Yes. The number one asset you have in your business is the rapport, trust, and feelings of goodwill you have with your clients.
You may feel that you have saturated your market. Whether that is in the facility you work in or the town where you work. At some point you will feel that you have reached saturation. No matter how hard you try you won't have any more clients at a given time then you do now.
But when this period happens it's not the beginning of the end. Actually... it's just the beginning.
Over time your clients will develop a trust and an acceptance to you. You will become more than just their fitness professional you will become a friend. A guardian if you will. I strongly promote that you become their advocate. Someone who looks out for his or her well being.
What Do Friends Do?
They keep an eye on each other. They help each other steer clear of bad situations. In your case you now have a wonderful opportunity to continue being ethical and honest with your clients. And it is at this point that you can introduce your clients to complimentary and non-competitive products or services for which you can gain a referral fee.
Now to some of you this may seem a bit strange. How can I honestly recommend a product or service for which you are getting paid?
As long as you are honest and ethical in your dealings with people this shouldn't be a problem for you. It is when you only start recommending products or services for which you get paid you're in trouble (Cough... Golds...Cough). But as a business this can be your most profitable income stream.
As a business owner you should understand the fact that acquiring a new customer is the most costly aspect of your business. And as a business owner you also understand the value in a referral. Referrals cost you nothing (usually). The type of client that comes from a referral is usually more valuable and has a greater lifetime value for you. In many cases you would gladly pay someone to refer you a client than you would pay for other marketing means in order to get a new client.
So with this understanding you can now take your trust and goodwill you have with your clients and use it to your business advantage.
Your clients trust you. And when a certain level of trust is gained you now have an opportunity to recommend other products and services, which you can and should receive a referral fee for.
Dr. Thomas Stanley, author of the Millionaire Mind and The Millionaire next door gives many examples of service professionals offering products or services that are complimentary to their clients. He tells us that the most profitable service professionals are the ones who become "value added" to their clients.
The term "value added," means that your service has added value over other service professionals similar to yourself.
A financial planner can recommend a lawyer to whom he trusts. The clients in turn trust the lawyer and become valuable clients. A doctor can refer a dentist. A dentist can refer a contractor. An accountant even arranged the service of negotiating a new car purchase for a client! The client was so happy to have the hassle or negotiating a car removed from his life he gladly paid the accountant for the help. Not only that but the client now told everyone he knew about what the accountant had done resulting in a new influx of business and cash.
As a fitness professional you are in a position to listen to your clients needs. What do they need in their lives? What other products or services would fill those needs?
Once you have defined what your clients need why not go out and find vendors to fill those needs. Make sure that the vendors you do decide to do business with are ethical and honest and have a top-notch product or service. You must understand that this is critical. If you recommend a product or service that is sub-par this whole concept will backfire on you. You must, and I repeat MUST find complimentary products or services that are outstanding. Nothing less.
By adding value for your clients you have now set yourself apart within your market. No longer will clients treat you like an easily interchangeable commodity.
Even if your professional skills are sub par but you are such a center point of valuable products or services you may retain clients you wouldn't normally.
The value added approach to your business can be extremely profitable as long as you maintain the ethical standards that got you where you are today. It can be very profitable to be the "hub on the wheel" to other products and services for your clients. Think carefully at what other products or services you can offer your clients today.
About THe Author
Jonathan Edwards is an Olympian and is The Mozart Of Marketing. He has put together an extremely valuable marketing resource for fitness professionals. Please go to www.MarketingTipsForPersonalTrainers.com to get your free report The Top Ten Mistakes Fitness Professionals Make When Building Their Business or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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