Sometimes, establishing and maintaining a positive mental attitude in business (or in your personal life for that matter) is less about being POSITIVE, and more about not being NEGATIVE. How many times have you planned to do something or agreed to do something, and before the day comes around you talk yourself out of it? This is often the case when something is outside of your comfort zone. You find excuses. David Schwartz called in Excusitis in his book The Magic of Thinking Big (great book by the way!).
So you have registered, validated your email, added your profile and added at least one class. Awesome. Well done! Also, a big thank you for getting that far. We will have already tweeted your class details at least once and a web page has been created for your organisation and for each of your classes. However, while most of our members fill in the basics, many don't take advantage of all the promotional opportunities available to them.
How many of us placed business cards at the top of our "must buy" list the day we started in business. There's nothing quite like the thrill of holding that small pile of cards in your hand with your business name and contact details for all to see for the first time. It says that you are a business owner, that you are significant, that you are master of your own destiny... Awesome!
But after handing them out to friends and family why is it that most of them sit on your desk, in a gym bag, the car glove box, or a jacket pocket for the next few months getting dog eared and/or gathering dust? Sound familiar? Then you are missing a trick my friends, because a business card is a mighty tool.
Continue reading "The power of the business card" »
Probably more often than you think. Even if you don't actively promote your business (why not?) then just in the course of day to day activities you'll be asked this question time and time again. Perhaps when meeting someone for the first time socially, or chatting idly to a stranger at a bus stop.
Everytime you are asked this question it's an opportunity to promote your classes, be they fitness classes, dance classes or martial arts, and/or anything else you do for that matter.
Yet so often, we are caught out and mumble an unprepared, sometimes even flippant response; "Oh this and that", "I teach dance to people who will probably never be able to master walking!", "... (something) ... classes ... (mumble) ... fit". Even the more confidant replies will be limited to "Oh I teach dance", "I'm a martial arts instructor". Is that enough? Maybe, but you could still be missing out on potential class members by not opening up a bit.
Continue reading "Say what you do in 15 seconds" »
Whether running dance classes, martial arts classes or fitness classes, a class instructor needs to possess the following qualities. Most instructors do, or at least most of them, and all of us are stronger in some and weaker in others so it never hurts to be reminded.
Put some of the following tips into action and you'll not only see more people coming back each week to your classes but you'll likely see a few new members as word spreads as well!
Most of the following are in no particular order, but I'm going to start with THE MOST IMPORTANT one first as so often it's overlooked in larger classes, especially the ones run by the bigger gym chains...
One of the reasons I love working with the fitness, dance and martial arts industries is that a significantly higher percentage of individuals have such a positive mental attitude when compared to other business areas such as trades or finance. However, this positive mental attitude can sometimes be short-lived. After all, the industry is what some would refer to as a "high staff turnover" industry and while many come into the industry fired up and raring to go, positivity is sometimes difficult to sustain in the face of competition, rising prices, unreliable support networks/colleagues etc. Nevertheless I firmly believe that it is those who maintain that self belief during times of adversity that go on to become successful. For example, you'd be hard pressed to find a miserable personal trainer who has been in the industry for 5 years plus!
So how do we a) cultivate a positive mental attitude and b) sustain it?
Over the coming weeks I hope to shed some insight into just that, beginning with a story I heard some years ago at a business networking event. I've tried wearing the badge myself at networking events, when meeting clients and even in my classes and it works!
In business Power Teams, sometimes called "Power Circles", are groups of closely related businesses, often in the same industry but not always, who work together to build their businesses. With competition becoming increasingly higher not only in the fitness class industry, but also in dance and martial arts, the ability to build your Power Team is an essential business skill to learn.
Over the years I have attended most types of business networking events, joined one or two networking groups and even been involved in starting one up. At these I have represented myself as a number of different businesses including a Personal Trainer and indeed as Fit2BFit.
I am always staggered by the lack of health and fitness professionals in attendance and while the numbers are on the increase this is still a largely untapped market for the more forward thinking and outgoing fit pro.
I decided to put together a quick list of dos and don'ts in response to some truly terrible posts and profiles I've seen recently on Twitter. These are profiles belonging to fitness "professionals" who no doubt are well qualified, very nice people and quite possibly great trainers and instructors. The thing is many of their potential customers will never find out how great they are as they will have been put off by what they see online.
