Selling personal training sessions is one of the most difficult parts of the trainer’s job. Most trainers probably do not have a degree in business and are not trained extensively in sales. That kind of background helps in growing a business and doing it efficiently. However, there are core concepts that anybody can learn and become masters of to succeed in selling more personal training sessions.
Before getting into the thick of this information, let’s establish some ground rules as a personal trainer and a salesperson.
- Exude confidence, not ego
- Ask the right questions
- Pick your battles wisely and do not waste your own time
These rules let you know when to lead the pitch to the end or lead the pitch out the door. Nobody wants to spend their time with an egotistical trainer or a trainer who is not confident in their ability to conduct the training. Find the happy medium with your confidence going into the pitch – don’t show your nerves if you have them.
After establishing this, ask the client the right questions to better understand their confidence and their will to get fit. Personal training is a two-way street. Do not spend too much time trying to win over a client who will not put in the work. That will reflect poorly on you in the long run and will result in you wasting your time.
Speaking of wasting time, make sure you’re not wasting your time pitching to a client. Read their cues and if they really don’t bite on your close, then consider it over and on to the next.
Now let’s dig into this treasure chest of advice.
Tip #1 to selling personal training: Control the conversation
Every single time you sit down with a prospective client, be prepared to avoid answering any of their pertinent questions. You need to build the value of your personal training business. Clients will always come in with a list of questions that they want answered. Letting the conversation be controlled by their questions is a big mistake.
The first reason to not make this mistake is that you begin the sales pitch by listening to them. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s imperative to listen to the client. The problem is that a pitch loses effectiveness when it is not listened to or is guided off track.
Second, because the client’s leading questions will always regard the price point and the quick solutions to their needs. According to a study done by HubSpot, about six in every ten buyers want to discuss pricing in the first meeting. People feel deterred by a price point that is not backed by a proposed value for the service being sold. 80 dollar sessions will not sound very appealing to the client if they don’t understand what the session entails.
Value is key to guiding your sale in a successful direction. Before answering questions, ask them questions about their goals so that you can build value around the sessions you can provide for them. Once you have established this, then they will be more apt to pay the price for your training. Take the reins of the conversation right off the bat so you can steer it in a positive direction. To help, write out a script for a pitch where you present your business and then ask questions of the client.
Let’s say you’re trying to decide where to buy a TV. You want a 65 inch that’ll fit nicely over your mantle. There are many different options for the 65 inch smart TVs at stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, Sam’s Club, etc. and they range in price from $899 to $1999. You have a set budget of around $1000. You do some research and find out that Best Buy and Sam’s Club have very good warranties and longer-lasting products.
Then, you find out they are more expensive than the other options like Walmart. However, this is a big investment. The value of the warranty and the product are more important than spending that amount of money on a TV at a higher risk.
Clients will think this way when you finally reveal the cost of your service after you build the value of it. Your sessions are worth your prices, so prove it to them before they even know the cost.
Tip #2 to selling personal training: Outline your solution to their needs
Asking the right questions of prospective clients is important to selling personal training. Everyone is different and will need a different approach to achieving their health and fitness goals. Therefore you need to understand the background of a client. Ask these questions to get a better idea if this is the right client for you as a trainer. This goes back to our rule #3 – pick your battles wisely.
Questions to ask
Why did you decide to seek out personal training?
This is an important question to better understand the client’s thought process in their decision to seek out help. Get an idea of their story, so you can start relating to them on a personal level. Establishing connections with clients helps them to trust you as a trainer with guiding their fitness journey.
What are your short and long-term health goals?
Firstly, gauge the client’s desire to become more fit so you have a good idea if this person will be a good investment of your time. Second, their answer to this provides a good idea of how much time you will have to invest in them. This question also provides information on how you will go about building their workouts. If the client wants to lose weight and work on their eating habits, then you will know to focus on fat burning and nutrition guidance. If the client wants to become stronger and more toned, but does not really need to lose weight, then you know to focus on strength and cardio training exercises
Have you received any personal training in the past?
If a client has had training in the past, then it helps to know what worked for them or what didn’t work. It also is very handy to know why they did not return to their previous trainer. Learning from other people’s mistakes can be a lot easier than learning from your own. (Ha!)
How much physical activity do you do regularly for your job or around the house?
Know how much physical activity the clients get on a daily basis so you can accommodate their workouts. If they do not get much physical activity throughout the day, then they will need to supplement that with more basic workouts to begin with and longer warm-ups. If they get lots of activity through the day because their job requires them to be on their feet, then you can gauge what level of activity in workouts they need to start at.
Do you smoke?
If a client smokes, then it is important to know how much they smoke. Their lung capacity and heart health will affect how you should approach training sessions.
What are your eating habits like?
