How to Sell Personal Training

Adam Petford, 20/05/2024

If your in your first year of personal training you need to learn “How to Sell Personal Training” Fast!

So stop wasting your time following YouTube fitness influencers (at least for now) and start focusing on what will make the difference between success and failure. Change your mindset and become a business owner.

Running your own personal training business means taking on multiple roles: Salesperson, Marketer, Accountant, and Business Manager. Among these, the role of the Salesperson reigns supreme.

Without sales, business’s don’t survive long. To thrive in personal training, you need to learn how to sell personal training so prioritise the role of Sales personal above all others.

From now on I want you to engrain this into your mindset.

“I’m in personal training, therefore, I am in sales!”

This realisation dawned on me early in my career. My background in sales proved invaluable during my first year as a personal trainer.

Before moving to Australia, I spent years as a sales trainer in the UK, followed by three successful years in sales in Brisbane’s CBD. So, instead of solely focusing on mastering fitness and training routines, recognise the importance of sales skills right from the start.

If the thought of selling makes you cringe, you’re not alone! Many of us feel the same way. But here’s the thing:

“selling isn’t about convincing people to buy something they don’t need”.

It’s about exuding confidence, being personable, and genuinely connecting with others. 

How to sell personal training - already selling

You’re already a Salesperson!

If you’re a human, you’re already a salesperson, whether you realise it or not you sell to people every single day.

  • Persuading your partner to do something
  • Motivating your kids to eat their veggies
  • Giving a friend some advice about something

These are all examples of selling and I bet you’re pretty good at it too! Likely because you know your subject and you’re confident you are doing the right thing.

Selling only becomes obvious and awkward when you are poorly prepared and you don’t know or believe you’re offering or doing the right thing.

So I am going to break down the process of selling into the following stages to make it easier for you.

Preparation breeds confidence.

If you want to persuade your partner to take up dancing with you you feel confident because you know your partner well enough to be super confident in your approach so there is no problem.

So your first step is to be as prepared as well as you can when you meet a potential client for the first time.

A great way to do this is by using the Pre Exercise screening form it can give you some useful information on health issues, injuries and motivations.

If you can get this information before you meet them it’s much better as you research any health issues or injuries beforehand and be confident in your knowledge.

Like many other personal trainers, I made the mistake of filling out this form in front of them at the start of the trial session. This approach leads to

Getting nasty surprises!

I can remember one client telling me they had bursitis in their left shoulder “I had no idea what that was or how to train someone with that condition! Not a great start! If only I knew that beforehand I could have researched it!

Wasting valuable time!

It can take 20-30 mins to get through that form leaving you very little time to take them into the gym which is where you need to be to get trust and make that sale!

I learnt this very early on and it was a game changer for me. I created a digital form that I emailed to clients before I saw them that not only covered the mandatory questions but also covered questions that uncovered their true motivations.

This enabled me to do whatever research I needed to do beforehand so I was well prepared and confident when I met them making selling more natural and straightforward.

The Digital Pre-Training Questionnaire

I perfect this form over two years through trial and error. This form is now available for you to use on your clients.

I have called it the digital pre-training questionnaire; it’s free to set up and use. So go ahead and get that set up. It will be a massive help to you.

All the questions are pre set and designed to give you all the information you need to be prepared and confident.

Attend some Local Networking events

Attending local networking events is a fantastic opportunity to enhance your selling skills, and trust me, it’s not as daunting as it seems! Personally, I’ve learned a great deal by engaging with other business owners at these gatherings.

What makes it even better is that everyone is in the same boat—trying to sell to each other—so striking up a conversation is a breeze.

Wondering how to find these networking events? It’s a piece of cake! Just fire up Google and search for “business networking events near me.” You’ll find plenty of options in a no time at all

Who knows? You might just land your next big client, or at the very least, enjoy some complimentary coffee and cookies.

So, polish up your small talk and dive into the networking scene—the waters are warm and welcoming!

Yes thats me 15+ years ago networking!

How to sell personal training - adam petford networking

“If They Say It, It’s True!”

This is the best advice I’ve ever received as a salesman. (big thank you to my old mentor Andy Gywn!)

You see, people naturally shy away from aggressive sales tactics because nobody enjoys feeling pressured to buy. But everyone wants to buy and pay good money for something they believe will benefit them.

If you directly tell a client they need you as a personal trainer, because you can do this, this and this for them. They’ll resist more often than not. The key is to get them to say “they need your help” 

You can do this by using the tried and tested method of asking open-ended questions.

Why,What & How

When you are talking to your partner you ask them things. Why do you like that? Or How come you said that? Because it opens engaging conversation (most of the time) it’s the same for your clients

For EXAMPLE:

Client: “I used to be really fit and strong but over the past few years, I have really done nothing at all.”

