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How to Be a Successful Personal Trainer (UK)

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Knowing how to be a successful personal trainer, with an edge over the competition, can feel like an arduous process.

For some PTs, ‘success’ is defined by keeping clients happy and getting results, whereas others define success by how much they earn or how many clients they have. For some, it's a mixture of both!

However you define success, our guide will walk you through the different steps you can take to ensure you know exactly how to succeed as a personal trainer, covering:

As we’ll show later in this article, one of the best ways to stand out as a PT is to specialise in a specific area of the industry, so why not get a head start by having a look at OriGym’s Specialist Level 4 Personal Trainer Courses.

Alternatively, download and browse our free course prospectus!

How to Be a Successful PT Among Clients

As a PT, training clients will naturally be your number 1 responsibility, so it makes sense that in order to be successful in this role, you want to know how to get the most out of your clients. 

Fortunately, we’re about to share  our top tips for being a successful personal trainer with clients, getting results that keep people coming back. 

#1 Complete a Personal Training Qualification

If you want to know how to become a successful personal trainer, the important thing is to get qualified. 

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There are two qualifications that every personal trainer has to have to practice in the UK:

You need to have completed your Level 2 to move on to the Level 3 course, which is why most PTs choose to study a personal training diploma, which combines both qualifications.

You need to make sure the course you choose is accredited with CIMSPA and regulated by an Ofqual-approved awarding body, such as Focus Awards or ActiveIQ. 

CIMSPA accreditation acts as a stamp of approval on your personal trainer certificate, and indicates to your clients that you have completed a reputable qualification that meets industry-set standards. 

Ofqual is the Goverment body responsible for setting the frameworks for vocational course levels in England. Ofqual regulation ensures that a course, say a Level 3 personal training course, provides the same knowledge and training regardless of who the course provider is. 

Having a level 3 qualification with this regulation is a mandatory requirement for all personal trainers in England, so look out for the following awarding body logos on the course providers website:

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Without Ofqual regulation, you won’t be able to land a job as a PT, and insurance providers will be unwilling to cover you, too.

We’ve discussed more about the importance of having a Level 3 qualification in this article on free personal trainer courses

 

Enquire Now to Become a Personal Trainer!

Kickstart your fitness career with OriGym's Level 3 Personal Training qualification today!

#2 How to Be A Successful PT: Learn to Build Rapport

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There are two main reasons building rapport will help you with how to be a successful personal trainer:

  • It helps you attract new clients
  • It helps you retain existing clients

You may not realise, but you should start building rapport as a personal trainer before you’ve even got your client, as how you behave and the first impression you make is important in attracting potential clients.

When someone is choosing a personal trainer, one of the main things they’re going to consider is if they like and get along with someone.

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When it comes to personal training client retention, building rapport is perhaps even more important.

This is simply because building rapport will mean a client trusts you! If they trust you then they’re more likely to stick around, and even recommend you to other people.

Now we’ll take you through a little bit about how to build rapport in order to become a success as a personal trainer.

How to Build Rapport

If you’re working in a gym, your main opportunity to build rapport will be when you’re on the gym floor. The best, and simplest way of doing this is to chat to people!

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Some ways you can do this include:

  • Greeting members when they come into the gym
  • Offering advice on form
  • Offering words of encouragement 

Obviously you need to be sensitive to particular people’s training styles and when it’s equally valuable to leave somebody to it.

This is especially important if people are using dangerous equipment where interrupting them could be distracting and even potentially cause injury.

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You can also:

Offer a free service: This will usually be a workshop for a particular style of training. There’s usually quick and easy to plan and prospective clients can see you in action.

Find common ground: Whether this is a shared hobby or favoured workout, making people feel more comfortable around you and less like you’re there purely to sell to them.

Demonstrate active listening: Make sure you indicate you’re actually listening and taking on board what somebody is saying. This will increase trust and ensure clients feel they can approach you with any issues

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Maintain contact between sessions: A great way is giving them exercises to do at home and having a message stream for updates on their home workouts. 

This will show your dedication however, be wary of respecting your client’s boundaries and remaining professional.

Show sensitivity: Regularly checking in with your client on how they’re feeling emotionally, as well as physically, will show sensitivity. This will not only generally put somebody at ease, but will help you to become a successful personal trainer by improving the training itself.

If there’s an open dialogue, and room for a client to approach you with any issues, more barriers will be removed and the training will be more dedicated. 

#3 How to Succeed as a Personal Trainer: Hold Clients Accountable

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There’s tons of educational health and fitness content out there, on YouTube and other platforms, showing people how to workout and what to eat, which may leave some people thinking they don’t need a PT!

If you want to be successful as a PT, this is something you’ll have to overcome.

Accountability is one of the main advantages of having a personal trainer, and the biggest difference between training alone and working with a PT. 

When working solely from videos, educational blogs, or piecing together advice from different sources, it’s a lot easier for individuals to give up since nobody is checking on them or their progress!

So, the key to becoming a success as a personal trainer is showing people how you will motivate them, track their progress, and hold them accountable.

PT Andy Griffiths executes this really well by being transparent about how he holds clients accountable with their diet and progress using myfitnesspal:

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By being up front about this, anyone considering training with Andy can immediately see how their training will be monitored and how he will help them to get results.

There are three ways that you can hold your clients accountable, those are:

  • Using PT software
  • Setting and tracking SMART goals
  • Having regular check-ins 

Allow us to explain how you can use each of these tools.

Tips for Becoming a Successful Personal Trainer: Use Software to Hold Clients Accountable 

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Using personal training software will increase the way you connect with your clients and help you to track progress and share information.

It acts as a digital record, helping you to organise training plans, as well as setting guidance for clients outside of training sessions.

Some examples of good, affordable software include:

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FitSW for example, includes in-app messaging. This means you can send prompts and encouragement between sessions and remain professional by sticking to a training specific platform.

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Maintain Accountability by Setting Goals & Referring Back to Them

If you want to be a successful personal trainer, you need to be able to set your clients long and short term SMART fitness goals. You can then refer back to these goals as a way of holding clients accountable, should they start losing motivation or making excuses.

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SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Bound

Following this structure for goal-setting will help guide and structure how you hold clients accountable.

For example, if your client’s goal centres around weight loss then a specific, short term goal could be to reduce waist circumference by a set amount of inches.

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This can be measured by:

  • Regular measurements
  • Body compositional tools
  • Weigh-ins

You would also need to ensure that the goal was achievable and realistic, by making sure that you avoid aiming to lose an unrealistic or unsafe amount of inches from the waist.

And, of course, any client’s goals will have time limits, so your SMART goals should include a time frame in which you aim to achieve the goal.

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SMART goals give you multiple ways in which to hold clients accountable. For example, taking measurements during accountability sessions will give you a clear indication of progress. 

Where it would be easy for clients to exaggerate how well they have stayed on track during a general check-ins, taking and recording measurements doesn’t allow room for such fibs!

This gives you a clear idea of how your client is getting on, and a golden opportunity to hold them accountable for their progress (or lack of).

 

Enquire Now to Become a Personal Trainer!

Kickstart your fitness career with OriGym's Level 3 Personal Training qualification today!

Want To Be A Successful PT? Hold Clients Accountable With Regular Check-ins

By regularly checking in with clients, you create an opportunity for you to call them out as well as giving clients an opportunity to raise any concerns. 

Whether you drop them a text, have a quick chat prior to your session,  or hold an ‘accountability session’ , checking-in allows you to maintain a healthy, open dialogue with your clients, and reminds them that you want to help them achieve their goals.

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We recommend setting aside some time every month, even if it's just 10-15 minutes, to sit down with your client, discuss their progress, compliment them on their achievements and if relevant, offer some tough love or motivation.

#4 Adapt Your Training for Different Clients

Knowing how to be a successful personal trainer includes making sure you’re adaptable and able cater to people’s particular styles of training.

Not only does this mean adapting your workouts based on people’s preferred exercises, but mainly about how people respond to certain styles of training.

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For example, different clients will respond differently and be motivated in different ways dependent on their personality type.

Some styles of training you could consider are:

  • Tough Love: Some clients might need you to be tough and hard on them if they slip up in order to be held accountable and challenge them to push themselves.
  • Gentle: Others may be sensitive and want gentle encouragement with more positive ways of motivating them. 

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Adapting to different clients and their individual personality types is essential if you want to become a successful personal trainer because all of this will:

  • Help get the most out of clients 
  • Allow you to build rapport with clients
  • Build your reputation 
  • Increase the chances of people recommending you to others!

#5 Want to Become a Successful Personal Trainer? Teach Whilst You Train!

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Our final tip for being a successful personal trainer who gets the best possible results out of clients, is to teach your clients about health and fitness, rather than just walking them through workouts.

It might seem counterproductive to teach your clients how to train on their own, afterall, you don’t want to risk making them think that they don’t need you anymore, but this will not happen.

Instead, teaching your clients how to motivate themselves and plan workouts outside of your sessions will actually speed up their progress, helping them to see more significant results - which they’ll attribute to training with you!

One effective way of doing this is to set your clients homework.

There are endless health and fitness resources online, such as:

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OriGym even has collections of videos on our own YouTube channel, which consists:

  • Home exercise guides
  • Routines that you can do with just one piece of kit
  • Full body workouts

You can use videos like these as ‘homework’ for your clients by asking them to practice their form specific exercises at home or setting them a goal of doing a home workout before your next session.

Obviously, you’ll have to use some of our tips on holding clients accountable to ensure that they actually do their homework!

How to Be a Successful Personal Trainer: 9 Business Tips

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Now that you know how to be a success among clients, we’re going to share our advice for becoming successful in a business sense, explaining exactly what you need to do to have a long-lasting, lucrative career as a PT. 

#1 How to Be a Successful PT: Start Your Own Business

If you want to be a successful personal trainer, then your end goal should be to start your own business, since this is the most lucrative and flexible way of working in the industry.

Starting your own business can be intimidating but it’s one of the highest paid fitness career options if you have the know-how. 