We all know how important it is to supplement working out with healthy eating habits. Ask this to know how the clients current diet is affecting their health status.
Do you have any health conditions that might affect your training?
Clients may come in and be the perfect candidate for training but could have a health condition that prevents you from being able to provide that for them. Know what conditions your clients have because you might not have the proper training or certification for being their trainer.
This brings up a good point, actually. It never hurts to be certified in as much as possible. The more certified you are, the more opportunity for selling personal training you have.
Further health information must be assessed before starting training of any kind. This can be outlined in a PAR-Q and Informed Consent waivers.
Tip #3: Know how to respond to objections
The rebuttal is half the fun of sales. It’s actually not fun at all. In fact, objections are the most frustrating aspect of sales. No matter how well you made your pitch and executed it, there will always be the doubters. It’s fun when you can rebuttal an objection and continue on with your pitch and win over the client. That feeling of success is incomparable, so here is how to increase your chances of casting out a successful rebuttal.
Redirect and Reestablish
Common objections are “I can’t afford this right now” or “I want to see about my other options first.” These types of objections require the trainer to redirect from the issue they brought up by saying, “I completely understand where you’re coming from and I have been in your position before.”
Then, follow with the reestablishing of the value of your services by touching on the key points that add value to your personal training business and what sets you apart from the rest. You can even add more value at this point by using their answers to your questions to respond to their objections. Making the pitch personal will increase your chances of selling sessions.
Statistics are a great help in establishing value! If you do not include statistics in your initial pitch, then use them as your underdogs for further convincing the client that they will benefit from your services. Here is a list of health and fitness statistics you can pull from to strengthen your pitch.
The testimonials of current and past clients are extremely helpful in reestablishing value. Using testimonials can increase your revenue by 62% (Big Commerce). That is a huge conversion!
Keeping some sort of compilation of client feedback can be extremely helpful when a person is objecting with the need to compare their options. People act on feeling before they consider logic. If you have a history of getting your clients the results that they want and the progress photos to show for it, then you will establish much more credibility and good feelings about what you have to offer as a personal trainer.
It also never hurts to ask what options they have in mind to compare your business to. Asking this gives you a better idea of what other trainers are up to in your competitive proximity.
Tip #4: Close with a call to action… and some confidence
A vital part of any sales pitch is knowing when to close. Leave no time for the client to rethink their position or give any other objections. After two objections and redirecting and reestablishing, then it’s time to start sealing the deal.
Generally, closing helps you save your time and pick your battles (rule #3). Closing with confidence and a call to action, however, can be the turning point for your personal training business. A call to action requires that the client thinks about doing something that you want them to do. Otherwise, they focus on the cognitive dissonance in the back of their mind telling them to pass on the offer.
Cognitive Dissonance – The Serial Sale Killer
Hold up… what is cognitive dissonance? You can think of it almost as the precursor to buyer’s remorse. We all definitely know what buyer’s remorse is. It’s like buying that thousand dollar, 65 inch smart TV from Walmart that stops connecting to the internet. Except, that issue wasn’t covered in the warranty (Cue: facepalm).
The time for clients to experience this dissonance is between the value building and the moment they sign a contract. That is a huge gap to bridge, but it is done through closing with a call to action. You must be able to read the client and understand what it is that is causing their dissonance.
If they are hesitant about the price point, then call them to action with a small discount on their first session. Ask them what day is best to get set up for an initial session.
If they are hesitant about their ability to get results, then hand them your example of testimonials and say, “These are the results my clients get. It isn’t going to happen in the blink of an eye, but when you can discipline your life from mental health to physical health, I promise you will feel nothing but pride and appreciation for what I know you can accomplish. So let’s get you signed up to try it out this coming Thursday. What time is best for you?”
Note: Try to ask as little yes or no questions as possible because it gives the client an easy path out of the sale and the control over the conversation will fall in their lap.
A call to action has to pull on an emotional string for it to be effective. We want to bridge that gap with the promise of good feelings in order to prevent the negative dissonance. It is also important to get them involved in the action. It is a fact of psychology that people will most likely grab whatever you hand them while speaking. In this case, hand them the testimonials with brisk confidence and then pull out your laptop or paperwork to sign the client up. These actions maintain the momentum of the pitch.
Selling personal training sessions is truly a simple process. However, your confidence and ability to read and respond to the client determines how successful you are in selling sessions.
Here are some other helpful resources if you want to further hone your sales skills:
- Hubspot – See what sales giants are doing and what makes their sales culture so successful.
- LibreTexts – Get into the nitti gritti of marketing and sales with this awesome resource.
Consider this your first free personal training session for your business. ; )
For more personal training tips and updates about FitSW, check out the rest of our blog! Feel free to leave a comment below and don’t forget to practice those pitches.