Chantal: James, I want to welcome you along and thank you so much for joining us for this intensive show.
James: Thank you so much, great to be here.
Chantal: Now, our focus for the show is how to get your PT business online, and I believe that part one of our chat today is going to be around the software that we need to look out for and how to get our first client. So, tell us, where do we get started in this process?
James: Absolutely. So, like I said, there are four steps, I believe, to get your business online and get your first clients. But the most important thing you need to do is decide what software you want to use. Now, there’s lots of software out there, and it all depends on your style of business. You’ve got companies like Trainerize, MYPT Online, Fitbot, that we use here at Strength Matters, but it entirely depends on what you want to do and what you plan on doing.
We personally use Fitbot because it offers the best individualised programming and functions that we need to give to our high-end clients. However, if you want it more template based, and work with general masses, then looking at other software that’s like Trainerize, MYPT Online, PT Distinction, things like that, so that you need to look at the software, look at the things that’s right for you, and decide what level of service you want to give. We’re a big believer in Fitbot for the high-end services, but there’s other things that fit or may suit you if you require, and also your budget, at the same time.
Now, once you have the software and decide what software that is … now, lots of them give these 14-day trials, 30-day free trials, so you can try a whole bunch of them out to work out which ones are right for you. But once you’ve got the software, and you’ve played around with it, and you feel comfortable with it, the thing you then need to do is work out, “Well, how do I get my first clients?”
A lot of people start to think that they need to go online and start advertising their online services, or marketing in a different way. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Your first online clients are actually your current clients; get to your current clients you’re working with in person to start using the software, ’cause the software allows you to coach in person and online. It doesn’t make any difference where they are in the world, but the easiest way for you to get used to the software, the easiest way for you to get comfortable and get confident in using this software is just by getting your most favourite, or your best clients to start using it.
Start playing around with it for a couple of weeks, and slowly integrate them to using the software. I promise you, you don’t need Facebook Ads, you don’t need to do a whole bunch of marketing. It’s just a simple conversation with, “Hey, Joe Bloggs, I’ve got this great bit of software that I want to introduce with all my clients. Would you like to be the first to test it out? I’d love it if you could and give me some feedback. What do you think?” And that’s the simple conversation. That’s all you have to have, and suddenly you have your first online client, he’s also in person, but it also starts to create this hybrid model of training where you can do both.
And it’s just a very simple, nice, easy, friendly conversation, and I promise you this now, once you have this conversation with one client, they’ll start speaking to other clients, they’ll start showing their friends and family, and very quickly, you’ll pick up another two or three clients within the first month. I promise you, everyone who’s done it this way has found exactly the same thing, once they started doing it. So the software, it depends on what you need to do, it depends on the pricing and budget you have, and then … but, to get your first clients, all you need to do is have a conversation with your favourite, your best client who wants to start it out, and just have that conversation and go from there.
How does that sound?
Chantal: That sounds really good, and I’ve actually got a question for you, James: in your experience, when we are looking at a planning timeline from the day when we decide that we want to take our PT business online, how long would you suggest it would actually take to go through, first of all, that process of reviewing the different systems that are available? Like, how long should I allow for myself to do that process, and then go through the actual testing phase with my current clients?
Is there a time recommendation that you would give for that?
James: That’s a great question. Depends how much time you have with your busy schedule. So, if you have a super busy schedule, which most PTs do, it’s all over the place and staggered, it’s going to take you, I think, about three to five days to review everything, go everything through. Now, if you have a day off when you completely clear your schedule, I reckon you can analyse all the bits of software, all the bits of kits out there and about a day. I really do, I think you can really knuckle down, get down there, and dive into it, and get started going things from day one.
I’m a big believer of jumping in with two feet. But if you haven’t got much time, it’s going to take three to five days, so I’d say from checking out the software, signing up for the free trials, getting a bit familiar, which all the software’s pretty easy to understand. It’s idiot-proof. I can use it, so you guys can use it, too, I’m sure. You can really dive into it, and by getting your first clients, I reckon between seven to 14 days, if you really put your mind to it. Now, if you haven’t got much time, and you’re a bit apprehensive about the whole thing, maybe 30 days.
But between seven to 14 days, I think you’ll be up and running and with your first client in no time.