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The benefits of running your own business include:

  • An unlimited earning potential 
  • Being able to focus on a more particular niche
  • Choosing who your clients are
  • Setting your own prices
  • Being in control of when and how often you work

Common problems that come with working for another company, such as venue limitations, the amount of clients you can have, and competing with people in the same space, can all be avoided if you’ve got your own fitness business.

How to Start a Successful PT Business 

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Now you’re aware that starting your own business is essentially the key to becoming a successful personal trainer, you’re probably wondering how you can go about that - allow us to explain.

Starting a business is an ideal path for those who’ve been working in a gym and have a reasonably sized client base. 

So, if you're newly qualified, we recommend that you spend a year or so working in a gym first, as this will give you experience of:

  • Building rapport
  • Selling to clients 
  • Running 1-1 PT sessions 

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You’ll also get to create a reputation for yourself, by building trust with clients and getting your name out there among potential clients in your local area.

Once you’ve got this experience you’ll have built up a list of clients who could move with you to your new business. 

At the very least, you’ll be able to ask clients from the gym to provide PT testimonials. This will make it easier for you to acquire new clients and build your own business by:

  • Building trust 
  • Making you look authentic 
  • Showcasing the benefits of your services

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Outside of sourcing clients to train, there are a number of new tasks and responsibilities that you’ll have to take on when starting your business. First things first, you’ll need to:

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You’ll also need to make big decisions such as:

From there, you’ll need to create and implement an effective marketing strategy so that you can generate enquiries. You'll also need to learn how to close sales so that you can turn those enquiries into paying customers!

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Don’t worry though, as we’ve shared some marketing and selling tips a little further on in this article.

We also have this full guide to writing a personal trainer business plan, if you feel like you’re in a position to take on this step!

In addition to the typical roles of a personal trainer, you’ll also have responsibilities, including business administration tasks like paying your own tax and national insurance contributions.

Fortunately, the OriGym blog is made up of tons of useful resources for PTs who want to start a successful business, including inspiration for personal training packages and this useful personal trainer business checklist.

#2 Want to Be a Successful Personal Trainer? Do Market Research

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If you want to be a successful personal trainer in a business sense, then doing market research and getting to know your competitors is essential. 

This tip isn’t exclusive to those running their own business, either, since the data that you gather from market research can be used to stand out as a personal trainer in any capacity. 

It will help you:

  • Identify your target audience 
  • Choose and develop a niche
  • Plan the services you offer 
  • Decide how much you should charge
  • Find the best way to  market yourself

The simplest reason that research will tell you how to be a successful personal trainer is that you’re scoping out the competition!

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If you know who your competitors are then you’ll know:

  • Exactly what’s being offered in your area
  • Where the gaps in the market are
  • What obstacles you might face when it comes to getting more PT clients

If you make market research part of your regular business practice, you’ll increase the value of the service by always being one step ahead of your competitors. 

So, what should you be doing for market research? And, more importantly, how will it help you become a successful personal trainer? Allow us to explain!

How to Succeed as a Personal Trainer: Look At The Competition

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Looking at examples of other PTs, especially those who are local to you or have a speciality similar to your interests, will benefit you by:

  • Showing you what works (and what doesn’t work) for other PTs
  • Showing you how other people are pursuing a specific speciality 
  • Helping you find a gap in the market

Say you wanted your speciality to be that you offer nutrition services alongside personal training, you might look at Noble-Strong Training

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Noble-Strong offers a range of different programmes and includes nutrition in his training, and so by looking at how he structures these packages and promotes his services, you could get some insight into how you could do the same (but better!)

If you wanted to be a successful personal trainer, specialising in nutrition in the same area as Noble Strong, your market research would be aimed at finding a way to compete!

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For example, by looking at their prices and having a thorough read of their website to find out exactly what services they offer, you could decide to:

  • Offer a budget alternative
  • Aim your service at a particular, different demographic
  • Offer a service not being offered by anybody else

Say you noticed that their business model was great and they offered top-quality services, but you think that high prices might be putting some potential clients off, you could offer similar but more affordable packages to capitalise on this gap in the market!

Mystery Shop Your Competitors for Market Research

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Conducting a mystery shop as part of your market research is a great way of finding out what you need to do to become a successful personal trainer in your area or niche.

Essentially this would mean enquiring as a ‘prospective client’ for an existing PT business and asking about:

  • Their prices or packages
  • What specific services they offer
  • How they track clients
  • What they believe the benefits of their services are

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Mystery shopping one of your competitors allows you to trace their customer journey and experience things from the perspective of your potential clients.

It will also provide you with an insight into how a successful business operates and might highlight some of the finer elements you may not have thought about yourself.

You can make notes throughout commenting on what works, what doesn’t, and even jot down any unique ideas that you think of along the way.

 

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If you go past simply looking at what people offer, and make a genuine enquiry, you’ll be able to look in more detail at somebody’s:

  • Their unique selling points (USPs) 
  • Their selling techniques
  • How they build rapport

All of this is invaluable experience for market research and will help you to find your niche, develop a USP, and give you a better idea of how to succeed as a personal trainer in your local area. 

Use Surveys for Market Research

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Surveys are also a great tool for market research as they allow you to get customer feedback on scale.

