Clifton Palmer is the owner of Palmer Fitness Dynamics and has been active as a trainer since 2001. In this interview he says one of his best sources for new clients is referrals. He also goes into how to ask for referrals and why you shouldn’t be afraid of doing it.
Jeffrey: I’m with Clifton Palmer, who is the owner of Palmer Fitness Dynamics. And Clifton is going to talk a little bit about his practice and how he uses new techniques to get new clients. Welcome, Clifton.
Clifton: How are you doing, Jeffrey?
Jeffrey: I am doing well. Thank you very much. Clifton, I wonder if you could explain to everyone a little bit about your practice?
Clifton: Sure, absolutely. Well, it’s a boutique personal training service where we go to client’s houses or their location. It could be office, home, or even outdoors and pretty much we bring the personal training service to them. So everything is detailed for their exercise, their nutrition, their recovery to make sure they are reaching their optimal results.
So what we do is we take an orientation, we ask a lot of questions, We do a lot of tests in order to make sure we get as much information as possible in order for us to build or design, a program that is specifically tailored to their goals, to their limiting factors. And we decrease as much of the limiting factors as possible, and teach them new habits in order to get them to those goals as quickly and safely as possible.
Jeffrey: Great. And you talked about new clients and your approach. What are some of the techniques you use to get new clients?
Clifton: Most of our clients, right now, we receive are through referrals. Every single client that has been happy with service, they tip me too, referrals. You know, everything is just word-of-mouth. But on a weekly, bi-weekly basis, I send out a referral notice asking, “Oh, you have received such goals. You’ve been doing very, very good doing your training. I have been seeing you for quite some time. If you know anybody who would be interested in seeing the same type of professionalism as well as results as you, please feel free to send them over. You can either give us their contact information and we could give them a call, or you can give them our number, and we would be happy to give them the same type of professional treatment as we are giving you.”
Also, during our orientation, I let them know that every month, I will be keeping up with them, making sure that they’re satisfied. And I give them cards every month. Kind of like tickets, to give to whoever, two or three of them, to give to whoever they think that would be interested in personal training.
Then the ticket provides those referrals with one free training session, one free orientation, and a review of their nutrition and their kitchen to make sure that they are going towards their goals. Also, I get a lot of clients from some flyers that are put up in key areas in the Georgia area. So around, let’s say a few homes, not homes, a few apartment complexes where they have private gyms. I work with some of the general managers at those actual gyms and they put up our flyers. So if they don’t have any trainers there, a lot of their members, not members, their renters actually call in order for me to come to them and give them the actual service for personal training.
So I have a couple revenues. You know, a couple of ways of actually getting clients in and pretty much contacting me when they are actual ready for training. Or even if they have a question, once they have a question, I can pretty much delve more into what their pain is and find out exactly what I can do in order to decrease that pain and help them reach their goal a little more efficiently.
Jeffrey: You mentioned three things which are really significant in terms of increasing business and growing a practice. One of them is things that are done by the larger gyms, you know, free sessions and, you know, getting people in and removing the barriers. One of the things that you did mention is asking for referrals. Often, people are a bit hesitant to ask for referrals. What are some of your thoughts around asking your current clients for referrals of your service?
Clifton: You know, I notice a lot of trainers are afraid to ask for referrals or even to ask for money. And the thing is that we’re not just providing exercise. We’re providing a healthy lifestyle. And for every client that you work out with, it’s worth it. So you should be worth the actual money as well. You should be able to go up to the client and say, “Look, you have been doing great. Your results are stellar. I want to reach as much people as possible. I want to help as much people as possible get to better health. Over two-thirds of the population of adults are obese. We need to reach as much people as possible. So if you could help me, I would really appreciate it.”
And you know, you just ask for that referral. Any client that is appreciative or just enjoys your training will happily recommend people to you just as long as you are giving them the results. Now, that is the key thing, you have to be very good at what you do and you have to let them see the goals, and the results in many different ways. So you can let them see that by either visual cues, you know, taking photos. Keeping logs of their progression as well as, you know, checking up on them and seeing how they, and are they enjoying the actual session. So just keep in mind that the sessions are about them. And a lot of trainers, it’s about the trainer’s ego. And it should always be about the client.
Jeffrey: Yeah, I agree that helping the client is really what everyone is trying to do and trying to use their time most effectively to do that. And on that note, how do you efficiently manage your time?
Clifton: Well, I keep my schedule in sync with people between my phone, my computers, as well as I set only a certain amount of objectives throughout the day. So I have my schedule, which I do anywhere between six and seven sessions per day. And I try not to go over that.
And in each session, I have anywhere between one and nine clients training at a time. So I will do either one-on-ones or small group training. And after those sessions are done, I have a little log of what my to-do lists are. And I keep that to do-list under ten items. So I’m not too stressed out with things. I make sure that those ten items are things that I can really accomplish throughout that day.
And on that list could be exercising for myself. It could be my own nutrition. It could be reaching out to some old clients, some previous clients. Doing a 30-minute of advertising online. It could be going out and talking to five people and making sure they know that I am out there, as well as giving out five business cards, and receiving five phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
So I manage my time and the things I do. I try not to do too much things at once, so that I am not burnt out and that my business is constantly growing.
Jeffrey: Yeah, that’s great. It’s really important to make time for the things, like you said, that help you manage the business and grow the business. Now, one final question, what’s the one thing that you could change about your practice, if you could?
Clifton: The one thing I could change is, well, I would change if I could is duplicate myself. I would love to hire a few trainers, teach them how to do what I do, and keep multiplying my business. It is just like I said, my business is about touching as much people as possible. Touching their souls. Making them feel better. Making them enjoy life better. Making them live longer so they can spend more time with their family and their loved ones. So if I could do that, which I am attempting right now, then I think everything would be all good.
Jeffrey: Fantastic, Clifton. Well, thank you so much for your time. I know that everyone is going to take a lot of great ideas out of some of the stuff that you shared. And hopefully it can help them improve their practice as well.
Clifton: Thank you.