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How to sell as a personal trainer: Untapped Secrets (Ultimate guide 2019)

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We all learn about the anatomy, nutrition and principles of exercise during our level 3 personal training diploma, but very few course providers spend enough time and focus on developing key business acumen skills required to help trainers flourish and build a successful client base. 

Learning how to sell as a personal trainer is as important as writing fitness programmes for clients. Logically if you can’t sell, you won’t have anyone to deliver sessions to in the first place. 

This extensive guide, packed with sales scripts, objection handling and personal trainer rapport building techniques is written by successful personal trainers and by sales experts:

STEP 1 - Understanding Sales Pipelines

STEP 2 - Personal Trainer Advertising & Marketing

STEP 3 - Why Personal Trainers Need a CRM

STEP 4 - Don't be Personal Training Organised, Get Sales Organised

STEP 5 - Buiding Rapport to Clients

STEP 6 - Needs Analysis

STEP 7 - Personal Trainer Price Presenting

STEP 8 - Getting Personal Trainer Referrals

So listen up….as this part is key….

There is so many poor, misleading and in some cases unfounded articles on selling personal training on the web, we thought we would do it right and give you a step by step guide that you can implement today!

If you are serious about building a client base of 50 plus clients in under 6 months then keep reading….You won’t find these techniques anywhere else on the web.

Let’s jump in…

 

STEP 1 – Sales Funnels, Pipelines & Forecasting

Before you begin learning personal training selling techniques and how to close sales, you need to learn how sales funnels, pipelines and forecasting works. 

If you are unsure what a prospect or lead is, it is simply someone who has expressed an interest in your services and you have collected their data in order to try and sell personal training or related services:

getting personal training leads image

Leads are the lifeblood to any business, including personal training!

Leads or prospects come in many forms and from a variety of different sources. See the graphic below as a few examples for you:

These are all forms of leads. Some leads are stronger than others. For example, a lead that comes from a compeition drop box would probably be a weaker lead than a lead deriving from approaching you directly on the gym floor. This is the same for all business'. 

The trick is to find a continuous influx of new leads from your best sources.

More on this later.....

Sales pipelines and sales funnels both describe the flow of a lead through a sale, but there’s an important difference between the two commonly confused terms:

 

In other words, a sales pipeline allows us to identify where prospects are in the sales journey to becoming a PT client and give us as trainers clear actions that need to be taken to progress someone onto the next stage. Below is a simplified version of a sales piepline for a personal trainer:

Each step influences the last. If you do not generate leads, you therefore have nobody to qualify, make a proposal to and convert into a paying customer. Failure to do any of the steps negaitvitly impactas the following step.

Bear this part in mind:

 


We know or we should anyway, that just acquiring or selling personal training to one client can be worth thousands to us.

Example: 

if you sold at £30 per hour at two sessions per week for a year you would make £3,120. We can safely say therefore that Personal training has a high deal for your piepline. Its not like your selling £15 T-shirts on Ebay is it. You would have to sell 208 of those to equal £3,120, which makes that a low deal in a sales pipeline.

What is a sales funnel?

Sales funnels allow us as business owners to evaluate the overall numbers of people within each stage of our sales pipeline.

See the example sales funnel of a personal trainer below:

Sales funnels allow us to analyse and optimise the processes and systems we utilise at each step of the user journey.

For example:

If you are generating lots of leads, qualifying them really well, but not closing very many sales, the sales closing system you have in place may need reviewing. Could you get more sales out of a refined sales system to double your conversions without having to generate anymore leads.

or

Let's look at this in reverse. Your closing 4 out of every 5 leads you qualify, but still have plenty of space in your PT diary. Then it is clear you are simply not generating enough leads or have an effective fitness marketing plan in place that provides continuous enquiries day in day out, otherwise based on your closing ratios you would be overwhelmed with clients. Most trainers and when I say most, I mean nearly all fit into this bracket. 

In this article we are going to breakdown every step of the sales pipeline and sales funnel, showing you how to maximise the entire selling of personal training process that you can put into practice immediately and get so many clients, you will need to think what is next in your fitness career!

Before you jump the gun, you need to get your marketing system ready to go.....

STEP 2 - TOP OF THE SALES FUNNEL - ADVERTISING, MARKETING & LEAD GENERATION

Let's start at the top of the sales funnel - Lead generation. We can only generate leads if we have advertisement and marketing in play.

Marketing and advertising are two areas that get miss-interpreted or joined as one. These two entities are not the same! 

In other words, advertising is just which areas or avenues you decide to spend money e.g buying posters, what you place on that poster is marketing...

As we discussed earlier, when someone enquiries (submits their personal details) via that advertisement about what you are marketing this then becomes a lead.  

In other words, someone who is potentially interested in your personal training services that you have a way of contacting. 

Leads come in various forms and can have as little as an email address to be a lead e.g. Dave – dave@hotmail.co.uk.

Leads come as a consequence of advertising and marketing. Leads vary in quality based on where you are advertising, what you are marketing and how much detail you have on that lead.

E.g. Referral leads from existing clients are far stronger than leads from a free nutrition seminar someone has signed up to with their just email address.

The more leads we have as a personal trainer the more appointments we will set, the more sales we will make, the more money we earn. It’s a numbers game!

There are two types of leads as a personal trainer working within a gym, reactive and engagement leads. You should have a mix of both!

Reactive leads are leads where the leads come to you. Engagment leads are leads that you have generated through personal intercation. 

REACTIVE LEAD GENERATION

Reactive leads will generate you visibility and enquiries whilst your delivering sessions, on lunch and generally around the clock.

The reason they are called reactive leads as that once the personal trainer advertisement is set-up, you can generally just leave it for members to "react" to.

Here are some examples of reactive personal training advertisement and lead generation you should be doing as bread and butter of being a personal trainer in a gym:

Gym Posters

Posters in every locker, on reception, in every café table, bar, back of doors, above urinals and multiple places on the gym floor. It is your responsibility to ensure these posters are visible.

Posters must be eye catching with a clear action you want prospective clients to take. Here are a few calls to action you can place on there:

Your call to action (CTA) should be big enough to read from a distance. CTA is what your asking someone to do as a consequence of seeing your marketing. Are you asking them to ring you, email, text or sign up for example.

Posters should be at eye level and use colours that are opposite to their background.

Once you have paid for poster production, which is minimal, you can leave them for a month whilst leads come to you. Then you can change your poster with a new offer and expiry date, keeping it fresh and creating urgency. 

Competition Drop Boxes

Placed on reception, café tables, local business, gym floor table, on the bar. Drop boxes are just boxes that you can leave around that have a pen and a contact form that offer an incentive for users to submit their details to gain something of value. They should be checked often and have urgency with defined cut off dates to incentivise someone to submit their details.

 

Drop boxes should be updated at least once per month and checked daily for lead submitions so you can act upon a lead whilst they are "hot".

Other employees

Other employees referring gym members are one of the strongest lead sources and enable you to sell personal training with minimal effort.

Although you should treat everyone you work with kindly, there are a few positions within your company you should treat with extra care:

Receptionists get the first point of contact with any prospective member that walks through the door as they have to speak to them before speaking with a sales advisor to join the gym. This creates rapport between the receptionist and the gym member.

Sales advisors get the most exposure to a new member, from performing their own sales rapport through to showing them around, helping them get booked in for inductions and classes when they first sign up. For anyone to hand over money to someone else means there is some form of rapport and trust. 

When the new gym member asks who they should speak with in regards to personal training, you want that member of staff who the customer trusts and believes is impartial to give your name and details or in some cases even comes and gets you off the gym floor to close the immediate sale. This is why this form of personal trainer selling is one of the highest converting.

There are two things leading that make people refer more than anything else.

Imagine if you could give both?

Guaranteed personal trainer referrals!

This is how you are going to ensure they give your name instead of another trainer’s name for the easiest sales. It requires just two simple things:

 

  1. YOUR GOING TO BE EXTRA NICE TO THEM – THIS INCLUDES, BUT NOT LIMITED TO:

2. OFFER THEM A REFERRAL PRIZE THEY CAN’T SAY NO TO – THIS INCLUDES, BUT NOT LIMITED TO

When you get these personal trainer sale referrals from other employees, always say thank you and always pay or give your referral offer on time, every time.

Recipe of the Day

If your good in the kitchen or knowledgeable on nutrition, creating recipes of the day by asking members to email you from posters or sign up sheets is a good way of capturing leads. Similar to drop boxes this should be generating leads whilst you are doing workshops or working with clients. It’s a great way to develop relations with gym members distantly and building your email subscriber base.

Roll Out Banners

Very similar to posters are roll-up banners. They can cost as little as £30 and are hard to miss!

As with all forms of personal traienr advertising, ensure you have a clear CTA and place them in highly visible area e.g. near reception and the entry to the gym floor. This way every member must walk past it to access the building and gym floor and then walk back past them to leave.

Engagement Lead Generation

On top of reactive lead generation, we have engagement leads. Engagement leads are another mechanism we can use to increase the leads generated on the top end of our sales funnel.

You have probably heard the phrase "you need to be visible on the gym floor", the issue being most trainers don't know what this actually means!

Does it mean you walk the gym floor, ask people if they need a spot - No it does not!

We'll come back to this in just a moment.....

Another phrase that gets missunderstood whilst selling personal training is "Ask as many people as you can on the gym floor if they are interested in personal training and you will get sales'" - Again this does not work!

Firstly being visible on the gym floor means engaging through the means of personal training with a direct process for it to equal sales. 

Asking if every individual in sight if they would like to buy your personal training service, breaks every rule of good sales!

What this means is that "cold selling" to people on the floor when you don't even know their name, had any form of communication with them before or developed any level of rapport and interaction is criminal in sales.

This is where enagagement leads come into play. Engagement leads are leads that you have ascertained via interacting with gym members on the gym floor through the means of reciprocal marketing. 

All reciprocal marketing means is that instead of approaching people on the gym floor to ask them to buy your personal training services, you instead are going to offer them something for free, in exchange for their details.

Reciprocal marketing is everywhere.....

Here is an example of reciprocal marketing being done by www.sampletemplates.com. They allow the end user to download their free certified trainer resume, but in exchange they want your email address. 

This same principle can be applied to getting personal training clients on the gym floor. Instead of giving a prospective client a sales pitch, give them a sample of your training and expertise. 

Here are some ways to generating continuous engagement leads through reciprocal marketing, step by step on the gym floor:

Free Workshops 

  1. Against your PT diary schedule half an hour workshops against your diary at different times of the day, three times a day minimum to attract different members. Morning, day time and evening.
  2. Advertise your workshops via poster holdings, pin boards, café tables and bar. Anywhere it is appropriate for them to fill in their details.
  3. There should be a sign up card with a secure box for members to leave their personal information for data protection.
  4. The advertisement should have urgency on there to get people to fill in their details and sign up right away:

 

5. Approach gym members on the gym floor asking them if they would like to participate in your free workshop. 

SAMPLE SCRIPT:

"Hi there,

Really sorry to disturb your workout, but I thought I would just let you know I am running a free Upper-body Kettlebells workshop in the core area in 20 minutes time, its only for 15 minutes and we will be covering some great techniques that you can use in your training. Would you like to attend?"

This gives the gym member a simple yes or no decision, therefore it is not time consuming whilst they are on rest gaps or for you to ask. Additionally, as you are offering something of your time and expertise for free, you come across really well to the member, even the people that say no.

What workshops can you offer?

 

To get more attendees you can use the tannoy system to let people know when its starting and where to go! 

