Always finish a Training Session by Stretching out a Client!

If you want to enhance client retention, spend at least 5-10 minutes at the end of every training session stretching out a client and/or utilizing tools such as stretching sticks or balls to provide a muscle rub-down. There is a reason why we make this a mandatory component of all of our training sessions – we know the clients love it and that is good for business!

After you’ve just given your clients a really tough workout and you let them know it’s time to stretch, nine times out of ten, they’ll say something like “Ahhh, this is the best part” or “This is what I pay you for!”

So just do it – trust us, it works!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

Posted in Business, personal training by Sherri | 2 Comments

How to get FREE Exposure

Hey Fitness Pros.

I’ve written previously about the importance of developing relationships with your local media to increase the amount of FREE exposure you get. One way to let the media know about what you’re doing is a Press Release. But many get tens to hundreds of press releases a day so the question is, how are you going to ensure that your Press Release is read versus just deleted within a second. It’s got to sound interesting, news worthy, different…So for example, I just sent out a Press Release about an upcoming seminar I am speaking on. One way to ensure I don’t get any media hits is to have a leader that is very boring. For example, Sherri McMillan presents seminar on July 14th, is going to get me no where. Who cares?

But what if I take a different spin on it…Here is the actual Press Release I sent out. Notice that the spin I take may be very interesting to some – why would they have ME speak to CEOs, Presidents & Business Owners? I hope it gives you some ideas for your next release.

Yours in Health, Fitness & Business,

Sherri McMillan

Press Release
July 2nd, 2009

Contact:
Sherri McMillan
sherri@nwpersonaltraining.com
360.574.7292

Why would a Fitness Trainer be asked by the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce to speak to Top Business Executives at Networking Lunch?

What: Sherri McMillan, co-owner of Northwest Personal Training & Northwest Women’s Fitness Club, will present the keynote presentation at the upcoming Chamber of Commerce Business Networking Event.

It may seem odd to some that a fitness instructor will present the keynote presentation to a number of high-profile local business executives. After all what do pushups, lunges and crunches have to do with business success? Most keynote presenters are highly credible and successful business leaders so what can a spandex laden fitness trainer share that will be of interest to these white collar execs?

When asked this very question, Sherri McMillan doesn’t hesitate “There is a reason why most of the top movers and shakers in Vancouver and Portland workout with us. Highly successful business professionals such as Tamara Fuller, Top Commercial Realtor, Lisa Dow – Vice President at West Coast Bank, Rod Cook – owner of Alpine AutoBody, Doug Palin – owner of Infinity Internet, Elie Kassab – Prestige Development and many others come to us to help them look and feel their best. They understand that in order to achieve great things, you’ve got to feel great!

Times are tough and in order to survive and thrive in today’s economy and to help manage the daily obstacles and stressors, you need strength and energy. Working out will help you overcome challenges and reduce any anxiety and stress you are experiencing. It will help you to keep a more positive outlook on your current situation because exercise secretes various endorphins that will make you feel better about everything! Plus, by taking care of yourself, you’ll experience less short and long term health care costs. You’ll end up eating out less which will also save you money. You’ll spend less money on new clothes because you’ll be able to fit in some of those clothes hanging in the back of your closets. You’ll have the energy to participate in family activities that are fun but don’t cost anything like biking, hiking, walking etc.

So my message is exactly what business professionals need to hear. I’m going to teach them how to balance their life so they can be successful in all realms. I will provide them with tools for fitting exercise in when life is already too busy for them. I know I can help a lot of people out there – because we already have for hundreds of others.

Everyone wants to excel in their professional, personal and social lives. Everyone wants to look and feel their best. But few people can attest that they are living their dream life. We will review the principles everyone needs to grasp and the actions steps we all need to commit to in order to achieve our Personal Bests.”

When: Tuesday July 14th, 11:30am-1:00pm

Where: Royal Oaks Country Club, 8917 NE Fourth Plain Blvd, Vancouver WA 98661

Cost: $30 members; $50 non-members. Guests who are signed up by a chamber member, receive member pricing. Golf course dress, please.

