PT FAQ: Should You Give People Free Tips & Advice?
Shortest article ever.
See you next week.
Ok, maybe there is more too it than that.
Let's play devils advocate for a minute or two.
Why wouldn't you give away advice for free?
To keep your clients reliant on you?
So people don't start copying your work?
Because you have paying clients and you don't feel like it's fair on them?
Trying to keep people reliant on you isn't a viable business strategy. The best way to keep clients is to actually foster independence and autonomy and SELF-RELIANCE in your clients.
If you aren't trying to foster autonomy in your clients then it also means you are a bit of a dick.
Teaching them, helping them achieve their goals and taking them further than they thought they could go. This is the essence of doing a good job for your clients. It's the essence of getting referrals, testimonials and having a great reputation.
Unless you are training someone who has been coaching longer than you you should always be ahead of your clients knowledge of fitness, training and everything gym related.
As long as you are researching and always trying to be better you never need to worry about giving away all your secrets because by next week you'll have a whole new bunch of ideas to work with and integrate into your systems.
And there are always new people out there who need and want to learn the basics. There is always someone else to teach, to mentor and to train.
If you are constantly improving it's literally not possible to give away all your knowledge because it's always growing.
Share the knowledge, build the business.
What about people copying your work?
I hate to break this to you, but most if not all of what you do is available for free somewhere on the internet so instead of people going elsewhere for the knowledge you should be sharing it yourself. This will drive traffic to your site and set you up as someone who at least appears to know their stuff.
If you are doing a good job people will copy you, which is why you must keep innovating and keep improving your services and knowledge base. People will copy you because success leaves clues. If you are busy, other people are going to know about it so you can either stress out about that fact or get on with sharing your knowledge for free in numerous ways.
What about being fair to the clients who are paying for your knowledge?
You probably obtained your clients by providing some free information. Clients will understand why you put free content out there as long as you aren't just putting your clients on a programme you give away for free when you've charged them a lot of money or when your service level is negatively impacted because of the amount of free content you put out there.
We'll do an article on how to do this soon!
The only time I've had a client complain about free stuff was when someone wanted me to publish more than one article per week. Plus clients love to see that their coach knows their stuff. Putting out free information and clearly putting in the work is a constant reassurance to your clients that they are investing in the correct coach.
Your free information is the life blood of your reputation unless you want your reputation to be "a coach who does nothing unless he or she is paid for it."
Why should you give your advice for free
Giving away free information in various forms demonstrates your expertise and massages your ego.
There are many types of content you can provide.
lyfemarketing.com lists the following content you may share with the world:
Gifs and memes
And one from me...
Good old-fashioned talking to people!
If you want clients from the gym floor then talking to people is essential.
If you want more online clients knowing how to interact with people without having a price attached to it is also very important.
To get the most from your business you simply have to give some things away for nothing in order to get your name out there, trying NOT to provide any free information actually damages your business because the only way people will ever experience your knowledge is by training with you and if you never share anything for free...well, how is someone going to know if you know your stuff or if you can help them?
My favourite strategy to get people talking to me is to encourage new members or people who talk to me on the gym floor to always feel free to come to me and ask any questions they have.
Others demonstrate their knowledge by answering questions on their Instagram stories. It doesn't matter what medium you use as long as it's reaching people and providing quality information.
Open the door to communicating with people in your gym and in your social media spaces.
Be the person everyone comes to if they want to find out about something on the gym floor or will message you if they have a fitness-related question.
The more you can demonstrate your value to someone the more likely you are of converting them to being a client.
And if they can't afford your services but still keep asking the questions?
Keep answering them! You don't need to provide numerous hours to the answers, it could be as simply directing them to the answer rather than providing it for them.
You never know when someone's luck changes or when they might come into some money. People also talk. Even if someone constantly asks you questions about training and NEVER pays you, if you provide them with good information and they make progress they will probably tell people how good you are.
Be patient. Help people. Advise people. Be a good person.
I always like to have at least one person training for free or at a massively discounted rate on my books.
Because it always pays back in the end. I'll get testimonials, referrals and I'll feel great for doing some good too. Giving away my information away for free is the life blood of my business and I'd make less money if I didn't do it.
Giving away things for free is what got me to a stage where I could say I was fully booked.
If you want to get to the same stage I encourage you to get sharing your experiences, knowledge and tips through whatever medium you feel the most confident with and keep sharing it until you have a loyal audience, a full client roster and a successful business.
Keep refining the information you are putting out there and go above and beyond to help people BEFORE they've paid you.
You'll get so many more leads.
Remember this when people ask you questions:
They could have chosen anyone to ask but they chose you.
This is a great sign that they see hold you in high esteem.
How many PT's could they have asked instead of you?
Thousands upon thousands.
In fact, according to Insure4sport there are approximately 14,000 PT's in the UK alone. Combine that with the 100's of thousands of PT's just a click away around the world and you'll see just how lucky you are to be even considered an expert!
But they came to you.
Quite a compliment. You can rationalize this in many ways to make it seem less special but what's the point?
See it as the compliment it is and answer their damn questions!
The more information you put out there the more free information you can refer people to. I know that if my clients are struggling with a variety of issues the chances are I have an article about it somewhere.
I can provide this as some external reading or I an tag them in an Instagram post if I've already done a post relating to the questions people have for me. My free stuff also works for when I have writers or any kind of creativity block. I can just re-share old stuff as a throwback and always have something that gets my voice out there.
As I've said, if you want to be fully booked and make the most money you can as a Personal Trainer then you need to be providing free information to people.
All the best people in the industry do it. I can't think of an amazing coach with a great reputation that doesn't put out any free advice or information. So it's all out there anyway! People are putting free stuff out there all the time.
You don't need to keep your cards close to your chest in order to make money. You need to attract people to your services by being a voice that stands out compared to others.
The more free stuff you provide, the more answers you have in the form of links which sends people to your website where all your shiny products are.
If someone is taking liberties with your time, providing them with a series of links is often much easier than answering in person if you are busy.
When someone asks you questions before they are your client it's very much a case of "try before they buy" so make sure everyone gets the attention, detail and help they need because the last thing you want to do is fail the test drive before you've even been given the chance to coach them.
Find your own voice and if you are consistent, you'll have content that will set you apart from the rest.
When someone tells you you've helped them or changed their life because of something you didn't even get paid for it is a huge ego boost. I want every Personal Trainer to feel like that at some point so set yourself up for success.
Provide stuff for free.
Questions give you article titles.
Questions give you new avenues of research to wander down and get totally lost in (like that time i decided to look into when the gym can cause more harm than good) and questions keep you on your toes and ready to tackle the next questions that comes your way.
Answer all the questions you can. Provide as much free content as you possibly can and be proud of it.
Now, I'm off to try and think of some free stuff to give away.
Chris is a Personal Trainer, Strength Coach, writer, man of small stature and reader of The Discworld Series with a decade in the industry.
He trains everyone from beginners to high level athletes. His favourite clients are people getting into the gym for the first time because they can make the biggest changes in their lives.
You can reach me through the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading!