Ever spend an hour with a client explaining the benefits of personal training and taken them through a wonderfully constructed session only to have them walk out the door with just a card and a smile?

Failing to close a sales opportunity can be extremely frustrating.

Like it or not, being a fantastic trainer isn't enough to ensure that you're successful in the fitness industry. Today's trainers have to be able to sell AND service personal training sessions. The struggle is usually not the actual training component. Most trainers are competent in structuring workouts and selecting the right exercises. With proper and consistent client evaluation, many even have steady resign rates.

The problem is getting new clients to sign-up from an initial meeting and assessment.

Trainers may botch a sale for a number of reasons. We've compiled 10 of the main reasons trainers fail to close the sale from top fitness professionals and provided resources to help you improve your new client consults.

Sohee Lee, Owner of SoheeFit

1. You're too sales-focused and generic.

Make an effort to establish a connection with the individual. People yearn to be understood - and that can be as simple as re-phrasing what they've just told you or thanking them for sharing their story. People are going out of their way to reach out to you and reveal a part of themselves that they're probably not very comfortable sharing. To skip right over that and try to shove your services in their face is both insensitive and offensive. That's guaranteed to turn people off and ensure that you'll never hear from them again.

The Solution: The Cheers Effect by Jon Goodman


JC Deen, Owner of JCD Fitness

2. You over-present the features.

Most trainers overload the client with stuff they don't need to know or care about instead of picking 2-3 major benefits they gain from working with you specifically. People don't care about the bells and whistles - they care about how you can use those bells and whistles to help them reach their goals.

3. You don't truly listen to their needs and wants.

Few trainers actually listen. Even fewer use a client's needs and wants as ammo to overcome their objections when they arise. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they know what the client needs by relying on their preconceived ideas, instead of digging and getting the client to reveal those needs to them.

4. You push too hard for the close.

Most people don't want to be treated like they're at a used car dealership. They want to know you care about them, and need to feel confident you can guide them on their health and fitness journey. And sometimes, this means you won't always close on the initial meeting.

The Solution: Your Personal Training Marketing Sucks: Features vs. Benefits by Jon Goodman


Roger Lawson, Owner of RogLaw Fitness

5. You talk too much.

When it comes to closing the deal, talking yourself out of the sale is a common outcome. Instead of using the initial meeting with a prospective client as an opportunity to truly connect with them and find out what their needs are and how you can serve them, many trainers do the exact opposite. They talk to prove how smart they are instead of relating what they say back to the goal of the client. They fill the silence with their own words instead of letting the client talk and essentially sell themselves on the service.

A client comes to you with a particular goal in mind, and it's your job to ask probing questions and let them answer them fully, using the information they just told you to show them that you're the person capable of helping them get there.

6. You're not confident in your abilities.

Much like animals can smell fear, people can sense a lack of confidence from a bajillion miles away. If you aren't confident in your ability to deliver the results that your client seeks, it will show itself in your body language and speech. The best way to remedy this fear and exude an air of confidence is to continue to educate yourself, especially in key areas that are common for most clients - fat loss, muscle gain and nutrition being the three largest.

7. You focus too much on the price.

As simple as this is, you'd be surprised as to how often it happens. Depending on how much the package is, the trainer may place their views on how they perceive the price to be (i.e. this is expensive) on the prospective client - this is a huge mistake. You don't know what their financial situation is, and by focusing mainly on cost you shift the conversation away from competing on the strength of your ability to deliver results.

The Solution: How to Get From Consult to Sale Without Being a Salesman by Jon Goodman


Jason Maxwell, Owner of JMax Fitness

8. You failed to make the client show commitment.

You need to find out how committed the client is to reaching their fitness goals. If they don't seem ecstatic about reaching the goals, dive deep and work with them to find out something that would make them super excited about reaching their goals. This could be something as easy as looking good at their best friend's wedding.

9. You failed to overcome objections ahead of time.

Early in the consultation, you need to be diving deep into the client by asking questions like:

1. Do you live close?
2. Do you work close?
3. Does your spouse know you're here today?

If you know that the client lives or works close, then you know they are able to make the trip to the gym in the future. If their spouse knows that they are at the gym with you, then they can't say "let me ask my husband".

10. You didn't assume they were a millionaire.

You need to assume that every client that walks in the door is a millionaire.

If they can't afford training, they will tell you. If they say they don't think they have enough money, say to them "so what you're saying is that this is just a budget issue and otherwise, you would invest in my services?" Once they say yes, ask for a budget that works for them. If you can't design a program around this monetary number, offer them online coaching for a number that fits their budget.

They already said "yes" to investing in a program that fits their budget, now they will need to be consistent. You know that your program will be amazing and get the client in the best shape of their life whether it's in person or online, so the value of the program is still incredibly high.

The Solution: Selling Personal Training in 5 Steps by Jon Goodman

Photo credit: Mamavation.com (Featured), Bodybuilding.com, Fitness Marketing Q&A Show, Fitness Marketing Q&A Show, T-Nation

Related articles mentioned:

The Cheers Effect by Jon Goodman

Your Personal Training Marketing Sucks: Features vs. Benefits by Jonathan Goodman

How to Get From Consult to Sale Without Being a Salesman by Jonathan Goodman

Why You Should Train Clients Online and How to Get Started by Jonathan Goodman

Selling Personal Training in 5 Steps by Jonathan Goodman