Educational Seminars 

 

 

Class Leads

You actually get two bites of the cherry with this perosnal training sales technique:

Now go and target your YES replies people to close perform the needs analysis and close the sale in coherence to the personal training sales process discussed later in this article, so stick around!

New joiner lists

New joiner lists are an untapped and powerful lead generation tool for you to sell personal training packages to. New joiners are a prime target for personal training as they have fresh goals, might be new to exercise needing of your assistance, want to meet friendly staff and unlike seasoned trainers, likely to pay you for your services. Using the new joiner list technique, you can get in front of those new joiners right away and really sell yourself as a personal trainer.

SCRIPT – EMAIL OR TEXT

Public Address System Announcements (Tannoy)

How long do you think it takes to say a sentence over a tannoy? Ask yourself, have you ever heard a personal trainer do an announcement using a tannoy in your gym? – Probably not!

They are all missing a trick to getting personal trainer sales. Here is how you should use the tannoy to your benefit:

YOU: “Evening All, my name is XXXXX and just to let you know I am running a XXXXX in the studio at XXXX. If you would like to join in, just pop on over and ask for myself, but spaces are limited. Have a great evening.”

Gym challenges

Creating gym challenges is a fantastic way to get to know members and more importantly them getting to know you. They build rapport as a personal trainer, finding common ground and allow you to capture leads.

Health MOTs / Health Checks 

Running health checks and MOTs give you a great way to personal trainer rapport building and generate engagement with potential clients.

 

Group Inductions

Not Personal trainer selling through inductions is an oversight for many trainers. Although inductions are not compulsory for gym members as they once were, but they are still a great way of generating leads. People who want an induction are the exact people who need our help as trainers, thus we should be using inductions to create rapport and convert to clients. Here is how:


Selling Personal Training: Targeting Previous Members & Non-Members

When thinking of new ways to sell personal training, targeting previous members is a creative way of obtaining some extra clients. Former members are club familiar and very often just out of the habit of physical exercise.

Free Invite to Group Training

Group personal training is the future of PT......Why?

Both parties get the best of both worlds. You can make more per hour and the client gets to save money as they are sharing their session with a couple of other people, but more on the ins and outs of group training when we come to close sales later in this article.

Personal Trainer Referrals

Getting personal trainer referrals is the strongest leads for any business. There is an entire section dedicated later in this article to show you how to get referrals, manage clients and client retention.

Exchange Business Referrals

When thin king of how to sell personal training, utilising other similar business on a give and take basis is a good place to start. Similar to using other employees, using other business’ either ones that are in the gym or ones situated locally. The types of business’ you should target are ones where it is individualised and customer facing, here are some examples:

When approaching these business’ offer to help them first, before asking them to help you. Here is a script for you:

What do these types of Personal Training advertising, marketing and lead generation sources have in common?

Where many personal trainers go wrong is not having multiple lead sources set-up to capture leads and they rely on luck to get personal training sales, instead of a proven system to get new sales month after month. 

Do note, you should be taking down the email address at minimum for someone to attend your free workshop, class, induction etc. That is your payment for running it. You are going to be marketing to these email addresses later for those that you did not convert into a client.

 

DISCLAIMER: As you build your client base, the number of workshops, seminars, group inductions that you put on should naturally decrease as your diary fills with real paying clients.

But what are you going to do with all these leads, how are you going to mange them effectively? you need to get organised!

When I say organised, you might be thinking I have my diary for my clients and I have my schedule......This is not sales organised!

Read the next chapter so you know what organised really looks like.....

STEP 3 - DATABASE MANAGEMENT IS CRUCIAL TO PERSONAL TRAINER SALES SUCCESS

To get sales organised, you need CRM software (customer relationship manager). Managing your personal trainer diary is easy enough with old school pen and paper, but to manage your sales system is a different ball game all together, you need CRM software!

All CRM software costs money, but some have free versions that you can use which is all you need as a personal trainer. 

CRM companies such as Mail Chimp, Get Response and Awebber all have free versions that you can use.

CRMs are like having 5 employees, they allow you to automate email & text, create appointments, send confirmations, create lists, segment your database with tags, schedule tasks such as calls, appointments, allow you to categorise contacts and more.

personal trainer email marketing image

This makes selling as a personal trainer much easier and enables you to sell personal training distantly away from the gym with a few clicks of a button.

Before we start instigating an advertising and marketing plan, we need somewhere to put the data and manage all our new leads. Using MailChimp as an example I am going to show you how to get properly organised for selling as a personal trainer:

A) Go to Mail Chimp - https://mailchimp.com/

Sign up for a Free Account

Selling tips for personal training

B) Set-up your Account

Add your email address, logo or photo if you have one as seen below:

Get Organised as a personal trainer

Now we need to get really organised to maximise our days, record our personal trainer marketing efforts and manage our database correctly. You won't believe the difference this can make to how much you will earn as a personal trainer.

Go and login into your CRM account on whichever CRM you decided to go to. 

Within this step we want to segment our database from our current clients, to our former ones, and to our prospects, tags allow us to do this.

We then want to segment our prospects in order of quality based on what we know about them or how they have enquired.

Creating a simple lead scoring system of rating someone 1 -5.

5 being a very hot prospect who is most likely to buy PT and 1 – being someone very unlikely to buy personal training. If you are unsure, or have not qualified someone as either likely or unlike, they are a number 3 – SEE BELOW:

Within Mail Chimp -  go to lists at the top - then manage contacts - click "tags" - "Create tag".

Now you can input your tags as above. When you upload a new lead or subscriber as Mail Chimp calls them, you can assign them an appropriate tag. 

You move tags all the time, from when someone becomes your client to when someone leaves you as a client and when you find out more regarding leads, they might go up numbers or down numbers. Your job is to keep your database organised and mange it efficiently. Deciding which prospect tag to use requires your own intuition.

 

Recording your Marketing Efforts

CRMs allow you to create notes on people, so you don’t have to memorise everything about them when it comes to engaging with them again. You will be able to view how a lead came to your database, whether they open your emails, whether they replied to an email etc.

