3 Reasons That Clients Stop Training With You

In Jay Abraham’s book, Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got, this master marketer discusses 3 reasons why clients stop buying from you.

Reason #1 - Out of sight, out of mind

Some people just stop working with you and simply forget about it. It’s almost too simple to think about, but it’s true. Think about something you used to buy at the grocery store. You’re out shopping one day, and all of a sudden that item is no longer in stock. So you convince yourself you’re fine without it for now and over time you end of forgetting about it. 

But then down the road, you see that product back on the shelf and remember how much you liked it when you were buying it all the time. Your lost clients likely feel the same way if they left you and just got distracted or simply forgot about your training services over time. Number one, don’t be a commodity to your clients so this doesn’t happen in the first place. if you find yourself in a situation where a former client forgot about you, you must engage that client again and remind them what they’ve been missing out on. Most likely you’re a better coach and trainer if you’ve been working on your education and you’ll have even more to offer them this time around anyway. Use that as leverage in the conversation with them.

Reason #2 - They become dissatisfied

As Jay says, this rarely happens because you did something intentional to offend or dissatisfy your client. The reality is that clients will become dissatisfied if you aren’t on your P's and Q’s. I’ve written about this in my article “5 Things I Would Do Over If I Was a 26-Year-Old Trainer Again” which you should read HERE.

An important point in keeping your client satisfied and training long term is to make sure you’re not a commodity and your service is unique to them. Every client is not the same so you cannot treat them all the same. Have a general framework of how you operate your business, but make sure you provide a different experience for each client that is tailored to their expectations. It would be nice if everyone was grateful for your services, but the reality is that they all sign up with expectations of how they want their training experience to go. Ask lots of questions and find out what they are expecting, deliver on your promise, and you’ll keep your clients training for a very long time.

Reason #3 - You client’s situation has changed and they can no longer benefit the same from your training

You’re probably asking yourself, how could my client’s no longer benefit from training with me? Let me give you a personal example. When I take on a new client, they have a goal they want to accomplish. But I have my own goal which I’m very transparent with them about. I want to help them build fitness independence and not have to rely on my coaching forever. Empowering your client’s with those types of skills is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

Now let’s say you graduate a client to the point where they can now create their own program and they’re plenty motivated to show up and put in the work without you having to watch them every second. You now have two opportunities. You made them so self-sufficient that they are inclined to send you referrals, and number two, you get the opportunity to train another person and further expand your skill set by gaining more experience with a new set of client challenges. If you’re a growth-minded coach, this should be a home run for you.

Even if your clients stop training with you, there are multiple opportunities to either reengage them in training once again, replace them with a referral, or at the very least get a lesson on how to improve your offering and keep your clients’ long term or graduate them to referring you more people just like them. Good luck and him me up on social media to chat about it! @coachmikeurso.

The Practical LinkedIn Marketing Strategy for Fit Pros in 2019

It’s not just about finding a job anymore.

It’s not just about finding a job anymore.

This year, I’ve gotten bombarded by trainers on how to optimize their LinkedIn profile to build their personal training business. As soon as I tell them I’ve gotten more than a half dozen, high quality, high price point, in-person clients in the past 60 days, they all want to know the secret. Because of this, I felt it was warranted to write an article explaining the things I’ve done to optimize and market my services there, and why it is, in my opinion, the best place for trainers to find high-quality clients.

Let’s start with what LinkedIn is.

Most people think of LinkedIn as a job site. You post your CV, search job listings, and network with other professionals in your industry. If you haven’t been on the platform in a while, one login to your account and view of your news feed clearly shows you that it’s now much more driven by content marketing. Also, if anyone is thinking of hiring you, LinkedIn is likely the first place they’ll go before they even meet with you in person.

Another great benefit about LinkedIn vs other platforms right now is their organic reach. As you can see in the image below, the cost per click is highest on LinkedIn compared to the other platforms. That means there are far fewer ads and much more organic content in your news feed. It also means that if you do decide to advertise there, although it’s more expensive than the other platforms, you’re likely to get higher quality conversions

2019 Social Media Ad Costs Table.PNG

Trainers, think about who your clients are. If you work in an upscale gym, or train independently or own a boutique studio, your demographic of personal training clients is likely in the 35-60 age category. Those people are more established in their careers, have a higher net worth, and if they are old enough to have adult children they likely have the disposable income to shift towards their own health and wellness.

Check out some of these stats and you’ll quickly see why I try to have a big presence there: (view the full article on Hootsuite here)

45% of LinkedIn users make over $75k per year!

45% of LinkedIn users make over $75k per year!

  • 45% of LinkedIn users make over $75k per year.

  • 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn.

  • 45% of LinkedIn users work in upper management.

  • 94% of B2B marketers on social media use LinkedIn to publish content.

