Chantal: Hey Ben, welcome and thank you so, so much for joining us on the show.
Ben: You are welcome, thank you very much for having me. Pleasure to be here.
Chantal: One of the things that you have of course is your book, which is all about how to be an awesome personal trainer. So I was hoping we could kick things off today by maybe having you share a couple of the essential shares that you feel personal trainers need to succeed.
Ben: Sure. Well, firstly, I wrote the book because I felt that I’ve learned an awful lot in my journey, and I’m quite a reflective and objective person. So I’ve always be the first port of call of how can I improve myself? So most people don’t really go through this process enough in themselves, in their business, in their relationship. They kind of like, we look into Google for the answers too much, in a video, in a book. And lot of the time the answers are staring us in the face if we’re willing to just stand back, turn off the phone, be objective, write some stuff down, have a think, go for a walk. And really your, if you go through that process, you’re usually able to connect in a meaningful way with what is actually happening and where the solutions are for you as an individual.
Ben: So in the personal training industry I’ve just started to see that a huge amount of people were focusing, I’m not going to say on the wrong stuff, but they were overfocusing on that stuff. So you know, the application of giving someone a nutrition plan or a training plan, or a system. And while those things are great, and they help guide us, everyone interacts differently with their environment every day. So the lifestyle we have, the thoughts that we have, the sleep that we get, all of that stuff, and that’s really for me the art of coaching and a lot of personal trainers for me were missing that. They were missing the art of being a personal trainer. And then also the business of being a personal trainer. You have to embrace the fact that you are self-employed, you are a business owner. So you’ve got to act and behave in a way that allows you to move forward in a professional manner, as someone that is coaching others on their own terms.
Chantal: Ben, one of the common challenges that I hear from personal trainers is, you know, around the amount of time that they have to spend, feel like they have to spend, working in the business when they know they need to also spend time working on the business. So are there any strategies that you can share with us for PTs to make the most of their time?
Ben: Yeah. The first one, and this is a ridiculous kind of answer, but unfortunately it’s horrifically true. And that’s the, you need to make time to plan and improve your business, just like you would sit down and plan out your next phase of training. And I do loads of business development seminars for trainers. We get like 20 or 30 people in the room, we do a big white board session, and I get people to put their hand up, and I’m like, how many of you set aside time to schedule your marketing, look at where your leads are coming from, do a spot check on your admin and make sure your clients have got the right emails and plans and that kind of stuff? And like two people in the room of 30 will put their hands up. And I’m like, how is this happening? Like guys, come on. Like, if you want to move forward with your business, you’ve got to put aside to plan.
Ben: So I say to people, like choose one of your quiet afternoons. And you have a good three hour block where your phone is off. And you do all your client emails, you schedule your marketing, you develop your strategy for the next week of how you’re actually going to get new clients. So it might be something as simple as, I notice that when I talk to people on the gym floor, and I try and prospect, that I generally get one person interested for every ten people that I speak to. And then every three people that are interested, one person converts to a client. But if you wanted one new client every day, that means you now got to speak to 30 people a day to convert that ratio. So it ends up being a numbers game. And that’s just simple business strategy. But people are not taking enough time to sit down and plan.
Ben: It’s like, if you were marketing your business on Instagram, again this is another question I ask in my seminars. I’m like, how many people are just transiently trying to be good at Instagram and use it? And like, most people will put their hands up? And I’m like, give me, tell me how many blogs or videos you’ve written, read, sorry, on mastering Instagram? And I’ll say one, and a couple of people’ll put their hand up. Two? Couple of hands will go down. And I get to like three and there’s no hands up. And I’m like, if you don’t want to be amazing at something, go and read about it. So don’t come and sit there and complain, oh, I’m not getting clients, I’m not getting the leads, I’m not getting any traction on my Instagram, when you’re not doing the work to actually improve and plan to improve that area of your business.
Chantal: You said something in there Ben, which I think is so important. And that was, and you said it in your prequel, quick 55 last week, switching off your phone when you’re doing these tasks. I’m a huge believer in that, not just my phone, but my email, any kind of tabs that are open on the computer. What are you find is the biggest benefit of just completely switching off social whilst you’re focusing on those tasks?
