How to hire a manager for your PT business & tips on getting on your local news (Part 2) (Interview with Dani Singer)

Highlights from the interview

[11:58] – How 75% of Dani’s in home clients stayed on during Covid virtually… and how another group didn’t

[15:50] – Post Shutdown: How Dani’s transitioning his 5 full time trainers back to in-person in-home training

[19:34] – How to hire a director/manager to free up time and grow your business

[24:03] – Top 2 tips Dani for other In-Home Personal Training Business Owners

 

About our Guest

This is part two of my interview with Dani Singer. He’s the president and founder of Fit2Go, a top Baltimore, Maryland in-home training company. They train about a hundred clients every week. 

His business is impressive! After starting out in his college apartment at the age of 21, in just a few years, it is now one of the top in-home training companies in his area, and with a team of full time trainers. 

He even has business relationships with national property management companies to train for free at these apartment complexes in his area. 

In addition, he has been featured regularly on his local news channel through his regular health segment. There’s so much to learn from what he’s made work for his in-home training business.

 

Edited transcription of Fitness Business Secrets Podcast, Episode 32

How 75% of Dani’s in home clients stayed on during Covid virtually…and how another group didn’t

[11:58] Kristy: Moving to the other topic that I was mentioning and going to the second part is the big question: How are you guys dealing with the pandemic, how has it been with COVID?   

What percentage of your customers were okay with virtual? How is that working for your business? 

Dani: So, right when the shutdown happened, we had 100 clients, and we transferred 75% of them over, so it was 75 clients, over the virtual, which was honestly, I had nothing to do with it, this is my team. Which speaks to having good people. 

And they informed me that we had started virtual training and that it was working. And then after finding out with clients, the vast majority of them loved it, surprisingly. And they really liked it, they appreciated the fact that we were innovating and a fun way to continue the program and not having to stop.

They informed me that we had started virtual training and that it was working. The vast majority of clients loved it, surprisingly. And they really liked it, they appreciated the fact that we were innovating and a fun way to continue the program and not having to stop.

It was more of an issue for the property management companies because we had people that would work in another city that we don’t service. So, they then could, well, then they could go virtual, but they were used to using a gym, not going from in-home to like, “Okay, well now you won’t be here, but do it virtually.”

They didn’t have access to the gym anymore where they were used to working out of. So, there were a couple issues there. For the most part, it went really, really well. Now, we’re starting to pick back up as gyms are still for the most part closed, they can do some outdoor stuff. If people are antsy, people are done being locked in their houses and they want to work out.

And so, I think this is we’re going to see the most things picking up as we’re kind of in this little period in between when gyms fully open up. 

Kristy: Yeah. So, when you said you have a hundred clients, does that number include your property management gym clients? 

Dani: Yeah. 

The challenges during the shutdown

Kristy: Okay. And so when you said, there’s a small percentage from the property managed buildings that didn’t move over, the 25% that didn’t jump to virtual?

Dani: Yeah. That’s what was done. But then we signed up new clients and so. 

Kristy: Oh, okay. Did you have any slowdown in interest during COVID for new leads? 

Dani: Yeah. For sure. March, April and maybe half of May.

We’re mostly focusing on going online. We started streaming live free workouts every single day. We were pushing on the training. We’ve got a beautiful landing page built by a developer, ran Facebook ads, there were issues with Facebook ads, which I’ve yet to find a consultant that can figure out the proper targeting for our clientele.

So, we’re getting tons of people interested in which went right. The bottom line is that online virtual training works amazing for our current clients. It didn’t work as like a business strategy for us in a particular case. We didn’t have our system, didn’t work in order to get new, online virtual training clients, but we got some, but for the most part not as well as we’d hoped.

And I think that’s just the entire world, every personal trainer either now is driving Uber on unemployment or doing online training. It’s just so much being thrown at people. And that’s why I think that  right now as things are picking up, this is the biggest spot. 