 

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE:

Meet Steve....

You approached Steve on the gym floor asking him to attend your kettlebells workshop. Steve enjoys kettlebells and agrees to attend and fills in your data capture form.

You have asked the question “Has anyone had a personal trainer or thought about having a personal trainer, please raise their hand” – Steve raises his hand.

You deliver the 15 minute kettlebell workshop and Steve really enjoyed it.

You have followed the sales process down to the letter as outlined in the rest of this guide, but Steve has not signed up for personal training with you. 

You now want to record your interaction with Steve. Add Steve with his contact details in to your CRM and tag him accordingly to how likely you feel he is to buy in the future. In this case Steve is clearly interested but might not be in the position to take up personal training right now, thus we would give him a “prospect 4 or prospect 5 tag”.

You will then want to record, which marketing effort Steve came from. In this case it is kettlebells workshop. Then, record using the notes system on your CRM what you discussed, what you price presented and his objections. 

Now you can market to Steve in the future without having to memorise any information on him and have recorded what marketing has worked for you. As a lead you have already price presented to, you don’t want to offer him to attend another workshop or seminar. He knows the price and what you offer already. Maybe you want to create a new offer or change your promotion for him in a couple of weeks to entice him to sign up with you.

Let’s look at another example…..

 

Meet Lydia….. 

Lydia has recently joined the gym and is working out on the gym floor when she walks past your health MOT stand. You ask her if she would like a 15-minute consultation and she says yes. She fills in your data capture form and fulfil your health MOT.

Lydia suffers with lower back pain and has slightly high blood pressure.

you ask Lydia “Have you had a personal trainer or thought about having a personal trainer?

Lydia answers, yes I used to have a personal trainer at my last gym. You ask Lydia if she would be keen to help reduce stress in her lower back and lower her high blood pressure through personal training? She says, no, I think I will be OK on my own for the time being.

You then go back to your CRM, add Lydia into the database and give her a tag you deem appropriate. I would probably give her a “prospect tag 3”. She did not rule it out in the future, but also did not sound that keen right away either. You add notes that she suffers from lower back pain and has slightly high blood pressure. 

Two months pass and Lydia and Lydia responds to one of your group emails asking people to attend a lower back stretching workshop. She had previously not replied to workshops about building big arms or how to meal prep, as she is not interested in those topics. 

Lydia books in with you again to attend your lower back pain workshop and learns some great insights that she has previously been missing, influencing her results. Lydia likes you as you have given so much of your free time to give her a free health MOT and a free lower back workshop.

Lydia approaches you to ask about personal training and you perform your sales process correctly and becomes a client. 

You then change Lydia’s tag over from “prospect tag 3’ to the “client tag”. You still record that she attended the lower back workshop and any other new information you find out about your clients as you deliver sessions.

 

Last example…. 

Meet Richard, 

Richard signed up via a drobox for your bench press challenge as he loves lifting weights. As you check your drop box regularly you upload Richard’s details to your CRM and email Richard giving him a time slot to take part in his gym challenge and he shows up. After he has completed his gym challenge you ask him if he has ever had a personal trainer or looking to have one. Richard says no and says no more.

You update Steve’s prospect tag from “prospect tag 3 (unknown / average)” to “prospect tag 5 – not interested”. 

Richard still gets your emails and text but has not responded to the past 5 of either. Then you offer a workshop on how to get bigger arms. Richard is interested as he wants to get bigger arms. He asks if he can attend, but then does not show up. 

You then record that he responded and what he responded to and change his tag back to “prospect tag 3 – unknown / average.

You then send several more emails and texts about workshops and seminars and then out of the blue Richard asks to be removed from your database.

Always, always remove them.

Tags will move continuously, they need updating as people move along sales processes and sometimes even backwards along it. You need to record every marketing action and every personal note. People’s sensitive data e.g. email and phones should be removed when they request it and you should have an opt out option that they can click.

Schedule times in your diary to update your CRM and religiously stick to it.

 

STEP 4: ORGANISING YOUR NEW TIMETBALE

Organisation and time management are key and fundamental skills to becoming a successful freelance personal trainer. Without organisation, chaos will inevitably induce.

Luckily in the modern world there is tools to help us get organised and maintain it. Below are two online diary systems so you can manage your day to day requirements and never miss a trick.

 

These are online diaries and although there is still a place for hardback diaries, using more sophisticated online platforms has certain advantages:

 

Time is money, we have all heard that saying, but within personal training it is especially true. You could spend dozens of hours writing out programmes, nutritional plans by hand, but with personal training software such as:

These fantastic pieces of software will enable you to manage your clients all in one manageable place. See below how these tools can help your personal training business:

Plus, much, much more. 

Staying organised is key to your success in sales and taking time to create your timetable of action for the week and sticking to it is a must!

 

BREAKING DOWN YOUR TIMETBALE

 

This all takes time effort and requires extensive planning. This is the same for every business and filters the good to the exceptional.

Here is an example of what your personal trainer day could look like if you're a new personal trainer looking to get leads. Please note you can adapt this to how suits you, your timetable, your timeframes and of course your clients.

