Starting off as the “new trainer” at a gym isn’t easy. You usually have to wait 4-6 months to make a decent income to live off. On top of that, you have the senior trainers who usually get first dibs on new clients. It’s a catch-22 that you can’t get out of.
This article will show you three ways to rapidly get new personal training clients as a new trainer and have a stable income in as little as a month.
These 3 essential factors has taken me from being the new guy to having the most clients and making the most sales in the company in 3 months, when I first started as a personal trainer.
1. Tease The Assessment
Whether you work at a commercial gym or rent space in a studio, prospecting for potential clients should be a priority when trying to fill your schedule.
So what do I mean about “tease the assessment”?
First, here’s a little story of how I developed this strategy that’s got me so many clients in such a short period of time.
It was my first day at work as a personal trainer. My job was to prospect for clients on the floor and get as many assessments as possible to eventually sell them into training. I was never trained on how to “pick up an assessment” so I had to go with the flow to see what works.
The first tactic that I used was to correct exercise technique and offer training tips. I just walked around the gym floor and offered people exercise variations for the muscle group(s) they were trying to work on.
To my surprise, I actually got one person to say yes to an assessment for the next day. Unfortunately he didn’t show up and I felt like I completely wasted my time. So I watched what the other trainers were doing.
Most trainers were just asking people straight off the bat if they would like an assessment. Some of the trainers got a lot of people to say yes but they didn’t get many people to show up. That’s even worse then someone just saying no.
I had to do something different. There was no way I was going to wait for someone not to show up without getting paid for it.
This is where I developed the “Tease The Assessment” system.
Since I performed complete movement screens during my assessments, I would go up to people on the floor and ask them if they’d like to perform one or two movement screens. The usual response that I would get is, “What’s that?”
From there you just explain how testing this certain movement can benefit them. For example, with this screen, I can test the mobility in your hips, so that you can prevent a future injury and get rid of any tightness you may be feeling.
This is a go to of mine – many active people think their hips are tight even when they’re not, while the average person who sits at a desk all day usually has tight hips.
Furthermore, almost everyone wants to know how he or she performs on a “test.” They want to know how they rank with the norm.
After you perform the test, if they did poorly, give them one or two corrective exercises to improve that specific movement. Once they perform the corrective exercises, retest that movement and watch them become blown away. This would be the perfect time to pitch the assessment and offer a full assessment on a separate day. It’s hard to say no after they’ve already seen an improvement in 5 minutes.
On the other hand, if they perform well on your chosen assessment, then compliment them; make them feel good about how well they did. From there you can offer another movement screen or pitch the full assessment. You don’t want to spend more than 5-10 minutes with this. Be in and out. Then move on to the next person.
Note: This approach usually works better if the person is foam rolling or stretching and not in the middle of a workout.
2. Make Friends With Group Exercise Instructors
This method is gold. If your gym facility has group exercise instructors then your job is to get to know them. In fact, offer to train them for free. When I did this, I tapped into a goldmine of clients.
I was so surprised that no other trainer was doing this at the time. I was training up to 3 group exercise instructors and they were referring me clients. Once you get one client who regularly attends group exercise classes, then that person will talk, which means more business for you.
At one point I was even substituting for group exercise classes. The participants of the class got to know me very well and some even asked me for training.
Another cool little trick is to ask the instructor if you can teach a small portion of the class. Tell the instructor that you can provide a metabolic finisher for the class. This is a great way for you to get introduced to everyone and show people your style of training. Do this after you get to know the instructor a little.
Don’t be shy about offering training to other fitness professionals. There’s a big chance that you know something that they don’t. Everyone wants to learn more in this industry and if it’s free, then it’s a no-brainer.
3. Learn How To Sell Personal Training
You can have plenty of prospect getting strategies but if you don’t know how to close a sale, then you have no client.
First, you need to be comfortable with personal trainer sales. Often new trainers are shy to ask for money or they just hate the thought of “selling.” Selling is just another word for persuading.
If a friend of yours has really bad form in a particular exercise and you want to help them out, then you’re going to have to persuade/sell them how on why your way is better. If you don’t then they could probably injure themselves.
Think of it like this: if you know someone really needs help in fitness or health then it is your job to “sell” him or her into training.
They can be crying themselves to sleep every night because they’re unsatisfied with their body image. You can be there one and only hope in helping them. Instead you’re too shy in telling that person that he or she needs help. Remember this the next time you’re making a “sale.”