  • 91% of Executives rate LinkedIn as their first choice for professionally relevant information.

I want to stress that last point. The people who are most likely to buy your training services overwhelmingly trust LinkedIn as the place to get relevant information on your respected profession.

Ok, now that we can see what kind of value the LinkedIn audience brings when trying to attract the right clients, let’s get down to some practical tips on how to use it best.

How To Optimize Your Profile On LinkedIn

  • Start off by splurging for the premium account. It’s about $30 per month and allows you a few bonus features that will come in handy when deploying your marketing tactics on the platform.

    • Some of those features include:

      • The ability to use InMail and connect with people you wouldn’t be able to connect with otherwise. This allows you access to higher executives who have privacy settings that free users can’t access.

      • You get access to more details of the people who search for you. If someone searches “personal trainer [your city here]” and you come up in their search queue and they click to your profile. You can see who searched for you. Try finding this amazing feature on any other platform. It doesn’t exist. This is a huge competitive advantage to see exactly who is looking for your services, request to connect, then slide into their DM and introduce yourself! I’ve gotten three clients by using this exact method, which has paid for the cost of a premium account 100x over in the long run.

      • The gold LinkedIn badge that shows next to your name in searches looks more exclusive that the flood of free account holders without it. Simply put, you’ll stand out.

      • Gives you access to thousands of online learning courses from industry experts. Great if you want to also develop courses to market that way, or even enroll in some and educate yourself.

  • Get a banner on your profile. I used Canva to design a simple one that sits behind my profile picture and really makes my profile pop when people click through. Canva has a free account that will do everything you need, but I spend the small monthly fee to get full access and ability to print in different formats and higher quality graphics.

  • You need to have a clear tagline on your profile that explains exactly who you help, what kind of outcomes you provide and what the benefits are of those outcomes. The percentage of mobile usage of LinkedIn is high enough (57%) that you want to ensure you say most of what you need to say in the first two lines. If someone doesn’t click through to view your bio, they’ll at least get to read those first two lines and understand how you can help them. As an example and way to provide you with some clarity to what I mean, here’s what my tagline reads: “I help highly-driven professional men get back into shape, stay motivated, and make consistent progress.” It’s short and sweet and says exactly who I help and how I benefit them. Most everybody doesn’t care nearly as much about your professional credentials as much as they want to feel like you have a message that resonates with them and what their struggles are. I’m not saying your credentials aren’t important. Just know that everyone wants to know more about how you may be able to help them, not about all the schooling you went through. I’ve never once in 10 years ever had a client ask me which national certification I have. Once you have your tagline set, start a new paragraph and write your descriptive bio.

  • Use the “who’s viewed your profile” feature. This is a major benefit with the premium account. Here’s where you can start to filter out who’s checking you out and find out more about them and decide if you want to connect. It’s almost a no brainer for me to add a connection that’s viewed my profile and then immediately slide into their DM, thank them for connecting, and wish them a great day. You’d be amazed at how many people are willing to engage with you this way. The large reason they viewed your profile (as long as it wasn’t someone you requested connection to first and is screening you) is that you showed up in their search query and they clicked your profile. It should be a dead giveaway that this person is likely looking for something you have to offer, like health and fitness services. I go aggressively on this strategy and connect with any and all people that view my profile. Message them all and start a dialogue. Remember, this is something you have to do consistently and find time for daily. If you just do it for a few days, you’ll likely not get enough experience on what DM greetings work and which don’t. Just like meeting someone in person, the more personalized and relative you can make your messaging, the more likely you’re going to get a response back and have someone engage with you.

Effective Tactics For Prospecting Clients on LinkedIn

Now that you’ve optimized your profile and understood some of the strategies you need to implement, let’s talk about the tactical side. In other words, what are the daily actions you should be taking on the platform to actually convert leads into clients?

Strategy #1 - The Effective Way to Use the Search Bar

One of the best ways to make new connections that can become potential prospects is to use the search feature in LinkedIn to target a specific kind of individual. If you have the premium account you will be able to filter out your searches in greater detail and parse out the people that may be interested in your services.

Start by typing your city into the search bar, followed by a job title that your ideal client has. For example:

New York City Vice President


San Francisco Software Engineer


Boston Radiologist

Once you hit search, filter out by people and start connecting. Part of my strategy on LinkedIn is to use the search feature daily by requesting 30 connections a day. This breaks out to roughly 900 per month. Even if I only connect with 10% of those people I would make 90 new connections per month which would allow my content to get in front of people I’ve handpicked to see it. The good news is that far more than 10% of people add me to their network (it’s closer to 30 or 40%, so I typically can make a few hundred ideal connections a month and grow my network of ideal prospects.)

