SUBSCRIBE TO PFP HERE FEATURE ARTICLE By Ben Ludwig
UNCONVENTIONAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
4 ways to think outside the box that will help you grow and become more influential | By Ben Ludwig
s a fitness professional, what comes to mind when I say learning? What about continuing education? Maybe workshop? All of these buzzwords come across our email, social plugs under sponsored ads and even direct messages with a generic invite telling us the huge value of the content and networking opportunity! None of these are bad opportunities. Perfecting your craft, learning how to handle specialty groups and getting to meet other fitness professionals are all wonderful opportunities to grow. The biggest issue with all these opportunities is they often leave us with little real-world experience. Now that you know how to train a cancer patient, how do you ensure people know about you? Now that you know how to better create new member goals, how do you sell your product to more people? This is where we need to reconsider how we approach learning in a classroom setting, and start considering how we can really create true lasting value in what we learn and how we learn. Years ago, while running multiple full-service gyms, I held a training for all personal trainers as we were going to change to a subscription-based personal training model, moving from a paid-in-full session purchase model.
One of the trainers that had been a part of the team for many years had reason after reason as to why the change wouldn’t work. I found myself getting more and more frustrated with his responses thinking, “This guy is going to give the whole team a bad attitude!” I met with him after the meeting to get to the heart of his problem to find out that he had more certifications than he had actual clients! It turns out, he was so afraid to ask for the sale because he didn’t really know how and was too proud to ask for help. He didn’t need another certification, or more CEUs, he needed sales training — how to truly feel like he was helping people by asking better questions. Being the best at getting clients results is the backbone of our industry and the sustainability of your business, however, your learning should be a healthy mix of classroom learning, networking and real-life experiences. Let’s look at 4 different ways to think outside the box when looking for new ways to learn that will help you truly leave a legacy within the fitness industry: 1. Consider Business Education Most fitness professionals tend to over-value fitness knowledge yet fail to understand how to truly operate a business. So how do I educate myself on business? There are so many resourc-
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es for mentorship, mastermind groups that are niche-focused on how you run your business and resources available from certification agencies that are evolving toward helping the fitness industry create sustainability through sales training and retention management. This is often the scariest and least sought-after form of education because most business owners in fitness have such a positive attitude. If I simply give the best customer experience, then my member base will just grow and everyone will bring their friends, right? Not necessarily. Learning how to truly manage and run your sales process can be a game changer for most. Consider hiring a business coach, consultant or checking out some of the tried and true fitness business systems to help you create more structure in your model. 2. Study How to Teach Topics I often hear experts in our industry speak in a way that the better they understand their craft, the more successful they will be, but often what I have found in my career is just because someone can execute a process, doesn’t mean they can teach it or lead it. I all too often have seen, and have even been the one promoting, high-producing fitness sales advisors or personal trainers into management roles, only for them to produce less and manage