How Dani got clients to pay the same amount virtually

Kristy: Yeah. I think this is the question a lot of trainers get when they, let’s say they turn to virtual for temporary, or to add a revenue stream in the future. Did you change any pricing or did you keep everything the same? 

Dani: Yeah, we did everything exactly the same. It’s just because a lot of clients  wanted virtual too. “I don’t feel comfortable with you coming home. Can we do it virtually?” Sure. 

So, this is how it works. I remember I was telling you it’s 45 minutes sessions, 15 minutes drive time. So, what I did was I sent an email saying everybody’s session would be increased to an hour just because we don’t have to do that drive time. You’re paying the same amount, but you’re gonna do a full hour and for all of your sessions.

Kristy: Oh, yeah, that’s smart. They definitely feel like they got 25% more. It’s nice. 

Now that we’re at a moment where things are changing again. Now we’re going back with this transition. What percentage of your clients, whether they’re now, or do you think your future clients are going to be virtual?

Dani: I don’t know the answer to that. I think we’re still going to be pushing mostly in person. I think that virtual is going to be it’s around now for the clients. 

We’re doing in person now, but like, we still have clients that for whatever reason, it works out better for them to do virtual. They’re all there, we have the number of senior citizens we do in home.

And so for a lot of them, they like virtual. I don’t know. I mean, it might be something that we end up like siding. We love this and we start going and pushing that. I’m in the figuring out phase right now for a lot of this stuff.

 

Post Shutdown: How Dani’s transitioning his 5 full time trainers back to in person in home training

[15:50] Kristy: Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense. I think everyone’s trying to figure it out.

So, you have these five trainers, they’re there full time now. When did they start doing in-person again?

Dani: About 2 weeks ago.

Kristy: Okay. Has anything come up between your clients, the trainer, and then  what you guys have decided to do? So everyone feels safe. What are things that you put in to help people feel comfortable with that? 

Dani: So, the first thing is that we’re not pushing them into virtual training.

It’s just an option. And we say, “Hey, we’re doing online training, it’s the same thing. And if you want to, we can keep doing virtual.” But for a lot of clients we’re doing outdoors, either meeting in a park with a lot of them, it’s like personal training, there’s a lot of training between your front yard or your backyard.

We send all of our clients a resistance, physical resistance band kit, so they’ll have their own equipment. So, they wouldn’t have to share equipment. And the trainers will just sanitize themselves before they go into each session. Yeah, that’s pretty much how we’ve gone about keeping that safe.

We send all of our clients a resistance, physical resistance band kit, so they’ll have their own equipment. So, they wouldn’t have to share equipment. And the trainers will just sanitize themselves before they go into each session. Yeah, that’s pretty much how we’ve gone about keeping that safe. 

Kristy: Okay. Very cool. has your company been able to get any help from the government with the PPE? 

Dani: Nope. 

Kristy: Oh really? 

Dani: Yeah. 

Kristy: I feel like, because they were employees also, I would imagine, you’d be able to get them. 

Dani: Right. Technically, it’s tricky because they’re technically independent contractors the way it’s set up.

How Dani does consultations to achieve a near 99.9% close rate

 Kristy: Yeah, that is tricky. I guess my other question then just based off of what I saw from your website is how did you get so much press for your company? And you guys have some great videos and it really looks like you guys are probably the top in-home training company.

So, what are some techniques or tips you could give to trainers who want to achieve that also, PR- wise? 

Dani: Well, thank you. That’s the long term goal. Number one in home personal training company. We want to be known for it. But, the answer is that in the end of 2016, I used to like it back then also when it was mainly me, it was me and then some trainers, there’s no doubt in the backend.

So, I was doing all the consultations and I used to just love the consultations. I would love diving into somebody finding out their entire history of pages and pages of notes on everything we went through. And then I would type that consultation for the trainer. 

And they know their entire client’s life story before they meet them, because I’ve gone through everything with them, because that’s usually all relevant to why we’re having the trouble we’re having.