Try out some of these job titles in your search that I’ve identified as a viable candidate for personal training services:

  • Partner

  • Chairman

  • Founder

  • CEO

  • COO

  • Managing Director

  • Board Member

  • Owner

  • Executive Director

  • MD

  • Anesthesiologist

  • Radiologist

  • Orthopedic Surgeon

  • Cardiologist

  • Plastic Surgeon

  • Gastroenterologist

  • Urologist

  • Attorney

  • Counsel

  • Law Partner

  • Orthodontist

  • Chief Executive

  • Dentist

  • Pilot

  • Flight Engineer

  • Vice President

  • President

  • EVP

  • Software Engineer

  • Computer Engineer

This list is in no way complete and you can get as creative as you want. I would suggest doing an inventory of your current clients and look for job patterns. Then use that as a search term alongside your city.

Strategy #2 - Focused Content Towards Solving Your Ideal Client’s Challenges

Now that you’re consistently building your network of ideal prospects, it’s time to drop some content on their doorstep that engages them and builds your authority and value as a viable source of relevant fitness information.

The best way to do this is through your posts. Think about answering these questions when you’re deciding what to post about:

  • What does my avatar client have the most challenge with when trying to get more fit?

  • What are the hobbies and interests that my avatar client wants to know more about?

  • What is the most important thing to my avatar client, and how could I create a post that would move them closer to that important thing?

  • How can I explain the benefits that my avatar client would get from improving an area of their life they’re unhappy with?

You want all your content to be congruent with the branding and messaging that attracts your ideal clients. Always ask yourself, “By posting this, does it help give value to my ideal client and move them closer to the benefits they want?”

Most of us act on the things that are most important to us, not someone else. This means that your messaging has to show the benefits of improving that thing. Think of it this way - My target client is a 40 to 60-year-old, highly-driven, busy, professional male. Many of them love to golf. Some go several times a week. That means golf is important to them. If I make a post that shows the benefit of doing this one exercise that will benefit them by hitting a longer drive off the tee, I’m likely to attract the attention of those ideal clients. They’re also more likely to engage with my posts which then shows me exactly who is interested in my content, which I can now reach out to and send a personalized message to, or even ask what they’re interested in learning more about so I can tailor my content toward the things people are most likely to interact with.

Strategy #3 - Publishing Articles

Articles, different from blog posts, show up in your clients feed or search results in a more formal context. They showcase authority, professionalism, and provide your audience with longer form content than a regular post does. Remember that 91% of Executives rate LinkedIn as their first choice for professionally relevant information. This means that an article published on LinkedIn will carry more weight than your posts will. They build authority and leverage, both things that are important to your professional career and business building opportunity.

If you already have blog posts on your website, re-purpose them to a LinkedIn article and then create a back-link to your blogging site where they can see more of your content from a native platform like your professional website. Also, remember to have some way to capture emails from potential leads that come to your site and are viewing your content. You can do this easily with a simple pop-up form built on MailChimp (and it’s free!)

All in all, LinkedIn is a great place to become well connected with the career professional who have money, are well educated, and likely see the potential value in hiring a personal trainer or coach to help them get healthier and fit. Like anything, it’s going to come down to putting the work in on a daily basis. You may not see results in the first weeks or even months. That doesn’t mean it’s not working. You need time to create a body of work, and learn how your network interacts with your content. That only happens if you’re putting yourself out there. Take consistent action on these 3 strategies and I can guarantee you’ll have just as much, if not more, success than I’ve had on this platform.

How to create the best possible experience for a new client. You need a new client on-boarding system in your business.

When someone signs up and becomes a client, it’s critical that you have a consistent process in place. Why?

  • It makes for more efficient use of your time.

  • It allows for a consistent experience, client to client.

  • You can follow a simple step by step process and take the guesswork out of how your new client will receive the most possible value in becoming a highly benefited client of yours.

  • You will better manage your new client’s expectations which in turn lowers any anxiety they have about getting started on a new workout program.

  • You can on-board more clients at a faster rate because you’ve streamlined integrating them into your training system.

  • Instantly boost your retention rates.

  • Most importantly, it leaves time to develop a strong relationship with your new client which is the foundation why they will stick with you long-term.

Each system of a business needs a strategy and tactics to take action on it. Let me take you through a few of the steps you need to follow to create this system and strategy within your fitness business.

You need a strategy

You need a strategy

How to Begin Creating Your Onboarding Strategy

Create a word document and write out your step by step process from when a client signs up with you until they get through their first month of training with you. You want it to read exactly how the new client will experience working with you through their eyes.

Here’s mine so you can get an idea. Feel free to use this and make it your own depending on your unique strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Create a new client account your programming software (I use TrueCoach and highly recommend them for organizing your programs and client data. Check out TrueCoach here. Full disclosure: I earn $50 credit if you sign up through this link. If you do, I’ll return the favor by setting up a complimentary business consultation and help you get everything set up with your software or help you develop your unique onboarding strategy!) Then you want to add all necessary files, including assessments, forms, etc to your programming software system.

