The Voice for Fitness Professionals Podcast

The State of Fitness During the Pandemic | Business & Activity

Fitness during the pandemic is all over. Fitness statistics right now are a little grim for gyms. How does physical activity stack up though? Pretty well. It seems the public is discovering they don’t need gyms, trainers, or at least onsite, in order to move more.

The best news is that those who were least active are getting more active. And not detrimental for immune system-sake, the most active, perhaps most reliant on gyms, are now exercising slightly less.

This episode I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Ronto from If you haven’t visited the site, check out the articles they’re publishing now.

My guest:

Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry for over a decade and continues to focus on athletic pursuits.

Our Conversation:

Share a little about the survey methods on fitness during the pandemic, who you surveyed, how you did so for listeners. Demographics of those surveyed?

What did you notice about age groups, and genders?

What qualified as “exercise”?

Other questions we answer in this episode:

Do we know if this is active being more active, occasional exercisers becoming more intentional, or inactive becoming active or any breakdown of that?

With an increase in exercise 88%, the big question is, especially for my listeners -at risk for losing muscle and bone in a big way during menopause – “are they exercising right”?

Muscle loss and bone loss are accelerated for women in midlife not exercising with optimal exercise prescription.

What are your thoughts on that?

“Walking” for instance and yoga or Pilates.. while wonderful exercise will not sustain muscle or bone for women with accelerated losses due to hormonal changes. Who knew there’d be a dumbbell shortage?! What do you think about the solution to that supply- demand problem?

Fitness Statistics Right Now

A couple weeks ago now Business Insider published an article on 5 major fitness chains and athletic stores declaring bankruptcy. What are your thoughts for privately owned fitness businesses?

Is there a difference in the “umbrella” fitness business (serving all ages, full service childcare, pool, gym, group fitness, training) vs. boutique niche studios (Pilates, yoga, small 1:1 training) and projected success rate?

Major at home equipment and programming retailers like Peleton have gained great success during this time. What are your thoughts about the future of fitness?

Beyond that point when a vaccine is discovered that’s then proven, tested, and return of confidence by consumers what do you think about fitness centers as we’ve known them to this point?

Will what is now known as online, hybrid, or brick-and-mortar business be forever changed?

The message: 

Fitness during the pandemic tells you a lot about your future. Health and fitness are more important than ever. You’re not irrelevant if you’re a trainer, as long as you’re not using the same message you were pre-pandemic.

No one “needs” you to move more. We’re learning that people do prioritize exercise and when they have the time, they do it.

Certain populations stand the most to lose (bone density, muscle, strength, mobility) without exercise. So while there’s still a need, if you’re focused on getting back to what you were doing you could be missing a huge opportunity.



Flipping 50 Fitness Specialist 

Create Your Best Bio | Stand Out Beyond Alphabet Soup


No Time to Build Your Fitness Business? Step-by-step to priorities

I have learned what I’m about to teach you so many times the absolute hardest way possible. I’ve proven to myself that it doesn’t work the other way.

Statistics have shown me, proven it to me, and yet nothing… NOTHING… is a better lesson than a painful one.

You can have 4 or 5 projects to do, but some are highest priority.

Let’s say you juggle all of them for a month, doing a little and making a little progress – or getting some of them done but not with great quality. You’re just checking the box off on posting social media, for instance. You don’t really know what you’re doing or how to use your insights or call to action.

Then none of the things you’ll do in a month change your revenue.

If you’re in charge of revenue that’s a problem.

How to Prioritize by Numbers

If you instead have a project that once created is going to earn you $997 every time you selling and you’re going to sell 10 of them a week… it becomes obvious you should spend 100% of your time on getting that finished, right?

If you don’t know how to create an offer that is irresistible for your customers, you should spend time learning it, creating one, practicing presenting it. Because if you present an offer that is between $2500 and $7500 for a “best year” package and you sell 10 of those over Black Friday specials and New Year sales time, you can significantly add to your bottom line. Should you spend time on that?

Structure Creates Freedom

This system lets you evaluate ideas, realities, risks, and probabilities. You can do the projects yourself, delegate them, ditch them or work with your team on them. Some things you’ll want to shelf and look at again later to see if it is a good time.

Step-by-Step Prioritizing time to build your fitness business

Here’s how it works. If you imagine you’ve got five projects that could take your time today.

  1. You want to create a course.
  2. You want to create a new training package for one-on-one clients.
  3. You want to develop a new presentation. (To apply to speak at conferences or to speak to groups of your target market) and then use it to pitch the media and local or national groups – today it doesn’t matter).
  4. You have a video blog to create.
  5. You have social media posts to schedule for the week.

If you created the course, you’d never get the social media posts done. If you do the social media and video blog (vlog) you never get the course, presentation or new training package done. And then you do it all over again weekly. Your time between sessions and meetings is so little you can’t do it all.

