The information I am about to cover is for personal trainers who are serious about making money, and no, just because you want to make money doesn't mean you don't care about your clients. It is totally possible to help them by giving an excellent service and in the process make a ton of cash!
Packages Or Series Of Sessions
The "hot" debate right now seems to be whether or not to sell "packages" of your personal training service. Some people are saying that it's better to sell a "series" of sessions rather than the traditional "packages".
I've also heard some trainers say that you also shouldn't offer a discount for larger packages or commitments. So my goal is to show you what makes the most sense, and money!
First, let's talk about the differences between a "package" of sessions and a "series". An example of a package might be "10 session package for $600". With a package, usually the client pays in advance for a certain number of sessions.
Whereas, a series consist of an initial down payment or "retainer fee" and then payment for each session. If the client doesn't show up for a session you keep the retainer fee.
I personally have used both approaches and will share with you my experiences with each, along with the system I use now and why.
I first heard of the idea of charging your clients using the series when I read an article by Phil Kaplan years ago, and at first it made a lot of sense. Of course, at the time I did not have nearly as much business experience as I do now, so I automatically took it as the gospel as did many other trainers. The problem was, after implementing the series idea into my business, I immediately started to lose money and clients.
Flaws With The Series Approach
Here are a few of the major flaws with the series approach:
Flaw # 1: You are always having to collect money from clients.
I don't know about you, but collecting money isn't one of my favorite things to do. Making money is one thing, but constantly having to ask people for it is something totally different.
Flaw # 2: People are less likely to stay committed to their program.
The larger the financial cost the greater the commitment (usually) and when you are working with a new client, often times they get discouraged during the first few weeks because they aren't seeing progress fast enough.
With the series, they pay as they go and they are far more likely to quit. On the other hand, if they have already paid, they are much more likely to stick it out and then they start to see the results and feel much better about the service.
Flaw # 3: Some clients may have the money to afford your service now but may not in the future.
Your client may be able to afford your service now, but in three weeks, they may be tight for cash. If they pay in advance for a package of sessions, the money is gone and they aren't worried about whether or not they can continue. Again, with the series, they are far more likely to stop training.
There are some advantages to the series approach but they just don't out weight the disadvantages.
Reasons Why A Package Works Better
Here are a few more reasons why I feel a package works better:
Reason # 1: You get the money upfront.
Cash is king in all small businesses and if you have the money now, you can use it if you need to for other things like expenses, or even better,
Reason # 2: Client retention is much higher.
You won't lose people nearly as often when you sell a package of sessions. They will be more committed to their program and remember, you want to be able to make as much money as possible from that client.
Finding new clients is usually not easy or cheap, so why put a system in place where they are more likely to quit?
Read how others stick with it, click here!
Reason # 3: You can sell packages WITHOUT offering a discount.
One of the reasons people say it's better to sell a series is because most people discount their fees for larger packages. You DO NOT have to do this, although it's not a bad idea because you are giving them an incentive to spend more than they might otherwise, and again, you are getting more money now when you need it. But you can also just offer larger training packages without discounting your fees.
While we are on the subject of discounting your fees, let's talk about it...
Trainers who believe that offering a discount is unprofessional and devalues your value often use this argument: "medial doctors don't offer a discount if you come more frequently". Well, guess what? We are not doctors, we are not working with sick people who actually NEED the help of a doctor, and most importantly, who ever said doctors know anything about business!
The key to offering a discount is to do it the right way. I agree, to drop your rates from $50 an hour for 1 session to $30 for 10 sessions doesn't make sense. However, if you use a discount wisely, you can use it to persuade your prospect to make a larger purchase which means you make more money and they get better results. Now what's wrong with that?
Here's what I recommend you do...
Offer a single session at an inflated rate. For example, if you want to charge $50 per hour, charge $75 for a single session. Then, offer a just a few different packages and offer a slight discount for the largest one. For example, 10 sessions for $600 ($60 an hour) and 20 sessions for $1000 ($50 an hour).
Many people will go for the larger package because it's a great deal, and again, they are getting more from your service and you are getting a larger purchase than they may have gone with. To see an example of how I structure my rates visit my website: www.achieve-fitness.com/tft.htm. I have found this to work extremely well, and far better than when I used the series. I have better client retention and the average amount that each client spends with me has gone up drastically.
Well, I hope that this article has helped shed some light on a subject that for many trainers, is costing them big time! If you'd like to learn more about how to set your rates or even want to debate this topic with me, please contact me. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 240-403-0493.
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About The Author
Article courtesy of Jesse Cannone of http://www.profitmax-marketing.com. Jesse is a certified fitness trainer and fitness marketing expert... grab a FREE copy of his ebook, "Maximum Fitness Profits" now here: http://www.profitmax-marketing.com/freemfp.htm.
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