It's all about the marketing.
Marketing has many forms. Everything from a great ass and nice biceps to a logo on a t-shirt falls under the umbrella of marketing, so the number of weapons to choose from is varied. Let me give you the best example of marketing beating technical knowledge I have ever see and then I'll tell you why it relates to you...
A few years ago Psychology Today magazine did a study between Dr. John Gray and Dr. John Gottman. Two men who both provide performance enhancement advice to people just like you do.
Psychology Today compared Dr. Gray and Dr. Gottman and found some pretty interesting differences. The first difference was in their education. Dr. Gottman had attended a kick-ass university and had graduated with honors. Dr. Gray had received his education through a mail-order university. Dr. Gottman had completed over a thousand studies on marriages and why they failed. He had the data, the controls, the hypotheses, the peer reviewed studies.
Dr. Gray had none. Dr. Gottman had written a fantastic book on why marriages fail and had sold a few thousand copies of that book. Dr. Gray's book Men are From Mars And Women Are From Venus sold tens of millions of copies!
What Was The Difference?
This is a classic example of how a product or service with less technical ability far outshines its over educated competitor, and how with great marketing you can be extremely profitable with a technically inferior product or service.
You may be thinking, "That's just wrong! The Gottman guy should have made the millions." Well... no actually. That's like saying I'm going to do a triathlon but I'm not going to run the marathon at the end. Unfortunately your education does not help you make more money. For those of you who work at a facility where more certifications give you a higher percentage, you may want to argue with me. Personally, I think that deal sucks.
If just having more certifications makes you more money then go out and get the cheapest certification possible. So now what does that do? Trainer A has all of the top certifications and gets paid the highest percentage possible. Trainer B has the same amount of certifications but they all suck. Does it make sense he makes the same amount of money than Trainer A? Come on! It's just a dumb idea.
But let me ask you a question... do more certifications in and of themselves make you more money? Not at all. The client doesn't know what certifications you have nor do they care. Someone outside of our industry can't tell the difference between CSCS, CPT, CFT, CGA, ACE, AFFA, USGA, ETC. So as a customer acquisition tool the education doesn't help you. Let me explain...
The path from prospect to client and then from client to raving fan, looks like a large funnel. Your ability to market yourself effectively brings people into the funnel where, over time and careful cultivation, they become clients. It is at this point where your marketing claims are put to the test and your expertise now comes into play. Up until this point the client really doesn't know how good you are, or more importantly, if you can really help them.
Without the marketing efforts on the front end you would have never had an opportunity to prove to that client that you can get the results they are looking for. It's like putting a loaded computer on your desk. It's got all the software it's just not hooked up to anything. Now we could keep loading it up with software to make it run faster, be more efficient, process information quicker. But if we don't hook it up to the Internet it's worthless.
What you need to understand is that if, on a scale of one to ten your training ability is a nine, and your competitor is a five, you will be more successful than he, if you apply a similar marketing approach. Even if your service was a six, just like his, with a better marketing plan you would eventually put him out of business because marketing is what drives in clients. Without clients there is no money. And without money you are one very unhappy individual.
With an understanding that marketing is the true driver of cash into your business your focus on technical knowledge will change. No longer will you feel the need to get another certification. If you do, you will be asking yourself, "Will this added education increase the demand for my services?
Will my clients really benefit from this education I now have or can I create more clients if I focus on a new marketing strategy?" Often, your answer will be no, you don't need another certification. It is a very uplifting feeling when you realize that you don't have to go to school anymore. The answer is not in school.
5 Steps To A Profitable Business
There are five stages, in my opinion, to turning what you love into a profitable business.
Stage One is deciding to make a living at something your are passionate about. In this case it's personal training, strength and conditioning, golf coaching, etc.
Stage Two is going out to get the technical knowledge needed to perform that passion if you don't already have it. You may be the best in your sport and are now coaching it. Or you may suck at your sport but just really enjoy the lifestyle and want to teach it as a career.
Stage Three is going out and doing it. You are getting clients and working with them on a part time basis. They may trickle in by word of mouth or just by accident.
Stage Four is realizing the world doesn't automatically beat a path to your door once you have your technical know-how. At this point you may begin to feel frustrated that maybe this wasn't such a great idea after all.
Stage Five is realizing you need to gain technical knowledge of a different sort. Obviously you need to be doing something different to get a different result. This time your education is in learning how to turn your passion into an actual business. To get out of the hand to mouth mentality and actually create an income that sustains you. The education you need is in marketing and promotion.
Don't Get Angry, Get Even!
Instead of burning up inside over the success of less qualified individuals than yourself you will now turn your focus on a tool that will truly set yourself apart. Without marketing knowledge you will be resentful and bitter of people around you who have clients you feel would benefit from working with you instead of them.
I wish I had understood the value of marketing years ago. With that understanding I might still be competing full-time as an Olympic athlete. Without it, I was always wondering where my next paycheck was coming from.
With an understanding of marketing now under my belt I don't get frustrated. Actually I have too many opportunities and that's a good problem to have. You can have that situation too. You don't need to go out and get another certification. Learn what you can about marketing and start applying it to your business and soon you will see income opportunities everywhere you turn.
About The Author
Jonathan Edwards is a former Olympic athlete and now a marketing consultant for guru's and mini-guru's in the performance enhancement industry. You can go to one of his websites at www.marketingtipsforpersonaltrainers.com and sign up for his free report The Top 10 Mistakes Fitness Professionals Make When Building Their Business. You'll also want to subscribe to his monthly print newsletter Marketing Tips for Fitness Professionals that brings you cutting edge marketing ideas like the ones you just read above.
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