  2. Send them a link to download the iPhone app where they will receive their workouts.

  3. Clarify their training schedule and confirm all training dates and times for the next month as well as any trips or vacations they’ll be taking to assure continuity and consistency in their training program.

  4. Solidify with them how often they need your support and accountability when they aren’t with you. This includes emails, text messages, and any other communication they feel they’ll need to launch into a new program successfully (providing an expectation of this from the beginning establishes your value in meeting their individual needs for support.)

  5. Share with them any resources they may need to have throughout your training process. This includes relative articles, instructional videos, nutrition guides, or links to exercise equipment you’d like them to purchase for home use.

  6. If you have a client Facebook support group for clients, send them an invitation to join.

  7. This is the time to deploy your Formal Referral System to assure a valuable referral from them once you deliver their results. Check out my article here on how to put an extremely effective,easy two-step process into place.

That’s it. You can add or subtract items from this list to make it your own, depending on what that client should be experiencing in the first couple days to the first month they come aboard with you.

You can see, that by implementing a great New Client Onboarding system and strategy into your business that you can create a repeatable, structured way of bringing new clients into your programs and assuring that they send you their friends and family members because you’re going to do more for them then anyone else has.

If you’d like more help on implementing your own personalized strategy send me an email at mike@coachmikeurso.com or a DM on Instagram at @fitcoachconsultant and let’s create a system that works for your unique business model.

Which social media platform can grow your personal training business the best?

Facebook is great if you’re targeting women and men ages 35-65.

Facebook is great if you’re targeting women and men ages 35-65.

Where you spend your time matters. The last thing you want is to spend all your time marketing and branding in one location when all of your prospective clients are somewhere else. I want to break down the social media platforms and explain how to reach your avatar client through the proper channel. We’ll cover Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn today since I feel they are currently the most valuable for trainers, with the exception of YouTube, but I’ll be honest right now and say I’m not an expert in YouTube or any vlogging or video content for that matter, so I must refer out to my good friend and exceptional daily vlogger, Caesar Jean of #thecaesarlife. Go check out his channels and reach out to him if you want to do it right.

Let’s start with Facebook. Facebook is interesting because it’s the biggest social media platform in regards to usage, and because of that the market is very broad when you’re trying to attract new clients. For all intents and purposes, I’m going to assume you have directed the focus of your business by trying to train a specific type of client and not just anyone.  Facebook is great if you’re targeting women ages 35-65, and men of the same age group. There’s even still some millennials on it, and if you have your own business, you should definitely have a Facebook business page there because people will try to search for you all over and you want to have omnipresence across all platforms. In other words, you want to be seen everywhere. It takes most buyers 5-12 touch points before they pull the trigger and ask for your services. If you’re present everywhere, it will be much easier to get in front of them through multiple avenues. Facebook has a great messaging feature you can use to slide into the prospective clients DM and see how you can help them out. My best advice when DM’ing, and this goes on any platform and just like you would do with someone in person, build rapport first before you ask for anything. Focus on positioning vs pitching. What I mean by that is you need to become the person that they HAVE to go to for information because you’ve given them so much value in the way you directed them to a resource, gave them a free workout, complimented one of their posts or accomplishments, that they actually ask you first about your services. If you focus on this and play the long game, you’ll have far more success in your direct messaging game.

Instagram is mostly geared towards quality pictures and video. How you post there makes a difference. You want to be always thinking about providing value in some way and no selfishly promoting yourself and your services constantly. Quotes that are motivating to your audience, instructional workout videos, and tutorials, or whatever it may be, you want to always have the people you’re targeting in mind with your posts. You need to be able to answer the question, what is my avatar client interested in and what do they struggle with? The answer to that question is what you post. Have a strategy. Write out your plan then get tactical on what you’re posting.

As an example, my target client is a 40-60-year-old, highly-driven, busy professional male. They want to typically move better and feel better, have more energy, maybe lose some belly fat and get the most out of their cognitive performance so they can do their job better and make more money. Therefore, my posts are geared towards an audience that is interested in learning more about how to achieve those things. Now, while Instagram isn’t the best place for reaching my demographic, it is great for the 25-45 demographic, so as you can guess, most of my clients I’ve gotten from Instagram are 40-45 years old.

My recommendation is to make sure you have a business profile on Instagram, click the insights tab then goto audience and analyze what age range, gender, and days of week and time of day when most of your audience is on Instagram and engaging with your content. Don’t try and guess who you need to tailor your content to because the data is there. Lastly, on Instagram, you need to have some sort of link in your profile info that directs out to more places people can view your stuff. Don’t forget to make that look as professional as possible and clearly stating exactly what you do.

45% of LinkedIn users make over $75,000 per year

45% of LinkedIn users make over $75,000 per year

I’m going to go into a little more detail on LinkedIn, because not only have I had the most success finding new clients there, but I believe it is completely untapped for fitness professionals who want to not just generate new business, but the right kind of business.

Let’s start with the stats...45% of LinkedIn users make over $75,000 a year. And, 41% of millionaires are users of LinkedIn. Um...Hello Fit Pros, where are you? It’s not only a no-brainer that you should be content marketing on LinkedIn, but you also need to leverage its organic reach and the high conversion on connecting and DM’ing with your target market. And here’s what I mean by that…

You can literally go onto LinkedIn, mind you this is something that’s not available on any other social media platform right now, and type [your city], followed by Doctor, Lawyer, President, Chairmen, or any other job title you feel your avatar client has. So for me, I type in Boston Vice President and then filter out by people, and in return, I get everyone in Boston who’s a Vice President of their company. Then start requesting connections with these people, slide into their DM and see if they need any help or direct them to a resource that they can benefit from. The key is not to ask for anything. It’s all about giving them value that’s calculated and directed towards the needs and struggles you’ve identified your prospective client might have.  It’s literally that easy and I’m surprised more trainers are not doing this, to be honest. I’ll make a Podcast and Blog post about creating a specific marketing strategy on LinkedIn, so in the meantime, you can try that one tactic and see how it works for you.

I hope this helps direct your focus a bit and take a more laser approach instead of using a shotgun across all platforms and hoping something happens. Please DM me @fitcoachconsultant or @coachmikeurso on Instagram or email me at mike@coachmikeurso.com. I can help you get more of the right clients your looking for and develop a strategy on these platforms so you can make more money and ultimately give you more freedom!

You're Not Charging Your Clients Enough. Here's a Different Approach.

I remember being a fairly new trainer in the industry. I had plenty of experience in the gym prior to getting my national certification. But I didn’t have a lick of experience actually building a training program for anyone, let alone asking them to pay me anywhere near what the gym was charging them for my services. I thought to myself often, “I don’t want to be a salesperson, I just want to train people.” In actuality, you’re always a salesperson if you’re a trainer. And your confidence in how you speak about your value matters.

There is a common “Catch 22” I hear often. “I don’t have the experience, so who’s going to pay me $120 a session?” and the “I don’t have any clients because I’m new, so how can I get more experience?” juxtaposition. I understand it because I was there once.

Recently I had a conversation with a trainer that went something like this:

Them: I want to start up an online training business because I haven’t hit my monthly revenue goal yet and I’m almost tapped out on how many in-person clients I can train without getting too burnt out.

Me: Have you done online training before?

Them: Yes. I’m not really a fan of it, to be honest.

I’m going to pause in the conversation for a second. This trainer already knew they’d likely be miserable if they did online training because it wasn’t in their heart and the in-person service was really what they excelled at. Now that takes some self-awareness, so if that trainer is reading this right now; I commend you!

Me: There are 4 main ways you can make more revenue. You can #1 Increase the number of clients you're training, which you already said you’re just about tapped out on. You can #2 increase the offering to each client by up-selling them more stuff, say nutrition coaching as an added service. The #3 thing you can do is increase the frequency of training your clients are doing now, but similar to #1 you don’t really seem to have the hours to pack more sessions in. Finally, the #4 way to increase your revenue is what you really need to do. Raise your prices. Your time is already in demand and you’re giving deals to clients for far less than new clients and your current high-value clients are willing to pay.

Them: You’re right. I need to charge more.

This conversation literally happened twice in two days with two different trainers so I knew it was a sign that other trainers are out there selling themselves short on what they can be charging. Now there’s an art to that conversation we won’t get into here, but just know that if you already have a full book of clients and haven't hit your revenue goals, you need to be charging more. I understand you may not feel worthy, especially if you’re a new trainer and you’ve seen some early success with a full book of business, but you definitely need to charge what the market is telling you you’re worth. Some clients may have to drop their frequency because of the increase, but you’ll make that up quick by spreading the higher price point among your existing clients and signing up new (higher paying) clients to fill those gaps.

Will you lose some clients who aren’t willing to pay more? Yes, absolutely. And those are probably the clients haggling on price and tough to track down when it’s time to purchase a new package. Open up your schedule and take on the people that are willing to pay what you’re worth.

All this is easier said than done. So I want to offer you a complimentary business strategy session so we can look at your individual situation and access how you can best approach it. Shoot me an email at mike@coachmikeurso.com or a DM @coachmikeurso on all the major platforms.

NOTE: Don’t go and raise all your rates on your clients unexpectedly without a plan. It’s a sure way to have it go horribly wrong!