You: That’s interesting, (pause) so WHY do you think you stopped training?
(Back to them)

You: That’s interesting, (pause) WHAT do you think you need to do now?
(Back to them)

That’s interesting, (pause)?? – Yes, I always use that because it gives me a second or two to think of a good response! Try it.

Now, let’s talk about becoming interesting!!

Imagine if the earth were the size of a medicine ball, the sun would only be about 30 meters away, and Mars just 40 meters in the other direction.

Now on that scale how far do you think the nearest star is? 400 mtrs? or maybe even 800 mtrs? No its over 3000Km away!!

– crazy, right? Now, back to reality.

The more cool facts you know – whether it’s about science, history, politics, or sports – the easier it is to have engaging conversations with clients.

And trust me, that’s important for both selling your services and making your client sessions enjoyable.

The world keeps getting crazier every year! So, be like a sponge for knowledge. Watch YouTube channels covering everything from history to astrophysics.

Find what interests you and soak it all in. When you’re genuinely passionate about something, it shows in your interactions with others.

Show them that you’re not just a personal trainer, but interesting to talk with, which will help build trust, rapport, and ultimately, client satisfaction.

Put those F**king headphones away!

I know I’m from an older generation (48 as of writing this) but when I see new Personal trainers working out on the gym floor with their headphones on I feel like ripping them off!

In fact, personal headphones should be banned in commercial gyms! I remember the old days when no one had those damn things on.

It was a better atmosphere trust me!

I have met some of my best and most loyal clients by simply chatting to with them while I trained Wearing earphones gives off a vibe that says, “F**k off, I’m not interested.”

If you’re a personal trainer in your first year the clock is ticking and you need to get some clients soon before the money runs out. Is it really worth taking that change?? Enough said!!

What about learning about fitness etc?

Don’t worry about that for now. Learn to be a salesperson first! If you got this far then you likely know 90% more than everyone else on the gym floor about training that’s more than enough for now.

If you get enough clients that like you enough to stick around and forgive a few mistakes then you will have the opportunity to learn how to train people as a personal trainer.

So stop following all those fitness influencers and get following the people who will likely make the difference between succeeding and failing.

Here is a good place to start!

Great Sales People to learn from

Learn how to Sell Personal Training by watching these great salespeople.

Things to learn from interesting people

Learn how to sell personal training by becoming more interesting!

How To Sell Personal Training Q&As

Below are answers to common questions asked by personal trainers.

How do I Convince Someone to buy Personal Training?

If you find yourself needing to convince someone to buy your personal training services, it may indicate a misstep in your approach. Selling should never feel like convincing; rather, it’s about preparation and understanding the client’s needs.

Here’s how to effectively sell your personal training services:

  • Prepare Thoroughly: Always complete the Adult Pre Exercise Screen well before your initial meeting, not on the day itself. Having in-depth knowledge of your client’s medical history, exercise background, and goals allows you to tailor a session that builds trust and demonstrates your competence as a trainer.
  • Offer a Complimentary First Session: This not only shows goodwill but also gives potential clients a risk-free way to experience the value you provide.
  • Listen Actively: Pay close attention to what the client says during the session. Understanding their needs and responding appropriately is crucial in establishing a connection.
  • Provide Targeted Services: Go beyond basic training; assess their posture, squat form, shoulder range of motion, and offer advice on any physical issues they may have. This attention to detail shows that you care about their overall wellbeing and not just their fitness.
  • Let Them Come to You: If you execute the above steps consistently, you’ll find that much of the selling happens naturally. Clients will likely inquire about your rates and further services because they’ve already seen the value in what you offer.
  • Remember the Golden Rule of Sales: “If they say it, it’s true.” This means taking their words and feelings as genuine, which helps in building a strong, trust-based relationship.

Lastly, if you haven’t yet taken advantage of TrainerWave, now is the time to get started. Equip yourself with digital health screens, fitness assessments, and much more to enhance your service offerings and client management. This integration will not only support your training efforts but also enrich the overall client experience.

How can I get more Personal Training Clients?

To get more personal training clients, you need a solid sales system, understand your numbers, and stay consistent. Let’s say you decide to make 10 sales calls a day, three times a week.

You might not get any clients from just 10 or 20 calls, but stick with it—by the end of the month, you will have made 120 calls. That’s the level of effort it takes to start seeing results.

Selling is all about consistency and is the most crucial skill you can learn as a personal trainer. Stick to your system, and the clients will come.

Is it hard to get PT Clients?

Getting PT clients can be as challenging as you make it! If you dedicate yourself to honing your sales techniques and truly embrace the value of consistency, you’ll find acquiring clients to be straightforward.

However, if you overlook the importance of these elements, securing PT clients can become a difficult and frustrating task that may not yield the results you hope for. Understanding and implementing a systematic approach to sales is key to success in the competitive field of personal training.

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