One of the more common personal trainer complaints is "burn out." Suddenly, without warning, you see a once zealous trainer has become run down and less than accommodating to clients. His or her cancellations increase, and their ability and willingness to take on new clients decreases. Are there telltale signs that your trainers' sessions are becoming less than productive? What can you, as a manager or owner, do to prevent sessions from going stale so that all parties involved can be successful?
|You might begin by monitoring your staff training time. I have a rule in my studio that no trainer works with more than 30 clients per week. Let's face it: if your trainers are training eight or ten clients a day, the last two or three clients will be getting the short end of the stick. That does not bode well for retention. Even though your trainer may like the paychecks he is receiving, the honeymoon will end, and you'll find yourself with a trainer that is tired out and less than enthused about client success. Once that happens, not only might you lose a trainer; you may potentially lose a client.
In order to keep my staff fresh and focused, I suggest they adopt what I call a work/life balance and remind my trainers of my 10/1 rule. For every ten hours of work, I encourage one hour of personal time. In other words, your trainer needs to learn the value of personal and professional balance. It's really not my business what he or she does during that personal hour; I simply emphasize the value of the philosophy. When your trainers are balanced, it's reflected in their training, their attitude and their overall performance.
When your trainers are balanced, it's reflected in their training, their attitude and their overall performance.
"Trainer Tutors" is another great way to keep things fresh and help trainers avoid burnout. This valuable process allows your trainers to share their unique training ideas with one another in a friendly environment. Once a month my trainers sign up to "train" a fellow trainer, and then at the next staff meeting they report what they learned in their session. Not only do trainers gain additional knowledge but they also have an opportunity to get to know the style and personality of other trainers. I promise that you'll notice an enhanced synergy among your staff. It's a given that when a staff works well together, the organization can produce some pretty impressive results.
I also find regular client assessments a key factor in helping trainers to maintain enthusiasm about their training sessions. In my studio, it is mandatory that trainers assess their clients every 12 to14 weeks. The assessment process is valuable because it keeps clients focused and moving forward. More often than not when cancellations are increasing with a trainer, the first question I'll ask is, "When was that client's last assessment?" Generally, the answer is, "I don't know."
Regular assessments are vital to the client's motivation level and for giving the trainer direction. Not only will the assessment allow the client to appreciate his or her success, it's an opportunity for your training staff to teach clients the value of regular goal setting. If clients aren't clear on what they want to accomplish, it makes for less than productive training sessions, which will eventually result in lost revenues. So make it a rule of thumb to check client files and make sure clients are being reassessed as well as setting new goals every 12-16 weeks. This will keep the trainer and the client excited about the outcome of their sessions.
A successful staff creates successful clientele and nothing affects a business more positively than a staff that works well together. I strongly encourage you to have quarterly team-building meetings with your staff. Visit Crisp Learning at www.flexlearningmedia.com, which offers a large selection of books and tools for team building and staff activities. You'll find another good resource for team building in books by Ed Scannell, some of which include Games Trainers Play, More Games Trainers Play and The Big Book of Team Building Games. A strong team results in a strong business!
The Value of Rewards
Also, don't forget the value of rewarding your trainers. Consider recognizing a trainer for excellent performance. Provide a reward system for increased retention or attraction. Why not create a "Wall of Fame" where each month you highlight one of your trainers? Spotlighting a trainer's talent and success will motivate him or her to continue to strive for excellence, and if they are striving for excellence, you can bet your business is heading in the right direction!
About Nicki Anderson
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