For this month’s PT Business Builder interview, I am stoked to be able to chat with one of our industries main men – Richard Marc. Many of you have heard of Richard or maybe even seen him present at one of the national fitness conventions on his specialist topic; Social Networking for Personal Trainers.
But what you may not know is that Richard was the youngest qualified and registered personal trainer in Australia and he has an amazing story to tell. I wanted to bring you his story because, like you and I, he started out getting his PT qualification and working his way up through his fitness business ventures to now being one of the leaders in the industry.
His story is proof that with strong passion, a commitment to always learning and a heavy dose of hard work, you can achieve anything. If you currently use or are thinking of using social media, you will definitely want to hear what Richard has to say.
Check it out…
Hey Richard, can you begin by explaining how you started in the fitness industry and why you chose this profession?
No problem Rick. My first taste of a career in the fitness industry started back when I was still at school in year 9, I had an elective subject at school which allowed me to go to TAFE one afternoon a week and study the ‘basics of Fitness Industry’.
I left school in year 10 and then went on to complete a 12 month TAFE course. I knew what I wanted to do so I went ahead and did it even through I remember back in the day I had a school teacher say to me ‘if I left early I would be sweeping the floors of a supermarket late at night’ I guess those moments in life really shape you, when you decide and just do it. As Tony Robbins says – “It is in the moments of your decision that your destiny is truly shaped”.
I thrive on being the first and setting the standard in anything I decide to do. I mean I loved sports like many people do who get into PT I would do anything long distance, half marathons etc. At school I would write programs for other school friends and even back then when I was writing Fitness Programs for my mates, it would seemed something more exciting than being at school.
What I also LOVED was business, at an early age I had a few little business adventures on the go and with Personal Training I was excited to one day have a business doing sports.
Back in 1999 you ran a successful private training studio. Can you paint of picture of what it was like to run that business?
Being just 17 years old trying to find a job as a trainer was nearly impossible at that time. I did eventually hook my dream job being a mobile outdoor Personal Trainer, I built up a great little cliental base in the west of Sydney. My boss at the time had an opportunity come up to purchase a PT studio in Neutral bay (at the time I had never been to Neutral Bay before in my life) and we went in as business partners.
Being 17 at the time and taking over a team of 6 Personal Trainers most of them 10 years my senior, I guess really taught me to get on with the task at hand and fast… but I think when you have passion for what you do you get supernatural abilities, things that seem impossible just become possible. I learnt on the job and taught myself business and the importance of being a good manager of a team. There was no business coaches or support back then, like there is today.
I think it is good sometimes to just take the leap because if you have the passion you can do some amazing things and being so young and probably naive I had no fear at all! Looking back the challenges of dealing with a business partner, then deciding to own the entire business myself and then eventually deciding to sell and finding a buyer for the business all before I was 20 years old was probably the best lesson in business and life.
My biggest challenge as a new business owner was having to prove myself to the cliental that I deserved to be training. I remember at times having to try and avoid telling my age. I mean being 17 training high class business executives, taking over the business from fitness experts such as Matt Church and Tony Findlay was a hard task. So, it was easier at times to keep my age a quieter matter.
You are now heading up Meet Your Personal Trainer – how does this service work and why is it so successful?
www.MeetYourPersonalTrainer.com.au was an idea I developed whilst I had my Corporate Wellness company (which I sold last year www.corporatewellness.com.au). Based on where technology was heading at that time and the influx of more Personal Trainers that were coming out of institutes I knew that clients needed to know the difference between someone in the industry 10 years and 10 days.
Personal Trainers are so good at training their own clients and their own clients know how good they are but they needed to be seen on a broader range. And this was the solution for a Personal Trainer to show off how good they are to potential clients using the power of videos. Something I believe is not taught to trainers well enough in business marketing or perhaps trainers may not understand how important it is until it is too late.
The whole system is based on that fact that trainers can upload a 30 second video and the best part about it is they can upload unlimited “How To Videos’, creating a profile page that converts into red hot leads!!
People buy from people they trust, that is why the How to Library was included in and what makes our website so unique. It builds trust with consumers as they need to know more about you. They need to understand that you know what you doing and most importantly they need to believe that they are making a great choice in one of the most important decisions for their health.
When a consumer can look at a heap of free videos, read articles that the trainer has uploaded that’s when the phone call they make should be very easy to convert, into a client. That’s why with Meet Your Personal Trainer consumers know that they can view their local trainer without having to feel intimidate when they go for that initial consultation.
That sounds like an awesome service. What are the three biggest mistakes you see personal trainers making while using social media?
1) Telling themselves that they don’t need social media.
2) Posting advertising on social media – pushing instead or caring.
3) Not going out and finding new clients or JV partners from it, so, staying in their comfort zones and just talking to their old school pals.
What is the most effective way to turn social media buzz into cold, hard leads for your business?
I think start to use it and most importantly connect with the friends and followers. Offer them great free info and advice that will help them out with their personal goals. Once you build up trust then you can direct them to your website for an easy sale. There has to be something in it for them!!
Where do see social media in fitness industry heading over the next five years?
Well the fitness industry is an industry where you have to be very approachable. It’s the same if you are working at a large gym like Fitness First or doing outdoor personal training by yourself. To build trust and relationships will never change but what will change will be the amount of smart trainers using social media to reach people that could never reach before.
With the use of technology such as Google TV just around the corner, this means that trainers can own real estate in a strangers lounge room, so the industry will shift and those ‘backyard’ part time trainers will find it much harder to go up against business and trainers that have videos online and a social media platform and following going into this new technology
One final question, if you could recommend one thing for a personal trainer to do with social media, what would it be?
Google yourself and see what your online profile looks like. Can you be found and do you have a good online presence? Are you providing some really great content for potential clients to take note or are you just another advertisement brochure with the about us, contact us tabs? If you are, you need to take action to change your online presence and do so now. Get yourself in front of a camera and share the information it is the fastest way to be recognized!
That is great advice, thanks Richard.
So as you can see, Richard is the kind of guy that is always ahead of the curve and someone that every trainer could really benefit from having in their corner.
To find out how you can build online relationships (not in a weird way) with your local target market using Meet Your Personal Trainer, click on the link and get more clients using social media and video marketing.
I also really recommend connecting with Richard through his Facebook page – he is always putting out loads of great info and details about upcoming events.
Got a question?
About the author: Rick Watson is the surfing, smiling personal training business guy who tells it like it is. He blogs, coaches and writes books for personal trainers but most of all he is a father and husband (with a healthy respect for road trips). If you like what you read and would be up for some daily banter, you can follow him on Twitter @ptbusiness or check out his Facebook page.