Ben: Yeah, I mean, two key things. It’s clarity of thought. You know, you cannot get clear with what you want with distractions. Your brain needs to be able to be free. It needs to be able to wander, it needs to be able to explore what you’re thinking about. And secondly, it just time. Like everyone thinks checking a Facebook notification will take literally 10 or 15 seconds. But you would be alarmed at how much time these distractions take from you. You know, I said to people, like set a timer, and quickly nip on Facebook and do your notifications. And people in their head think, ah, just be five minutes. And it’s not. It’s quite often 20, 30 minutes. Because one thing leads to another, then we check that, then we watch this. And that’s no way to get stuff done. And if you’re sitting here listening to this, saying to yourself, oh, well my business isn’t great. I’m not getting enough clients. You’ve got to turn off the world and do the work that’s going to take you forward.
Ben: We all have to have rules to control our tendencies, and the reality is I’m like you, and you are like everyone else where Facebook is built to be a distraction. Like it’s psychologically built to make you want to interact with it as much as possible. So don’t feel bad that you almost can’t control your behavior on social media ’cause it has been programmed that way. So that’s why we need the hard and fast rules to control how our monkey mind wants to interact with these things.
Chantal: Now I’m interested earlier in your bio. You produce your amazing podcast, videos, blogs, books, you do seminars, you do coaching. What are the benefits of operating on multiple communication platforms?
Ben: Yeah. So first thing I want to caveat this, and say if anyone has multiple platforms, and they’re trying to work in multiple spaces, I would always double down on one or two. And then become really comfortable with that platform, and then expand into other platforms. Because it’s very hard to be an expert or good at something when you’re spreading yourself too thin. So when I first started with social media, it was Facebook and I went all in on Facebook, I started to learn about it. How to engage, how to post, and be good at it, essentially. Then I moved to Twitter, and managed those two for quite a while. Then there was kind of video, and things just started to piece themself together. I think what people need to appreciate on this podcast is that my business is probably very different from a lot of other people’s businesses. You know, 90% of my work is online. So being in as many places as possible is effective for my business because I’m able to get greater reach as an online business.
Ben: If you were an offline coach and you had a gym, you have to ask yourself, well where are my prospects really hanging out? What do you use? What do I like using? What’s on trend? And it might be that you just focus on a good sale system through your website and your email attached to some Facebook ads, and it might be that you do Instagram really well. And then you leave like Twitter and other things alone. So I think people have to be honest and assess where their business is and what their business needs. Be really strict with yourself and learn and master something and become good at it. And then add as you’re comfortable and have the time, and as your business need presents itself.
Chantal: Ben, I’d love for you to leave us with what we call our fit bispiration, and perhaps you can finish off today by giving us your three top tips to becoming an awesome personal trainer.
Ben: So firstly, be an awesome human being. It sounds silly, but if you are so totally present in the person that is in front of you, and your listening, and your responding, and your understanding. Just like an amazing human being would, then you’re able to really find the solutions that work for that client. Secondly, I would say, always try and meet where the client is at. Like as trainers we quite often have this perfect vision of how a client should eat and move and think and everything. But the reality is the client is not us, and they might actually be happy with eating good food like 70% of the time and living for the weekend. And having a little bit of fun.
Ben: Normally a trainer is there to optimize the things that an individual wants out of their life. So we’re there to optimize that. We’re not here to say, here this is the perfect way of living. You should adopt it by the way because you might get these x benefits. So please understand that everyone is an individual. And then, I think thirdly, treat your business like a business. Invest the time in mastering the things that you need to master to support getting clients through the door, having great customer service, and you know my book is kind of nothing to do with training and nutrition. It’s all about how we should behave as coaches. How we need to interact with our clients. And it’s a kind of almost a call to arms to say, are you thinking objectively about your business? Do you actually need this? Should you invest time over here? Don’t do this because by the way, I really messed up there. So yeah, I think being a personal trainer is about being a great person, being organized, and understanding and fully investing in the person in front of you.
Chantal: I love all of that advice, Ben. Hey, I want to say thank you so much. I know how incredibly busy your schedule is, and it is an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Thanks for taking the time out to speak to the FBP family. We are so, so grateful. And I promise you, you’ll have a whole lot more PTs around the world tuning into your show. So Ben, thank you so, so much for joining us today.
Chantal: You’re welcome, thank you very much.
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