1) A photo speaks a thousand words In general terms it's a good idea to include a photo of yourself as people like to have a face to relate to and it makes the whole experience more personal. However, it should not be too personal. Photos or yourself in your underwear or swimwear will do little to help your business credibility unless of course you are a fitness model and at the top of your game. Potential clients don't want to be intimidated by you. It's also a thin line between showing that you are fit and showing off. No one likes a show off. Get an inexpensive commercial profile photo done with you wearing professional but well fitted fitness gear.
2) Who, what, why? You only get 160 characters in your Twitter profile to tell people about yourself. Don't waste them talking about your hobbies and things you love. And especially don't use this space to tell people about your own weaknesses. For example, someone looking for help to get in shape and lose weight is unlikely to approach a personal trainer who says "...and I'm addicted to chocolate biscuits"! You need to tell them who you are, what you do and why they should use you. End of. You can build up more about your personality in your tweets. For example:
"I am a Personal Trainer and group exercise instructor in Poole, Dorset offering bespoke personal training and fun and dynamic fitness classes. Try for free."
3) Keep your personal life separate unless relevant It's important to build up a bit of a rapport with your followers and to get across some of your personality. With this in mind by all means share in your achievements and the occasional bit of personal news. Don't tell people how many tequila slammers you knocked back on Saturday night before throwing up in the kebab shop. Also, be careful of Twitter conversations with personal friends as you can never be sure what they may say.
4) Avoid profanity This should be obvious, but I see so much effing and blinding and this probably stems from it being an industry with a very young demographic. You wouldn't, I hope, swear in front of someone you have only just met... so don't swear in front of your followers and your potential clients and fitness class members. At the very least save it for your personal profile. The occasional "WTF!", "OMFG!" may be acceptable to express some passion in your tweet but use sparingly or it becomes meaningless, and even then... there's probably a better alternative.
5) Don't get dragged in Don't get dragged into arguments, flaming, Twitter wars etc. It doesn't matter whether you are in the right or the wrong, all the arguing parties tend to look like idiots and there is no place for it in business.
6) Watch your opinions and how you express them You are of course allowed to have opinions and post about them especially if they are relevant to the fitness industry. Passing comment for example on the food industry and the duty of care they owe the consumer with their sugar and additive policies would be fine. However, passing comment on all the "fat arses hogging the equipment" you saw in the gym tonight is unlikely to win you any "fat arse" customers, and may well lose you some others.
7) Positive mental attitude Be a positive influence rather than a "moaning Minnie". It's fine to have the occasional whinge about something (did I mention the food industry and sugar?) but don't moan in every post. You need to be seen as a positive bucket of energy constantly overflowing that positivity to the people around you, rather than someone that sucks the enjoyment out of life.
8 ) The key is the detail When you are tweeting about your classes remember the "when" and the "where" again! Include the times of the classes and their location including the town name. Make sure you hashtag keywords as well like the type of class, e.g. #Zumba and the town, e.g. #Poole. By including the details, your followers (including @Fit2BFitsocial) are more likely to retweet you; and by including the hashtags you are more likely to get found and retweeted by non followers such as local event guides.
9) Tag @Fit2BFitsocial If you include all the details above and include "@Fit2BFitsocial" in the tweet we'll gladly retweet your class information, and if you're members of the site we'll include a link to your class information on our site as well so people can get even more information about you and your fitness classes.
The following are a few tips for promoting your fitness classes, although they can be applied to dance classes and martial arts classes as well, but that would have made for another really long title!
1) Enlist the help of the venue If you are using a village hall, community centre or gym to host your fitness classes don't be afraid to ask the venue manager to help promote the classes. Now I know from experience that some are more receptive than others to this kind of thing. I have met many a village hall caretaker who regards the community noticeboard as sacred and wholly his/her responsibility and any unauthorised pinning of posters of leaflets results in a great deal of posturing and blustering. However, it's in both your interest and the venue's for your class to be successful and most people understand this.