7:00am - Placing New Posters on Gym Floor and in Lockers

7:30am - Collecting Leads from Gym Challenges & Drop Boxes

8:00am - Sending Sales Email Broadcast to Database

8:30am -  Deliver Abs blast Workshop

9:00am - ALLOW TIME TO CLOSE SALE IF NEEDED

9:30am - Set-up & Deliver Health MOTs

10:00am - Set-up & Deliver Health MOTs

10:30am - Set-up & Deliver Health MOTs

11:00am - Deliver Nutrition Seminar on the Keto Diet

11:30am - ALLOW TIME TO CLOSE SALE IF NEEDED

12:00pm - Deliver PT Session with Client

12:30pm - Deliver PT Session with Client

1:00pm - Free Group Training Session

1:30pm - ALLOW TIME TO CLOSE SALE IF NEEDED

2:00pm - LUNCH

2:30pm - Update CRM

3:00pm - Write Programmes for next weeks Workshops

3:30pm - Upper-Body Workshop

4:00pm - ALLOW TIME TO CLOSE SALE IF NEEDED

4:30pm - Seminar on How to maximise msucle growth

5:00pm - ALLOW TIME TO CLOSE SALE IF NEEDED

5:30pm - Deliver PT Session with Client

6:00pm - Deliver PT Session with Client

6:30pm - Deliver Circuits Workshop

7:00pm - ALLOW TIME TO CLOSE SALE IF NEEDED

7:30pm - Deliver Pilates Workshop

8:00pm - ALLOW TIME TO CLOSE SALE IF NEEDED

8:30pm - Reply to Emails, Complete Admin and Update CRM

DISCLAIMER: 

Do not be off put by how intense this example day looks. As a new personal trainer you need to go through this process to build your client base. Once you start getting clients you can start substituting out a workshop here and there or your health check stand for example. Soon you will be only delivering sessions and through following this guide have a stream of referrals. This pleasure however is earned.

Common Sense and Priorities With Your Personal Trainer Diary

How do you know if someone taking part in a workshop for example is even interested in Personal Training? Even if they are, how do I find that out?

Easy.....You ask!

As we have developed trust by offering them a free service you have now earned the right to sell. Here is how you do it.....

Let's say your running a Kettlebells workshop, you have 9 attendees after you had gone round the gym and been on thre Tannoy.

You ask them during the very brief warm-up in the middle of asking your normal pre-exercise questions:

"Very quickly, has anyone got an in juries or conditions etc that I should be made aware of?"

"Put your hand up if you have had a personal trainer in the past or thought about having one" - wait for the hands to go up - the opnes that put their hands up are your market - simple as that.

When delivering your workshop give them that extra bit of attention as they might actually buy off you, the people with their hands down are far less likely to buy off you.

Once you haver delivered your workshop, from which now they know your name, think you're a good trainer and approachable individual, ask them very poiltely if you could borrow them off the gym floor to discuss personal training. 

See more on building rapport as a personal trainer in the next chapter....

STEP 5 - HOW A PERSONAL TRAINER BUILDS RAPPORT & WHY IT'S THE KEY TO SALES

Now we have moved along the sales pipeline from lead generation to lead qualification and needs analysis, step 2 and 3 of our sales funnel.

Before we start finding the "need" of whether someone wants to have personal training, we must warm them up first with rapport. 

 

RAPPORT DEFINITION -  “A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well.”

How valuable is this when getting new personal training clients?

Rapport is the KEY most important factor to gaining new personal training clients. 

But Why?

  

How can we as personal trainers make people like us and be similar to them, we are all different right?

We are in fact all the same, but with different ratios and percentages of contrasting human personas.

Below is a pie chart of the 4 personality types that we need to categorise people into:

 

We are all a mixture of all 4 personality types, but we have stronger tendencies to fit one or two than the other two. Categories far more than the other two.

Our job as personal trainers is to quickly identify which category a prospective client largely falls under and then manipulate our personality to be just like them.

BUILDING RAPPORT WITH MIRROR IMAGING AND BODY LANGAUAGE

Mirroring, a technique used in sales can work well when done properly or create a disastrous situation when used incorrectly. Basically, one person adopts the physical and verbal behaviours of another as a way to build rapport and agreement during the selling process.

We all mirror subconsciously, especially with people we organically like e.g. our friends. We do this by wearing similar styles of clothes, talking in a certain way, sitting in the same way as them. This subconsciously makes us feel at ease in their presence.

What we are learning is how to mirror people whom we might not normally be very in sync with.

EXAMPLE – Ever watched two people on first dates? sometimes you can see one person leaning forward and the other leaning backwards. This is not a good sign.

People who are comfortable with another person will have very closely mirrored body language and will be subconsciously copying the other person's actions. 

Here are some ways to mirror prospective personal training clients:

The significance of mirroring is one of the most important body language lessons you can learn because it's a clear way in which others tell us that they agree with us or like us. It is also a way for us to tell others that we like them, by simply mirroring their body language.

Developing Personal Trainer Rapport Using Generic Phrases

Nothing is worse than being in someone else’s company to whom we do not feel comfortable with or know what to say. This is why we must prepare by harnessing generic topics and phrases to accompany those topics to overcome the inertia of awareness to make a conversation flow. 

Key General rapport building topics include:

This approach can be applied to any general topic where the medium point of conversation a social norm than the prospect can relate to. In the above example it is the day of the week that we utilise to build rapport as a personal trainer.

You should always ask open ended questions as opposed to closed questions to really get the conversation flowing when selling as a personal trainer.

Open ended questions are questions that start with:

Notice how the question I ask about their weekend in the example starts with "what", making them open ended questions. I could of said “Do you have any plans for the weekend as” or “did you do get up to much over the weekend”.  These types of closed questions, generate closed answers like “yes” or “no”.

STEP 6 - NEEDS ANALYSIS: PERSONAL TRAINING CONSULTATION DONE THE RIGHT WAY

 

Once we have, we need to conduct a needs analysis. Needs analysis is where we find out the needs of our potential clients through open ended questions. Open ended questions, which as we now know are questions that begin with what, where, why, when and how. Asking open ended questions allows clients to talk freely about their fitness ambitions, which we need so we can obtain as much information as possible and enable us to prevent sales objections later down the line.

 

We use the information we obtain during a needs analysis to convert people from prospects into new clients. There is a particular order we should ask questions and we should have these pre-set and not move on until all the questions have been answered.

 

Open ended conversations get conversations moving when building rapport as a personal trainer. The allow the prospective client to share more detail and talk more openly, where more than a “yes” or “no” is required.