Some of the questions you could ask (with multiple choices) include:

  • Age group of participants
  • What would your main expectations be for personal training?
  • What are your fitness goals?
  • How much would you be willing to pay per month for training 

You can use these to determine what’s missing from the particular market you’re interested in, and react and provide a service.

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Also, because the information is easy to process, and the data is easily manageable, you can turn it into actionable insights.

This will continue to be important as you develop your brand and your business. It will mean you’re consistently improving based on feedback and the needs of potential clients.

You can also use the data you gather from surveys to help you choose which niche to specialise in.

#3 Become a Successful Personal Trainer By Choosing a Speciality 

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One of the most effective ways of becoming a successful PT is by finding and pursuing a speciality within the industry.

According to marketing experts at Adzooma, the benefits of pursuing a speciality include:

  • Being able to charge a premium
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Less competition

Pursuing a speciality essentially means choosing to work with a certain demographic of clients or offering a unique service.

Your personal trainer speciality should be based on:

  • What your passionate about
  • The market research you’ve done
  • Which qualifications you have 

One example of a business successfully pursuing a speciality is The Gym Bird, who has designed an entire bespoke programme around pre and postnatal exercise with their “belly subscription”.

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By offering a package dedicated to this specific demographic of clients, with exclusive features for new and expecting mothers, Gym Bird reinforces that she knows how to be a successful personal trainer in this particular specialisation. 

By having the confidence to be specific, they have decreased their competition and marketed their business as the only option for this particular target audience.

How to Pursue a Speciality

Depending on what speciality you want to pursue, you will either need to complete a separate qualification or be able to identify a way in which you can adapt your existing skills for a specific demographic.

For example, Barefaced Fitness in Liverpool promotes her specialist qualifications with a separate page on her website!

As you can see, Kim has been open about her qualifications and even goes into detail about how each of them will help her clients.

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Showcasing her qualifications in this way shows professionalism and creates a sense of reliability, and demonstrates that she’s committed to becoming a successful personal trainer within those specialisations. 

If you’re going to design specialist programmes, you will also need to show clients that you’re qualified to do so and that you have the relevant knowledge.

Then, you can create a service or package offering specialist services, using your qualifications to market yourself as an expert in that specialisation, just like Kim has done with her ‘Nutrition Club’:

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By being open about her working towards her nutrition qualification, she’s showing directly how she’s pursuing this specialisation and how her knowledge will benefit prospective clients.

You could do exactly this, either by completing a level 4 advanced nutrition qualification, or by choosing another speciality, such as:

#4 How to Be A Successful PT:  Make A Google My Business Account

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If you want to know how to be a successful personal trainer, this will be one of the best tools to have in your arsenal when it comes to getting new clients.

Google My Business allows you to list your business location on Google Maps so that it comes up for ‘local search’ results, such as ‘personal training liverpool’. 

For example, here are the top three results on Google Maps when you search “personal training in Liverpool”:

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Once you click on one of these there will be information about:

  • Opening times
  • Contact information
  • A link to their websites
  • Reviews (if they have a Google My Business account)

The reason this is one of the ways to become a successful PT is that the people doing local searches have what’s called a “high intent”.

This essentially means they know exactly what they want. That’s why it’s a great way of cutting some steps down and funnelling clients to your services as efficiently as possible. 

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According to Search Engine Land, 80% of this style of search leads to sales, a site visit, or consultation within 24 hours.

The same research suggests that 92% of customers who make these searches will choose one of the first three businesses. 

Other benefits of using Google My Business include:

  • It makes you visible
  • It keeps your clients informed
  • Customers are more likely to trust your service 

People can be confident in the quality, legitimacy, transparency, and communication when your information is so readily available via Google in this way.

 

Enquire Now to Become a Personal Trainer!

Kickstart your fitness career with OriGym's Level 3 Personal Training qualification today!

Having this information so easily accessible will benefit the funnelling process because you’re telling people the basics and drawing them to your website, with more information, as quickly as possible.

Basically, if you can manage your marketing, advertising, and master Google My Business, you’ll be increasingly able to funnel customers into guaranteed sales. 

Check out this OriGym guide to using Google My Business as a personal trainer to find out more.

#5 Create a Social Media Presence to Improve Your Success As A Personal Trainer

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You might assume that creating a social media presence is most important for independent personal trainers who want a low-cost way of getting the word out there about their business.

Whilst this is true, creating content for social media is equally beneficial for PTs working in or for a gym, either on a freelance or employed basis.

This is because most gyms will give clients or members the option of who they want to train with. 

For example, Unit 7 in Liverpool has several freelance trainers working for them, and it's completely up to the client who they choose to train with. 

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Bethany Jane Harris is one in particular that has a huge following on Instagram and has the know-how to be a successful personal trainer despite in-house competition!

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She has almost 7000 followers, with whom she shares:

  • Details of her own fitness journey
  • Educational health and fitness content
  • Plenty of client transformations

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Having this platform will no doubt help with social proofing and help Bethany to stand out from the other PTs in her gym and the area in general, helping her to attract more clients and make more money, which is how to be a successful PT!

Whilst Bethany is evidence that Instgram in particular is a brilliant platform to promote your PT business, there are of course other social platforms that you could consider using.

