Throughout my fitness business I have discovered that testimonials are the true secret to getting more work, be it teaching, presenting or personal training. For years I used to send cvs and portfolios to convention organisers with no joy. It was only when I included testimonials from people that had taken part of my classes, presenters that I have worked with, or convention organisers themselves, that doors started to open and I was able to get more work.
Why is that? Well social proof has been proved to be really powerful in terms of “convincing” people that someone or something is worth investing in. For example you have only got to see the amount of red blooded males that started to wear a sari when they saw David Bekham sporting that look a few years ago (I was not one of them…..honest)
So the question is, how can you get testimonials that will help your fitness business. Well this one is easy…………ASK! If you are doing a good job in your classes or with clients, then ask them how they find your services. For the testimonial to be really effective you want to “guide” them with specific questions, or provide a sample testimonial that they can base theirs around. That way you are able to get a powerful testimonial that will help you get more clients, and sell more of your service.
For example, when I launched my Fitness Training Academy I conducted an online survey with a great service called http://surveymonkey.com Once people had completed the questions I asked them if they had bought any of my previous products, to write a testimonial so that I could use for future promotions. To make sure that I got the type of information that I wanted I added this to the end of the survey,
“PS before you go, I have many kind words from people that have done my classes about my choreography, and teaching but not too mcuh about the quality of the products that they have bought from me. I was wondering if you could help out by adding some words below, about how I break down choreography, create routines, or if you have been happy with any product that you may have purchased. Here is an example from International Presenter Jo Parry about my teaching;!!!”
“Three words to sum up Linx, Infectious, inspiring and edgey! Lincoln’s presentations are so professional, fun, clever and can often be complex yet his delivery is so calm and collected that you never feel anything other than total success and accomplishment in his classes.”
And this is from Essex Instructor Jane Mapperley about my Choreography Skills Volume 2,
“Thought the course was fantastic, very easy to follow. Whether you are a brand new instructor or have years of experience this course gives you a step by step guide from base right through layers/breakdown and my personal fave insertion, to the finished twirly whirly spin your pants routine. This has something for everyone and I guarantee even the most experienced instructor can learn something new from it. Way to go Mr Bryden
The result? I got 90 amzing testimonials that I can use for future promotional campaigns
Now If you were going to ask specific questions, you could use the following as a template;
1) How did we originally meet?
2) What was your specific situation at that time? What were you going through/facing in your life?
3) What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying my services? What was the reason you almost didn’t become my client?
4) What was your first impression of my stuff? What did you think?
5) What are the specific results you’ve gotten from my stuff?
6) Are there any good BEFORE and AFTER “things” with specific results we could talk about? For example, is there anything that was WRONG before, but isn’t wrong now? Or anything that you couldn’t do before, but you CAN do now?
These questions, apart from having a lot of psychology behind them provide a solid structure with which your clients can base their testimonial around. For example, which sounds more compelling?
“I have been personal training with Lincoln for a while now. He is great and I have lost weight.” Or
“I came across Lincoln from his website 6 months ago, I had struggled with keeping weight off and I was frustrated with my current personal trainer. I was becoming disillusioned with personal trainers, as I felt that I was pouring money down the drain, but out of desperation I wanted to try one last option as I really needed to lose weight for my daughter’s wedding. When I came across the site I was initially impressed by the professional look of it and the information content that it had on it. When I spoke to Lincoln he seemed friendly and genuine and assured me that he could help me lose the weight that I wanted. Since training with Lincoln I have dropped 3 dress sizes. I now fit in a size 12 for the first time in over 6 years. I am over the moon so thanks Lincoln.”
Do you think the second testimonial would get me more clients? In addition there are other things that you could do to make the testimonial more appealing. Written testimonials on their own are not as powerful as they used to be as consumers are becoming more sceptical. So if possible ask if you can include a photo of the client, together with their name, town that they live in, and maybe even an email. This confirms that they are a real person and gives the testimonial even more credibility.
To really make this even more powerful you could ask them if they would like to video record the testimonial so again people can see that they are a real person. All you need is a flip video camera and you are good to go. To see video testimonials in action go to http://kentfitnessandweightlossacademy.com and watch the promotional bootcamp video on the homepage.
I hope that you can see that one of the most powerful marketing devices that you can have for your fitness business is via testimonials and getting them is not that hard. If you do not have some then make it part of your action plan to canvass your existing class members and take action today.