Chantal: So James, in regards to those different software platforms that you mentioned earlier, do I need to have an existing library of photographs and videos and content to populate? Is that going to slow down my process, or do some of those systems come with a library already existing?
James: Great question. I can’t speak for many of the other software platforms ’cause I can’t remember, however, Fitbot comes attached to Central Athlete, so there’s hundreds and hundreds of videos within the Fitbot system attached to the Central Athlete, where there’s demo videos, examples of workouts in the actual software itself. Now, us personally, here at Shape Matters, we’ve actually created over 500 videos for our online clients working around the world. Now, we needed to do that because we have very specific moves and ideas with some of our body weight trainings and rehab stuff, but, you know, that took a long time.
That 500 hours is six months’ worth of work; however, you don’t need them to get going and get started. There’s already stuff in there to get you up and running, and you can start creating the videos as and when you need them. That’s how we did it. It took us six months. We only realised we needed videos as we were doing it, so you don’t need to do all the prep work beforehand. You create the videos as and when you want to. You can shoot through to iPhone, it’s super easy, super quick, takes a few seconds, and you just upload them to YouTube and pull the YouTube videos through.
But you don’t need them to get going, there’s already stuff in there in the Fitbot platform, I can’t speak for the other ones, to get you started. So you don’t need photos, videos always work best, so I hope that answers the questions, and yes, you will have a bit of work over when you develop it, when you get better at it. But to begin with? Nah. Jump straight in, don’t worry about it, don’t think twice about it. Create it as you go along.
Chantal: So with that test group that you mentioned earlier, like seeking or going out to our existing clients and getting them to actually test the system and utilising the programme, do you recommend or would you suggest that it’s okay just to start off with one or two programmes in that test phase?
James: Yes. Absolutely. So, again, it’s going to be scary when you first jump in there, and you’re going to see all these systems, all this computer stuff, and all these templates for what’s going on. I wholly recommend one person, to begin with, trying it out, making sure you write out their workouts that they’re going to do for the next two weeks into the system on the days that they’re coming in to work with you. Just so they can get access to the emails that come through, because it’s an automated email system that comes back and forth, and that’s so they get used to it, you have practise doing it.
Don’t try and create a six-month, six-week, 12-week crazy programme. That’s going to take you hours. Just do the workouts for the next two weeks based on what they’re doing. Maybe even get them to try out some testing, ’cause you can have metrics on there to record certain metrics, i.e. how fast is their 2000-meter row, their current weight. You can ask them to upload photos, before and after pictures. Little things, do the bare basics, stick with one or two people only for the first month, and get them slowly doing it. And once you feel comfortable, you’ll be able to scale it out after that.
Chantal: I really love that advice, James, ’cause I feel like it’s a much more approachable process when we break it down into those smaller chunks like you’ve just described. So, our action for that first section really is to do our research, have a look at what software is going to be most suitable for us, decide on the software, do a bit of a trial with our existing clients. So, let’s move on to phase two of this four part process, and I believe you’re going to talk to us about our system of training.
James: Absolutely. So, I want you to imagine, now, that you have created your online software, you’re up and running, you’ve had 30 days, now, working with your current one or two clients. Now, in your back of your head, you go, “Right, I want to roll this out to every single one of my clients.” Please, please, please do not do this, and I’ll tell you why. Please learn from the mistakes that we’ve done going through, in the last 12 months, putting close to 2000 people through our online training platform. If you haven’t got your training system written down, and exactly step by step on how you get somebody, when you first start working with them, to in the first six, 12 weeks, you will fail.
It’ll be overwhelming, it’ll collapse, the clients will get really angry with you, they’ll be throwing toys out of the pram. You may lose some clients, everything else here. It just comes with a big, big warning, now, so please, please, please, think about your system of training. What do I mean by your system of training? So, if a client comes to you for the first time, you’ve done the sales core, you’ve done the initial questionnaire, asked them questions. What is it you do on day one? Can you write it down step by step, like a cookie cutter approach, step by step, what you do on day one?
Is it the assessments? Is it putting ’em through a mini workout? What is it that you do? Now, I highly recommend putting them through an assessment system, and making sure that the assessments are written down that you take them through step by step. Once you’ve done the assessment system, and this is your idea, your ways of training that’s written down, then how does the first two to four weeks look like when you’re training with ’em?