How do you decide what to do first? You write down… because if you put it on paper… and by write, I don’t mean you actually do it in pencil but I do find that works best for me. A keyboard also works.

You ask these questions:

What impact this will have on your business?

How much revenue will it bring in, by when?

How much will it cost? When will the expense occur?

What is the benefit to doing it? For instance, if you’ve got creating a video, blog or podcast on your list. It is the place where you have an opt ins, where you boost content and gain email subscribers. It provides social proof by giving your current social media channel a highlight, increasing views, letting prospects get to know you.

How much time will it take? To start, on an ongoing basis.

Whose time will it take? (there’s your cost… how much is your time worth – and that’s not zero or how much will you have to pay someone to do your podcast set up, editing, show notes – $100 per episode?)

Course Example

Let’s say you’re creating a course. You can do that in a weekend if you’re recording. The editing will take another day or more. Adding the pieces to a website or uploading to thinkific or kajabi, will take half a day, creating a product, writing the copy, will be tasks you want to consider.

Even in doing the project analysis for time, cost, benefit, risk, you will be advancing that project by asking key questions. You’ll be determining how much of the project you can and want to do and what you need to hire.

Don’t Forget Personal Relationships

While you’re doing your business on a spread sheet, don’t forget your personal relationships. This one doesn’t cost you money, but it does cost you if you want it and you don’t delegate your own time and energy to it.

I’ve been on the other end of the phone and heard, “Do you know how many employees I have? Do you know how many times my phone rings?”

Answer: I know there’s only one me. There’s only one me and you. Or there was. I’ve been multitasked. A project never done, never full attention. You know the absolute difference once you’ve been the one, right?

Ready to build a business with staying power in any kind of times? Save your spot.

Life and Business Co-Exist

This podcast and the coaching & consulting I do is about creating both the life and the business you love. You want freedom as much as you want revenue, and many people honestly would trade money for freedom if they’ve created businesses that painted them into a corner.

You can build both at the same time. You’ll have to make tradeoffs but if you look up and you don’t have a relationship and want one, look at what was on that yellow legal pad of notes every day and what wasn’t.

Really No Time to Build Your Fitness Business?

Do you really have no time to build your fitness business? Or are you chasing after the things that keep you busy, make you feel productive, instead of actually finishing things that matter?

What things can you delegate to someone else and what have to be you?

Immediate impact once finished come first.

It’s the glass ball vs rubber ball analogy. Some things will never be done. But some things can’t wait until some day to be nurtured. So, when you’re evaluating cost, evaluate all costs. Relationships, money, and what fills you up most. You may decide it’s a sense of accomplishment that fills a void in you, or you may decide it’s a relationship. There’s no right or wrong answer but getting it down on paper will tell you so you can see it very clearly. Life is short. You can spend the time you have to do only the most important things.

Time to Build Your Fitness Business By the Numbers

If you, for instance create that course, then it’s done. Of course, you’ve got to market it forever, but you can’t, and you can’t earn a cent until at least the concept of it is finished. I by the way, highly recommend creating and marketing the course before you build it. The course you imagine someone needs is not necessarily the course anyone wants. You could waste time money and energy if you don’t create it with the money already earned and listening to exactly what they’re willing to pay for.

Social Media

The impact of getting that social media posting done this week? Could be big… but if it’s not bringing in revenue then you’ll do better delegating that with specific systems someone else can follow using your style guide (I’ll link to it in the show notes). Once you have the course done your social media posts can then tease exactly what your clients should know, feel and do for you.

I talk about systems in The Health and Fitness Professionals Guide to Social Media Marketing (published by Healthy Learning). As much as you might think a social media book is outdated by the time it’s written – as I told my publisher before I agreed to write it – it’s really a book about your entire marketing system. And it’s never been more needed today.

If you feel like you’re just throwing up posts to keep up or copy and you don’t have a system and strategy? Pick it up. Start connecting revenue with social activity.

Fitnessmarkeringmastery dot com/priorities

Branding for Fitness Professionals | Personal Trainers & Health Coaches

Branding for fitness professionals right now can’t be an afterthought.

How is your brand fitness? Your brand health? Are you standing up and standing out compared to the thousands of trainers, fitness instructors, health coaches and yoga teachers who have flocked online since mid-March 2020?

This episode is brought to you by the Flipping 50 Specialist. Your choice for hormone balancing exercise for women in menopause.

That intro was not meant to make you panic. My guest in fact is here to share tips about how to brand yourself and stand out.

