort and understanding the process of throwing. My clients throw a baseball with a purpose and a plan.” -MB

The personal trainers who promise “10lbs of fat loss in just four weeks” are destined to lose clients in the long-run. The pitching coaches who guarantee specific velocity gains are destined to be replaced by the next flavor of the month instructor when results don’t reflect expectations. His initial message may not be as sexy, but Matt sells attainable and sustainable results. He explains that his clients are asked to embrace a process-oriented mindset and stop worrying about short-cuts to improvements.

If you can get your clients to appreciate the process of creating a healthier lifestyle or mechanically efficient pitching delivery, you’re likely to see them get excited about their incremental gains. It’s hard to value (or replicate) where you end up if you can’t remember how you got there.

Time for You to Take Action

Eric recently mentioned on Twitter that the best way to improve within your industry is to look outside of it. You can apply this concept immediately by emulating one or more of Matt’s habits outlined above. As you’ll soon see, it doesn’t require an extraordinary amount of effort in order to differentiate yourself from the rest of the trainers within your commercial gym.

About the Author

Pete Dupuis (@Pete_Dupuis) is the Vice President & Co-Founder of Cressey Sports Performance. Please visit www.PeteDupuis.com to find additional fitness business blog content and to learn more about his Business Consulting Services.

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21 Tips for Up and Coming Fitness Professionals

Over the years, my favorite posts to write have been my "Random Thoughts" pieces. Effectively, these write-ups are just brain dumps on a particular topic, as opposed to a clearly constructed arguments. It occurred to me the other day that - after years of our internship programs at Cressey Sports Performance - I've accumulated a lot of useful tips for up-and-coming fitness professionals. So, here's a brain dump on the subject!

1. Improve your writing skills.

In this industry – as much as you may think it’s unfair – a lot of people are going to assume that you are just a meathead. You’re feeding into that stereotype each time you send an email with all lower-case letters or fail to utilize correction punctuation.

True story: I once had an athlete’s mother joke with me that she was sure that I was the only strength coach on the planet that knew how to correctly use a semicolon.

2. Don’t make continuing education harder than it needs to be. Your goal should be 30 hours per month, or 360 hours per year.

-Three seminars of 1-2 days each = 24-48 hours/year
-20 minutes per day of audiobooks during your commute, or regular book reading: 122 hours/year
-Go observe another trainer/physical therapist/doctor once a month for 4 hours: 48 hours/year
-Online Programs/Videos for 20 minutes per day: 122 hours/year
-Buy/Watch three DVD sets: 24-48 hours

At the minimum, this is 340 hours. On the high end, it’s 388. Either way, it’s incredibly manageable. You just have to make it a priority.

Subscribe to Elite Training Mentorship. It's under $30/month, and literally takes 75% of the guesswork out of this continuing education "battle" for you. Just make sure you cover everything that's included in every update each month, and you'll be in a great spot.

etmLogo

3. Talk 20% of the time, and listen 80% of the time – especially during initial evaluations/consults.

4. Incorporate videos into your coaching. Many clients are visual learners who do best when they see themselves performing an exercise.

5. Make it easier for potential clients to perceive your expertise. There are a million different avenues you can use to do this; think long and hard about what really “matters” to your clients. For instance, don’t expect an awesome Facebook presence to mean much to teenage athletes, as they’re all on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

6. Have a clear and consistent persona. Don’t be an introvert one day and then bounce off the walls the next. Sure, there is a time and a place to shake things up to help with client engagement, but that shouldn’t change you are as a person to the point that clients don’t know what to expect when they show up. Moreover, they should never be able to tell whether you’re having a bad day or not.

8. Look the part. It actually does matter.

9. Use social media as a means of building rapport with your clients and potential clients, celebrating clients’ achievements, and also in positioning or reaffirming your expertise (think of it as a short article or blog). Don’t use it to be confrontational/negative.

CPPro

9. Never be afraid to refer out. Your #1 priority is to help clients – especially if that means to get them out of pain. I see too many trainers who are afraid to refer clients out to doctors and physical therapists because they’re afraid the client won’t come back and they’ll lose the business. If that’s the way you’re thinking, then you ought to be asking yourself, “Why didn’t I create a stronger relationship with this client?” If you do a good job, you should create a sense of loyalty in your clients – and this shouldn’t even be an issue.

10. Some clients won’t mind it if you swear. Others will REALLY mind it. Why risk it when there is nothing to be gained?

11. Don’t try to fit clients to programs. Fit programs to clients.

12. When you see another trainer with a busy calendar, don’t think, “That guy sucks. I should have way more clients than he does.” Instead, ask yourself, “What is that guy doing so well that he makes clients flocks to him?”