Now, the reason I’m saying this is because when you’re training somebody in person, you can improvise on the spot. You can … if you’ve accidentally forgotten to write the workout that day, you have the knowledge and capability to make up that workout on the spot, right there, right then. You haven’t got that capability in Fitbot, or on your online training platform. You’ve gotta think really about what you’re doing long-term. So, your system of training is, what is your philosophy? What is it that you actually do? How do you train people, what do you believe in? Do you believe in power lifting, do you believe bodybuilding? Do you believe in athleticism?
How is it that you want to train? Because everything that’s in your head, you’ve gotta translate into the online training platform, okay? And lots of people like to keep things inside their head, which is great and wonderful if you’re only working with two to five people, but when you go beyond ten, 15, 20, it all starts to become very, very overwhelming, and it’ll weigh you down, and you’ll get very frustrated with the whole process, and you’ll become slightly overwhelmed, I think, and want to give up. So if I can give one bit of advice before I explain what I think you should do, and a tip from what we’ve learned, is that just slow the process down, make sure you know your own training system, how you deliver things, and what you want to achieve with your clients.
Now, when I say know your own training system, can you write on two pages of A4 how you train people, hand it to somebody else, and ask them to do it for you? That is the litmus test. If you can’t write it down, and hand it to somebody else to do it for you, you haven’t got your own system of training. You really need to really focus on and work out and write things down, what you need to do, because if you can’t write it down, you don’t know it yourself properly, and if you don’t know it yourself properly, you’re going to really struggle to communicate that to clients online.
Okay, so once you’ve written on your two pages of A4 what your system of training is and somebody else can understand what you’re doing … and give it to another trainer. See if they understand what it is, type out on a Word document, give it to them, go, “Hey, can you understand this? Could you train somebody using my system of training?” As a part of the litmus test. Once you’ve done that, you gotta start translating this into your online training platform, and what I mean by this is you can create a template for your assessments.
So, every time a new client comes on board, you can just give them the template of how you do things, which is very quick. So there’s a lot of work upfront, but what happens is it can be really speedy once you start pulling things in, and you can assign certain assessments on certain days, you can give ’em all the assessments on one day or over multiple days. It makes no difference, but it becomes a very speedy process. But you gotta translate this, you gotta translate your assessments, your system of training into the templates that these platforms provide you.
Once you do this, once you offload these out of your head, everything becomes a lot easier. You start being able to train people on speed, and you can quickly start scaling up your business with other people. But until you know your system, until you know there’s no flaws in that system of training, or how you do things, I highly recommend do not scale up, ’cause once you scale up all the problems start to happen and that’s where things come falling down.
Trust me on this, this happened to us and it’s taken us a 12 month process to really refine what we’re doing, now, to be able to scale at speed. ‘Cause at the start, it was hard work, I promise you this, now. Does that make sense?
Chantal: Yeah, it does, James, and I can see the importance of going through this process in the early stages so that long-term it’s a much easier, smoother transition to getting your business online, and I love the example that you gave in regards to just writing down on two A4 pieces of paper what your training system looks like. It’s a really good test, and a great way to see whether you’ve got that clarity in order to take that next step to pushing that information online. So, we have covered some software options, where to start with getting our first clients, and our system of training, so what’s the third step in this process?
James: The third step is onboarding. It’s probably, I would say, the most important step out of all of them. Like, you know, determining what software you use, getting your clients for the first time to use it, getting your system down, that’s all down to you, and that’s all on you. It’s not affecting anybody else yet, it’s just you and what you do. However, once you’ve got the system, once you’ve got your software, you’ve gotta onboard and teach your clients how to use it, because if they can’t use it, they’re not going to be raving fans of it. If they’re not going to be raving fans, they’re not going to use it, and all your hard work is going to go to waste.
So you’ve gotta think about your general onboarding sessions that you do to get your clients using it. Now, what do I mean by this? Now, I’ll give you an example of what we do, which we’ve learned over the last 12 months in putting the online training system together; the more time you invest upfront, the easier your life is going to be long-term. The more time you invest upfront, the easier your life is going to be long-term, so here’s what we do. I’m just going to share this with you, because I think it’s just a very simple way to do it.
