The Race To the Bottom.. I’m Watching From The Top (Stop Undercutting Your Competition)

Mark Ottobre

Let’s talk about the race to the bottom. 

If I charge $500 per hour, you charge $400 to beat me.

If you charge $400, someone will charge $300 to beat you.

If they charge $300, someone else will charge $200 to them.

And so forth until prices are in the vicinity of $5 to $10 per session or per hour.

Things non-business people forget, which happens to be majority of personal trainers and coaches, if I am charging $500 per hour, then my service is exclusive and I am able to train less people to receive the same (or more income) because of the higher fees involved. This also means that I am limited in my market of people that can afford $500 per hour.

On the flip side, if you’re charging $10 dollars per hour, it would be assumed that to earn any reasonable level of income, you would be doing groups. The client who pays $500 per hour would never pay $10 because they want to purchase something exclusive. Likewise, the person searching for the cheapest is not about to fork-out $500 for an hour of someones time, probably ever.

So what does that leave…. 

Everyone in-between $10 and $500…

Personal Trainers think that if they can do it cheaper, then surely, (as that’s the only barrier to people doing anything), they will have more clients. I mean, what else is there to decision making apart from money… Oh, you didn’t hear my hint of sarcasm?! Of course by hint, I mean, six, ten kilo bags of sarcasm. We have enough sarcasm to build a house!

How about…

  • I don’t trust you.
  • It won’t work for me.
  • I’m not really committed.
  • I’m scared to train with you because you won’t put up with my bullshit excuses.
  • I don’t want to train with you because you WILL put up with my bullshit excuses.
  • I don’t have enough time… and what I really mean by that is, it’s simply not that important to me because otherwise I would find time.
  • I’m scared of success.
  • I’m scared of failing.
  • I don’t trust you.
  • I don’t trust your process.
  • I don’t believe in me.

And the list goes on… And yes, money is part of the decision making process, just never at the top of the list when it all boils down.

For example, Louis Vuitton (LV) charge upwards of two, three, four thousand dollars for handbag.

A handbag. 

I don’t get it either. But all I know was I was compelled to buy my wife one for Christmas. I figured, if I was going to buy her a handbag, I was going to buy her ‘the handbag of handbags’ even if that meant paying five to ten times more. Seems I wasn’t alone that day either, the store was kind of ‘rocking’.

Plus an expensive handbag strangely says something about me as a husband. Not that I am willing to give into my wives demands (I wouldn’t be with someone who demanded such ludicrous status symbols), but rather, I want the best for my wife. Here’s an expensive handbag.

Last time I checked and reviewed my life, a handbag never gave me life changing advice. Crazy right? But I still bought the bag. Imagine how many more bags Louis Vuitton could sell if their handbags could talk back?

Target sell handbags, should be able to pick one up for twenty to thirty bucks. For Target to sell ten-thousand dollars worth of handbags, they need to sell three-hundred and four handbags if they’re selling it at the average price of $29.95. LV on the other hand only need to sell four if each handbag is $2,500. Of course, being LV they most likely have handbags upwards of ten-thousand dollars on offer to those extra special clients (wonder if they give happy-endings with ten-thousand dollar handbags?)

Whilst it may be (somewhat) true, making yourself “more affordable” and “reasonable” certainly makes you easier to access, therefore more people are able to do business with you which means you have a large potential demographic of people you can serve. When you price yourself outside of the industry mean, it just means you only need to do business with a truly hungry and desirable demographic who will walk over broken glass to get what they want. By the way walking over metaphorical broken glass usually results in the achievement of ones goal. AND the clients willing to walk over broken glass are generally the most fulfilling to serve.

In the ‘free-market’, aka Business, the market determines the value of your service based on what they’re willing to pay. So instead of automatically thinking, if I charge less more people will buy, look at people who are charging more and ask, WHY are people continuing to buy!?

The race to the bottom is a game no one wins. Not the customer, not the trainer and certainly not the industry. Don’t look at charging less, look at providing more value.

Be of value.

Mark Ottobre

Alpha Wolf 

Enterprise Fitness


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