Exploring how continued professional development [CPD] can create unique ‘value offering’ for a PT and their business .
Thanks to the digital age, it has become far simpler for the general public to access free health and fitness related information and advice online. This has raised the level of awareness, and from a commercial perspective, means the consumer is often already educated in what they need to do and how they need to do it. Instead, they are seeking a different form of support, understanding and depth of knowledge.
Creating an outstanding reputation, building a strong client base and growing a PT business simply around outcome-based promises is no longer enough. In today’s market space anyone can promise weight loss results, to look better in your swim wear or give measurable improvements in one’s fitness.
To differentiate ourselves we must offer and deliver more.
This article is purely our perspective on how CPD can support the development of a unique ‘value offering’ for a PT and their business.
A characteristic of professionalism is the obligation to remain up to date in areas of professional expertise . In the fitness industry, as in many other industries, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is encouraged. This raises certain questions that need to be considered by the PT; what type of CPD needs to be undertaken? How is the CPD to be consumed? At what pace is the CPD meant to be absorbed?
According to Ian Jefferys from UKSCA [issue 49 (2018)] ‘knowledge is NOT power.’
In the past, when information and knowledge was for the minority within society, it may well have been the case, but no more. Nowadays information or knowledge is for everybody.
Crucially, it is the ability to apply the information and knowledge in a specific context.
If a PT is to provide a unique ‘value offering’ to their clients, then the context is vitally important. For the purpose of this article, context is defined as ‘the circumstances that form the setting for an event’.
Clients now value not just the service that is offered, but the feelings and sensations they uniquely experience during each session. That is NOT to say that service isn’t required or important, there will just need to be more of it!
Think of the PT service [fitness] as the ‘stage’, the equipment used in the session are the ‘props’ and the PT and/or the PT business is the ‘engaging experience’ or emotional attachment  for the customer. Just like an actor brings the play to life, so the PT and/or the PT business create the ‘unique offering’.
This is why we believe CPD should no longer be viewed as just increasing one’s knowledge about the body, expanding one’s exercise terminology, developing a bigger library of exercises, or learning about the features and benefits of the latest equipment.
CPD should be about developing a context, telling a story and creating a difference. It should be about understanding, learning and developing all the necessary skills and behaviours that are required to deliver the ‘unique offering’.
Sometimes that may mean looking elsewhere for education and training.
Our feeling is, CPD should NOT face inward towards fitness, it should look outwards towards other industries, like retail, entertainment, hospitably and tourism. Industries that are also having to change, to meet the demands placed upon them by the consumer, in order to offer something different.
CPD is NOT just a course or a workshop, it’s about observing and talking to professionals from other industries, reading, listening to podcasts, short periods of constructive, valuable learning that moves an individual forward. CPD is about self-reflection, action planning and most importantly measuring progress against the vision a PT has about the future of their business.
In summary, providing outcome-based promises and services is no longer enough. It is experiences that create unique ‘value offering’, that engage the client fully, capturing their hearts and minds. This is why a carefully chosen, sometimes varied, CPD pathway will likely, better support a PT and their business on this journey.
EDT – Keith Smith
 Challenging Professional Learning – S. Crowley
 The Experience Economy – J. Pine [adapted]