The ‘best’ platform to use really does depend on: 

  • Your individual business needs
  • The findings of your market research
  • Who your target audience is

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For instance, if you want to work with senior clients, you probably don’t want to throw all of your efforts into social media platforms with younger demographics, like TikTok. 

At the same time, doing a little bit of research will show you that Facebook is becoming increasingly unpopular among the younger generation, suggesting that it wouldn’t be the best place to market your business if you want your clients to be students, for example.

Whatever platform you deem best for your business, here are some tips for getting the most out of social media.

How to Use Social Media to Become a Successful PT: Create a Consistent Brand Identity

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If you want to create a strong presence on social media and generate awareness around your business, you’ll want to make sure you’re consistent across different platforms. This includes using the same:

  • Colour scheme
  • Logos
  • Handwriting and other aesthetic choices
  • Tone of voice

Keeping all of these things consistent across various social media platforms will subtly reinforce the reliability and strength of your brand, allowing your audience to instantly recognise one of your pages. 

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This isn’t just about grabbing attention, it's about making sure that your audience remembers you too!

According to Marcom, brand consistency ensures that your brand is easily recognizable across all marketing channels and touch points, and makes it more likely that consumers will make a purchase

Carly Rowena is a perfect example of someone who has created a consistent brand identity across multiple platforms:

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Her Instagram centres her own life and uses a consistent filter and font to make her posts instantly recognisable.

This instantly personalises the posts and makes them much more memorable. There’s no mistaking Carly’s posts for somebody else’s!

This is why centering yourself is a great way to grow your social media presence and become a successful PT.

Equally, on her website, she has centred herself and included an image of her working out on the home page.

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This immediately connects the two platforms and there’s no mistaking that this is who you’re looking for, regardless of which platform you came to first. 

Become a Success on Social Media By Creating Valuable Content 

By providing high quality content for your readers and potential clients you’ll present yourself as an expert in your particular niche!

Having an idea of the kind of content other personal trainers post will show you how to be a successful PT. 

Some examples of posts you could do include:

  • Transformation pictures
  • Advice on particular exercises
  • Testimonials from clients
  • Advice on particular regimes for particular goals
  • Personal videos 
  • Interviews with other industry professionals

For example, Joey Lowy has a great mix of these things on his Instagram including testimonials and transformation pictures from clients!

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These are all things that some of the most successful PTs have on their socials to promote their expertise and show they know their stuff.

Ultimately you want your page to be a one stop shop for any advice people might need about personal training and all things fitness.

Want to Use Social Media to Become a Successful PT? Be Aware of Opportunities for Offers

When it comes to social media, timing is everything. What and when you post can really influence how much engagement you get and whether your social media posts result in your followers making an enquiry or starting to train with you. 

Whether you use January deals to capitalise on new year’s resolutions, or run offers in the build up to summer, becoming a successful personal trainer is not just knowing how to market your business, but also knowing when to do so. 

For example, Minniina Fitness has done this successfully by offering a January discount for packages:

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Recognising that January is one of the most popular times for individuals to consider training with a PT, she has created and promoted January offers across her social media channels.

Her huge Instagram following speaks for just how popular you can become if you pay attention to these opportunities:

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If you know how to master some of these small things, you’ll know how to be a success as a personal trainer.

#6 Create and Implement a Marketing Strategy to Succeed As A Personal Trainer

Naturally this is mostly important when you start your own business, however, you’ll need to be savvy with marketing if you’re working out of a gym too as you’ll still need to stand out! 

So, how can you implement an effective marketing strategy? We’ve put together a full guide to marketing your personal trainer business here  but for now, here are our top tips for getting started.

Dedicate Time to Your Marketing Strategy

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Though you might be tempted to spend all of your time working with your clients and spreading the word via in-person sessions, it’s worth setting time aside for marketing.

Taking the time to market your business is the key to becoming a successful PT as this is how you’ll grow your business and client base.

Word of mouth is only one side of how you’ll spread the word about your expertise and the services you offer.

Ultimately, you don’t just want to make sure you’ve retained existing clients, and built up a solid rapport, you want to constantly be attracting new clients too.

This will grow your business and help you to develop and dominate the market!

 

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Develop a USP for Your PT Business

A USP (Unique Selling Point) is the single thing that makes you or your business unique, and should typically be the focus of your marketing efforts.

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Basically, any good marketing strategy should start by identifying a USP which you can then use within your marketing materials to show your audience why and how you are better than your competition.

A strong USP will help you:

  • Help you to stand out from competitors
  • Show your audience the benefits of training with you
  • Make it easier for you to sell to clients and get more PT clients

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Finding a USP shouldn’t be too difficult as long as you follow our advice on how to carry out market research, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What is my unique specialisation? 
  • Do I have a particular style of training?
  • What are the values and ethos of my brand? 
  • Have I established a strong personal training mission statement?

You can decide on your deals, packages, and prices to reflect a particular USP, all using this information.

Your USP can centre around your price, location, specialty, or anything else that you think would be unique, add value, and help you to get more clients. 

It may well be that your speciality is your USP, however, if there is still a fair amount of competition within that niche, it’s worth thinking outside of the box and finding a USP within that speciality.