My Guest

James Patrick­­­­­ is an award-winning photographer, bestselling author, entrepreneur coach, podcast host and public speaker based in Phoenix, AZ. He is the founder of FITposium, an annual conference guiding fitness entrepreneurs to grow their careers. James has received a bevy of awards for his work as a photographer, marketer and entrepreneur. Leveraging his diverse experience, James has presented on stages cost-to-coast in the United States and has been interviewed for numerous TV, radio, magazine, newspaper and podcast features. James Patrick’s mission is to create art and opportunity for others.

Questions and topics we discussed:

Many of our listeners are recreating businesses, some are students realizing their dreams of fitness careers, personal training, gym ownership … is changing. They’re forced to market differently. Everyone is online, yes customers, but also competition – which are not only other trainers, classes, but anything taking customer’s attention.

Let’s talk about branding for fitness professionals.

From the basics… how do you define branding?

To put it in your own terms… what is your brand as a photographer?

What are components of a brand?

How do you stand out – that’s the question for a lot of trainers?

How do you stand out without changing who you are, feeling fake?

What would be the top 2 o 3 things a fitness professional wants to have to help build a brand?

What exercise do you have that can help identify a unique brand strategy?

Do you have a question we didn’t answer?

Branding yourself as a hormone balancing expert? Master Class Wed Sept 30.

photo credit: James Patrick

What are your questions on today’s topic: branding for fitness professionals?

Leave them in the comments.

Fitnessmarketingmastery dot com/brandingyou

Connect with James:

Instagram: @jpatrickphoto

Facebook: @jamespatrickphotography

LinkedIn: jpphotography

When You Can’t Get Fitness Clients | Fitness Professionals & Health Coaches

If you can’t get fitness clients and it’s keeping you from pursuing your passion, this is for you. Whether this is post-or mid pandemic or it’s after, you’re going to have to generate sales to have customers to grow a business.

On the other end of the phone, the biochemist who wants to teach others how to cook healthy said,

“I’ve never been good at self-promotion or being pushy”

Stop right there. In two minutes of our 20-minute session this health coach wanna-be had told me more than he knew. If even 2 of these are true for you, I’ve got an episode you need to hear:

  • You believe that you’re being self-promoting
  • You probably are
  • You believe you’re being pushy
  • You probably are

It’s your belief and your own relationship with sales, salespeople, marketing and marketers that puts you in a position where you can’t get fitness clients. It may be your relationship with the title of personal trainer or health coach. Do you have a “real job” now and believe that this thing you want to do doesn’t qualify or you can’t make money doing it?

No Fitness Pro Learned How to Market and Sell from a Degree or a Certification

I’ve worked with countless fitness pros who said this was their passion but it’s not what they went to school for. They’d say, I’m passionate about this, but they were passionate about their own fitness not necessarily teaching it to others. If you’re listening to this podcast and you’re confident you’re here to inspire, educate, motivate others to a healthier lifestyle then I believe you can.

You just may need to do some work first on yourself. Deal with your own beliefs, develop the skills necessary not just to teach exercise, or cooking or meal planning, but to persuade, and market and influence someone to actually spend time, money, and energy changing… something that we all resist. Change is one of the hardest things we do. The easiest first step is deciding to change. The rest is uphill.

  • What is marketing?
  • What is fitness marketing?
  • Do you become someone different when you’re marketing?
  • Or do you become more you, an individual who helps others, adds value and transforms lives?

Questions to ask when you can’t get fitness clients:

  • Do you believe that you can help people?
  • Why you?
  • Why now?
  • What transformation do you give them?
  • What problem do you solve?
  • Why you and no one else?
  • How do you connect with them?
  • How do customers find you?
  • One instance of being in a group and not getting any sales does not mean you’re not good at it.

If you never asked, you never told someone this is what you do, did you even give them an opportunity to say yes.

Here’s what we often do and don’t even realize… you’re doing personal training, health coaching, or teaching cooking classes as a side hustle. When someone in the group asks what you do you tell them you’re a biochemist, or an engineer, or a legal assistant. They don’t even know you ARE a health or fitness coach. Because you didn’t share it. To them this is just a hobby for you. Until you talk about It first, you’re not even taking it seriously. Why should they?

Or you fall back on something else to boost your confidence. You mention your spouse and what they do. You mention the country club or look for ways to put yourself in a different

Do the personal work.

  • Identify why you have a negative association with money or asking for money.
  • Do you have a hard time telling people you’re a health coach or trainer?
  • Do you know how you transform them?
  • What examples do you have?
  • Do you have a story of your own? How did your own life change?
  • Are you your own ideal avatar?
  • Are there more of you?

Steve had no idea that he didn’t ever ask anyone to become a client. He said he spent an hour with each of them. But he never really had a plan when he spent that time with them. He likely showed them how to cook, talked about cooking. But he didn’t talk about a specific system or method that he uses. He didn’t have a specific plan for the session he had with them to discover why the person would want his coaching or even if they were qualified as a customer.