When a client comes to us for the first time, we sit down with ’em for an hour, go through their questionnaire, and get them set up with the software. We show them how to download the app onto their phone, we show them where to go and where to navigate through the software itself, because we want it to be an easy sequence. Because what we don’t want is people coming back and forth saying, “Hey, I can’t find this. Oh, I gave up because I couldn’t find it.” We sit them down for the whole hour, and we show them the software, show them the cool things we can do with it, and make sure it’s set up, and then get registered. It’s super simple.
Now, you may think that would be a waste of your time, it is now or long, it’s a really important part of the process because, I promise you this now, you’ll save yourself hundreds of questions over the next few weeks messaging back and forth, doing all these things, because it just happens. People aren’t technology savvy, they may not be as savvy as we are. Most of our clients we work with tend to be over the 30, 40-plus category. They’re not millennials, they’re not experts in technology, so you’ve gotta really sit down and work with them and make sure they get access.
You’ve also gotta show ’em how to access the workouts in case they can’t use their phone at work, or somewhat like that, if you’re going online. If you’re not with ’em in person, you can do it over the phone, like a Zoom call, like how we’re recording this podcast today, multiple different things, but the onboarding sequence, invest the time upfront, speak with ’em, show them the programme, show them the software, and get them up to speed as fast as you possibly can. Now, that’s the technology side of things. You know, you want to communicate exactly the same way as if you were in person training them, but you’re doing it online. You still need to invest that time.
Now, once you’ve onboarded them with the software, once you’ve shown them how to do things, maybe you give them a couple of sample workouts to get going, we like to use the assessments as the sample, and the examples, and we spread the assessments over a couple of days so that people can get used to the software that way. They self-assess. We tend to find that that works the best, because it’s a small amount of assessments over a few days, it doesn’t overwhelm to begin with, and it onboards them very nicely. Now, once you’ve done all this, now you can start doing all the fancy onboarding stuff, like sending people a welcome pack.
Sending people, you know, welcome messages. Welcoming to your group. In the same way you have a system for your training that you’ve written down, you need to have a system of onboarding. We call it the ten-day, 30-day, and 90-day rule. What is it that you do step by step in the first ten days to welcome your clients into the system? As well as onboarding, ’cause that’s part of the welcome package, what do you do in the first ten days? What do you do in the first 30 days? You know, write it down. What do you need to, what do you think you should do? And then, what do you do in the whole 90-day period?
Now, we take ten-day, 30-day, and 90-day, ’cause if you get the ten-day rule right, if you get the 30-day rule right, if you get the 90-day rule right, they will be your customers for life, and this is where the beauty of the online training platform is. If they’re in person, sometimes people move house, they move jobs. They have to move away. The problem’s always been that you haven’t been able to keep those clients, you’ll always lose clients. Now, it makes no difference where they are in the world. They know how you train, they can work out on their own, with you, still, using your software. You have the potential to keep your clients, but the onboarding needs to be right to begin with.
So, think about what you can do in the first ten days. Here at Strength Matters, we always like to send a handwritten welcome note when they first sign up, with what we call the secret sticker, and the secret coaster club. We send them a sticker and a coaster, it’s simple branding, doesn’t cost too much. They get it in the post within the first ten days. Within the first 30 days, we send them a surprise t-shirt that they don’t even realise that they’re going to get, and in the 90 days, we’ll welcome in the group, we’re making sure they do really well in the first one or two months, they become member of the month. All these things to make ’em feel warm and exclusive over that first 90 days.
But it all starts with the onboarding course to get them used to the software, show them how to do things first and foremost. Does that make sense, Chantal?
Chantal: It does, James, and I really love that you do the card, the handwritten card, at the very beginning, because I think that’s an area that, you know, it’s a bit of a forgotten art, and it’s something that means so much to people, and it’s a very inexpensive way to connect with your client. So I can see the nurturing process that you take them through in that kind of ten, that 30, and that 90-day period. I’m interested to know … ’cause they’re all kind of tangible things that you talked about, like the card and the sticker and the coaster and the t-shirt, and I see the value in that. In addition to that, is there a nurturing process that happens through, like an online group, or is there other things that you’ve got in place to ensure that you’ve got multiple touchpoints with that customer throughout the 90 days?