How: To register: www.vancouverusa.com, click Events/Registration and July 14, or call (360) 694-2588.

************************************************************************

Posted in Uncategorized by Sherri | No Comments

Use YouTube to highlight and grow your business.

Hey Fitness Pros.

We hosted our Summer Solstice event this past Saturday. I had a few of our volunteers take video clips with our $150 flip camera. Then I uploaded them onto YouTube. Mind you, it’s not professional editing but hey, it still gives people a great idea of what we’re all about. I can post these clips on our website, include them in my blog, add them on our FaceBook page, email them to clients…

It doesn’t cost me anything but a little time and just increases our outreach. Plus our clients love it so that’s good for Client Retention.

Create those moments of magic (even if it’s just some footage of some really cool workouts with your clients) and then share them with the world! Your business image will spread like wild-fire and that IS good for business!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

ps. Be sure to get your clients’ permission first. Or at least, have a clause in all your intake forms letting your clients know that you will post photos and video clips of events/workouts etc. If they have a problem with it, they’ll let you know.

Host your own event and watch your business prosper

Hey Fitness Pros.

I’m currently in the final preparation stages for our annual 6 mile Run/Walk and Live Concert fundraiser event at our studio this weekend. We’ve got the street in front of our business blocked off where we’ll start and finish the event, we’ll have a stage set up for the Live Band, vendors will be on site and it’s just going to be a blast.

It’s a lot of work – applying for city permits, finding sponsors, recruiting volunteers, event planning and more. But it’s all worth it.

The big question is Why? What do we as a business get out of hosting events like this?

1. We’ve got 200 people already signed up – that will be closer to 300 by the weekend. In addition, we’ve got about 75 volunteers helping out. Plus there will be spectators to cheer on their loved ones. So we’ll have about 500 people right in front of our studio, knowing exactly where we are, what we do and seeing what a fabulous, community-minded company we are. That’s got to be good for business!

2. We will also now have all the runners/walkers email addresses so we can continue to market to them and promote any upcoming programs and events.

3. Creating moments of magic. When the participants cross the finish line, they’re going to feel amazing. They’ll associate this memorable moment with us. If they are a client, this enhances client retention. If they are not a client, if they are thinking about taking their program to a new level, they are going to come to us.

4. Fun & Friendships: These types of events foster a fun environment that develops friendships. When people have a lot of friends where they workout, they are more likely to come which enhances results and they are less likely to leave and go elsewhere!

5. Supporting your community. People do business with people they know and like and respect. These events give our community a chance to get to know us. Plus if they appreciate a business that really takes care of their community, they will be more likely to want to train with us compared to another fitness club.

6. Offer a feeder into your Private Training services and programs. For example, we host a Triathlon. We also host the Triathlon Training clinic to help people get prepared for the Triathlon. We currently have 20 people signed up for our clinic and each paid $199 to participate. So it’s a nice additional revenue stream.

Next month, we’re hosting our Triathlon. After that, a hiking and cycling trip to Crater Lake. And can you believe, we get paid for this?!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

ps. If you’re thinking about hosting your own events, but don’t know where to start, you can purchase our systems for how we organize our events. Email kari@nwpersonaltraining.com and she’ll get you all set-up.

Father’s Day focus for Fitness Pros

Hey Fitness Pros.

It’s Father’s Day this coming weekend and that should be a big focus all week. I’ve cut and posted some instructions I gave to our team this week. Hopefully it will help you too!