These kinds of sessions are called breakthrough sessions. But if you don’t know what is going to happen during that session, first and second and in the middle and last, it’s not going to be a very effective session.

My Own “I Can’t Get Fitness Clients” Mistakes

I’ve made this mistake before. I was so confident that I was a good listener and that I could help anyone by answering questions that I just let them run the session. I didn’t structure it. That meant that some of those appointments turned into clients and a lot of them did not.

It was random. For the most part, the people that became clients already had their minds made up they wanted to start before we met. The consult was just a waste of time.

When I gave structure to that consultation it became far more than a waste of time.

  • I added a step before it ever happened so that I had qualified people on the call.

I wanted to know they were serious about continuing, they had to do something before they got there.

They had to go through a 10-day challenge participating every day, or they had to be a part of an audience where they were in a 10,000 coaching program or where they were being sold one.

They also fill out a 5-question form before they get on the call. The questions I ask make sure that they know this call is about deciding which package is the best next step.

  • I knew exactly what I was going to say during those first two minutes
  • I knew how I was going to plant seeds and specifically say words throughout the call
  • I knew what I was going to say in the last few minutes

That’s called a breakthrough call and it’s something I teach my marketing fitness today coaching mastermind.

In order to do that:

  • You have to have a system, process, or method that is uniquely yours.
  • You have to know exactly who you want to help.
  • You have to have confidence in the transformation you provide.
  • You have to know that this is something your ideal customer wants and is looking for.

There’s no celebrity to this. You’re not a Kardashian promoting a watch-me, look-at-me channel. You have to legitimately have something that you believe will help people and improve the quality of their lives. They need to be looking for answers.

If you can’t get fitness clients right now:

  • Look at your process of getting them. Are you even asking?
  • In a logical, sequential way?
  • Have you qualified the people you’re asking?
  • Have you looked at your own relationship with selling and marketing?
  • Are you experiencing imposter syndrome?
  • Can you get rid of baggage around your old beliefs?

Answer these questions and you’ll get fitness clients.

Helpful? Leave a rating in iTunes! 

Want clients who are looking, willing to pay, and will tell all their friends? Join the movement.

After 50 Advanced Fitness Specialist

2 Fitness Marketing Questions That Solve All Your Fitness Marketing Problems

What if I told you the fitness marketing questions you were asking in January are the same questions you should be asking now. Surprised?

There’s a chance you might not have been asking questions, and just assuming you knew the answers back then. You might even have gotten away with it. But you won’t anymore. Now is not the time to assume, pretend, or just plow through with the same message you’ve always had.

If you’re still persuading them based on the need for fat loss and overall health, you’re missing the boat. The biggest obstacle now isn’t time. It’s actually fear for many. How are you overcoming that?

For Example

In this example, I want you to think about your ideal customer and the problem you solve for them. If you’re still working with “everybody” and you can solve every problem, this really isn’t going to help you. If you already have identified your customer, your process or method, and you know what transformation you get them this is for you.

Say you’re offering a program to start in fall.

It’s a weight loss session for your ideal customer whose been at home, been on the couch, been in the pantry, been stressed and gained that quarantine 15.

The mistake? Talking about your program.

What? Then how do they find out about it? you might be thinking.

I get it. But you don’t for instance jump on to a Facebook live or write a blog post titled, “Here’s why you should join my program.” No one is going to be motivated to tune in to that! You have to talk about the topic of your program, the problem that it solves.

You want to talk about questions your audience is already asking about that problem.

That’s the gold so that you can connect to them.

So, at the very root of a successful program is the fact you always build a program based on what your audience is telling you they want. The two big questions:

  1. Are you asking?
  2. Are you listening?

It’s really that simple. There’s no trying to figure it out or detective work. You ask. You listen. You build it. Then when you start talking about the problem, you understand it. When you start talking about the fact there is a solution you give them quick wins. When you tell them there is a more permanent easy solution, you reveal you have a program that would be perfect.

Start with Better Fitness Marketing Questions

The question isn’t, what’s your special going to be next month. If your marketing planning has been to list the discount you’re doing every month through the end of the year, it’s time to launch fitness marketing 2.0.

Have you surveyed lately? Why not let them tell you? Ask the simple question, what do you want right now? What do you need? How has your fitness changed since COVID began? If you could wave a magic wand what would you like to change about your fitness in 2 months?

Instead, what’s often so true of fitness professionals is the temptation to jump in to why your program is perfect and it’s the perfect time to lose the quarantine 15. Then you tell them everything they get, how many sessions, how many weeks, how much nutrition information, how many handouts. And you tell them the price.

Just features.

How to Find Better Fitness Customers

What you need is to have someone searching for answers find you. Or have a blog or video you create or the live you did feel like you read their mind! And here’s how you can do that. That is a warm lead.

