I have been intrigued with the idea of online training for a while now, but always felt it was difficult to truly provide a guided training experience without any hands on time. Even using e-mail to send programs back and forth suffers from considerable lag time, especially if you have many clients to take care of. What if you could somehow have all of your e-mails on a spreadsheet to deal with instantly? You can.
I initially started using Google calendar on my website to make my schedule available to clients so that they could easily arrange their session times.
I constantly have clients telling me how much they love having the calendar available to them, and am always surprised more trainers don't do it, especially since I am constantly telling them they should. I use the configuration tool in the calendar management section to insert the html into my site, but you can also get a url to access the calendar directly if you don't have a website.
After having so much success with my own schedule calendar, I decided to make individual calendars available to clients via their own page on my site, but again you can get a url direct from Google calendar to give to your client. Below are some of the benefits I have found to using this system.
On the client's private calendar I put the number of their remaining sessions in parentheses next to their name. This way both of us are on the same page.
I don't like leaving anything to chance. Some clients can only afford to train twice a week, and I know it is difficult to make real progress at that rate. Using the calendar I can plug in independent workouts that they can do on their own. You may think that this isn't that big a deal, but every client who does not make good progress, is a potential bad mark on you.
I have the option of making the client's calendar private, and viewable only to him or her. I do this by adding their address into the sharing box. If the client does not have a gmail account, they are still able to set up a Google account with their non-Google e-mail address using this link https://www.google.com/accounts/login For instance, while I do have a gmail account, I also have a Google account set up using Jordan@averagetoelite.com.
While I have my paper trail of client programs, I also transfer the information from my notebook and whiteboard to the client's training calendar. This creates a permanent online record that they can always access, instead of having to ask me for training records.
When a client clicks on their training time or independent workout, a page with additional information pops up. In the screen shot below you see the details of Todd's independent workout. You also see my comment in the box below. This way I am able to keep a running dialogue with all of my clients.
The client also likes having their own personal space on your website. Many people have had bad experiences with trainers, feeling they are disorganized, or not really paying that much attention. Having something obviously dedicated to the client's success is comforting.
So you see how beneficial this is not only for online training, but for your actual one on one training as well. It can also help with your overall workload and organization to be able to activate all of your calendars and see the 'big picture' at a glance.
The multi-color system helps to easily identify the different clients, and ensure you don't miss anyone in the shuffle. I also have a separate calendar for my finance projections, so that I always have a good idea of what my income will be, and can plan for purchase of new equipment, and little annoyances like paying my rent and buying food.
I wrote before of clients who can only afford to train twice a week, but I also run into some who can only afford to train once a week. We all know this is very difficult, especially if the client has next to no knowledge of fitness.
In this case the calendar is very handy, as I just charge an affordable flat rate for one training session, and the calendar. I teach technique during the session, and apply it to their independent training on the calendar. For my clients who train twice or more a week, the calendar is complimentary.
As one last piece of business, I also wrote about authorizing clients to make changes to their personal calendar, but do not authorize them to make changes to your Master Calendar, or you will shortly have a very confused mess.
While this is intended to give you another tool to make your business successful, it is also to make the client experience the best possible. If you really care about your clients and make your best effort, the business end will take care of itself.
People can spot a fake, but they can also spot someone who is looking out for their best interests, and that person if often rewarded in more ways than just financially.
About The Author:
Jordan Vezina is a professional fitness trainer with a focus on combat conditioning and tactical fitness living in San Francisco, California, and is the owner and operator of Average To Elite Training Systems. He served five years in the United States Marine Corps Infantry, one year in the California National Guard Infantry, worked as a Staff Agent for Gavin DeBecker and Associates, and is trained in Anti/Counter Terror and Close Quarters Battle. www.averagetoelite.com