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How to Creatively Offer & Sell Training Plans

BY Cody Stephenson

Looking for ways to grow your paycheck without adding more one-on-one coaching? These methods will increase your plan visibility (and result in more sales!)

Most coaches use training plans in TrainingPeaks for two common purposes:

  1. As general planning templates that they use with their athletes to save time.
  2. To sell polished versions in the TrainingPeaks Plan Store as a second source of revenue and as a marketing tool to get more athletes interested in one-on-one coaching services. 

With a considerable number of plans available in the store, it can be hard to stand out—let alone sell enough plans to make money or generate business for your coaching services. You may be able to write a top-quality “24-Week Intermediate Half-distance Triathlon Plan, (12-15 hours/week,)” but without a lot of marketing savvy (not to mention marketing expense,) you may have a hard time getting any athletes to see your plan—much less choose it over some of the more well-established plan authors. But with a little bit of creativity, there are ways to get your training plans in front of more specific groups of athletes with far less competition. You may convince more athletes to upgrade to one-on-one coaching or even reduce the churn of your one-on-one clients.

A Bridge to Coaching

For many athletes, hiring a coach can be a big step up. Not only is it a significant financial commitment, but it can also feel overwhelming or intimidating to an athlete who has never worked with a coach before. Committing to regular communication and accountability with an expert is a big deal! 

Instead of just hoping that prospective clients are willing to fully commit, you can offer semi-custom plans as an intermediate option. Make it clear in your coach profile and marketing communications that if an athlete isn’t ready to commit to coaching, but does want to move past generic plans, you’re willing to create a customized plan for them. 

We’re guessing you’ve likely already created a similar plan for a previous athlete who was training for a similar event. For the cost of an in-depth conversation, determine the athlete’s specific goals, weaknesses, and availability. Then copy and modify one of your existing plans, and there you have it, a completely customized plan! You now have an athlete who is much more familiar with your coaching style and more likely to hire you in the future. Added bonus: customized plans sell for a premium over generic plans.

An Alternative for Athletes Who Aren’t Paying for Coaching…for Now

Coaches usually focus so much on acquiring new athletes they don’t stop to think about athlete followup. What do you do with an athlete who has completed their big goal? Or maybe one who can no longer commit to full-time coaching because of changing life circumstances? Maybe you’ve coached them through a few seasons of high commitment racing, but they are ready to take a step back and focus on fun/bucket list events. Maybe they were promoted and have less time and effort to commit to training or are welcoming a new member of the family and don’t want to spend as much money every month. 

Whatever the situation is, you can use the same tactic of semi-customized plans as you did with the prospective client above. Instead of sitting back and watching the athlete churn out of your coaching business, give them a cheaper and lower commitment option until they are ready to start coaching again. You are probably already very familiar with this athlete’s progression, so creating a one-off plan for them won’t be as much work as creating a plan for a new athlete. 

The Official Plan for an Event

It’s true that there’s no shortage of plans available for world-famous events like the Boston Marathon or Leadville 100. But it’s also true that there are tons of events out there, accompanied by promoters looking to increase participant value and assure athletes that they are well-prepared for the event.

Try researching high-participation events in your area and reach out to the promoter to see if they would be interested in offering an official training plan to participants. You might even find events that you’ve participated in or coached athletes for already. Promoters are often thrilled to offer participants this additional value without personally investing any extra work or cost. 

If you provide the plan for free to all registered participants, then you increase brand awareness and possibly generate leads, but won’t earn extra revenue. If you offer the plan as at an additional charge to the registration fee, you may make some revenue but will also miss out on a lot of participants that skip upsells without much thought. Alternatively, try the best of both options by offering a free ‘Early Preparation Plan’ with training up to 8-weeks before the event, with a discount on the paid ‘Build-Taper Phase Plan’ to get them through to race day.

Selling training plans is a great way to earn additional revenue as well as generate interest in your coaching business. With a little bit of creative thinking and a more targeted approach, you can cut through the competition of generic training plans and get the most out of your time and effort.

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Become a Training Plan Pro

TrainingPeaks University Course

Looking to improve your coaching efficiency and sell training plans? Learn what training plans are and how to use them in one-to-one coaching, group coaching and the TrainingPeaks Marketplace. When completed, you'll acquire a comprehensive toolkit to develop, build, market and sell your plans.

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About Cody Stephenson

Cody grew up racing mountain bikes in Durango, Colorado where he developed a passion for endurance sports, science, math and technology. He switched to the road and track while racing for Fort Lewis College, where he also managed to get a couple of science degrees. Now he gets to write and talk about his favorite topics every day as Education Program Manager at TrainingPeaks. When he’s not helping coaches learn to leverage technology to reach their goals he’s trying to become as good of a mountain bike racer as he was when he was 13 years old.