Use a tool called

You have a limited number of free searches daily. (based on IP address) So don’t mess around. Play with words first and then enter them. Narrow things down. By now if you’re listening to this podcast you know that weight loss is way too broad a topic. Ask as if you were the target market you want to attract. A weight loss program for a 60-year old woman is going to be different than for a post-natal mama or a 20 something bride, right? So, ask … how to lose weight before my wedding… how to lose weight after 60.

You type in terms and the search site basically spits out all the questions people are searching for about that topic.

The terms you type in might be wedding planning or after 60 instead of weight loss. Just an idea.

If you’re going to attract people who’ve gained weight to use our original example, you have to meet them where they are now. What do they think right now? What are they searching for online?

Better Fitness Marketing Questions

So, again you might think weight loss, but that is such a big topic, as you can imagine. COVID weight or quarantine 15 might be other terms to play with.

You’ll come up with a list of questions that you can use to tease a live Facebook session, a webinar, or a blog or podcast even before you release it. You may find others start adding questions too. Essentially, they’re telling you what they want and will be more likely to buy if you address them.

Say you identify 6 steps for losing weight in COVID. Whether you do a live video, or you blog.

Give them quick wins and answers to one or two of those things IN DEPTH, don’t hold back. For respect of their time you keep it to an hour or a short post and let them know that. Then let them know that the other 5 parts are equally important and you go into them in your program.

We can’t stand incomplete loops or missing pieces when it’s something we really care about. So that’s the time to link to your program. Need more support? You might like this.

How Many Questions Do You Need?

You can come up with 8-10 questions you’ll answer in a webinar or blog. If I’m launching a program I will use relative questions as prompts for short podcasts leading up to the program. And in every episode I insert the program as the sponsor of that episode. I’m growing my list no matter when someone hears it because if the program isn’t open, there’s a notification list so they’ll be first to know when it is open.


Flipping 50 Fitness Specialist

How to Write the Best Bio, Avoid a Boring Bio, and Get Noticed

Get your Cheatsheet for How to Build a Better Bio for Personal Trainers and Coaches.
It will come to your inbox. You’ll have it forever, and you can use it right away!


Have you spent any time learning to write your best bio? Who has right? Who learned copywriting in college? Who got real life marketing support from their certification? Answer? No one.

Now is the time. Everyone is online and everyone is reading your bio… if it’s good. Otherwise they’re gone in 3 seconds.

Best Bio Reasons

A boring bio will not help you get noticed, get hired, or get profitable. You can stand out better on social and your website with something unusual. You also want to be doing interviews. Get booked in the media, and on podcasts and summits right now. [Need help? Comment and watch for a future training.]

You’re going to want to download the cheat sheet I created for this episode. If you’re creating a niche- serving women in midlife or some other niche – you want to be nailing that everywhere you are introducing yourself (website, social media, webinars) or you’re introduced (media appearances, podcasts, summits). You want to be the funny, credible, relatable trainer that stands out. So, go download that worksheet so you can do a few of these tricks for yourself.

Avoid a boring bio and start standing out as the unique fitness professional you are.

1) Read your current bio.

That includes anything you’d share with a podcast host, media producer, or in your “about” section of website or social media If anyone else could insert their name and it would work, you’re making people yawn. Are the people you really want to work with going to be impressed?

Are you remarkable? Is anyone talking about you? Do they remember you out of all the other trainer bios they read?

Be yourself, everyone else is taken.

2) Say a lot in fewer words. Pack adjectives in before your name.

Bestselling author, 8-time Ironman, golf mom, and Old English Sheepdog owner Debra Atkinson….

So, what do they know about me? I’ve got a little credibility, and I don’t have to lead with degrees and certification alphabet soup so actually I become more credible than someone who has education but hasn’t really been all that successful. Makes them wonder at least right?

I may gain a little respect among athletes, win moms over who’ve spent time dealing with bleacher butt, and pet owners think we’ve got something in common.

Keep it fun, too. I’ve done that here by not following the stuffy boring intro everyone is expecting.

3) Add an element of humor that makes them smile. Try the rule of threes.

She’s currently swimming in paperwork, riding the desk, and running Flipping 50 more often than training for triathlons and she’s here to share her new book… TEDx talk… program…

Keep it fun. (unless you’re not: but usually people want to have fun)

You can do that all the way through. I share my book titles with my audience because they tell a lot about my attitude about aging, and fitness for midlife women and make women smile.

She’s the author of six books including You Still Got It, Girl: The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women and; Hot, Not Bothered.

You don’t have to have books or funny titles though. Tell something funny about yourself. Again the goal is unexpected.

She’s a TEDx speaker, a blender chef, and an average golfer.

Then you’d add for your host, Here’s Debra Atkinson.