So ask what they can do to help? Examples of how a venue can help include:
- putting up a poster/leaflet on the noticeboard - leaving some leaflets or cards in the bar or cafe area - including details of your class in their regular advertising, e.g. local paper's "What's On" guide - adding your class to their website - allowing you to put up an A-board or banner outside - cross promotion with other classes and communities who use the centre
2) Include your classes on your website So often I see websites belonging to personal trainers, dance teachers, etc. who have gone to the effort of having a website and promoting their main business but don't update or even list the times, locations and details for their classes. One of the problems is that they either don't know how to change their website or they have to approach their web designer each time they need to make a change.
To get round that problem, just ask your web designer to create a link to your business profile on Fit2BFit which lists all your classes. That way when you update your classes on Fit2BFit and your website visitors will know about the changes as well.
If you don't have a website yet, make sure you ask your web designer to build you one that allows you to update it easily.
3) Newcomers welcome/Friendly group These two important phrases should be included in any promotional material you are using to attract new class members. This especially applies to the more physical (and thereby) more intimidating class types like martial arts, HIIT, Bootcamps, etc.
The majority of newbies will be nervous about attending their first class with you for a dozen different reasons, but they all essentially come down to the fear of the unknown. You can take a lot of that fear away if you reassure them about how welcome they are. Assuming it's true of course! 4) Keep it real In your class description be realistic about what to expect. For example, if you are running a high impact and/or high intensity class don't say "Everyone welcome". Instead consider saying something like "While all ages and body types are welcome to this fun and friendly class a basic level of fitness is required. Please call if you are unsure."
Remember, it's more important to have a few committed people who turn up, enjoy it and come again (hopefully bringing their friends) than it is for a load of people to turn up once and moan about it to everyone they speak to.
5) Include your contact information People always have questions and you can't always get all the answers across on a business card or an A5 leaflet. If you have a website then it's a good idea to add the line "For more details see website" and include some FAQs on there. However, there will always be questions and concerns that you have not anticipated so give people a number to call or an email to write to on your posters, leaflets and promo cards.
6) People love freebies "First class free" and my personal favourite "Bring a friend and get your next class free" are great ways to get extra bodies in the room. People are more likely to try something new if it doesn't cost them anything. They are also more likely to promote you if they get something out of it too. If you have someone who goes out of their way to promote you then give them a small gift every now and then, e.g. towel, water bottle, pedometer.
You can even take it a stage further and reward people for attending x number of classes in a row. Don't forget that in this business getting new customers is not usually the challenge. It's keeping them coming (retention) that's key to success.
Offering discounts for block bookings, groups is another approach.
7) Tweet and post your location I bang on about this one a lot on Twitter. People often tag @Fit2BFitSocial with their class information in the hope that we'll retweet it for them. Well we will if it includes the most important piece of information - where is the class? You don't need to give a full address, but include a town at least and if it's a big town, the sub district as well. Hash tagging the town doesn't do any harm either.
8 .) Tweet to people who will retweet you On Twitter search for users who tweet about things going on in your local area: local authorities, community groups, churches, local papers and dedicated "what's on" guides are very often more than happy to retweet about classes and events in their area.
Make sure you don't leave it too late in the day or week either. Most people don't make a decision on the day to go to a class. Most will make that decision two to three days before. By the day of the class they will have plans and even if they haven't, by a few hours before they will have settled into the idea of doing something else even if it's just watching TV!
9) Networking events I could almost hear the collective groan then. Networking events can be intimidating, especially if you have never been to one before. It's also true that there are probably more bad ones than good ones in terms of the amount of business they will generate for you. However, with a bit of judgement, practice and the right attitude they can also be fun, educational and a great opportunity to pick up new class members.
Currently, despite the massive growth of the fitness industry, which is showing no signs of decline, there are still very few personal trainers, group exercise instructors or indeed health professionals in general at these events. You can take advantage of that and when combined with "First class free" and a friendly smile you will likely get a few a more people to your class.
10) Be listed on THIS website Fit2BFit is growing fast and we are regularly featuring at the top of search engines when people look for classes in a given area. The more classes we have more we will be at the top featuring YOUR class. So if you haven't already, sign up > add your business profile > add your instructor profile > add your classes! We'll promote them on the site and in our social media campaigns and we'll do it all for free!