What is Every New Trainer Afraid of?

I started out in Personal Training with aspirations to get rich. At 21 years old with a Kinesiology degree I was offered a position making $26/hr. All I had to do was tell other people to exercise!

Aside from the stern realization that my body doesn't work like anybody else' and I better spruce up on my biomechanics and anatomy quick or else I would fail I assumed that sales were for somebody else. After all, isn't that what sales people are for?

My job was to train, sales peoples jobs are to sell, managements job is to manage. Isn't that a perfect world?

In fact, I even got awkward the minute a client brought up money and quickly tried to change the subject.

As a personal trainer you should MUST be good at sales to succeed.  Over time we will be covering a myriad of different topics pertaining to sales.  Today's topic is:

Closing Doors to Objections

It's rare to make a sale without dealing with objections.  Getting a personal trainer is a big decision for the client.  Throw in the fact that clients are starting to become more educated and you must be sure that you can prove to them you're worth the bread.

If possible, I recommend not bringing up the cost of training before the client has been sold.  $50/hr will be too expensive if the client doesn't understand your value.  If you've communicated your value effectively all of a sudden $80/hr seems reasonable!

They should have spoken to you at length about their exercise goals, history, previous challenges, injuries, and any possible training interruptions coming up.  In addition, they should be aware of your credentials, specializations as it applies to them, frequency they need to train, and overall plan for the workouts (even if it's subject to change).  In short, they should be pumped to train and convinced that you're the right person to get them results that they want.

When speaking with the client ask them straight up what some of their initial reservations are.   Believe me when I say that they will have some.  A new client has made a HUGE decision to step into your gym and I can promise that they have been mulling over the pros and cons for some time.

The following are the most common objections I've gotten and how you should deal with them.  Specifically address each issue until it's resolved before moving on:

If the issue is time commitment:

Discuss different types of workout routines suited to their goals that will work within their timeline.  For example, if they want fat loss.  Discuss metabolic workouts and how much more bang for your buck these workouts will get your client as opposed to steady state cardio.

If the issue is a previous injury:

Speak in detail about the injury if possible.  I keep a database on the computer in my office on most of the common injuries I come across.  If I come across a new injury I make sure to add it to the database.

Contained within that database are papers varying in complexity describing the injury and rehabilitation protocols.  If I'm familiar with the injury then I pummel the client with knowledge.  If I'm not familiar with the injury I use the line "I can help you with that".  Either way, I print out some information for the client on the spot and hand it to them.

Note that I print out the information before moving on.  I want to make sure to close that door.  If I can't speak to the client about their injury on the spot, having accessible research shows that I'm willing to go the extra 10% and a take home is always a good idea.

If the issue is a previous bad experience:

Don't badmouth anybody.  Always give the trainer the benefit of the doubt but educate the client as to how you would treat the situation differently.  An example might be that the client didn't feel the previous trainer listened to them.  I would explain that I'm sure the trainer meant well and I'm sorry that they had a previous bad experience.

Every one of my clients knows that they they can call me during the day or email me at any time.  In addition, during our sessions or if they see me in the gym not with a client they're welcome to speak about anything.

I will then try to share an anecdote of a situation that happened with a previous client pertaining to their worry.  An example might be that a client was concerned because their previous trainer ignored the fact that they were snacking too much at night due to stress.  I would take 10 minutes at the beginning of the next session to discuss the best types of snacks to have and some ways to help her leave her stress at the office.  Whatever the bad experience was, make sure to understand it and show that you're going to deal with it differently.

If the issue is "I don't need a trainer because I know what I'm doing":

Depending on the client type you may have to tread carefully.  That having been said, the client has taken time out of their day to speak to you.  You're the expert.

When this objection comes up I first get a thorough understanding of their previous workout and goals.  I then highlight 1-2 good points and describe where they can improve.  If possible, I provide this client with research on whatever their goals are (hypertrophy, fat loss, toning etc.).

Pride may stop this client from buying personal training on the spot.  Provide them with a takeaway and stay in contact offering help wherever you can.  You will be surprised at how quickly they approach you and ask you to train them.

If the issue is "I need to think about it.."

Thinking about it isn't an objection.  Ask them what they need to think about and be quiet.  After a couple seconds of the waiting game the client will feel awkward and let you know their real thoughts.

If you leave an objection unsolved odds are you won't make the sale.  No matter the objection, use the following as a simple guideline. The following steps are critical in dealing with objections:

  1. Paraphrase the question and repeat it back to them in the form of a statement.  It shows the client that you understand and are listening to them
  2. Depending on what the objection is you may need to re-educate them on the value that you bring to the table
    1. Show them why you're the person who can specifically help them because you have the skills to help them with their specific problem

I bet you're thinking that I missed the biggest objection of all... Cost.  Wrong, cost isn't an objection.  It's a variable.  Click here to learn how to deal with the Cost Variable.