After you get that little mental block out of the way, then apply these 5 tips that will get you selling like a champ.
Tip #1: Let Them Do All The Talking
I’ve seen this a lot. The trainer talks about their qualifications or is suggesting workouts way too soon before the prospect gets a chance to explain their goals.
Your job is to ask questions and let the prospect do all the talking. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to close the sale. This leads me to my next tip.
Tip #2: Find Out The REAL Goals
Your job should be to find out why they are really there. For example, if the prospect tells you she wants a slimmer waist, you need to find out why. The real reason can be that she just got divorced and wants to start dating again but she is feeling insecure about the way she looks.
This is the stuff you have to find out. You do this by asking why.
Why do you want a slimmer waist?
Why aren’t you satisfied with your waist now?
Questions like these go a long way in making that connection with the prospect and will make it so much easier in closing the sale. Lots of smart trainers set stupid goals.
Tip #3: Sell The Outcome
Paint a picture of where they will be after they’ve trained a certain amount of time with you. Don’t just say they will lose x amount of weight in 12 weeks. Talk about how they will feel after 2 or 3 months of training with you.
Many trainers will just say something like, “Every week you will lose 2-3 pounds of fat, decrease your body fat percentage by 1-2%, and increase your lean body mass by 2 pounds, blah, blah, blah.”
Here’s a better way to “paint the picture”: after explaining a benefit like losing x amount of pounds, go even further and talk about the real goal. A great way you can do this is by backing up every benefit with a deeper benefit. You do this by saying “so that” after every benefit. Here’s a great example:
Imagine how you would feel if you lost 10 pounds of fat off your waist (benefit) so that you can feel more comfortable going to the beach (deeper benefit) or fitting into the dress you’ve been wanting to for so long (deeper benefit).
Go deep when you’re painting the picture for your prospect, making sure you bring up the real goal. Which is the reason the prospect is sitting in front of you.
Tip #4: Deal With Objections Before They Come Up
Before closing the sale, always try to cover as many objections as possible. For example, before you here the “I don’t have time to workout” objection, you should’ve written out a schedule that you and the prospect can commit to.
The biggest objection you’re probably going to have to deal with is the “I can’t afford it” objection. The only reason you would get this objection is because you didn’t build enough value. The best way to build value for your service is to really dig into those deep goals and reasons for them to use your services.
If this objection comes up, then you probably didn’t hit on a deep enough benefit that they can be experiencing once they train with you. Or you may have to bring up that deep benefit and remind them why they came to the assessment in the first place.
If worse comes to worse, then just pitch a smaller package that will cost less. The goal is to sell long-term training and long-term results. This should only be a last case scenario.
Another surprising objection you may get is the “I have to go talk to my spouse” objection. By far, the best way in dealing with this objection is to ask one or two simple questions. All you have to do is ask him/her,
“Wouldn’t your spouse be supportive of your health and fitness goals?”
If the prospect continues to talk, you can follow up with, “If you’d like, you can call your spouse now and ask for permission.”
The moment you say the word “permission,” a light bulb should turn on in their head and they should be asking themselves, “Why should I need permission to train?”
Everyone likes to be in control. The more “in control” you make your prospect feel, the more likely you are going to be able to make the sale. These two simple questions will take your prospect from “I might need a second opinion” to “When do we start.”
Tip #5: Always Close The Sale With An Option
Never close the sale by asking, “What do you think?” or “Would you like to train?” This leaves a yes or no response and that’s the last thing you want when closing the sale.
The best way to close a sell is to give the prospect an option in packages to purchase.
Here’s an example:
Since your goal is to ________. I recommend a package of 50 sessions at $80 each or a package of 75 sessions at $75 each. Which do you think is the best fit to get you started on today?
This is just an example. You can also throw in a couple of little tricks like, “This is our promo special” or “Only a limited time offer.”
Overall, your goal is to avoid “no” as an option for a prospect. This trick alone can increase your sales conversions.
Once you apply these steps into your funnel of getting prospects and the sales tips listed above, you’ll be flooded with clients in no time. This system can easily be applied if you’re a self-employed contractor renting space at a facility or an employee at a commercial gym.
Personal training shouldn’t be treated as a part time job. With these steps you can easily make training a full time gig and make a respectable income.