Or… Please welcome TEDx speaker and hormone balancing fitness expert whose son still asks when she goes to the kitchen, “what’s better than burnt?” And the answer is not burnt… Debra Atkinson ….  

The point is to relay your credibility but yet let them know you’re far from perfect and poke fun at yourself. They want to know you’re just like them. If they can’t relate, not only are you on stage, but you’re on a pedestal and they think what you’re teaching won’t work for them.

4) Write 2 or 3 questions that an interviewer can read before he/she reads your bio.

They should be relevant to the topic you’re going to talk about.

I frequently speak about exercise interventions for menopause. So a few questions relevant to the topic and audience of women in midlife might be:

What if I told you everything you learned about exercise was a lie?

What if you could reduce hot flashes, night sweats, as well as belly fat and get rid of low libido by changing your exercise?

Then host’s next line is… ”Well, stay tuned because my guest is …”

The last thing most media and podcast hosts want is a long bio. “Send me your long bio” said no one ever. So, make it short and so fun they feel brilliant, witty, and can take the credit for it by reading it. When you make them look good you’ve set yourself up for success even before your interview starts.

That’s it. Take the pieces and put them all together.

I created a download!

Want help? Download the worksheet for this episode and start having more fun.

Here’s the added secret about making your best bio by making it more fun. You start to think about yourself differently. You’re suddenly more unique, the only you there is, and that can change everything.

Go to the show notes at fitnessmarketingmastery/boring-bio

“Conversational is the new professional.”

Other episodes you might like: 

When You Feel Like Quitting

Best Fitness Marketing Tools Right Now (free to fee)

Leave a rating in iTunes if this was helpful! Thank you!

Get your Cheatsheet for How to Build a Better Bio for Personal Trainers and Coaches.
It will come to your inbox. You’ll have it forever, and you can use it right away!


Never Have to Say Customer Support Sucks Again

Whether it’s a Yelp review or it’s your own observation, every business can experience that moment when customer support sucks. Here’s 3 reasons it does and what to do about it.

#1 Cause of Customer Support Sucks | There’s no “delight” factor

  • Do you ever surprise them? In fact, do you surprise them as soon as they buy?
  • Do you surprise them for no special reason?

Sending little gifts – even as small as a pdf, or a video – that is unexpected can change the relationship you have with your customers.

Is there something fun that happens on the phone, when they log in, when they get an email, or stop in your front door?

If you’ve got a receptionist or a front desk staffer who seems to suck the life out of you, it’s probably happening for members too. Often someone who needs attention themselves may want to have a front desk position. Be sure you recognize someone who wants to be the center of attention from someone who wants to make a customer feel like the center of attention.

Authentically Own Your Mistakes

Every business has technical issues or a customer who isn’t as comfortable navigating online whether it’s Facebook groups and pages or a webinar or your member’s area. So do I. When I have someone who is upset, whether they want to cancel or whatever, and I can I personally either

  • Call them
  • Send a video text

And they’re so surprised. No one does that anymore. If they see you on social media or YouTube videos, you are a sort of celebrity to them. Just taking the time to let them know you’re sorry they had a poor experience, admitting it was a problem you too were frustrated with if that’s appropriate, and letting them know what you can do, is often enough to turn someone who wanted to cancel into someone who is grateful for your support.

It’s not easy. You and I can take it so very personally. But if your customer support sucks, even for a minute and it wasn’t your fault, own it.

#2 Cause of Customer Support Sucks | My Pleasure vs No Worries

Did you know when you say “no problem” or “no worries” you actually tell a customer they were a pain in the ass? The brain doesn’t process “no” or “don’t” – those negatives.

Instead, relay that:

  • It was an absolute pleasure to serve you.
  • Of course, I am here to serve you.
  • I was happy to do that.
  • I am glad to make it easy and smooth for you!
  • Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.

It matters! To the customer and to your customer service staff. If they can’t say it, or feel uncomfortable saying it, they likely aren’t your source of customer delight.

I’ve said it and you’ve said it, though, right? No worries! Hanging out with your friends and family maybe it’s okay. But this small thing is a big think in terms of the psychological impact of words on your customers. Remember your role. You are only there to serve them. Let that shine through that this is what brings you joy… making their day.

You can go from customer service sucks reviews to raving fans. 

#3 Cause of Customer Support Sucks | Instead of Over and Over, Fix It Once

They’re fixing things with a one-off that should be fixed at the root of the problem

I had a customer support staff member quit abruptly. After an f-bomb and then followed by a “have fun in the support box” wish. During the middle of COVID19.

Best thing that has happened to my business for 14 months (since he started). Only, I didn’t know it at the time. I thought he was doing okay. Customers did like his ability to help quickly. However, unbeknownst to me – and that is 110% my fault – he was creating more problems than he was solving.