You can also check out The Fit Coach Consultant Podcast HERE where I talk a lot about topics like this as well as, getting referrals, marketing yourself effectively in 2019, and more.

Check out this article on how to set up a Formal Referral System for your business to keep a steady flow of referrals (the best kind of client) coming in.

An Introvert Fitness Pro’s Guide to Marketing

If you’re anything like me, you know the struggles of being an introverted personal trainer working in a gym. The last thing you want is to be the center of attention. Some gyms go as far as placing new trainers in a different colored uniform shirt so members can identify the helpers on the gym floor. Unfortunately, to introverts, that shirt feels more like a scarlet letter.

As a new trainer, I struggled trying to face my fear of approaching members to strum up new clients. And it didn’t get any easier when I became an independent trainer. You no longer have a gym to market your services in, and have to come up with ways to go in public or broadcast your message on social media. I’ve talked to so many trainers that struggle to put out any content at all because they’re self-conscious and afraid to be judged. They miss out on the attention that extroverts get to help build a sustainable business.


I feel for you.

But don’t give up just yet. Luckily there’s plenty of things introverts do extremely well. If we focus on what we’re principally great at and apply it towards fitness business marketing, we have a superpower that our boisterous, extroverted counterparts can’t contend with.

Blogging and Podcasting

These are my two favorite methods of producing content. I hate video and get anxious at networking events, so writing and recording audio are two great ways you can build a body of work and get your message out to potential clients.

Blogging has been around forever so it’s self-explanatory more or less. You write articles, publish them to your website, and drive traffic to your website. This can all be done behind the scenes and is a great way for introverts to get their message and branding out into the world for potential clients to view them as a trusted expert.

Podcasting is really hitting its stride now in the wave of voice controlled devices hitting the market. If you don’t have a podcast you should. If you aren’t the type that wants to go and do public speaking or similar methods to build your authority, a podcast may be just the place to start. You can download Anchor and do it for free. Spotify just recently acquired Anchor so your podcast will be featured there as well as the Apple Podcast app and anywhere else podcasts are streamed. I first got comfortable recording my voice with voice memos on my iPhone. It gave me practice with topics I was interested in and eventually I got better at succinctly delivering my point. I eventually warmed up enough to venture into co-hosting a weekly podcast and recently started my second podcast.

Direct Messaging on Social Media Platforms

Posting on Instagram or Facebook isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it’s sort of a necessary evil. Social media is not disappearing anytime soon. You really need to embrace it. Even you, my shy friend. A great feature that seems like it was made for us is the DM. Depending on which platform your target clients are located (for me it’s 40-60 year old men, so I use LinkedIn a lot) all the major ones have a DM feature where you can directly reach out to anyone who has an account. I’ve had a lot of success engaging my target demographic on LinkedIn, but if you train young millennials then you should be DM’ing on Instagram, whereas if you’re targeting middle-aged women, then Facebook should be your go-to.

One suggestion: pay attention to who’s liking your posts and once you see someone who’s consistently into your stuff, reach out and ask them what kind of content they’re most interested in. You’ll not only start a dialogue that can land you a new client, but also get insight about what topics are best for future content.

Coffee/Lunch Meetings

OK, now I’m literally giving you my secret sauce to building a business without spending a dime on marketing and advertising. Any chance I get I try and set up a coffee or lunch meeting with a potential client, former client, or someone that can connect or refer me a client. As an introvert, we have a unique skill where we thrive in the one on one environment. That’s why so many great private trainers are introverts and not group fitness instructors.

Knowing this about yourself, you need to get face to face with a potential client so you can work your magic. I use this strategy in conjunction with DM’ing. I use the DM to set up an in-person meeting and land a new client from there. What I’ve found is the people who are serious about getting in shape and value personal training as a means to do it are more than willing to spend time face to face. This is usually because those people are older, more mature, and not really into texting back and forth for you to deliver your sales pitch. Get in front of them (especially people you already have a relationship with) and show them how working with you is everything they need to get in the best shape of their lives.

These three methods of marketing for introverts are tried and true. I’ve used each of them and still do to this day. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think about these strategies and how they’ve worked for you. Shoot me a DM on any of the major platforms at @coachmikeurso or email me at Mike@CoachMikeUrso.Com with your questions.

And share this out to your introverted fitness professional friend!

Personal Trainers: What do you know about your competitors?


This is an important question. It’s important because so many trainers who are running a business (and let me say that “running a business” is whether you work for a gym and have your own book of clients or run your own independent business or gym) don’t ask critical questions to their clients and client prospects that could be informing them about where their services stand in the industry’s food chain.

You need to scout out competitors and figure out what they provide in comparison to you. Otherwise, how do you modify your offering to set apart from others?