It’s not about if we actually go through things, and the clients learn as we’re going, they’d be like, “Oh, I just realized like, every time that I had a breakup is when I always fall into this pattern” or “Every time I get stressed or whatever it is.” 

And then we see, well what worked before? Why didn’t it work? And so I would have consultations that would be three hours. 

Kristy: Oh, I can see why you close so many. You are so passionate and detailed. I mean, that speaks. That’s very good sales wise.

Dani: I think that the reason, our closing ratio in terms of the people that we schedule a consultation with and then sign up as clients is 99.9%. There may be three people last year that did not sign up. And that might be more, it might’ve been two. But I think that for us, we have a very qualified application process to go through and they find us and it explains what we are. And so I think they are ready when we phone. 

Our closing ratio in terms of the people that we schedule a consultation with and then sign up as clients is 99.9%. We have a very qualified application process to go through and they find us and it explains what we are. And so I think they are ready when we phone.

Second is that I genuinely do not try to sell them. What I tried to do was I created a service that was right. And would help the people that I want to help. And so they get on the phone with me and I’m not trying to convince them or anything.

I’m just actually explaining things to them and I’m listening too, figuring out, “Okay, here’s how it’ll apply to you.” And people can sense that. And they will sense just little things here and there. I mean the extreme examples when I tell people, “Yeah, I don’t think we’re a good fit.” And I’ve had several cases where I said that and the person got shocked.

And I said, “But here’s my free weight loss guide. I think this will help you. And I think that you’d be better off. If you pay less, go to a different trainer.” And then they come back the next day, “Okay. I thought about it. I’m ready to start and really commit to it.”

Because this is a case where people just want to do something quickly or they’re not ready to really put in the work. So, people can sense if you are being genuine and being genuine doesn’t mean don’t cold sell them. But the difference is that I’m informing them of why this is going to be awesome for them, rather than trying to convince them. I fully believe it.

 

How to hire a director/manager to free up time and grow your business

[19:34] Kristy: Yeah. You have a great personality and you are so passionate about it. You love doing the consultations. Do you still do the consultations or have you also transitioned that to someone? 

Dani: No. Now I have a director and that’s what the director position is, right? So, we don’t have a sales person.

The director is the same person that meets with the client and the director is a registered nurse also so it helps a lot. Because we look at a lot of health and fitness and we partner with a lot of medical professionals. And so,  she meets with them for the consultation. And then she’s not just a salesperson.

 She’s the same person that’s running, overseeing the program, choosing the trainer for them, following up with them about the program and then meeting with the trainer every single week to fine tune. 

 So, I like that structure better. Ideally, I don’t ever want to have sales people. I don’t ever want to tell people that their job is just to sell people. And then that’s it. We have nothing to do with each other anymore. 

How Dani leverages PR & even scored a monthly segment on the local news 

Kristy: Yeah. That answers a lot. Oh, I don’t think we got to get to the PR part. How did you get on TV?

Dani: I had a consultation late 2016, with somebody, and it was a deep conversation with him and his wife for hours and we connected a lot and that person happened to be the PR rep for one of the local big hospitals. And so, we connected from that. Then, when we had an immediate query, a month later, he got a media query that he didn’t have anyone from the hospital to answer it.

So, it’s about fitness, he sent it my way and said, “Hey, would you be interested in answering this?” And I remember when I got that one, I saw on my phone, I was at the mall, I remember I sat down for  an hour and  wrote up my huge response to it because I was like, “Yes, absolutely! I love stuff like this.”

So, it’s about fitness, he sent it my way and said, “Hey, would you be interested in answering this?” And I remember when I got that one, I saw on my phone, I was at the mall, I remember I sat down for  an hour and  wrote up my huge response to it because I was like, “Yes, absolutely! I love stuff like this.”

And so I put so much effort into showing up and delivering for them, doing an amazing job for him and for the reporter. And I kept doing that and then any opportunity he would send me, I would jump on stuff, whatever I was doing. 

And so, and I learned more about “Well, what makes this easy for this PR person? What makes it easy for the reporter? What does the reporter want? How can I make their job easier?” 

