Advice from personal trainers...

Hey guys… I just started a new job personal training @ one of those giant 24 hour super gyms. It’s all commission so I really want to do well here. I have a pretty good idea how I’m going to present myself to everyone when I have consultations and what not. I’m just wondering if anyone might have any advice. I’ve never really considered myself a salesman, and thats seems to be such a huge part of the job. I know I really have to get them talking… not just ask “How’s your routine? How’s your nutrition?” Any little tricks you guys have picked up? Questions that may get them thinking? Any suggestions would really be appreciated.

So, you’re gonna be wearing the proud purple shirt of a 24Hour Fitness Professional, eh? Well, just walk around with your chest all puffed out and make sure you do plenty of squats on the smith machine…KIDDING! :wink:

Okay, look and watch for the members with poor posture. Alot of times, these are the people who have to sit at a computer all day. Ask casually ask them: "do you sit in front of a computer all day?" If so, they may also have a tendency to sore lower back. Ah, you might have something for them, there....something that will strengthen the abs and improve the posture....You know, something like that. Spend your first several days eyeballing the members for things like this. Another thing? Spend time straightening out the gym floor, picking up weights and putting them away - and while doing so, look straight into members' eyes and follow with a nice big friendly "hello". This worked for me ALL the time - got clients this way. It showed that I cared for my "work space" (which I did) and that I was approachable(which I am).

Fact #1: The best closer on a personal training client is LOOKING THE PART. Fact #2: If you have to do to much Closing to get the client, you will probably not have that client for long anyway. Fact #3: Clients stay only if they feel the difference imediately and see the difference very quickly. Sales: The trick in sales is to cover all possible objections before they occur. A good salesman will always get to the Lie or buy stage, where the lead either buys or makes up a lie. If you get there you have done your job fundamentally at least. You must cover the objections by “questioning” them into the buy. Have you ever had a professional look at your training and nutrition program? Have you been getting the results you are looking for out of your work outs? ////You know, paint them into the corner and when you have covered every possible objection with a question, you then move forward into the series of “YES” questions. Meaning you get them into the habit of saying yes. Is today Wednesday? Yes Do you think the Lakers will win it all? Yes Wouldn’t it be great to be stronger and leaner? yes Are you willing to do what it takes to get leaner and stronger? yes. Bammm. CLOSE. Let’s get you on my four week beginner package for 300 bucks. Get them to say yes four times then CLOSE. Repeat if necessary. Sales is a numbers game, you gotta have thick skin. Then you have the chore of getting them results which usually fails from lack of motivation before anything. Think of yourself as a baseball player in a game of failures. The one who fails the least wins. And if you fail 7 out of ten times you are a superstar.

Alright, thanks. Actually Patricia, it’s not a 24 Hour Fitness. I don’t think they have those in Chicago, but it’s the same gist. Walking around smiling and saying hi for a few days… that’s exactly what I planned on doing. Maybe just ask a few people if they want a 20-30 minute workout, but I won’t even ask them to set up a consultation. D_END - yeah… you sound like you know exactly what you’re talking about. I wrote down a list of questions to throw at everyone. I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a little practice, but I know I can do it. Anything else you can offer up would again, be very much appreciated. Thanks bud.

All you need is one question: “Are you getting the results you want?” (Of course, this is after a suitable lead-in.) No one is getting the results they want, so it’s always a way in.

Ooops, I just made a assumption, sorry Chuck! Hmm, Chicago? I love Chicago. Especially Ginos East pizza. Yummers. The ONLY pizza I ever crave. If we ever go to the Wizard Comic Con (Rosemont Convention during August of every year), I’ll remember to let you know.

I have to tell you, that during my stint as a Trainer, I never had to approach clients. They did come to me. Only because I made myself so assessable. I worked out where I trained my clients - so that I could be seen. That helped, too. Plus, it does help to actually look the part. I also went to seminars routinely to meet other "fitness professionals". Do you have a business card, yet? Something you can leave behind like after you've eaten in a restuarant for example? Which is what I did. And that worked, too. How much leeway are you given by your gym to create packages? Can you create your own introduction package?

Of the trainers that work in this gym, which one is the most popular and usually has the most clients? What does this trainer do that is different than the others? I do agree that asking someone "are you getting the results you wanted?" is a great intro.

Hey, good luck! :-)

Yeah Pat… Chicago’s nice. In the summer, anyways. I’m all about the Gino’s East too. Good stuff.

There are a couple guys that work there that look like big ol’ badass competitive bodybuilders, and they do get alot of business. I’m not in their league just yet(6’1, about 195)… but I would think some people might be intimidated by their size. Actually a few ladies that train there don’t even look like they’ve touched a weight in 20 years… and they’re writing all kinds of numbers. They’re going to give me 500 business cards to start out with… still haven’t gotten ‘em yet though. As far as creating my own packages… I can pretty much do whatever I want. Theres no micro-managing goin’ on. So that’s nice. The guy that does the most business… he’s one of the badass bodybuilders I mentioned. He knows exactly what he’s doing… he’s always smiling, always giving advice. Just an all-around good guy. I’m definitely going to be pickin’ his brain if I ever get a chance to talk to him. I just figure for the first week or two I’m just going to try and learn the members names, and just help out as much as I can… work them out for 20-30 mins or whatever. Hopefully something will catch on… I’m not expecting much when I first start out, but I’ll learn.

Thanks again Patricia for all of your help, and if you ever come thru Chicago let a brotha know. My real name is Ryan, btw. Why I use chuckwagon as my handle… I do not know. Take it easy sista.