How do you do this? It’s actually simple. Ask your current clients what they are looking for. A simple question like, “What do you expect out of your training experience?” or “How would you like to be coached?”, or even “What has prevented you from working with a trainer in the past?”

They may answer the latter question reasoning cost, and you need to know it’s likely not involved with the cost at all, but perceived value. They just haven’t seen enough value in what services were offered to them before. Nothing has convinced them to give money for the potential benefit. It’s your job to separate yourself by explaining to them the massive outweighing of benefit to cost ratio. For example, does your training program not only allow them to lose the weight they want but improve their mental energy and allow for better business decisions that can make them more money for their family? Show them some benefit that’s connected to an intrinsic need they have and your stock will go up massively.

If you’re not asking your current clients about their previous experiences or expectations of services, you’re missing a huge chunk of how to improve your services and stay ahead of your competition.

3 Ways For A Fitness Pro To Network And Make Better Connections

  1. If you’re a brand new trainer or coach: If you’re a new trainer, when you introduce yourself to a new member at the gym, observe and watch which other members they know and connect with. Then try and approach the people they know and use the other person as a mutual bridge to their network. When a member likes you and realizes you know other people they know, you become more familiar and part of a larger network. This is without a doubt the easiest way I found to network as an introvert trying to build connections. At this stage, your resources are little to none so building connections and getting access should be a priority.

  2. If you’ve been a trainer for a little while: Be a connector for others. If you’re talking to someone, ask them what they’ve been working on and the challenges they’re facing. It’s usually an indication of a need they have. If you can connect them to a resource or a person that helps them either save time or money, your stock with that person will increase. You will grow your own network by focusing on helping them grow theirs. At this stage, you have more resources and connections, but they’re still limited.

  3. If you’ve been in the game for a long time: Join a meetup group or mastermind. Without a doubt, one of the best things I’ve done for growth is surrounding myself with other people struggling with (and hopefully achieving) the same things as me. There’s a greater sense of connection and there’s also the ability to leverage their combined networks to solve your own problems. But my advice is clarifying your personal business challenges and put all your effort into helping those in your group solve theirs. You’ll undoubtedly get far more in return by focusing on helping others get what they want. At this stage, you should have more to offer anyway.

So You Want to Take Your Corporate Gym Clients and Go Independent?

There are 3 things you need to do first. Do the 3 things I share below, and you’ll absolutely cut the cord from your corporate job and have more freedom and more income potential in the process.

I’ve been very fortunate to have a core group of clients that rely on me to take care of their health and fitness needs for a long time. They’ve stuck with me through several job changes. And the ones that I couldn’t continue training when my job shifted to another company or location, I maintained contact with and when it was convenient for them again, we were reunited and I found them back on my schedule. What do I attribute this success to?

For starters, I’ve spent an enormous amount of time maintaining my own brand, even when I was working with other companies.


This doesn’t mean that I wasn’t being faithful to the companies I worked for. Actually, it’s the opposite. I poured my heart and soul into helping those businesses grow. Whether it was a big box gym or a fitness start-up. But even though I trained clients under those umbrellas, I always understood the importance of differentiating my own brand within those businesses.

Another reason it’s important to have your own personal brand? In a crowded personal training space within corporate gyms, you need to find a way to differentiate from your peers. Had I maintained the generic attributes of a corporate trainer, there’s no way I would have stood out and developed the core group of clients I work with now. You’re doomed if you become a simple commodity to personal training clients.

The other part that made it easy to have clients leave the gym and stay loyal to me are the deep relationships I’ve formed with them.

You know how “personal” that personal training gets. You get to know your client’s kids names. Their family struggles. The many hobbies they practice. The personal challenges that they’re trying to work through daily.

If the company you work for is great at what they do, they will work hard to make personal connections with your clients as well, but at scale, it’s just extremely hard for those big gyms to form bonds with their clients and it’s up to us, the soldiers on the ground to give those clients a deeper connection to the whole vision of the company.

So how do you set yourself up to take the show on the road and start training your client’s independent of the gym?

  1. Work hard to make sure you are not a commodity to your clients. If your services are something they can get from any other trainer at their gym, you don’t have a prayer for them to consider leaving that gym to continue working with you. You have to do more for them than anyone else would, including the company you work for.

  2. Form deep relationships with your clients. In a world where gyms are so big and managers can’t possibly make a personal touch with each and every personal training client, it’s important for you to deepen the relationship with your client and make sure they understand that it’s you who has their best interests in mind. They need to feel a deep and personal connection to you that spans beyond the four walls of a gym. Maintaining contact between workouts, attending races they participate in, or curating and sharing content you know they have a personal interest in are all ways to do this.