And I just kept learning and every opportunity I got, I learned a little bit more. And so then I built up relationships directly with the reporters and then, same thing with the TV. So then, that’s how I got into the big magazines, like Men’s Health, Reader’s Digest and stuff like, and I did a lot with Self Magazine.

But then TV, it was the same thing. It was the same guy. It was in 2017. I got a text that they, basically, there was a nutritionist who was gonna run a segment. And it was going to be about superfoods and that nutritionist had to cancel at the last minute.

So basically, they tapped me and said, “Hey, would you be able to cover?” And so I said yes right away, I was scared as hell, but then I did it. And what I ended up doing, it’s funny because I did the opposite for a second. So, I kept the superfood entirely. Well, I realized that also the station doesn’t really care.

It just wants to be interesting and engaging. They don’t care what your opinion is. You can say whatever you want. And so, I brought a Superman action figure with broccoli and tomatoes and carrots, like strapped to his arms and legs. And I was like, I think this is the scientific definition of the term superfood.

Just making  fun of it. Because it doesn’t mean anything. And I was just talking about how stupid superfoods are, how they’re ridiculous. Yes, some foods have some super content, but none of them are gonna do any of these insane claims and make you lose weight or cure cancer or any of that stuff.

But I went all out with that, trying to make it a really good segment. And from there, I reached out to the executive directors there afterwards, followed up too, “Hey, we love doing this.” I’ve done most of the print, but I would love to do more TV and then build up my own eventually, a monthly segment from there.

Kristy: Oh, you had a monthly, I don’t think I realized you did a monthly segment. What show was that with? Is that a local show?

Dani: Fox Baltimore. 

Kristy: Oh, wow. That’s awesome. Has that brought you? It must have brought you a ton of clients if you have a regular segment. 

Dani: So no, nobody watches TV. But what I would do is I would buy the clips, there’s a company that records everything especially for this reason that you can buy the clips from them. So, I would just grab the clip of all of them and run them on Facebook and everybody would see them. It adds credibility. 

Kristy: Yeah. I love that. Okay. And I was going to ask, I think my final segment is, you’ve mentioned that you’d coach a lot of trainers now, you coach two trainers, do I understand that correctly? 

Dani: Well, let me clarify that I don’t have a business off of this, so I don’t do any fitness business coaching and I’m making that very clear because most fitness business coaches are scumbags and scam artists.

And I’m not a part of that, but there are some good ones, but just to be clear, I’m not pitching any services to trainers here. I do serve as an advisor to the personal training and development center, which I was a fan of long before I was a contributor. And so what I do is I’m the education advisor.

So, I go through every single week and I see the best fitness of the week. So we look through the internet and we go through just from the, we go through the best fitness of the week. So like anybody that writes or creates anything on the internet videos, podcasts, we make that list for the personal trainers.

 I then informally, like I have a lot of people reaching out to me asking me questions, whatever, and I’m always happy I’ve talked to somebody from Australia the other day. So, I advise trainers. But it’s not a business or anything like that.

 

Top 2 tips Dani for other In Personal Training Business Owners

[24:03] Kristy: Oh, okay. I mean, either way, it sounds like you help trainers.

What are the main problems that you see and messages that you feel are very important for trainers who are trying to make their hustle work, whether they’re growing a business or they’re their own personal training business, like what tips would you give them? 

Dani: So many. I’m trying to think of the biggest problems with them.

  1. First is be a professional, do that and you’ll stand out. Because most personal trainers fit the stereotype of like the young, dumb jock who didn’t go to college so he became a personal trainer. Rather than somebody who went to college, got a four year degree and is using that for personal training.

    So, just be professional, show up on time, communicate well with your clients and that will stand out immensely.

  2. The second piece I would say is, especially right now with COVID be active on social media. That’s your strongest asset. Just make sure that everybody on your social media knows that you are a personal trainer so that when any of those 2000 people are looking for a personal trainer or know someone looking for a personal trainer, they say, “Hey, I don’t really know this guy, but I follow him on Facebook and he’s got some really cool stuff and is in your  area. Check him out.” Then that’s something that gradually picks up from there. 

