Updated: Dec 2016
I hate that a lot of trainers who deeply care about their clients are struggling financially. They want desperately to help others and have the knowledge to do so. Yet they’re not getting the committed clients in front of them and aren’t making ends meet.
Something’s missing and it bothered me so for the last 4 months I’ve asked 500+ trainers what the #1 frustration is that they have with the business.
The results were overwhelming!!! Trainers don’t know how to market or sell themselves. Many repeated the same phrase:
“If only I had the chance the show a client my value and what I can offer them they’d sign on. I just can’t seem to get people in front of me and when they do they don’t commit to my program.”
I too struggled with personal trainer marketing and sales until I found the secret.
My first full time personal training job definitely didn’t start with a bang. I had a Kinesiology degree and 3 years experience working in a University gym. Exercise was my passion. The soviets would have been proud by my periodization methods and I could spit the latest research on muscle physiology for hours.
Problem was that nobody cared. My clients didn’t stick around long enough to see my value. It became apparent to me that clients don’t know the difference between great and not so great workout programs until they’ve finished. This takes time, trust, and a considerable financial risk on the client’s part.
You could also be facing a situation where the potential client has had a bad experience with personal training before. They were promised the world by somebody who didn’t deliver. Who’s to say you’re different?
I did it all
I made cold calls to lists of expired clients, I went to lululemon (a clothing store) and gave free stretching workshops, I walked around the neighbourhood handing out flyers, I performed endless free sessions, I bought every manual on selling and marketing personal trainer services I could find, and I took on clients from deal of the day websites like Groupon. None of it worked!
Maybe I’m a bad salesman but I’m guessing you are too. Our job isn’t to sell; it’s to provide clients with a service to get them in the best shape of their lives.
None of this worked because it didn’t solve the fundamental problem. NOBODY KNEW OF MY VALUE.
Show your worth
Wouldn’t it be nice to never have an awkward sales meeting again? Imagine a sales meeting starting with, “I’ve heard great things about you, how do I start?” as opposed to, “so I got this coupon and figured I’d give it a shot”.
It takes months for clients to see any real changes (although they’ll feel it quicker). You usually have 1-3 sessions to prove yourself to a client. This means you have three options:
Option 1: Promise the World
Have you fallen into the trap of promising to the client that they’ll lose weight, gain muscle, get laid, and drive a flying motorcycle all in 3 months?
What you’re saying has already been said before. The client can pick up any fitness magazine and be promised the same results. Often they’ve failed in a workout program before. This might even have been led by a different trainer with sub par abilities or poor intentions that had promised them everything you had minus the flying motorcycle.
You’re different and better but why should they trust you? How do they know?
Option 2: Hope to get lucky
Sometimes clients come in ready to go. They’ve committed to make a change and your poor sales tactics won’t hurt you. They’ll sign up irrelevant of what you say.
Congratulations you have a new client. You got lucky. I wouldn’t bet on it happening again. Don’t let it go to your head.