When selling personal training, the structure of your needs analysis should always be the same, but the questions will change from person to person and depending on their answers. The core ones however should always revolve around the same core topics.

 

Every time you ask a question, it is for a purpose, to get the information you need to sell personal training and to overcome objections before they can even arise.

The best personal trainer selling point is you should always go from Present, to past, back to present, then to future with your open-ended questions. This is because you want to show the client their fitness journey and along a time line, which we call timeline selling. Timeline selling is a powerful way to sell yourself as a personal trainer and create emotional drives to buy within your clients.

 

There is more on timeline selling later in this article….

This is how you transition from one-time frame to another:

 

Present to Past – Is there a time in your past when you have felt great about how you looked and felt physically?

 

Past back to present – So if you felt like a 9/10 XXX years ago, how would you say you feel right now?

 

Present to future – If you hit your goals of XXXX in the XXX timeframe you have said, how would that make you feel?

 

This creates a timeline, which is why its called timeline selling. It uses emotional trigger questions like “how did you feel?” or “how would you feel?”. This is emotional selling.

 

There are two big driving factors that leads someone to buying a product or service and selling as a personal trainer is no different.  Pain and pleasure.

 

The pain is where they are right now. The pleasure is where they have been before or where they are going to be in the future. By using timeline selling, we actually get to use both pain and pleasure to drive the client to buying your services.

 

 

MINIMISING SALES OBJECTIONS

 

By Asking open ended questions, such as:

 “how supportive are your family in helping you hit your health and fitness goals?” 

“When are you planning to come to the gym or have your personal training sessions?

These types of questions, help us to minimise the chance of someone objecting later as it traps them from using it as an excuse to take action. Personal trainer selling is about getting someone to take action today, not tomorrow, next week or next year.

When asking the question  “how supportive are your family in helping you hit your health and fitness goals?” – 99% of the time they are going to say their friends or family are really helpful and supportive etc. This helps to prevent objections like “I need to check with my husband” or “I’ll just see if my mum is ok with me doing this”.

When asking “When are you planning to come to the gym or have your personal training sessions?” – This prevents time as an objection, as they have already told you when they can make your sessions.

More on handling objections later when they do crop up later after personal trainer price presenting.

NEEDS ANALYSIS SUMMARY

Before personal trainer price presenting to a prospective client you should ALWAYS summarise back to the prospect their goals and their answers to your open-ended questions. This prevents objections to the sale and re-iterates why they need personal training.

 

Script Example (Depends on answers) 

Right Sally, just before I run you through some prices, I just want to make sure I understood all your needs. 

Firstly you used to train a lot, 5 years ago, before you had the kids and you felt great, eating healthy, training 4 times per week and you felt like a 9/10. Is this all correct? – YES 

You rated yourself a 4/10 at the moment and in your words “Feel fat”, is that all correct? - YES 

Now you have your husband who is really backing and supporting you in your fitness goals and you are free to train Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, did I understands that correctly? - YES

You said if you hit your goal of losing 2 stone of fat, toning up your bum and upper body before your holiday on June 1st, which is more than realistic you would feel like a 9/10? Correct? – YES 

Great, let me show you a couple of great options that I know will work well for you…..

 

USING CLOSED QUESTIONS

 

Closed questions should ONLY be used when getting the client to confirm something or getting them to agree to a point you have just made e.g. You felt a 9/10 when you were training 4 days per week with the help of a personal trainer before, correct? – Yes 

This works brilliantly when summarising! 

This process is what is called collecting Yes’. The aim is to get them to agree with a simple Yes to your summary questions. By simply breaking down every point you have gone through, you can get the prospective client to agree to all the points you have taken note of.

Now this next part is really key, personal trainer price presenting…...the right way!

  

STEP 7 – PRICE PRESENTING PERSONAL TRAINER PACKAGES THE RIGHT WAY

We have gone through the needs analysis required to sell personal training in order to build up to price presenting, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do this.

Before you price present you should have three personal trainer price presenting packages. Before I show you how to create and sell personal training packages correctly, I am going to show you what you should not do.

Below is a table of a real personal training packages created by a fitness centre in the US. What’s wrong with this?  - 3 MAJOR FACTORS

A) Has far too many options! You would overwhelm a client with far too many options to think about, giving them the opportunity to go away as they have something genuine to think about. This will vastly reduce your closing ratios. If your under the illusion or delusion that people go away and think about it then come back to you to sign up. Here’s a stat for you. Less than 5% of people will come back and buy your service, that’s 1 in every 20 people you personal trainer price presenting to.

B) Placed monetary symbols next to packages. This is the most minor point, yet still makes a difference. Placing pound signs or dollar symbols next to packages, makes people relate to money they spend elsewhere. We want to de-sensitise them away from money to buy with the emotion. During personal trainer price presenting if you simply remove the money symbol from the packages will help facilitate the sales process.

C) By having packages with end dates. What do we mean by end dates? 5 sessions, 10 sessions or 15 sessions etc. What do you think will happen after the end of the 10-session pack? They will no longer be your client, they will no longer be paying you and you have to try and resell to them. What is the hardest part of being a personal trainer? SELLING! Why would you create work for yourself? This is what you will hear when you come to re-sell:

What are all these? Excuses and objections. If you are lucky and I do mean lucky, they will come back to you at all. Most do not as once out of habit, its hard to re-establish it. Others will ask if they can get a discount which many trainers feel compelled due to their own making to give or they will lose their regularly paying client. Once on a lower amount package do you think they will ever pay more again for the same service? NEVER.

Now this part is crucial….

SOLUTION – HOW TO PRICE PRESENT CORRECTLY

Fitness goals do not have an end date, they simply change with time and progress, therefore your Personal Trainer price presenting packages should not have an end date either.

The solution…. MONTHLY PACKAGES!!

Why monthly packages?

 

You need to create three monthly Personal Trainer price presenting packages and you will price present two of them.