James: Yeah, absolutely. So, we have a dedicated online Facebook group. We used to have a website group, many years ago, but now everything’s on Facebook. Pretty much the whole population, the whole world’s on Facebook, so we find the best engagement on Facebook. So we have a dedicated Facebook group, we’re doing daily interactions. We’re sharing articles, we’re sharing links, we’re doing fun challenges throughout the week, we’re doing member of the month. You know, we do a weekly check-in on the Wednesday, “Hey, who’s struggling? Who’s got something that’s going outside their training hours, how can we help?”
All of these things, these are daily touchpoints to see us being in front of them at all times, and being the authority. You know, we also write blogs, we do podcasts, we share that, but the Facebook group is the key. The more they interact, and the more they feel welcome in the Facebook group, the more they’re going to stay with you and have those multiple touchpoints as well as those tangible things like the sticker, the coaster, the card. The thing that’s really important to understand is you’ve gotta have, like I said, multiple touchpoints along the whole way, and it’s the daily interaction that they have. The more they interact with you, the more they communicate with you, the longer they’re going to stay.
If you see people not interacting, that’s a sign that they might be leaving you sometime soon, so you gotta find a way to reengage ’em as fast as possible, but the beauty of the online training system is, and the online software is, you can train people seven days a week, three times a day, if you want to. Doesn’t mean you should, but the point is, say you want them to only train three days a week. On the other four days, you can give ’em habits to do, i.e., what we do all the time is ask them to walk 10,000 steps and drink seven glasses of water. They can log in and check those things off, and they’re workouts.
So you’re having a daily touchpoint there, and getting used to logging in every day to complete your workouts. ‘Cause this is the beauty of the online hybrid model of in-person and online training, you’re no longer limited by one on one training, as in just the two or three hours you work with them each week. You can train them the full 166 hours in that week with them with this software at no extra time to you, just a little bit of work upfront. Does that make sense?
Chantal: Yeah, and I can see, now, as you talk through that and you explain that, I can see just how important it is that we get that initial process right, that we get our system of training set properly, that we get our onboarding process set up properly, and I think the reason I wanted to talk to you about this is because I think it’s easy for us to jump the gun and just go, “Oh, well I’ll just get my software and put my programme in and let’s get started.” But in actual fact, all of this preparation work or this foundation that we’re laying is absolutely instrumental to the long-term success of our online training business.
James: Absolutely. Now, you can very quickly get online and start doing cookie cutter programmes and templates. That’s what a lot of people think that online training is; it’s cookie cutter programmes, and go off here. Now, what I’m talking and sharing with you guys today is highly individualised personal coaching. That’s the model we apply at Strength Matters, that is what I think the future of fitness is, becoming a hybrid model of online and inline personal training. I really do believe that, and that’s what we’re working towards. We’re building our online platform so that we can build a HQ using the same models.
So I’m not sharing this with you as just theory and like, “Hey, go and try this out.” I’m showing you, as … I think the model of training, the future of training, is highly individualised, personal coaching using a hybrid model of inline, in-person, and online personal training.
Chantal: James, in your experience, from the onboarding process that you’ve taken your clients through, say if I was a personal trainer that was just starting out and I didn’t have a huge budget to necessarily get all of those nice little gifts to give out to my client, if you had to choose one thing based on the reaction that you’ve gotten from your customers so far, what would that one thing be, to do as part of the onboarding process?
James: Sticker and a welcome card. Sticker and a welcome card; stickers, you can get like 500 stickers for about $15 to $20 dollars. If you’re in the U.S., go to stickermule.com. Super cheap, really easy. You know, it’ll be the best $30, $40 dollars you can do … I think you can pay even less if you want less, but you got like 500 stickers at once for $40 to $50 dollars, and then all you do is buy a little pack of cards, and suddenly that’s the highest touchpoint you can have, that people are sticking stickers on their computers, or sticking stickers somewhere along the way, and it’s just a nice little welcome point.
So don’t worry about the fancy t-shirts, don’t worry about anything else at all. That can come later once you have a bigger budget, but just invest a small amount, $30 to $50 dollars on stickers and some cards, and you’ll go a long way.
Chantal: Love it. Okay, so we’ve covered off parts one, two, and three, so let’s move on to section four, which is on sales and pricing. Where do we get started with sales and pricing, James?
James: Great question, and this is something that I’ve seen so much advice online that it’s quite confusing. It’s just like health and fitness. Health and fitness is so confusing for new people, it’s like the same with online training. Online training is such a confusing world, now. It’s such a buzzword at the moment, and I think there’s a few people doing it really well, and I think there’s two models. The first model is doing the template model where everybody gets the same templates. If you want to do power lifting, here you go, here’s a power lifting template. If you want to do body building, here’s the body building template. That’s one model; that’s the template model, where it’s going out to the masses. It’s a fairly cheap one, as well.
That’s where I’d say 95% of people are doing their thinking at the moment when it comes to online training. Now, on the flip side, on the other side, there’s this highly individualised, personal coaching online model. That’s the one that we use, which is very much more bespoke. It’s highly tailored to the person that’s in front of you, and that’s the other model that you have. Now, they need to be priced differently. You know, the templates to everybody is a cheap model, where it goes to the masses, and then you have the higher end personalised coaching model, which is a much higher price and tier point.
Now, and this is just from my experience and what I’ve seen, and I love geeking out on technology, seeing things around the world, if you want to see the best versions of online training that people are thinking about at the moment, the videos, the courses, and stuff like that, the best people to look out for are GMB Fitness, Ryan and Andy from GMB Fitness, gmb.io, check those guys out. They give a really good example of the training library video resource, like online training. That’s a very good example, they’re the best at what they do there.
Also the move MoveU guys from San Diego, they do a really good example of these online video modules, and I highly recommend checking them out. So, if you want to create an online training model like this, go and see what those guys are doing. They charge a one-off price, and these people get access for life to all these video courses. That’s great. That’s not what I’m sharing with you guys today, I’m sharing with you more of the personalised, high-end ticket coaching. So, where do you get started on pricing?
Now, the first thing I did, and this is the biggest mistake we made when we first started doing it, we thought, “Well, everyone’s charging, I don’t know, between $20 to $100 dollars with their coaching platform. That’s what we need to do, too.” Nope, nope, nope. If you’ve decided that you want to do personalised coaching, you do not want to charge low-end prices. You do not want to charge low-end prices because people do not value it, and it takes up all of your time, all your energy, all your resources, and it’s not the right thing. If it’s a template system, absolutely.
You know, if you want to charge $20 to $100 dollars and do a template system, carry on and do that. But if you’re a high end coach, if you value your services, if you value the education you’ve put yourself through, if you value what you do and value your clients, you know that a template model isn’t always going to work. Okay? You’re a high-end professional, so start thinking like a high-end professional and start thinking about, you can actually deliver your services in person with ’em, but online. Okay? Just start … it’s just a change of mindset. So, how do you work out your pricing?
My first question to you would be, what are you currently charging at the moment for one on one training? What is your hourly rate? What is your hourly rate, is it $50 dollars an hour, is it $100 dollars an hour? What is your hourly rate? What do you charge? What are your sessions and what are your packages at the moment? ‘Cause that’s your first starting point. You don’t want to charge any less or any more from there as a starting point, that’s where you want to look at. So, I’ll give you an example. Let’s say, just for sake of ease, you’re charging $100 dollars a session. Okay?
You’re charging $100 dollars a session, and somebody who comes and sees you once a month is paying $400 dollars a month. Well, that’s a good starting point. I think that’s a really good starting point. If you’re going to charge your online training, and you’re going to be working with ’em seven days a week, now. Not just one session a week. Why don’t we look at that pricing point of one hour peer week, for four times a month, as $400 dollars? That’s a good starting point. That’s where you want to be. It varies on where you want to be and how you’re going to do things, but the point is you’re going to be working with ’em high-end, one on one, and you’re going to give ’em all the things that you would do in person, probably even more, to begin with, then you need to value yourself accordingly like that.
Now, we offer … I’ll give you an example of what we do, just so you have a good example of how you do things, and please don’t be put off by some of these prices and how they do things, when you start thinking first and foremost, “Well, what do I charge in person?” Okay? “What do I charge in person?” I’m always a big believer about giving people choice, and no more than three. So when people come to us to work with us, they have three options. It’s the bronze, the silver, or the gold package. The bronze, the silver, the gold package, when it comes to working with us online.
