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Lead with the problem

April 03, 20244 min read

By Ken Berger

When most fit pros connect with a potential client, they usually talk about how their service works, what the schedule is, how much it costs, and all the other lame questions that potential clients often ask.

After all, the key word is "potential" client. This person obviously doesn't know you yet, doesn't understand what you do or how you can help them. So they just ask the only questions they know how to ask.

"How many sessions a week do I get?"

"What's the schedule?"

"How much does it cost?"

If you want more prospects to turn into clients who pay you what you're worth for changing their lives, you need to focus on the "changing their lives" part first.

Be clear about the benefits of your program and the transformation that the client wants.

In other words, stop talking about yourself ... your certifications ... your periodized program (nobody cares) ... how many people are in your small group sessions ... how long they last ... what days and times they are held ... and how much they cost.

All of those details can -- and should -- come later. But not until your prospect has already decided the following things:

==> They have a problem that they want and need to solve.

==> You are the person who has the best solution.

Once your prospect has made those two decisions, now you've got their attention ... and are in a position to actually be able to help them change their life, which is pretty cool.

It's why you got into the fitness industry in the first place, right?

So here's a simple template from a marketing company called "Storybrand" that I wanted to share with you today. It will help you frame your message in a way that grabs your prospect's attention.

Step 1: Lead with the problem

Here's an example of how a personal chef might communicate in a sales letter, website homepage or social media post:

"You know how most families don't eat together anymore, and even when they do, they don't eat healthy?"

If I have that problem in my family, the chef already has my attention.

Step 2: Identify yourself as the person with the solution

"I'm an at-home chef. I come to your house and cook so you don't have to."

Whoa ... you'll come to my house and cook dinner? Tell me more ...

Step 3: Tell me what to do next

"If you ever want to try it, the process is really simple. First, we have a quick, 30-minute meeting where I find out what your family likes to eat, what food allergies they have, and so on. Second, I come to your house and make dinner. Your family enjoys the meal without having to cook or clean up and, if you like, we take the third step where we figure out a consistent, repeatable day of the week when I come over and cook so you don't have to."

Are you serious? This is all there is to it? I'm in!

Step 4: Tell me what happens if I don't work with you

"There are only so many family dinners left until the kids go off on their own."

Yeah ... we're running out of time to have family dinners ...

Step 5: Tell me what happens if I DO work with you

"My clients sit comfortably at dinner and actually engage with each other. Day after day, they get to know each other a little better and feel supported, listened to and cared for. And all because, at least for a couple of days each week, they don't have to cook!"

Amazing! Let's do this!

And you see ... nowhere in the copy is even the slightest detail about how much it costs, the chef's specialties, where he or she went to culinary school, who buys the groceries, etc.

Those things are important, sure. But not more important than presenting the problem; positioning yourself as the person with the best solution; a simple step-by-step process for getting started; the consequences of NOT getting started; and all the wonderful things that will happen when you DO.

Take a look at a recent piece of sales copy you've written ... on your website, in a sales email or on social media. How would you write it differently so that it better fits this template?

Reply back and let me know ... I'd love to give you some feedback.


As a professional sports journalist for almost 30 years, I had a front row seat to how the most successful athletes in the world used training, nutrition, recovery and technology to perform better and avoid injury. As the owner of a Small Group Personal Training studio since 2016, I now guide my clients to the healthiest, happiest years of their lives with the principles that science has proven work best. And I'm passionate about helping other talented fitness pros change more lives and earn more money with writing and storytelling that builds trust. If you'd like to subscribe to my free Fit Pro Content newsletter to get more content like this, email me at

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Ken Berger

Ken Berger is a No. 1 international best-selling author of "Unlocking the Secrets of Lifelong Fitness Success." After 25 years as a professional sports journalist for the Associated Press, Newsday, CBS Sports, The Athletic and Bleacher Report, Ken now takes the lessons learned from the world's greatest athletes and changes lives through exercise and nutrition.

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