Dani’s Biggest Advice for Anyone Aspiring to start their own in home training business

Kristy: Okay. And what would you say if someone’s trying to start their own in-home personal training business, and I’ll assume they’re not even near you, but they’re probably just starting out.

 What tips would be the top three things you’d tell them to focus on regarding managing their team of trainers?

Dani: First thing I would say is leave America because that’s where Fit2Go is and we’re going to be expanding nationally.

But the second thing I tell them is, it’s all about how you manage the trainers. So, make sure that you’re very detailed in hiring personal trainers and look at that turnover. 

It’s all about how you manage the trainers. So, make sure that you’re very detailed in hiring personal trainers and look at that turnover. 

Because if you have a turnover, like gyms do, you’re going to be a mess because you don’t have to only match clients with the right trainer, you have to match them, concentrate training with the right availability, the right time. You have to match the right client with the right trainer who has the right time available and in the right location and then location at that time. 

So, it’s a huge puzzle. And you’ve just got to recognize that in fact, during the drive time and things like that, and you gotta be organized.

Kristy: Okay, cool.

Well, you have a great business cut out for you. if anybody wanted to reach out to you, we understand that you’re not necessarily a coach for trainers as a business. But if they did want to reach you or they’re interested in your training services, how can they reach you? 

Dani: So, if you’re a trainer or fitness professional, you’re not bothering me, reach out for sure. I’d love to talk. You can find me on Facebook, Dani Singer spelled D A N I, that’s really what I use. I don’t use my Instagram or anything else. So, you can find me there and heads up, I get a lot of things that go into those message requests that Facebook doesn’t show you.

If I don’t answer you, I’m not ignoring you, I just haven’t seen it. And then if you’re looking to be able to find work, you can work with Fit2Go. So, we now have in person in Baltimore City County, and we’re doing virtual all over all over the world, but then you just go to Fit2GoPT.com, F I T the number 2 G O P T .com . Or just Google Fit2Go personal training and you’ll find all about us there. 

What Dani’s see’s as the future for Fit2go

Kristy: Yeah. Nice. Okay. Well great. Actually just one last question, because this came up.  So, you’re going to go on national, which is cool. And I know that there’s different ways to do it, whether you’re gonna go there hire trainers and then some people franchise, are you definitely planning to just actually open your own spots there? Are you thinking about franchising? 

Dani: I don’t know enough about it yet, cause I’m not quite at that stage right now. I’m still in the process of like really diving in, fine tuning all of our systems and making them. We could but like I want to get our systems set and then expand from there. 

So, the answer to your question is I haven’t really looked into it enough. From my understanding of how it works, I don’t think I’m gonna franchise. Because I think that I want to have more direct quality control. Right? I don’t want this to be a thing where you can run a bad Fit2Go spot, you know, I want it to be all from the top down making sure that everything’s quality.

Kristy: Yeah. I think that’s the biggest concern when you start a franchise.  

Dani: I’d be happy to make somewhat less money and have  the best reputation because I care about , my life has gone into fit to go like that. And  that’s my passion project. 

And so I care so much more about that being an amazing service, amazing reputation, than making whatever amount of dollars. 

Kristy: Yeah. Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Well, you’re definitely a passionate person. You’ve helped a lot of trainers and it sounds like you’re helping within your business and then also anybody who comes to you.

So, thanks for sharing your secrets on that. And also management sequence. I liked a lot of the things, especially the Monday meetings. So, thanks for being on the show and sharing your advice. Definitely reach out to Dani if you need to ask him or you want to work with them.

Stay connected with Dani!

Dani Singer

Facebook: Dani Singer

Facebook Page: Fit2GoPersonalTraining

Website: Fit2GoPT

 

Dani: Awesome. Thanks, Kristy.

Kristy: All right. Thanks. Take care.

 

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