For instance, one thing that makes personal trainer Rebecca Jo unique is that she offers training on the beach.

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It might be that her market research told her nobody else was utilising the beach as a local fitness resource, or that this was something her audience would be interested in.

Either way, this isn’t something that many PTs offer, so it certainly helps her to stand out.

Decide on a Marketing Budget

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By planning your budget you’re establishing how to be a successful personal trainer using different marketing techniques, without overspending.

Your budget should be proportional to how big your business is. This way you can implement changes and scale the growth of your marketing budget as you start to grow.

When you’re starting out you want to make sure you’re having the maximum effect without spending over the odds.

3 Marketing Tools to Successfully Promote Yourself As A PT

As we’ve already shown, Google My Business and social media pages are two incredibly profitable options for free marketing tools that you can start using straight away, but here are three more cost effective marketing tools to utilise.

Create a Referral Scheme 

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This is essentially when you encourage existing clients to bring friends and family along to their session so that you can then encourage them to sign up.

This will benefit existing clients as usually you’ll offer money off, or some sort of bonus, for bringing people in or telling their friends and family about your services. The bonus that you offer clients doesn’t need to cost much at all and will be offset by the new stream of clients!

You could offer something as little as a gym bag or sweatshirt, like grass valley training:

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People tend to trust the opinions of their friends and family more than they do ads on facebook, google, or anywhere else for that matter, making the leads you acquire from referrals some of the easiest to convert into clients! 

Invest in a Website

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Whilst creating a website is by no means free, having a professional looking website is one the best marketing tools if you want to become a success as a personal trainer.

Getting a website built is a long term investment that allows you to create a space to:

  • Direct potential clients to find more information about your business
  • Add to the credibility of your business 
  • Share your story and show your audience what your brand is all about
  • Allow users to find you online

Having a high quality website also allows you to pursue digital marketing strategies such as blogging, which is one of the best ways to market your business and drive traffic to your services.

 

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By creating high quality content you’ll be proving your holistic expertise, as well as increasing the reliability of your brand.

If you can give advice or a diverse range of fitness queries this will:

  • Legitimise your services
  • Keep people on your site (driving your Google ranking)
  • Establish you as the go-to person for anything fitness related

Once you're done here, read this OriGym guide to getting PT clients from your fitness blog!

Use Pay Per Click Ads on Google

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are a really cost effective way of driving traffic to your website because you only pay for these adverts when a user actually reaches your site through one!

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PPC ads are completely flexible and easy to track, allowing you to:

  • Adjust them as you go
  • See fast and clear results as soon as you start 
  • Measure their progress easily seeing the exact return on your investment

If you set up PPC ads on Google, you can have your website appear as an ad when users search keywords related to your business.

For example, if you were a personal trainer working in Chester, you could target the phrase ‘personal trainer chester’. 

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KT Chaloney is doing exactly this, meaning that whenever someone in their area searches for a PT, her website is the first to appear! 

This means that users can easily click through and enquire with her directly, all without her having to pay anything until somebody actually clicks on the ad.

Check out our article on personal trainer advertising to find out exactly how to use Google Ads!

#7 How to be a Successful Personal Trainer: Create a Sales Funnel

A sales funnel is a visual representation of the journey from a client’s first contact with you up to a completed purchase.

A typical funnel normally has four stages, and looks something like this:

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Not only is funnelling a way of securing clients through a particular marketing and sales strategy, but it also shows you where each client is up to and which ones need your attention. 

You can even get software that will do this for you, mapping the funnel, tracking new clients, and showing you where people drop off, which can help you understand how you could alter your sales process.

With all of these things in mind, it's no surprise that leadsquared reported that creating a sales funnel improves conversion rates.

So, what does each stage of the sales funnel involve? And how can you implement your own? Let’s break down each stage.

Awareness Stage

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This is the stage where people first become aware of your business, usually by:

  • Seeing your business on social media
  • Finding your website by Google search (or on Google My Business!)
  • Hearing about you via word of mouth

Whether individuals are actively looking for a PT, or they just happen to become aware of your business, if you want to move to the next stage of the funnel and generate interest from this awareness, you need to demonstrate how your service solves a problem for that individual.  

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The best way to do this is by creating content that provides plenty of information  about you and your business in an attempt to successfully advertise your business.

You can find some inspiration for this kind of valuable content by reading this article filled with personal trainer social media ideas.

In terms of affordable, easy ways to generate awareness, here are some ideas:

  • Post regularly on social media
  • Ask friends / family / existing clients to talk about your business
  • Start a fitness blog 

You can also check out this YouTube video for tons of ways to build awareness around your business:

All of these things can be used to grab somebody’s attention, and start the process of ‘lead generation’. 

This is exactly as it sounds: generating leads. You want this initial stage to lead to enquiries, leading to sales, which is how to succeed as a personal trainer!

So, you need to give as much information as possible, right off the bat, to ensure that by the time you have direct contact, they’re the ideal client whose needs match your expertise as exactly as possible.

