Auction Off Your Business

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personal-training-auctionThis is another often overlooked and seldom used stealth marketing tactic that everyone should be using to pick up clients! It costs next to nothing to do and can pay BIG dividends for your personal training and fitness business. Here’s exactly how to use my proven templates to Auction Your Business Off and get more clients:

One of the easiest marketing tools I’ve been using for about 5 years is to offer a gift certificate at local charity auctions and fundraisers that “well to do business people” and residents attend. Typically I give away 1 fitness assessment and 1 or 2 training sessions.

I value the package at $267.00 ($89 per session x 3).

The real cost to me is actually next to nothing since we don’t typically charge for fitness assessments anyway – they are a standard part of our complimentary initial meeting) and the sessions are completed by one of the new CPTs I have hired who are looking for more clients anyway.

My new CPTs make about $50 per session, but for these sessions I pay them $25-$30 per session with the opportunity to convert them to a full-time client (which happens more than 50% of the time).

So my true cost is only about $50-$60 which I get to write off at tax time anyway…

Plus, I like helping my local community raise money for kids and other worthy causes.

Now here’s where it gets even better!

I actually didn’t even realize how much more important this step is than just having someone win the gift certificate.

What I realized was that during silent auctions they place all the items that are being bid on at tables around where the event is being held. Throughout the night people walk around all the items for auction raising their bids by writing the amount their willing to pay on the sheet placed beside the item being auctioned.

So what this means is that you’ll literally have hundreds of qualified buyers looking at your business if you do this correctly. (for only about $50 bucks – even less if you only offer 1 Fitness Assessment + 1 Private Training Session or week of Bootcamp)

That’s why it’s important to market your business and service in a way that people remember. Because if you stand out and build brand recognition through an event like this you’ll not only have the winner of the auction contact you as a possible new client, but you’ll potentially have another 2-3 serious leads call you as well to inquire about your service!

For such a simple marketing tactic it’s surprisingly effective – but it’s important to remember why… And that reason is that you should only be spending your time & money marketing to QUALIFIED buyers.

Sure it’s great to want to help everyone, but at least wait until you’re making a comfortable living before trying to expand your scope.

Now let’s talk about how to find local auctions:

The easiest way to find these local auctions are in local newspapers and local magazine publications. Typically the charities start advertising tickets to their events months in advance. The great thing is they leave their information on how to contact them which is your way in to getting a hold of the person who is responsible for finding ‘donors’ to the event.

Without businesses donating products and services there is no event!

And don’t worry – as long as you are offering anything of value they will NOT turn you away. Remember, you’re helping THEM out because without you there is no fundraising auction.

Eventually, you’ll be getting letters in the mail to donate every year to their event and at that time you can just pick & choose who you want to donate to. Our rule is that we only will do 1 event per month so that we don’t have too many winners calling us at once.

Here’s the simple email you can send to the charities offering your item for bid:

(email template)

“Hi Charitable Organization,

I saw in the local paper that you are holding your annual charity event to raise money for the ABC Organization. I am actually a supporter of that group and would be interested in offering an item for your auction.

On behalf of Stephen Cabral Studio I would be happy to donate 1 SCS Fitness Consultation and 2 Private Training Sessions. This item can be offered as one package and it’s total value is $267.

We’re big supporters of our local community and I’m sure a few of our clients will definitely be attending your event.

Let me know if you have any questions and if you’d be interested in our donation for your event.

Have a great day and I look forward to speaking with you soon!

Coach Cabral
Owner of Stephen Cabral Studio
Address line 1
Address line 2
Phone #

(end email)

After you’re accepted they will ask you to either mail your gift certificate to them or they will come pick it up. We always have them come pick it up so that it doesn’t get bent in the mail or lost in transition.

Plus, the organizers get to see your business, which can further help them promote your item if it’s not a silent auction.

Now let’s go over how I do more than just offer a simple gift certificate:

So instead of just putting a standard or generic gift certificate in the mail I like to use a little stealth marketing to pump up my business services. (of course ; )

What I do is print out an 8.5×11 sheet of paper with my gift certificate at the top and then 3/4’s of the sheet outlining the benefits of training with my in-home and studio team. It looks great, it’s simple, and it stands out from what everyone else does.

That’s guerrilla marketing at it’s best…

So then I take this gift certificate and z-fold it and put it in an envelope. In the envelope I also add my studio rack card, as well as my business card brochure (business card that opens up). On the outside of the envelope I place my return address label and write in the center of the envelope:

Stephen Cabral Studio
“Inspired Personal Training & Personal Weight Loss”
Gift Certificate

> Click here to download my Gift Certificate Template

> Click here to download my return address label template

The last bit of icing on the cake is to offer the charity an 8.5×11 plastic stand up holder that displays the actual gift certificate each person is bidding to win. (Just print up another GC that isn’t signed & place it in the holder as a display only item) I’ll even add a bow or something else that stands out to call a little attention to my display so that everyone wants to find out what it is. You can buy the display holders for about $5 at your local office supply store.

Crafty right? ; )

The bottom line is that this marketing technique is a “win-win-win,” which is always what I try to strive for – only in this case there’s one more winner!

Besides your trainer getting more work, you making more money, and the new client getting great value, you’re also donating to a worthy charity!

Very few, if any fitness professionals, have ever heard of such a marketing tactic
so most likely you’ll be the only game in town and that will dramatically increase your chances of building your brand and becoming a local fitness celebrity where all the “in the know” residents go for the best training in town!

This also works for bootcamps, youth training, and any niche you could possibly think up…

So now use my templates to quickly create your own and go out and CRUSH IT this month!

Committed to your success,

Coach Cabral, CSCS, CPT, NS
Founder of Smart Studio Systems
Health contributor for MTV, Men’s Health, Maxim, Dietcom, NutritionData, SELF


Comment on this Content

  • I think everything is pretty much completely done for you in this post, but just let me know if you need anything else!

    Plus feel free to email me at with ideas of future posts you would like to see!

    (Some upcoming posts will include the results and tactics of our latest referral contest, hiring a fitness manager, employees, and our road to 1,000 sessions per month!)