Home Personal Training Business Foundations Why Your Technical Skill Is Useless When Selling Personal Training

Why Your Technical Skill Is Useless When Selling Personal Training

Flavouring your Personal Training business with a whole bunch of exercise skill can be a waste of time.

Burgers and soft drinks may provide the answer.

Since 1975, Pepsi has been carrying out the ‘Pepsi Challenge.’

Participants are given 2 cups.  One with Pepsi.  The other Coke.  The cups aren’t labelled.  The participants have no idea what they’re drinking.

When asked which tastes better – more often than not, Pepsi was chosen.

And for years, Pepsi has been drilling their advertising campaigns that “Pepsi tastes better than Coke.”

Yes, it’s a fact.  According to the studies, more people prefer Pepsi over Coke.  But why is Coke still dominating the soft drink business?

For years, the BigMac has been the bestselling burger in the world.  But do people think it’s the best ‘tasting’ burger…?

I bet you could come up with a few restaurants or corner take-away examples where you’ve tasted a better burger than the BigMac.

Has McDonald’s ever advertised their burgers being better than anyone else’s…?


McDonalds know their burgers are O.K. – but not the best.  And they’re not gonna improve the taste of them.  If they did, it’ll hurt their sales.

Does the Flavour of Your Personal Training Business Really Matter…?

Personal Trainers spend time and wasted effort trying to tell their prospects and clients that they’re the best because they’re more ‘knowledgeable.’

And when prospects express an ‘I don’t care’ look on their face, trainers try and ramp up the message even more.

They continue…

“I’ve done this course and that course.”

“I’ve got (x) number of years’ experience”

And they wonder why prospects don’t sign up and why clients don’t stay very long.

Their Personal Training business starts to fail and soon realise what’s wrong…

“I need extra skill and education so by me knowing more than the other trainer – clients will flock to me”

Off they go and do skill based courses.  They go and learn all this new stuff – that’s got nothing to do with their client base or market… and start showing off their new found skill – hoping to win customers over.

In the end they just look silly.  Clients might be WOWed for a few weeks, then after a while… they drop off.

Trainers continue to learn ‘skill’ desperately hoping that’s the missing equation.  And many years pass – still operating a struggling Personal Training business– with heaps of knowledge and skill to boot.

Flavour is trivial.  It’s logic.  People don’t care.  It’s not the driving force.

The burgers are better at Hungry Jacks.

That’s true.  They are.  And even KFC have better tasting burgers and food in general.

But Maccas still dominates.

McDonald’s isn’t fazed.  They never claim they’re the best.  Perhaps they know something others don’t…

Back to the Pepsi challenge.  Because Pepsi kept on hammering Coke about how their soft drink tastes better, it made Coke upset.

So in 1985 Coke released the ‘New Coke.’

 Personal Training Business New Coke

And it claimed its taste was comparable to Pepsi.  And it probably was.

But in 1992, they stopped it.  It was a huge marketing failure.  It nearly destroyed the brand.

The Reason:  No one cared about the ‘taste.’  People were already used to the original taste and brand… so when they took that away… people reacted.

After 1992, they released the original drink and called it ‘Coke Classic’ – and sold millions!

selling personal training using coke strategyThey were back in action.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

A researcher by the name of Read Montague, director of the Human Neuroimaging Lab at Baylor College of Medicine repeated the ‘Pepsi Challenge’ in a new way.

He had the subjects taste the two drinks while been scanned by a FMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine.  In a blind testing, the original results from the Pepsi Challenge were confirmed:  More people prefer the taste of Pepsi over Coke.

Upon drinking Pepsi, more of their brain lit up.  In fact, their reward centres of the brain lit up 5 times more than Coke.

But it doesn’t end there…

When the subjects saw which brand they were drinking… the results changed.  They all preferred Coke!

Not only did they say they preferred Coke… but their brain activity showed it as well.

A part of their brain associated with self-identification lit up much more.

They even swapped the identifications and the results were still the same.

So it didn’t matter if the subjects were really drinking Pepsi or Coke.  If the cup said ‘Coke’ on it, their brains lit up.

The Lesson:  Logical reasons as to why you’re better are NOT persuasive.

If a trainer brags about how much experience they have or how much stuff they know or how many courses they’ve done… who cares.

If you want a truly successful Personal Training business, focus on the kinds of experiences you can provide your clients.

