Alycea Ungaro is no stranger to crises: her first studio was open during 9/11, and was right down near the WTC. She started our conversation with some thoughts on how the lessons from that day apply to Covid-19:
“On the other side of 9/11, the rebuild was something that stayed with me and is valuable in this instance: we weathered a lot of the same things like government assistance, we learned what worked and what didn’t, we had to piece together our staff, and of course we had to communicate really well with our clients and see what we could do…we waited it out and slowly rebuilt, and I carry that with me as a time that was precious and also very precarious, and I know that if you can rebuild from something like that, that this is piece of that again: I have complete faith that we will be able to come out on the other side of this. Not me, US, as an industry. So, stay with it.”
A SHIFT INTO-OR OPTIMIZATION OF-ALREADY EXISTING 1:1 OR SMALL GROUP TRAINING
- 1:1 training is the highest degree possible of accountability for the greatest success in fitness and in training (and is exponentially reduced the more people are in the room).
- 1:1 is the best business model in terms of fitness training because it’s customized training, training built for your body.
- Bring your clients into private training, whether it’s on the hour, 45 minutes, or on the half hour, and really optimize your time, space, and your team.
- This is our best way in and also an opportunity with the pandemic to control our environment, which we must do in order to reenter the workplace.
- B F SOLUTION OF THE DAY: You don’t have to stay in 1:1 training forever, but you can start there, and then maybe add a duet, then a 3:1 and then build back to group classes from there.
SAFETY PROTOCOLS WITH 1:1 TRAINING
- A big amount of 1:1 training is communication: it’s all about your messaging – getting out and surveying your clients, calling your clients, asking them questions before and after, and creating a system by which they know exactly what happens when they book an appointment and with all of the high touch points and community spaces.
- Also let THEM know what you need from them in order to participate in the sessions.
- High safety and cleanliness standards are an opportunity for all trainers to up their cuing game. This is the benefit to virtual training–you’ve been able to work out the kinks and get better with what you see and what you say and use very specific language and visual cues instead of your hands like, “Imagine my hands pressing on your hips.”
- Once you’re back in your space you should maintain your regular pricing.
- If you’re starting to offer 1:1 virtually, use the “One Camera, One Price” model: work everyone out for the same price if you’re in the same home.
- Typically, private training runs about 3x a class rate – price is higher if you’re a trainer going home to home but if you continue with virtual training, and can factor in the saved travel time, you can work out a good price point for clients.
- Don’t be afraid to put things on a temporary basis: set a price for a fixed amount of time and let clients know it will be assessed. Your job is to manage expectations and things are fluid right now.
- Just put something out there and see what comes back. The market will tell you what it will yield.
COMMUNICATION AND COMMUNITY
- Make free time to be there for your community
- Let your community know you are taking care of your team (e.g., Alycea teaches a class for her team every Monday morning)
- Ideas for digital community-building in virtual classes or sessions so people feel like they’re in the studio:
- Spotlight different clients through the course of class
- Ask everyone to use their name on their device
- Call people out to turn on their video if they want a correction
- Save five minutes at the end of class to go over any exercise, questions or concerns
HOW TO STAND OUT IN A COMPETITIVE AND CROWDED FIELD OF TRAINERS
- You must know your “why”
- Embrace your authentic quirky side
- Communicate who you are with integrity and honesty
- Make a list of your preferred clients – who do you actually want to work with? (e.g., the super fit, the elderly and infirm, athletes, young adults, etc.)
- Create content and messaging and organically they will find you–create the space for your target audience
B F SOLUTION OF THE DAY:
“YOUR BUSINESS IS JUST ANOTHER CLIENT: EVALUATE WHAT’S WEAK, WHAT’S STRONG, AND WHAT’S OVERDEVELOPED? MAKE YOUR PLAN FROM THERE. AND REMEMBER TO OPTIMIZE, AUTOMATE, AND OUTSOURCE WHENEVER AND WHEREVER POSSIBLE.”