Interest Stage

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In this second phase, you’re attempting to turn awareness and attention into direct enquiry, drawing leads to:

  • Make an enquiry
  • Contact you
  • Sign up for a consultation 

This is where a prospective client or ‘lead’ will be looking in detail at what you offer, and, hopefully, expressing an interest in becoming a client!

Your job, at this stage, is to use your content to show potential clients, with the right tone and the right offer, that you can help them with their goals, and give them a simple way to express their interest.

 

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Content that helps at this stage includes in-depth things like:

  • Guides on a blog on your website
  • Checklists that compare different styles of training
  • Pros and cons lists to show exactly why clients should choose your programme

This is essentially your opportunity to show off your knowledge and tell the client why and how they can start training with you over anybody else! 

Decision Stage

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At this stage, you should have had some contact with the lead, either off the back of an enquiry or as part of a consultation.

Your lead should know everything they need to know in order to decide whether you are the right PT for them, and you should feel confident that you’ve communicated how your services are the best choice for someone.

This is where you need to use closing tactics and other personal trainer selling techniques to seal the deal. Fortunately, we’ve included some tips on mastering your closing technique in the next step!

Action Stage

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This is obviously the stage of the funnel when somebody decides to buy a package or sessions from you, moving from a lead to a paying client!

As long as you continue to build on the rapport, you should easily be able to retain the client, and going forwards, potentially upsell and offer further services, increasing the amount you can earn from this one sale.

#8 Master Your Closing Strategy to Succeed As A Personal Trainer

Depending on what you believe makes a successful personal trainer, mastering the ability to close sales is perhaps the most important step towards being a success.

If you can funnel people properly and close sales, you’ll be able to build a large client base, boost sales, and earn a lot of money. 

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Here are a few techniques you can use to persuade leads to become clients by buying packages from you or signing up for personal training sessions.

1. Giving a one time or temporary discount

This will put a bit of pressure on to secure the sale now, because there will be a time limit added. 

For example, you could tell the client that you’re currently running an offer that ends Friday, prompting them to sign up so as to not miss out on any savings!

2. Summarising

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One of the most traditional closers, with this tactic you summarise what you’ve learned from your client, the services you can offer, and how you can use them to help.

Though this may seem simple, you’ll need to know how to do this naturally if you want to know how to succeed as a personal trainer. 

Here are some tips for summarising well:

  • Summarise the list of benefits: Summarise all the benefits your client will receive, telling them exactly what they’ll be getting if they invest in your services. Make it sound impressive: Mention some previous successes you’ve had by reiterating responses to your services. 
  • Go into detail: You want to be rigorous with exactly how you can help someone rather than being vague. Make sure you focus on individual features and results specific to their goals.
  • Be efficient: You want to provide plenty of information, and ensure you’re being persuasive, without boring your potential client. Be detailed but concise!

3. Question Close

This is your chance to refute any potential barriers and objections to your sale by asking leading, closed questions that frame everything you offer positively. For instance:

"I think this package would give you a bit of everything you need to reach your goals, do you agree?"

Something like this will also give you an opportunity to clear up any apprehensions. You can clarify anything the potential client is worried about.

Or, you could ask:

"So which package do you think suits you best, option A or option B?"

Offering the choice between two options, rather than asking an open question such as “So do you want to sign up?” prompts the lead to decide between which of your services they want, rather than whether you want your services! 

#9 Maximise Your Success By Getting Qualified In Other Disciplines 

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We’ve already mentioned the benefits of pursuing further qualifications for helping you to develop a USP or niche, but that’s not the only way in which getting additional fitness qualifications can help you to become a successful personal trainer. 

By getting qualified in disciplines that complement the services that you offer, you can:

  • Access a wider pool of clients 
  • Capitalise on how much you earn from each of your existing clients
  • Avoid having to turn people away from your business

For example, specialising in a discipline like pre and post-natal training, but also offering standard PT sessions, is one of the best ways to become a successful personal trainer if your priority is having a large client base and earning a lot of money.

Our example from earlier, The Gym Bird, is doing exactly this! 

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By offering both of these packages, she can reap all of the rewards that come with having a speciality, without limiting her client base.

Plus, offering general personal training means that once her pre and post-natal clients no longer need a specialised service, they can continue to train with her by moving on to the general programme.

This is something that you could replicate with a range of different health and fitness disciplines.

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For instance, by studying a level 3 yoga teacher qualification with OriGym, you could offer clients diverse packages made up of a mixture of yoga and personal training, allowing you to be a one-stop-shop for people with problems such as:

  • Posture
  • Strength
  • Relaxation  

Some other disciplines that this would work especially well for include:

  • Sports massage
  • Strength and conditioning 
  • Nutrition 

Be a Successful PT By Offering Sports Massage Alongside Personal Training

sports massage how to be a success

By becoming a qualified sports massage therapist, you can offer sports massage services alongside personalised training programmes, allowing you to take on new clients who want sports massage services but aren’t particularly interested in having a personal trainer.

Perhaps more significantly, completing a sports massage course would allow you to refer your existing PT clients to your sports massage services, allowing you to make more money from that one individual.

Say one of your clients experiences a muscle injury in the gym, you can suggest the idea of sports massage therapy to speed up their recovery!