  • Are doing your random follow-ups?
  • Are you emailing/mailing information they can benefit from?
  • Are you asking about how they feel?
  • Are you catering your sessions based on how your clients feel/injuries or fitness level?
  • Are you listening when they talk?
  • Do you ask questions relating to their goals?
  • How are you caring and making sure your clients are achieving their results?
  • What proactive things are you doing helping your clients achieve their goals?

Where most Personal Training business’ fail is they first ‘act’ they’re genuinely interested in their clients in order to get the sale… but once the sale is done and closed, Personal Trainers suddenly change their attitude.  The result:  Disconnection.

The other lesson:  Be CONSISTANT with your actions.  If your clients bought your services based on how you acted and treated them from the start… don’t change the equation.  Be consistent!

That suddenly became your ‘brand.’  You prospects automatically identified themselves with you.  And as soon as you change your flavour, you lose.

And one of the reasons why the ‘New Coke’ failed was because they broke away from their consistency.  They developed a new taste.  New packaging.  New marketing campaign.  They suddenly became foreign.  And people didn’t like it.  They want what they always liked.  No changes.

Your Personal Training business is the same.

Know what makes you… YOU.  Take a few minutes and list what you believe is working in your Personal Training business.  And make sure you’re consistently following through with those actions.

  • The way you answer the phone.
  • The way you start your sessions.
  • The questioning process.
  • The follow-up procedure.
  • How often you give program updates.
  • Frequency when you measure clients.
  • The amount of time you allow for each client of yours.

Remember, your prospects and clients automatically identify with you from the moment they sign the papers.  And they expect you to keep treating them like that – without change.

As soon as you start doing things differently, you break the consistency – and your brand shatters.

Apple followers will always be Apple followers.  They’ve identified with them and that’s it.  Samsung are now leading in mobile phone sales.  Samsung has more products.  They are more diverse and flexible.

But who cares?

They’re all ‘logical’ facts on why you should buy a Samsung product.  But It aint gonna change devote Apple followers.

The burgers are better at Hungry Jacks.  But Maccas is known for its killer locations, ease of access, faster food delivery and consistent quality.  In other words… they have a stronger brand.  They identify with more people.  They go to the heart of ‘why’ people choose fast food.

Fast, high quality food that’s easily accessible.

It’s got hardly anything to do with ‘taste.’

Coke speaks to the emotional mind.  People identify with Coke and what it represents.  Good times, partying, ‘the drink that goes with every meal.’

It’s got more to do than just ‘taste.’  It goes beyond logic.

In your Personal Training business – you are your ‘brand.’

What makes you different?

Remember, Apple has devoted followers to their brand.  They know a thing or two about retention.

And when you strongly develop your brand, and clients form a self-identification with you – they’ll never leave.

When you develop new fitness classes or packages, your clients will ‘follow’ you.  They’ll recommend you to all their friends.  They want to be part of a group.  Don’t let them down.  Develop your consistencies and watch your Personal training business reach new heights without spending extra money.  Just discipline.

Dedicated to Accelerating Your Personal Training Business Every Step Of The Way…

John Toumpakke

P.S. Don’t ‘flavour’ up your Personal Training business with meaningless exercise skill and knowledge.  Skill matters.  Yes.  But choosing the right skill for your market develops your brand more.  Experiences matter even more.  Consistencies matter most.  Combining all three provides you with an unstoppable highly branded Personal Training Business.

P.P.S. I once asked a particular supplier of a certain piece of exercise equipment (I can’t say what it is because most people know this person’s name of supplying this particular product) what makes him so different from his competitors distributing the same product for the same price.  He said, “well…, we’re much more knowledgeable than they are.” 

P.P.P.S. Because of that answer, I haven’t recommended anyone to him and I still refer people to his competitors.

P.P.P.P.S. Your answers matter 🙂  Comment below on what kind of no cost experiences your Personal Training business can offer your clients which will consistently WOW ’em…

 selling personal training with pepsi challenge

Previous articleThe 3 Types of Spenders and How To Sell To Them
Next articleHow To Distance Your Clients Payments and Keep Your Sessions Real
John Toumpakke for years has been helping Personal Trainers build marketing systems and business positioning strategies - turning regular PT's into gurus of their industry. His brand PT Power Club is known as the provider for advanced Niche marketing solutions for Personal Trainers and has developed new and unique systems helping trainers find and develop their own fitness niche. He coaches and trains a tightly, successful bound community of trainers teaching them how to stand out and dominate their competition through his powerful positioning strategies. PT Power Club’s goal is to teach and coach Personal Trainers across Australia on how to truly find their unique status within their community and eliminate all competition.