**I’ve included a template for you to download and use at the bottom of this article**
Every trainer should have a binder of testimonials from past and current client that they continually add to.
In an industry rife with dishonestly and associated distrust, it’s important for you to add in as many proof elements before making a sales proposition as possible. Getting testimonials for personal training is the best way to do it.
Imagine the power of having a full binder sitting in the waiting room for potential clients to flip through as they wait for a tour, complimentary session, or sales meeting.
One of the contributing factors of Self-efficacy (or the belief that one can achieve) is social modeling. This is a huge contributing factor to whether a client will make the decision to purchase your services. You can enhance this belief by being able to show a testimonial specific to your potential client.
Ideally you’ll first identify your target client types (or avatars) as detailed as possible. For example:
A 26-year old African American women who is 30lbs overweight. She’s never used a trainer and is finally looking for some direction after numerous failed attempts at the gym. She’s a nurse, so shift work makes regular sleep and food habits hard to come by.
The above is just an example, but I urge you to create 3-4 of your ideal client avatar’s in a similar fashion (but much more detailed). This way you’ll know what aspects of the testimonial that you want to highlight with your potential clients who have similar goals and limitations.
Here’s an example of a great testimonial that I would show to my made up client above.
When I started to train with Jon I wasn’t obese, but definitely had some weight to lose. It’s funny, you know, I’d been in the gym on and off for a few years without much to show for it. I didn’t believe that a trainer would really be able to help me until I had “worked my way up to it”. I also work shifts – sometimes nights – and don’t sleep well.
What I particularly liked about Jon was that he looked at me as a whole as opposed to giving me some exercises and counting the sets and reps. It took a bit of time but he first helped me establish better sleep habits. Not one to diet, Jon took a look at what I ate and helped me identify what foods I really loved, and which ones that I could live without. The result was an almost immediate weight loss. I’d recommend Jon to anybody.
The above example client and testimonial are made up but meant to showcase how important it is to have testimonials specific to your avatar. Notice how my testimonial shows how all-major reservations have been solved with my training.
How to Collect The Testimonials
Aside from telling you to just ask, there are some strategies for collecting great testimonials that will result in you getting more usable ones in addition to clients actually giving you them.
Before getting into the brief strategies, I recommend getting permission to use the testimonial for promotional purposes either in writing or via email and keeping that on file. Better to be safe than sorry. If handing the client a form to fill out, a simple check box and place for a signature with a line allowing permission of use should suffice.
After a client registers for training, why not set a reminder in your phone for 2-3 months away to ask for a testimonial? This way you don’t have to think about it. Once your phone beeps, you hand them the form that I describe below.
The more specific the questions that you ask, the better the chance that you’ll get answers and higher quality answers that you’ll get.
I recommend creating a simple document on your computer with all questions and space to fill out the answers that you simply print and hand to a client asking them to fill it out. Be detailed not just in the question, but also in the length of response that you want. I also recommend including 3 questions for improving your business taken directly from Scott Stratten’s book UnMarketing (the first 3 examples below).
Here’s an example form that you might hand out:
- What’s one thing that you’d like me to start doing?
- What’s one thing that you’d like me to stop doing?
- What’s one thing that you’d like me to keep doing?
- In 3 sentences or less, can you describe any reservations that you had before we started working together?
- In 3 sentences or less, can you explain how I was able to help you with your reservations?
- Can you describe your 1-2 top goals when you started?
- In point form, can you list your achievements with training thus far?
- Is there anything else at all that you’d like to add?
**I’ve created a template for you to use as is or alter. Click here or the picture to download it.**