What Problem Solving Ability Does Your Support Have?

Because he was just fixing same problems over and over and assuming that was his job, he never pointed out that he was repeatedly having to do the same – literally – task for specific programs.

Like training clients, you don’t want to give them a stretch to relieve low back pain. You want to find out why they’re experiencing low back pain. I needed to know this kept coming up over and over so we could have identified months ago that more people than were every asking customer support for help were coming to the site and going away unhappy. 

Keep Training Even After You Hire 

He could only do what he was capable of doing. He could follow instructions, but he couldn’t see the bigger picture. The system of having him track frequently asked questions wasn’t detailed enough to give me insight on the isolated problems we could easily have fixed.

Then I, in effort to pick up the slack was in my own support box for about 2 weeks. It was eye-opening and again, worst and best thing that could have happened. We’ve fixed and automated so much in the last two months we’re increasing traffic, increasing leads, and increasing revenue at a dramatically greater pace.

How do you set this up?

First in hiring staff members you’ve got to take them through some problem-solving questions. Literally, give them some scenarios that happen in your business. How would they proceed to solve those, what would they look for, how would they document, and how would they language the customer?

If your customer support sucks, whether you ARE your customer support or there’s someone else handling it, like me, you’re responsible.

  • Test it. Optin to your own funnels.
  • Send secret spies into your business and have them call your business during regular and off hours.
  • Get reports about the experience.
  • Take a look at the consistency of different staff members and different time of day.

Imagine how inconvenient it is for someone to stop in during evening or weekend hours when they want to use your services and find no one can help them with gaining access. Does that happen in your business on or offline?

How can you prevent it from happening?

Do They Think You’re Always Open?

There’s a rock and hard place with online business. You promise 24/7 solutions and access. But if your customer is in her tights and wants to workout and can’t access her account at 7am Saturday morning you better have some automation or someone to help. Customer support sucks if a customer can’t get help to use your product or service when they want to.

Going from “customer support sucks” to raving fans isn’t easy. Best and worst thing about our jobs is working with people – and technology – and people who are very opinionated about technology.

You can do this if you remember why they’re upset and take control of the things you can.

Please leave a rating in iTunes! 

Other episodes you might enjoy: 

Are you Spending Your Time Right?

Doing Medical Fitness Business (or Personal Training) Right Now

Don’t Be a Personal Trainer or Health Coach(What to Do Instead)

Future of the Fitness Industry | Past, Present, Future What Matters

The future of the fitness industry is changed, that’s no secret. In this episode I take a look at the past, present, and make a few predictions and express our wishes about the future with someone who has plenty of experience.

My guest

Rico Caveglia Chronological Age 78 Fitness Age 35 is America’s Healthy Aging Trainer and creator of The Ageless Living Lifestyle, The Vitality For Life Training System the Be Bold Never Be Old Wellness Club and the Fearless Aging Podcast.

He is a speaker, author of 29 books/DVD programs and a personal trainer and health coach, for 38 years. He is a multi- Gold and Silver Medalist in the California State Senior Olympics.

His mind/body/spiritual interactive training programs educate, inspire and empower participants to enjoy a high level of total wellness for life.

Debra Atkinson, your host

My own background with one foot in academics teaching at a university for 15 years, supervising our interns from the advisor side of the table, while also running a personal training department during half of that and training interns who worked for us. I’ve spent time working on private and public sector of fitness, working with agencies and associations, and for small privately owned businesses.

The episode why

We thought it would be fun and worthwhile to look back at the start of our experiences in the fitness industry, Rico’s 38 years and my 36 and take a decade by decade look at then, now, and the future if we could predict it and at the very least our hopes. By looking back we look at the future of the fitness industry too.

How did you start… so let’s be honest, health coaching wasn’t even a thing. Personal training was just – where you were – rooting at that point.

Share a bit about your start and where that was.

From the perspective of getting clients, hourly wages, revenue. What was that like for you?

So move forward into the 90s. We’ve had the good sense to have a little smaller hair, stop wearing our underwear on the outside of our tights, and slide, and step were in full swing about then.

Questions in this episode:

  • What changed for you in the 90’s?
  • Late 90s, early 2000, do you recall that?
  • Where were you when 911 was happening?
  • Then after 911, the recession, how did that effect your business or what you were doing at the time?
  • From 2010 to 2020 it was a pretty optimistic, lazy environment would you agree if I said that?
  • What scares you most about right now?
  • What is the silver lining right now?
  • What do you see for the future? Who will survive?
  • The take-aways from this episode are most important to me. If you were advising a trainer whether early into their career or middle of their career, what three things would you suggest they do right now to be one of those who thrive in the future of the fitness industry?