Prices should reduce the more sessions per week someone buys. These prices should always be your prices, whether someone is referred to you,  has price objected or is a friend asking for a deal. You should never de-value your service.

The only thing you can do is create offers that do not change the monthly price figure to add value. Offers are used to create urgency, which as we discussed in the marketing module is important to get people to take action.

  1. Firstly Notice that the price of the monthly amount has not been adapted
  2. See how the offers are genuinely appealing, offering something of real value and you should always include the RRP value of that service or product so they can relate to it.
  3. Notice It says if you sign up today. Urgency is everything! They should not be leaving without signing up to a PT Package.

WE ONLY SHOULD PERSONAL TRAINER PRICE PRESENT 2 SESSIONS PER WEEK OR 3 SESSIONS PER WEEK.

Why? – We want to make more money from one sale!

If we have established that getting new clients is hard, why would we want to keep having to do it, when we could just get more out of our existing clients.

LET’S SEE AN EXAMPLE HERE:

If all sessions per week works out the same for both trainers:

From not selling 1 session per week, personal trainer number two earns a fraction more than personal trainer number 1. All this despite having 10 fewer paying customers. It is also easier to manage 15 people over 25 people and means personal trainer number two will not have to worry about the marketing and selling as much as personal trainer number 1.

PRICE PRESENTING

When personal training price presenting, you will only present the two highest cost options. Package 2 with 2 sessions per week and package 3 with 3 sessions per week. You will keep the one session per week in your back pocket, just encase you need it. Now a client has a choice between one of two options only.

Now this is where real personal trainer sales techniques kick in.....

You will use alternate closing, the silent assassin technique and assumptive closing to close the sale. 

ASSUMPTIVE CLOSE: “The Assumptive Close is a closing technique used by sales people to act as though the prospect has already decided to go ahead with your solution or is ready to move to the next stage of the sales process. 

See the script below to how we put the sales techniques into practice:

SCRIPT

(You have just summarised their goals and needs from your needs analysis)

YOU: “Here are the pricing options here for you. You can either go for 2 sessions per week or 3 sessions per week. 2 sessions per week works out at just XXX per week and option 3 works out at just XXXX per week, reducing your cost per session even further. As part of my early bird offer you also get a free protein tub when you sign up today on either package.

Which option do you feel is best for you? – (Alternate close! Asking them which one they would like to choose, option 1 or option 2. There is no Yes or NO)

Silent Assassin Technique (Do not speak again until they speak, sometimes you can sit there for an entire minute in silence).

THEM “I kind of like the sound of option 2, the three sessions per week”

YOU: Great, what I will do is get you straight in diary for your first session and give you this form to fill in here - (Assumptive close! They technically have not agreed to anything, yet they are now getting booked in for their first session and filling out the forms.  It is now very hard for prospects to say “actually I don’t want to sign up today”.

Handling objections is all part of selling personal training and you will get objections all the time. The key is knowing how to handle them efficiently for when they do arise. 

Regardless of their objection you should always “understand” or “sympathise” where they are coming from before finding the solution to their objection:

 

You should always remind them of their goals, why they are here in the first place.

All the answers to personal trainer selling objections should be in your needs analysis if you have done it correctly. This is why performing a thorough needs analysis before price presenting is so key.

 

GET MORE PERSONAL TRAINER SALES BY OBJECTION HANDLING

 

  1. “I am not sure if I have the time for personal training, I am really busy” – TIME

 

Remind them of how many times they are currently going to the gym or are planning to go to the gym. Remember time is an excuse not an actual reason. We share time and its in fact priorities that differ not time. 

Script Answer: “ I fully appreciate what your saying, time is a burden, however I know you said that Tuesday, Wednesdays and Saturday mornings works well for you, if I could get you in for those days when I know suits your timetable could we get you signed up, after all I know how much hitting your 3 stone wright loss for your summer holiday means to you?

“I am not sure if I can afford it” – COST

Humans justify cost through illogical means, when justifying your personal trainer package costs, always relate to what adverse areas they spend money on right now, such as smoking or going out on nights out etc.  Equate the price of personal training using daily figures in relation that makes the commitment sound very small. This is why you see adverts on TV that say “donate just 50p a day towards helping our charity”, sounds a lot less than asking someone to donate £15 per month, which is what it adds up to be. Then you want to relate back to their goals and the visualisation of how they will feel if they hit them or what they will do if they don’t hit them.

Another option you have is to drop down to your one time per week session option we mentioned before, which is why we keep it in our back pocket. Also selling it in a way that is exclusive to them helps facilitate the sale.

TIMELINE SELLING USING EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS

As discussed earlier, there are two main drive factors to push people to buy:

These are emotional drives that really help selling as a personal trainer.

PART 1 - REMIND THEM OF A TIME WHEN THEY FELT GREAT ABOUT THEIR PHYSCIAL APPEARANCE

PART 2 – REMIND THEM WHERE THEY ARE RIGHT NOW

YOU: “When we spoke earlier, you said you feel like a 4/10 right now as you have lost the habit of exercise and need some guidance and support to getting back to where you were when you felt like a 9/10., is that correct?

(DELIBERATE CLOSED QUESTION TO GET THEM TO SAY “YES”)

SALLY:  “Yes, that’s fair”

PART 3 –REMIND THEM WHERE THEY WANT TO BE

YOU:  “If you hit your goal of 2 stone wright loss and tone up to how you see yourself in 6 months, how would that make you feel out of 10?

SALLY: “11, I would feel amazing”

YOU : How much would you value feeling like that and looking amazing?

SALLY: “Priceless really”

TRY AND CLOSE THE SALE AGAIN

YOU: “Great! With my help that is more than achievable. Ask yourself this question, it has been 4 years since you felt like a 9/10, if you don’t take action today, when would you? Another 4 years? Then your back here having this conversation again. Or we can take action together and get you feeling that 11/10.