The difference between the three packages it amount of face to face time, and amount of coaching one on one that we do. That’s the difference in the prices, and also in the experience of the trainer who’s working with the clients. So, I’ll start with the bronze package. The bronze package is a very simple package where they have the onboarding calls, to begin with, and they don’t have any more video calls after that. Okay? It’s all done online, remotely, messages back and forth on the system using the messaging system. We create the templates, they do the workouts, they feedback, and we keep going like that.
That’s the bronze package. That, for us, starts at $249 dollars a month. We then have the silver option, where they have access to two coaches. We use a system of training where we use a dual coach system, so there’s a lot of accountability. The head coach, plus one of our everyday coaches. So the everyday coach does the programming, he does onboarding calls with them, as well, as the regular coach. And then every quarter he comes in and makes sure that the coach is doing his job properly. Meanwhile, the coach is having a once a month call with him, he’s daily interacting with him, so having a two coach system to work with him.
We charge $599 dollars for that, for a month, and then, for the high end gold option, that is working with our head trainer specifically, directly, and that, we charged $1,250 for that, but that’s our high-end package. That’s the high-end offering. Now, that high-end package offsets the silver and the bronze package. Most people always go for the middle option. We want most people into the silver option, and that’s the pricing that we use, but don’t get worried about those prices and think you can’t charge that much online. You can, because think about what you’re charging at the moment for your current clients. Nothing is changing, right?
You’re still delivering your expertise, your knowledge, your wonderful services, just in a slightly different way. Don’t devalue your services, don’t devalue what you do, don’t go for the cheap model of $20, $30 dollars a month if you’re giving templates out, because this is highly personalised coaching, and therefore you need to charge accordingly. Does that make sense, for you?
Chantal: Yes, I think, James, you just hit the nail on the head with that last statement, because I think that’s what we need to keep in mind is that the system that you’re sharing with us, that we’re hearing about today, is based on that very personalised model that you talk about, and it’s based on doing all of that groundwork, all of that foundation work that we’ve been covering off today, and what I think is so significant about doing it this way is that you are separating yourself from the crowd, so you’re no longer a generalist who’s just taking the system that everybody else is using, and as you say, charging $20 bucks a week for.
This is actually setting yourself up for long-term success. It’s not only about the business that you’re building right now, but by following this particular model and establishing your own systems, your system of training, your onboarding process, you are effectively also growing your brand throughout this process. So, you know, in two years’ time, or in three years’ time, or in five years’ time, you’ve created a business. You haven’t just put your own content out through the same system as 200 other trainers across the world.
James: Absolutely, and that’s the thing, what I’m seeing … you know, what I’m seeing from a lot of people, a lot of experts sharing at the moment is that, okay, you need to get online, create a bunch of video courses, and let everybody have access to these video courses, and then need to share with them those templates. Well, from my experience, and from people who are, I’d say, highly invested professional coaches, you know that everybody is unique. Everyone has weaknesses, everyone has strengths, and you need to train the people with weaknesses to start finding, and getting decent long-term results. You can’t do that with a template. You just can’t.
So, going for this higher end service, standing out above the crowd, even charging more money online, you know. People judge you by the cost of your services, as well. Don’t forget that. If you think that somebody’s expensive, you tend to think automatically, “Oh, that’s quite good.” It’s kind of true, so value your services, value what you do. Think about this model in a slightly different way. Don’t think of it as a template, which honestly, I mean, I’m not seeing many people do this system at all, of thinking about the high-end, personalised coaching. It’s all templates and video libraries.
Think about something different, think outside the box, and we’re a big proponent for it. The results for us speak for themselves. They really, really do.
Chantal: Absolutely. Okay, James, so let’s just do a quick recap on all of those four sections that we’ve gone through over the past 45 minutes or so. Do you want to just touch on each of those important factors for us?
James: Yeah, absolutely. So, just to recap the whole thing today, so there’s four steps that you need to take to get yourself online to start on working with clients. Step number one is choose the right software. Choose the right software that’s for you, decide whether you want to go through a template-based system, or you’re going to go for a highly individualised coaching-type system. My expertise is on the highly individualised coaching system, so I’d recommend Fitbot, ’cause that system, that software, allows you to scale and do all those things.
The other software is great, but that’s more, I believe, of a template based system. So choose which is right for you, choose the model that you want to do, and then choose the software accordingly. Then, to find your first clients, just go find your best client, your favourite client, sit down, have a coffee with them, and say, “Hey, Joe Bloggs. I have an idea. Would you like to try this new software that I have, which is going to improve your experience of training with me? It’ll log all these things, it’ll see what we’re doing, and we’ll also be able to try a few workouts out when you’re not with me to improve the service.” That’s the conversation you have to have, just over a cup of coffee.
And I promise you now, 9.99 times out of ten they will say yes, ’cause they want to try some new things out and they want to feel special. That’s how you get your first clients. And then, from there, you do the same process with the next client, and suddenly they’ll start talking with other people, and you’ll have a bunch of clients very quickly. So that’s step number one. Software, find your first clients. The second step is write on two pages of A4 how you train people. What is your system, what is your process for training people? Write it on the two page document, hand it to another trainer, or good friend who’s very knowledgeable about fitness, see if they can understand it, and use that as a litmus test to make sure that you understand your system of training yourself.
Once you’ve done that, you can go onto step three, and then start putting your system of training into templates. I don’t mean how you coach people, I’m talking about the assessments. Simple workouts you give to beginners, simple workouts you can give to advanced people, simple mobility routines that you want to do, that everyone needs to do no matter what level they’re on. You can start uploading these templates, based on your system, into the software after that. That’s part of the onboarding package. No, sorry, that’s part of the system package.
And then you go into the onboarding package, once you start writing down, like you would do on one bit of A4, what are you going to do in the first ten days? What are you going to do in the first 30 days? What are you going to do in the first 90 days? So you have a sequence, a system, a flowchart to follow throughout everything, because you can’t make stuff up when you’re online. It’s gotta be systematised, it’s gotta be a routine. And then finally for step number four, sales and pricing, just take your current pricing you’re working with one on one clients, and just modify that slightly.
That’s all you need to do. Somebody, a friend of mine I was helping out the other day with his sales and pricing, what he has offered now is he does a semi-private model of once a week, twice a week training. Well, he now offers three things. One is just remote coaching, which is just the individualised coaching. He then offers once a week plus the individualised remote coaching, and then he also offers twice a week in person with personalised remote coaching. That’s it. That’s his simple model. He works with people face to face, plus he works with ’em remotely at the same time. It works great, and his pricing is just the same as what it was before, when he was doing these packages. Nothing different at all.
So, work out with what your current prices are, charge that, don’t be worried, value yourself, don’t charge too little, because it devalues what you do, and you actually lose clients in the long. How’s that?
Chantal: James, that is sensational, and I want to thank you so much for taking the time to talk us through all of that, because I think it certainly changed my perception of taking your PT business online. I think that we tend to have a bit of a preconceived ideas, of just getting our hands on that software and getting it up and running and not even thinking about starting off with our own clients, our existing clients, which I thought was fantastic advice. And I want to thank you for putting so much focus and emphasis on setting up the foundations, and setting up the systems before we even start.
Because I think that really is that formula to long-term success, and it was great hearing about your personal experience and some experience of people that you’ve worked with as well. So, listen, I want to thank you so much, and if people want to find out more about yourself, or Strength Matters, where’s the best place for them to go and check out some information?
James: Yeah, awesome. I’d just say very simply go to strengthmatters.com, you’ll see everything that we do. It’s all online, you can see the system, how we get people to sign up, how we get people to log in. So if you guys want to see how we use this in the business sense, just go to strengthmatters.com or follow us on Instagram @strengthmatters, they’re the two best places you can find us now. Or, if you want to reach out to me personally, Instagram, again … I prefer Instagram to Facebook, these days, reach out to me on Instagram @jamesbreese. @jamesbreese on Instagram.
Chantal: Sensational. James, thank you so much, and as we do with all of our shows, we’ll make sure that all of those links are also in the show notes, so everyone can check that out, and thank you so much for joining us today and for sharing your expertise on getting our PT business online.
James: Pleasure. It’s not at all, I look forward to it.
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