Connect with Rico:

Show notes:


Are You Spending Your Time Right? Hierarchy of Needs

Spending your time wisely right now is more important than ever. I’m a big believer that you have to guard your personal workout time. Also that if you’re still doing the fitness plan that you had in February of 2020, and you’re experiencing any additional stress from the pandemic that you’re doing yourself a disservice and depleting your immune system.

Enough on that. Let’s talk about the way you are spending your time right now.


Come back with me right now to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. You learned it in psychology 101, again in your health class potentially.

At the bottom of the pyramid is Safety and Security. If you don’t get that right you can’t rise above.

In January of 2020 you may have been focused on the top of the pyramid, in influence and legacy.

Yet, potentially now you’ve dropped back as many of us have to needing to secure finances, and reduce expenses.

What activities you spending your time on now?

Be sure that the way you spend your time reflects where you are right now. You’ve got to drop activities like influencer posts in social media, and detailed SEO work, or trying to reach indirect lead generation sources.

You do want to be spending time figuring out how to make a sale today. You’ve got to take direct responsibility for asking for business today.

  • Book consultations and ask for the sale
  • Make phone calls to follow up on interested prospects
  • Send reminders for failed payments
  • Craft and send a high-converting email
  • Increase your direct lead.
  • Enhance your customer experience and increase the value of that customer

At the end of the day, a friend’s husband said he knew how his business was doing based on this one simple thing, “If I have more money at the end of the day than I had at the beginning.”

Other episodes you may like: 

12 Fitness Marketing Idea Generators

4 Ways to Grow Your Email List with Fitness Videos

Think COVID Put Your Fitness Career Down the Drain

Get Fitness Customers and Make Marketing Fun | Tell Stories

I was sitting at my dining room table it was dark and I was still in my pajamas. From the night before. I hadn’t washed my face although I had taken the dog out – in my pajamas.

Get fitness customers by learning to tell stories. Everyone loves a story. Yet, few people use storytelling for a positive impact in their marketing.

Instead we broadcast information as if we’re World Health Organization or National Institute of Health. Most fitness pros go on and on about the benefits of exercise and the features of our services, or worse, the certifications and qualifications of your staff.

As if… no one else can say the same thing.

But of course, they can.

You don’t have the edge on Pilates, or strength training, or functional training, or whatever your favorite mode of exercise is. You didn’t invent it.

But no one can tell your story.

There’s one thing to remember about a good story though.

Make it about them.

When you start telling stories you can connect with people and get fitness customers. In a way you can’t unless you tell stories.

Stories become the why you.

But it’s not comfortable. It’s vulnerable, its transparent and you may resist it or have in the past. I spent a weekend with a business once, interviewing key managers. We told their stories about why they were doing what they were doing and not… teachers or plumbers. We told why it meant something to them personally. We told about how their personal life or family members become a part of every conversation with a customer. We put together these video clips to get fitness customers easier, more authentically, and to humanize a business.

But the General Manager never implemented them. It wasn’t comfortable. It was new. Right now? It is exactly stories like that which will take you from being a business or personal trainer, to being the friend and the guide who will help too.

So how do you tell stories that get fitness customers? Follow a few key tips below to start telling your own story. I’d suggest writing it out or speaking your story and transcribing it with Otter.ia (I’ve mentioned it in prior episodes). Once you have your story, you want to pick the point.

What’s the point that story illustrates. Whether it’s funny, sad… matters.

For instance, a sad story will get attention more than a happy one. Think about Sarah McLachlin’s sad dog commercials. They get donations. But, you can’t use them all the time.

When you’ve got your full story down. Leave out the parts people already know- from Stephen Spielberg.

Drop into the middle of a story. Grab them.

I could barely see the interstate through my tears. The reason I was leaving was calling me on the phone telling me he wished I wasn’t leaving. Let me go. Let me go or hold on tighter. The front and back seats were full of computers, blenders, client files, and my bike was on my carrier. So, that’s what it had come down to when I needed to pack. I’d left a house full of non-essentials sitting in the middle of each room in my 4200 square foot house to live with these essentials for however long it took to sell my house.

My TEDx talk for instance was a string of stories that let you (and me as I was telling it) be in the moment. You want your listener to see themselves in the story. So, imagine under the pressure of relaying a very important big idea in under 15 minutes, if you’re going to tell at least 5 stories? Whether you are doing a 3 minute video, you’re writing a 800 word blog, or you’re talking on the radio, you want to tell a story.

You’ve got stories. No one else has them. It’s a simple and easy way to get fitness customers who you will love working with and will love you back.

If you need help…. Today through Friday I’m offering the Fast Flip business coaching to help you nail your message. It’s 12 weeks of accountability calls. But Saturday it’s over. If you need to get into action, your message or the actions you are taking are not working, take advantage of this special offer.

Link in the show notes will be removed when I’m full or it’s over.

Start typing and press Enter to search