As fitness professionals that coach young athletes we all desire those golden testimonials that will hit a marketing home run for us. The comments that we lust after are in conjunction with the very physical attributes we portray on our websites, in our brochures and as a part of any printed collateral marketing material we produce.
Understanding the power of social proof and or 3rd party credibility and utilizing it for press releases and even paid for advertising (hopefully not so much) will get most youth fitness coaches puffed up like a tick. This is for good reason.
When other people do the talking for you because young Billy is faster and quicker due to your training program, it can help lead a tire kicker to the promise land… a membership or training contract in your program.
The apparent hooks of “bigger, stronger, faster,” etc., are still, unfortunately one of the best ways to entice parents of young athletes 6-18 years old to look into how your program can benefit their child.
That said, make sure you keep things in perspective.
Yep, here comes the “yeah, but”.
Yeah, but if we are truly honest about what we do for young athletes in the realm of athletic development and sports performance training… it is nearly impossible to not witness a positive physical training effect after even a short period time.
Will jumping jacks for 10 minutes 3 times per week for 12 weeks show increases in vertical leap, speed, acceleration, agility, or force production in a re-evaluation? When considering the young 11 year old athlete in this imaginary scenario is growing and developing without you, the answer is absolutely.
In the context of testimonials if you want to build a strong, long lasting business where your young athletes stick with you for years on end than consider what you are doing beyond the x’s and o’s of day to day programming. Build an unbeatable culture and make sure you are delivering an experience that is resulting in comments not often heard from your competitors.
“This is the only activity he doesn’t complain about coming too”
“She is taking the character building you do in your facility home with her”
“In his school project of ‘favorite things to do’ he wrote his essay on going to your facility”
“What your program has done for my son socially and as a human being is far beyond what we could have imagined”
“I love this place, I NEVER want to stop coming”
Symbiotic with the ethos of the IYCA family. Create a family, a tribe and a strong sense of belonging in your program. Every day, every young child that comes to your program from the age of 6-18 should receive a genuine connect with you and or your coaches.
As stated earlier, you would have to try pretty hard to mess up the programming aspect of what you deliver. Once your programming is in place work tirelessly on the delivery.
Building value such as this will strengthen your business with better long term retention.
Use your performance based testimonials to get leads in the door.
Create emotional, intrinsically charged and intangible testimonials to keep them.
Be a light, change lives!
Dave Gleason is the owner and head coach of Athletic Revolution in Pembroke, MA. Dave’s career passions are training young athletes 6-18 years old as well as playing an integral role in the development of Athletic Revolution International. Dave was the 2010 IYCA Member of Year, columnist and presenter. A proud member of the IYCA, Dave is honored to be named to the IYCA Board of Experts.