SALLY: “Yes I see your point, this means a lot to me and I want to feel good again."

YOU: Fantastic, so which option do you feel is best for you, option 1 or option 2? (BACK TO ALTERNATE CLOSE)

If you get further resistance, back off and secure a follow up meeting using the alternate close technique. You should always use the alternate close technique to get manage your diary effectively.

SCRIPT

YOU: No problem Sally, it’s been great speaking with you and finding out about your goals and fitness ambitions. I think giving you a couple of days to have a think about it would be best. What we can do is get you booked in for just a quick catch up, when is best for you, Wednesday or Thursday? (ALTERNATE CLOSE)

SALLY: “Wednesday would be best for me”

YOU: Great, Morning or Afternoon? (ALTERNATE CLOSE)

SALLY: Morning Please.

YOU: Fantastic, I have times available at 9am and 11am, which one would you prefer? (ALTERNATE CLOSE)

SALLY: “11am after my class would be good"

STEP 8 – GETTING PERSONAL TRAINER REFERRALS TO BOOST YOUR CLIENT BASE!

Referral Definition “The act of referring someone or something for consultation, review, or further action”

Simply put, when a current client (normally) endorses someone in relation to your personal training services.

 

WHY IS GETTING PERSONAL TRAINER REFERRALS SO IMPORTANT?

Personal trainer referrals are the strongest leads for ANY business, especially personal training. In fact, industry reports claim word of mouth is valued at up to 50% of all buying decisions. Additionally, that direct personal trainer referrals convert higher than any other form of leads. It gets better, they also require less effort to sell personal training to as the referrer does most of the job for you. 

 

PT Referrals Breed More PT Referrals

Referrals lead to more referrals. Remember friends often have overlapping circles of other friends and it allows you to grow your client base organically. A successful personal trainer has a system of referral implementation to get referrals month in, month out.

 

Personal Training Referrals Cost next to nothing

Normally when you are trying to generate leads a cost is incurred to advertise and market to ascertain those leads. By getting personal trainer referrals you can simply ask or email your existing clients without incurring any costly overheads.

 

Personal Trainer Referrals Vastly Increase your Earnings

Simply put, you will earn more money if you ask for referrals than if you do not.

 

Referred Customers Stay Longer

If a referral takes you on as their personal trainer, they are far more likely to give you time to show your capabilities than a prospect converted from any other lead source. This is because their friend who has referred them trusts you, therefore, automatically before even a session starts have a high expectation of you and will give you time to show your credentials. 

Benefits your Existing Customer

The benefit is two-fold. The first point being that it develops is social currency. All that really means is it allows the friend who did the referring to say “I told you so” e.g. “I told you he/she was a great personal trainer”.

The second reason is that it might financially benefit them in some way depending if you give something in exchange for referring a client. 

Gives you the opportunity to get feedback

Even if a client does not refer someone it actually gives them an opportunity to give you constructive feedback, which you can use to better your service, streamline a process to getting referrals in the future.

On top of asking for individual referrals, you want to at least incorporate a referral incentive each and every month on mass that your clients can activate or redeem without you having to ask for a direct referral. Here are some personal trainer referral ideas you can could include:

How would you go about getting more of these precious leads? 

Above is a few ways to capitalise on personal training success to get personal training referrals and ways to get people to bring referrals to you. But, what other personal trainer referral ideas can you implement to get referrals month after month? 

We spoke about lead generation earlier in this success plan. The same principles apply, but we can be a little more direct.

Here are some personal trainwer referral stratgeies you can implement:

WHY THIS WORKS 

The great part about bring a buddy is that the member will often do the hard work for you and will send them reminders.

This method also costs you no extra time or money as that session was taking place anyway.

SCRIPT EXAMPLE:

 

YOU: Hi Laura, Thanks for the referral it is massively appreciated. I will reach out to Sarah shortly. Firstly I just thought I would let you know I have added a free complementary PT session to your account for you for the referral and if you have any further referrals in the future that would be great.

REFERER: No problem XXX, thanks that is really kind of you, I will definitely try and send more people your way, especially if I get a free session out of it. 

YOU: Hi Sarah, I hope you’re well, my name’s XXXXX and I am a personal trainer at XXXX and I was given your phone number by Laura Jones, who is one of my clients and she mentioned you’re a good friend of hers who is considering personal training?

REFERRAL: Hi XXX, Yes that’s right, thanks for giving me a call.

YOU: Not a problem, I thought I would reach out personally since you’re a good friend of Laura’s and I would love to invite you down to the gym to have a free consultation with me so I can see how I can help you with your health and fitness goals?

REFERRAL: “That sounds interesting, but I do have a tight schedule”

YOU: “No problem, what day would suit you best out of Tuesday or Wednesday to come down for your consultation?”

REFERRAL: “Wednesday please”

YOU: What time is best for you, 11am or 3pm?

REFERRAL: “3pm please”

YOU: “Great, I have got you booked in the diary and I look forward to seeing you at 3pm on Wednesday. I will send you a reminder on the morning via text and email just to remind you, if you could confirm your attendance that would be much appreciated”.

 

CONCLUSION

We have shown you how you can influence each step within the sales funnel, how being sales organised is the key to getting new clients as a personal trainer through building value and reciprocal marketing .  Remember the better you get at each stage individually will directly influence how many new personal training clients you get. Practice makes perfect.

Want to become a Personal Trainer, or expand your learning if you're already qualified? Go download our free prospectus for more info! 

 

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Written by Luke Hughes

CEO and Co-Founder

Luke is the CEO and Co-Founder of OriGym. Holding a first-class degree in Sport and Exercise and an MSc in Sport and Nutrition, he is also qualified as a Level 4 Personal Trainer with various specialist credentials covering the entire spectrum of health, fitness and business. Luke has contributed to a variety of major industry publications, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Metro, Cosmopolitan, The Mirror, The Sun, The Standard and more.