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You could do the opposite with your sports massage clients, too. For example, if a client comes to you for a sports massage, it’s likely they’re pretty into fitness, so you could offer to take them on as a PT client.

Having this qualification will also improve your abilities as a personal trainer, by giving you more knowledge around:

  • Injury prevention
  • Treating injury
  • Recovery 

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Though part of why this particular discipline is so profitable is the calibre of clients you can attract, like sports teams and athletes, sports massage is popular with plenty of amateur fitness enthusiasts, such as avid runners or cyclists, too.

Rebecca Jo, for instance, is both a personal trainer and sport massage therapist with her own studio.

As you can see, she doesn’t need to charge over the odds for her personal training services:

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By offering a combination of both services, she can earn a healthy wage by keeping her prices relatively affordable.

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Say one of Rebecca Jo’s clients chooses her cheapest package, £360 for 12 1 hour sessions over the course of a month, and pairs that with one 30 minute sports massage a week. 

This would come to a total of £480, meaning only 5 clients would need to sign up for this for Rebecca Jo to earn £2400 a month!

Considering the benefits of sports massage and how much crossover there is between those who use personal training and sports massage services, this isn’t an unrealistic goal! 

Offer Strength & Conditioning Services

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Becoming a certified strength and condition coach is another way in which you could use further qualifications to supplement your existing PT business and increase your earnings.

This specialisation can be highly lucrative since you’ll typically work with clients, such as ameatuer or professional athletes, who are serious about achieving specific exercise goals. 

Those who want to work with an S&C coach will be willing to pay more for such a specialised service, giving you the opportunity to earn more without having to increase how much you charge for your PT services.

You could still work with your usual PT clients, but for those who have goals related to a specific sport, you can offer to create a strength and conditioning programme for them, providing them with a better service and increasing your income!

Can Studying Sports Nutrition Help You Become A Successful Personal Trainer?

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By completing a nutrition course, you’ll be able to tailor diet and meal plans for clients with a huge swathe of different goals.

Since exercise and nutrition go hand in hand, and are equally important when it comes to achieving any health or fitness-related goals, being able to offer both of these services will help you to become a successful personal trainer by:

  • Improving the quality of the service you can offer clients
  • Allowing you to charge more (since you’ll be offering specialist services)

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The title of sports nutritionist is not regulated by law in the same way that “dietician” is and so there are different routes you can take in terms of qualifications. 

You could study at degree-level, however, this is by no means essential. If you want a faster and more affordable way to tap into this discipline, you can complete a vocational course, such as OriGym’s Level 4 course in Sports Nutrition.

Completing this course will allow you to:  

  • Offer standard PT sessions
  • Create nutrition plans for clients 
  • Sell packages that combine the two

 

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You’ll develop knowledge on a range of topics, such as:

  • Understanding macros and micros 
  • Nutrition legislation
  • The relationship between nutrition and physical activity
  • Specialist dietary knowledge

As you can see from the breadth, and depth, of knowledge provided by a course like this, it opens a lot of doors in terms of the clients you can attract.

Not only will you be more popular but, by being able to provide bigger packages and plans for people, you’ll be able to charge more.

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For example, these packages are from Eleanor Rees, a nutritionist who offers bespoke packages for everybody including athletes.

These are the prices she can charge without offering any personal training services, so this gives you an idea of just how lucrative it can be to combine these two things.

As you can see from Sarah O’Neill’s packages, adding nutrition to your services can hugely increase the price you can charge.

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Considering the average cost of 10 PT sessions is around £300, you can see just how much extra you can charge when offering nutrition plans - all without a great deal of extra work.

#10 Take Your Business Online

One of the main benefits of online personal training is that there are fewer limits on the amount of people that you can train since you can work remotely.

This means you won’t have to factor in the travel time that you would with mobile training or working out of a facility, freeing up the amount of time you can spend working.

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If you’re interested in taking your training online, check out OriGym’s other articles that can help you get started:

Becoming an online personal trainer also means you can access clients from all over the country. Depending on the time zone, you could train anyone, from anywhere in the world! 

There are a few different options if you want to know how to be a successful personal trainer online:

  • Streaming live
  • Creating instructional videos

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You could even design hybrid programmes for people, combining in-person training with programmes for people to do at home.

According to Men’s Health online personal training isn’t going anywhere and is set to get even bigger, with more and more people working remotely.  

You’ll need a USP and a very well thought out marketing strategy to succeed as a personal trainer online, though, since taking away the limits around location means you’ll have more competition. 

Before You Go!

That concludes our guide on how to be a successful personal trainer! Hopefully we’ve given you all the information and advice you need to develop your brand and boost your sales.

Enquire today about OriGym’s Level 4 courses to develop your career, knowledge, and have the edge over your competition!

Unsure what you want your speciality to be? Whilst you’re doing your market research, use our downloadable course prospectus to see which would be the best fit for you!

 

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Written by Jessie Florence Jones

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Jessie has a 1st class honours degree in English Literature from University of Leeds and an MA in English Literature from Durham University. Naturally Jessie has a real passion for writing especially about film, culture and wellbeing. Outside of writing she loves hiking, country walks and yoga, which she has been doing religiously over lockdown.

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