  3. Create and maintain your own brand. This comes in time with knowing what kind of client you attract and releasing content that’s relative to them and their growth. Like ourselves, the clients we serve are always looking for ways to grow personally. If there’s a specific type of client you attract, you need to take notice. For example, 75% of my client base are professional men in their 40’s and 50’s. Not only am I constantly asking them where their attention gravitates around health and fitness topics, but I’m taking that feedback and developing content in the form of blog articles, social media posts, eBooks, podcasts, video content on Instagram, etc. This further develops and maintains my personal brand and attracts more of the clients I enjoy working with.

Those clients who really relate to you and the content and services you’re producing are going to be loyal to you if you decide to take the show on the road.

If you’ve got the itch to step away from your corporate gym job and take your business independent, make sure you’ve checked the boxes on these 3 things. Become more than a commodity, form deep relationships, and create and maintain your own brand. Your clients will become raving fans and allow you to make that transition to your own private business without a drop in income. I’ve done it and can tell you it’s absolutely an option for you.

DM me at @coachmikeurso on Instagram or Twitter or email at mike@coachmikeurso.com with any questions you have about planning an exit strategy.

The Perfect Formal Referral System For Your Fitness Business

For a long time, I would avoid the awkwardness of asking a client for a referral. Part of it had to do with me not wanting to deal with rejection. “What if they say NO?”, or “What if me asking them for a favor makes them feel uncomfortable?”

Yes, asking for someone to give up the personal contact information, or worse, to go talk to that person for you is terrifying. This is a big indicator that you may not believe in the value of what you're doing and that’s certainly something you need to go and work on first. Knowing and believing that what you’ve chosen as a career in this world provides value to other peoples lives is critical to your overall happiness anyway. But it’s also possible that you can clearly see how much your training services mean to your clients and you just don’t have a strategy to get more clients like them onto your schedule.

This is why you need a formal referral system built into your business model.

I don’t need to sell you on the value of a client referral versus a cold lead. They don’t cost anything but your time and effort (less than you’d think if you have a system in place), they come pre-qualified, likely are in the same tax bracket as your other upscale clients, and are well-educated and understand the value of taking care of their health. If you don’t have a system in place right now to attract these types of clients, you’re missing a critical piece of business that is self-perpetuating.

So here’s how you create this system.

First, make referrals a “condition of doing business” with you. Most likely, if you’re training an affluent demographic, they understand the importance of networking and utilizing their personal contacts to do business. Make sure they know you mainly rely on referrals and because of that you don’t need to spend money (or as much for that matter) on marketing and that means you have more to invest in improving your client’s services on a regular basis. Smart business people know the importance of reinvesting in their business to make their services and products better. They should understand this concept clearly.

One strategy I use in my referral system is this:

As soon as I do my initial assessment and the client signs up with me, I say to them “Ok Joan, as I’m focused on working hard for you and you’re relying on me to help guide you through this journey, can I rely on you to help me continue to build my business by sending me your friends and family to work with after we achieve our goal?” Of course, they will say yes. I’ve never had anyone say no to this, and you likely won’t either. Now, this does two things. First, it puts the pressure on you to get them the result they want! And two, you let them know in advance you’re going to be asking them for a referral in the future. This cuts the tension like a knife and you don’t make them feel awkward because you’re not immediately asking for anything from them. This may even give them more confidence in you as a coach because of your own confidence in the situation.

You’ve just set them up for the future ask, and once you have a killer reassessment with them and they’ve lost a few pounds and are clearly living a better quality of life, you need to then ask for a referral. But as you’re setting up this “ask” down the road, you need to pay attention closely to the actual services you provide.

Don’t allow yourself to become a simple commodity.

If your client sees your training or nutrition services as something they can just get anywhere, your value will plummet quickly and it may cause them to cut ties and start shopping for another trainer on price. Instead,  you need to treat your services as a contribution to the improvement of something more important in that person’s life. Take their career or business for example.

Let’s imagine you say to your client, “The program we’re on was selected carefully for you because I know what it means for you to have more energy throughout your day and your level of decision making at work is critical in growing your business. This is going to make you feel more mentally alert throughout your workday and that’s the difference between between doing just OK and be super productive in your business.”   It’s all in the language you use to make it relative to them and where else they’re looking to grow beyond the gym.

When your clients experience value that improves deeper aspects of their lives or business, they will want to share you with others. Think about right how much you enjoy Game of Thrones or any other show you’re crazy about, and when you meet someone who hasn’t seen it how you preach to them how they HAVE to watch it. You want to make people evangelical about you and your training services in the same way people are enamored with their favorite television show.

When you set up a formal referral system in your fitness business, you can save money on marketing and get better clients. And remember, this system is self-perpetuating. I haven’t spend a dime on marketing and advertising and have a constant stream of clients coming in on a regular basis. You can too if you adopt a system like this that feeds itself.