High Priority: Father’s Day is this weekend so remember to suggest gift certificates and announce our Guys Bootcamp on Saturday June 20th. Encourage our clients to do something special with their hubbies, dads, sons, brothers…As people are coming and going, try “Did you need to pick up a Gift Certificate for Father’s Day” or “Do you think you can join us for our Dads Bootcamp on Saturday” or at the very least, “Would you like one of our complimentary Gift Certificates to give to those special guys in your life” That’s an easy one because it doesn’t cost them anything and they can give to their dad, brother, son, husband. We should be able to give out a ton of these and them we’ll have all kinds of new people coming into the facility to visit with our amazing trainers…And once they see a trainer for their comp visit, I’m 100% confident they will continue and that will completely change their lives forever! Trainers – this is a great way to build your clientele base so be sure to be on top of this all week. In fact, carry a bunch of certs with you all week so you can give them to people at the grocery store, your hair stylist, your neighbor etc. So let’s make this a team effort this week. Justin – be sure to have a ton in stock and give everyone at least 2 each to get them started.

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

What’s more important – offense or defense?

If you watch sports like most people, you are probably impressed by the extreme athleticism, determination and focus of athletes from around the world. One of our favorite sports to watch and play is Beach Volleyball. We find that this sport can be used as an analogy for business excellence.

In the sport of Beach Volleyball, you only have 2 people. You rely and depend on each other closely. Each player must be a master of both Offense and Defense. Great offense would be the ability to serve ACEs, spike hard for the kills and play smart (ie. look for the open spots or weak links). Great Defense would be the ability to return serves, bump with precision, block aggressively and play with your heart and soul (going for those impossible digs). Since you only have 2 players, a team can’t afford to have one player specialize only in Offense and/or Defense and be extremely weak in the other area – they must be masters of both! The team who reaches 21 points first, wins. But let’s say you’re really good at offense and great at scoring points. Well, all it takes is for you to mess up once, the ball to turnover to the other team, and if you’re not good at defense, your opponent will quickly take over the momentum and win the match. And in contrast, if you’re really great at defense but not so hot at offense, you’ll have a difficult time scoring the points you need to win.

Similarly, winning clubs and training studios must be good at offense and defense. In the fitness industry, offense refers to the ability to sell and defense refers to the ability to maintain members and clients. Great offense refers to Sales (scoring points) – the ability to effectively take incoming phone calls, perform inspiring tours and complimentary sessions, to ask for referrals, to suggestive sell event participation/energy bars/shakes/HR monitors etc, to network in our community, and to effectively advertise/market… Great defense refers to Client Retention (keeping the points you scored) – the ability to keep members/clients happy and returning/renewing customers (Results/Energy/Passion/Relationships/Small Details – (Cleanliness, Efficiency, Accuracy, Amenities), calling back clients who have discontinued/canceled – showing we care.

Larger clubs may be able to afford to have specific individuals specialize in either sales or customer service but still each player on your team needs to embrace the skills of both areas. And for smaller clubs and training studios, because your team will traditionally be smaller, it is imperative that each member on your team understands that they need to develop retention and customer service skills.

In a club or training studio, if you have great sales skills but poor customer service retention, you’ll lose clients as quickly as you sell them. It’s called the revolving door syndrome – 100 new members in each month, 100 members cancel each month – and you never actually get anywhere. And if you’re great at customer retention but poor at sales, you’ll have a difficult time growing your business or hitting sales goals as you lose clients for reasons outside of your control (ie moving, financial etc).

“68% of customers decide to no longer do business with a particular organization because they perceive an attitude of indifference by the employees!”

• Greet all clients warmly and by name. Do clients/members know that you are happy to see them? Ask yourself how many people you know by name and likewise, how many members know you by name.
• Get to know all clients/members – develop a strong relationship so they know you care about them. Make a point of conversing with each member/client by offering a compliment on their consistency or their appearance, inquiring about their workout plans, asking a question, inviting them to a new class, informing and inviting them to an upcoming event…”I’d love for you to join us…It’ll be so much fun!)
• Call members/clients when they don’t show up for workouts – let them know you missed them
• Call clients/members just to talk to them and see how they are doing
• Introduce clients/members to each other and foster an environment where friendships are developed. People will be less likely to leave if they have a lot of friends at the gym.
• Say goodbye to all clients as they leave. Ask them how their workout was. Tell them we can’t wait to see them again.