13. If you want to build confidence while honing your skill set in the early stages, volunteer to help out with training teenage female athletes. They have considerable joint hypermobility, which means that it’ll be easier for them to acquire the postures needed to lift effectively. And, if you’re familiar with the concept of relative stiffness, because they have less passive stability, there will be less “bad stiffness” for them to overcome as you work to establish good stiffness for lifting.

elbowhyperextension

Additionally, younger female athletes are generally more untrained, meaning they haven’t spent years lifting in the basement, establishing bad patterns the entire time. So, you don’t have egos to deal with in terms of changing lifting techniques or selecting lighter training loads. They won’t put another 2.5 pounds on the bar until you tell them to do so.

Finally, untrained athletes will make progress quickly – and that can make the training process more fun for coach and athlete alike.

Obviously, you don’t always get to pick the exact populations with whom you work, but training this “slam dunk” population is one way to get some momentum on your side.

14. Find ways to introduce clients to each other to help establish culture. Did one client vacation where another client is heading? Maybe Client A will have a good restaurant recommendation for Client B, or can comment on how good the gym access is at a particular resort.

Just this past week, an agent reached out to me to ask if I knew of any forward-thinking doctors in the Arizona area where one of his baseball clients could get blood work done. I texted one of our MLB clients who’d had it done out there last year, and he got me the contact info for one – as well as a thorough review of his experience with this particular doctor.

The more you grow your culture, the more you realize that clients don’t just come back to you time and time again for the training. If you need proof, here's a photo of the CSP Family members from the Mets, Marlins, and Cardinals during the 2014 Spring Training. We organized this get together for dinner on 24 hours notice. Not pictured are the wives and girlfriends in attendance, but suffice it to say we were a crew of 30+ that evening.

cpfam-BjiV-snIMAA-QIf

You don't get that if you just punch the clock with your clients; you get it by treating them as family and inviting them to be part of something much bigger.

15. Never speak badly about another trainer or business. Focus on what you do well and, more importantly, how you can help the client.

16. Be very careful with how you manually cue female clients, particularly if you are a male trainer. I can lightly jab my fist into a 24-year-old MLB athlete’s core to get him to brace, but this would be highly inappropriate with a 45-year-old female client on her first day. So, if you feel the need to use your hands to cue a client directly, politely ask permission before doing so.

17. Always be on time. On the first day of their internship, I teach all our new interns about the concept of “Respect Reciprocity.” If you want clients to respect you as a coach, you need to respect them first – and that begins and ends with showing up on time and being ready to coach. Organized facilities/trainers attract (or help to create) organized clients.

If that’s not incentive enough to show up on time, just remember that doctors who have poor bedside manner are more likely to be sued by patients – and that’s independent of their actual diagnostic or treatment abilities. If a customer perceives you as disrespectful, you’re going to be paddling upstream to make things right.

18. Never, ever, ever discuss religion or politics.

19. Don’t just work to create a good network of medical professionals around you, but also a great network of specialists. Not all orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, massage therapists, and other related professionals have identical skill sets. I'm very in tune with this because you can't send baseball elbows and shoulders to "just any" doctor or physical therapist. It's a unique population with specific adaptations, injury mechanisms, and functional demands.

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20. Be really, really, really good at something and you will do very well in this industry. However, before you can be really, really, really good at something, you should be proficient at a lot of things.

21. Remember that proficiency precedes popularity. You’ll get really busy when you’re really good at what you do.

That does it for this go-round. I'll definitely do this one again, as they really rolled off my fingertips!
 

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 5/4/15

Good morning, gang; I hope you all had a great weekend. Let's kick off the week with some recommended strength and conditioning reading:

Solving Sleep Problems - Adam Bornstein presents some non-obvious strategies for improving your sleep quality and quantity.

Fitness Professionals: How to Figure Out Your Learning Style - I wrote this just over two years ago, but a recent conversation with one of our interns reminded me of it. If you're a fitness professional, it'd be a good read to help with your continuing education approaches.

How to Build Success in Your Training - Cressey Sports Performance coach Tony Gentilcore outlines some key success measures of which we need to be aware.

Also, just a friendly reminder that Elite Training Mentorship updates twice a month with inservices, webinars, exercise demonstrations, and articles from staff members at Cressey Sports Performance, Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, and several other forward-thinking facilities from around the country. Be sure to check out this comprehensive continuing education resource.

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