Manage your Moments of Magic

• Every moment is a potential moment of magic
• Go the extra mile – ask yourself what you can do for a client/member to make it easier, more convenient, require less of their time etc.
• Do your due diligence – Make the extra effort with clients by contacting physicians, coaches, researching information, providing educational materials…
• Call clients/members on their birthday
• Send birthday, holiday, congrats and thinking of you cards
• Inspire clients to participate in Outdoor adventures and events that will create long-lasting lifetime memories
• Do more than clients expect

Managers and Directors can help their team embrace this thought process by going through the following drill at an upcoming staff meeting. First start by discussing the concept and the importance of each team player developing offense and defensive skills. Then split off into various departments (ie Personal Trainers, Sales, Customer Service Reps, Day Care, Group Fitness Instructors) and have each department come up with ways that they can be masters of Offense and Defense in their department. And then regroup and have each department share their thoughts. If you are alone in your own company, do this drill yourself. It will help you stay focused on the two most important aspects of running a successful fitness business – getting new clients/members inspired and keeping them happy and loyal customers.

Summary – It’s not enough to be good at just sales or customer service, you have to be world-class at both to succeed!

Testimonials, Testimonials, Testimonials!

Hey Fitness Pros,

Whether you’re trying to create a flier for a new program, update your website, or pull together your brochure, testimonials sell far better than a bunch of company text.

So figure out what you want to say, and then have someone else say it for you. It’s much more genuine, authentic, trust-worthy and believable when someone else is bragging about you and your services!

So start asking clients for written, audio and video feedback and use it as often as you can. Be a collector of testimonials and success stories.

Testimonials prove that you can and will do what you say you’re going to do.

Here are some examples from our websites to give you some ideas. Just cut and paste into your browser so you can check them all out.

This is a page from our Northwest Women’s Fitness Club website. Notice how we use video and written testimonials. We’ll continue to use more video – it really brings a testimonial to life!

http://www.nwwomensfitness.com/subs/success_stories/success_stories.php

Here is a page from our Northwest Personal Training website.

http://www.nwpersonaltraining.com/subs/success_stories/success_stories.php

Here is a page from our Northwest Fitness Education site.

http://www.nwfitnesseducation.com/subs/testimonials/testimonials.php

Infomercials sell a ton of product and if you’ve ever watched one, you’ll realize all it is, is testimonial after testimonial. People think “Hey, if they can do it so can I!”

So before you finalize your next flier, brochure, website or ad, ask yourself, where is the testimonial?

Yours in health, fitness & business,

Sherri McMillan

Posted in Uncategorized by Sherri | No Comments

The #1 way to get & keep clients!

The biggest problem working in the fitness industry is that we are offering a product that most people hate. Unfortunately, the majority of people do not like to exercise! So as fitness professionals, each and every one of us has to do whatever we can to make the exercise experience as enjoyable as we possibly can.

We have to be in the business of getting our members and clients to really like each and every single one us, enjoy being around us, enjoy our environment and how they feel every time they come and see us.

The statistics show that 80% of people who stop coming are NEW members or clients. They join with great intentions of coming regularly and for whatever reason, we weren’t able to help integrate them into our ‘family’. They stopped coming because they didn’t feel comfortable, didn’t feel welcomed, didn’t enjoy their time with us…Ultimately, we did not deliver what they expected or needed. No one will ever leave us for any of the following reasons:

“I stopped coming because I had way too many friends there. Every time I go, people want to talk and laugh and go to lunch after.”

“I quit because the staff is entirely too friendly and fun. They’re always introducing me to other people…Always trying to help me… Always making me laugh.”

So we’ve got to do whatever we can to make the exercise experience fun! Here’s some ideas:

• Laugh – Kids laugh 300x/day and adults only laugh 15x/day. Change this! If you laugh, others will laugh too!
• Joke around with your co-workers, members & clients (in an appropriate manner of course). The fun energy will rub off!
• Incorporate fun drills that get clients/members laughing, having fun and getting to know each other.

Check out the 2 minute clip of my Outdoor Bootcamp program above to give you some ideas. I’m giving them a great workout but notice how they are also laughing and joking around while I’m kicking their butts!

• Participate events so you develop strong relationships with clients and staff which will ultimately create an awesome work and working out environment

Check out this photo of me and my clients participating in a 5km Fun Run and finishing second in the costume division this past weekend. We enjoyed a fabulous workout and had a TON of fun! Can you believe we ran 3 miles in this thing!

Keep it fun people and your clients will keep coming back!

Yours in health, fitness & business,

Sherri McMillan

We’ve got to start with the kids!

If our goal as Fitness Professionals is to inspire the world to fitness, then we should definitely involve the kids!

I had the opportunity to work with some Vancouver kids today to teach them that working out and eating healthy can be a ton of fun. Check out the video above. It’s so cute!

Here’s the reality…

These days kids hardly get any activity. Most schoolwork involves sedentary activity and with television and video games as after-school pastimes, the temptation to sink into couch potato-land becomes pretty overwhelming for our kids. Check out these startling stats:

* Children today are approximately 40% less active than they were 30 years ago
* 20% of children and teens are overweight enough to threaten their future health
* One report states that the number of overweight children ages 6-11 has increased by 50% in the last 15 years and by 40% in those ages 12-17. Lack of exercise is considered a major contributing factor
* 40% of children already have at least one risk factor for heart disease and reduced fitness due to an inactive lifestyle
* Children spend an average of 26 hours a week watching television and also spend 25-30 hours a week sitting behind a desk

Kids who exercise can experience the following benefits:

* Daily physical activity builds a healthy heart and stimulates muscle and bone growth
* Healthy, fit kids have more energy, sleep better and often have better eating habits than their sedentary peers
* One six year study found that the academic performance of students who exercised regularly had significantly improved compared to students who did not participate in regular physical activity
* It appears that children benefit from better concentration, memory, creativity, problem-solving ability and overall mood for up to two hours following exercise
* One report states that exercise can boost a child’s self-confidence and self-image. It also reduces aggression and decreases anxiety and depression.

So consider volunteering to lead a kids fitness program or launch a Kids Bootcamp class. Do what you can to start them young!

Yours in health, fitness & business,

Sherri

ps. As a side benefit, their parents may also start working with you!

Posted in personal training by Sherri | No Comments

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!

What is the easiest way to enhance team morale, increase job satisfaction, boost someone’s confidence, make a client feel great, increase a loved one’s inner joy and cure the world’s problems?

Okay so maybe I’m going overboard there but telling and showing someone how much you love, respect and appreciate them goes a really long way! The best part is if you’re struggling with this economy and on a tight budget, it doesn’t cost much if anything!

So whether you are a personal trainer, fitness instructor, manager or owner, here’s few ideas:

*Give a thank you card or letter to a client or team member who has been with you for a long time to tell them how much you appreciate that they are in your life.

*Pick up a few $10-$20 gift cards from Itunes, Starbucks, Movies etc to give to staff to thank them for going above and beyond.

*Order some water bottles, t-shirts etc with your logo on it to give to loyal clients and staff – a great marketing initiative too!

*Send a short, impromptu email to a client or team member to let them know you recognize how hard they’ve been working.

*Post client testimonials and success stories on your website, on a bulletin board at your studio and in a scrap book to be displayed at your studio.

*Plan a staff thank you party and/or a membership/client appreciation get-together or BBQ to let your people know how much you care about them.

*Wildly celebrate all client and staff successes & special moments like birthdays, anniversaries etc.

If you’re like most leaders (and yes, you’re a leader), it’s easy to forget to do these things. So put it in your calendar so it is ritualized. For example, you might decide that every Thursday, you are going to email 3 people to thank them or the first of every month, you are going to purchase a few small gifts to give to those people who you really appreciate or every quarter, you’re going to host a party. Write it down and then make it happen!

Yours in fitness, health and business,

Sherri McMillan

Posted in Business, personal training by Sherri | No Comments