Well, Ryan - I didn’t want to use your name thought I’d respect your guise as Chuckwagon :wink: - you have my addy. Since I am in the process of becoming re-certified, I am also familiarizing myself with the sales/marketing aspect of being a Trainer. I’ll be happy to maintain contact and help out with whatever I can!

Oh, and checking out any book on Guerilla Marketing or marketing on a "shoe-string" budget will help. And I know of books regarding the business aspect of Personal Training, I'll find them and let you know what they are. And if the other male BB-like trainers are intimidating to the women clientele - it sounds like you found a li'l niche to start with!

I worked at a gym in Seattle for a couple summers when I was in college. There was one trainer there who had more business than he could handle. He was one of the most outgoing guys you’ll ever meet. And he’d be constantly shmoozing these overweight women he’d train: “My god, Mage, you look fantastic. We must be doing something right!!” and they would just eat it up… even though they looked no different from the first day he trained them. Flattery really did get him everywhere. Not saying you need to be like this guy, but his outgoing nature: smiling, paying compliments, etc. really helped him out. Very approachable guy. If you can really turn on the charm, I think that’s a big part of the battle.

Trainers I like the most are the friendly ones who genuinely want to help ME achieve my goals. They’re interested in what I have to say, and they have the expertise and knowledge to help me out.

Trainers I don't like are the type who stare at me blankly with their eyes glazing over when I ask them things like "What do you think about ketosis?" or "my left knee hurts a little. What kidn of routines should I do?"

I’m guessing Lifetime Fitness. So far everyone has given great advice. Most trainers are in the same boat as you, love to train/hate to sell. When you ask people about thier fitness goals you will get just that. What thier goals are. What is going to make you great at selling is if you can then get that person to tell you why. Always find out why, get that emotional attachment to thier goals and you will be much more likely to explain how you can help them and they will feel at ease with you because you now have shown that you understand them. Pratice your sales presentation with friends until you have it down cold. Always offer alternative choice type of closes. Such as would you like the 20 sessions package or the 10 session? Then shut up, and let them tell you. As for tricks…lets see. Here is a good one. Approach people doing abs and begin a conversation about the excercise. Eventually get to the “why” You will be amazed at the answers you get. More often than not is is to look better, have a six pack etc. Then educate them on why thier approach might not be the best. Be prepared to give out free advice and workouts. Good luck

Wow, Chuckwagon, thanks for asking this question, cause I am in the exact same boat as you. I just got a Personal Training job at a Powerhouse in the Chicago burbs, and closing is really hard, especially in the area where I work cause it’s lower income. But you if you want some motivation in selling watch Boiler Room. The question I started asking is, “Do you want to be in the best shape of your life” what are they gonna say, no fuck you, I don’t. Another good question a la Boiler Room is “If you were drowning, and I threw you a life perserver, would you take it? Pick up a personal Trainer.” I dunno, it’s a hard job, and I know I am struggling, so everyone’s comments are much appreciated.

Thanks everyone for your comments. They’re all excellent. One thing I’ve been kind of wondering about though… when you sign somebody new do you think changing the exercises a little more often would be wise? The people I’ve trained in the past didn’t really have to pay me as much as they do here. I just don’t know how they’d react to me having them do the same things for 3 weeks, ya know?

Hey all! All some interesting comments. I sell personal training for a living and manage a personal training staff here in atlanta. I used to think being in outstanding shape made a difference in how many clients someone had. Then I realized it really didn’t. It all comes down to your ability to persuade powerfully. I average $35,000 a month of pt contracts and have been seriously doing this going on 2 years. Here is the real deal. Go to and buy the biggest home study course you can afford. Kenrick Cleveland has the best persuaion material bar none. Come from a place of genuine empathy when dealing with people. Let them know you care and use NLP and hypnosis to perusade like mad. I don’t do anything that sounds salesy anymore. The traditional Yes Set where you constantly have someone saying yes is ridiculous. A much more powerful way is to pace,pace,pace, lead…pace, pace, lead…pace, lead…lead,lead,lead. Even better, assume rapport then lead, lead, lead.
Hope this helps

Ko and I just checked out a club that focuses on “personalized” help for members. Hence, it specializes in Personal Training. However, looking over some of the trainers’ bios - noticed that most of the trainers are ACE certified (!). It’s located in a area that $$ is no object. Facilities are swanky, plush AND they have a heavy bag and are setting up a powerlifting station complete with bumper plates. Another plus? The weight training area is huge, while the aerobics room is smaller in square footage. Nice. They were receptive to the fact that Ko has extensive martial arts background and that I have a extensive lifting background and both of us were knowledgable in powerlifting (Ko more than me). Check out - tell me what you guys think. I think a club like this is perfect for the more upscale clientele, we are also looking into another gym that is not as $$ oriented. Will probably train in both clubs.

As I've said before, pick a niche - market yourself for that niche and provide quality training and once your clients see the results, they will provide you with more clients via word of mouth. Ko and I will more than likely leave cards, info in the various boxing gyms in town as well. Boxers need to stay fit outside of the ring, too you know. Also, with the various martial arts schools in the area. That'll be our niche. Besides the bored housewives who want to do something else other than watch afternoon soaps.

Oh and chuckwagon: Now you know a program must be adhered to for at least 6-weeks to see if it's effective, right? I wouldn't worry about having to change your client's program once every 3-weeks. If anything they were already doing that (trying out "X Program" for 2-3 weeks before giving up). You've got to show them that "sticking with" a program is more beneficial. During that six weeks, show them the changes occuring in their BF%,stamina, etc. - also introduce them to other things like small nutritional changes. Keep that six weeks interesting. I know that seems funny to someone who is useto working out routinely - but to the average Jane/Joe, that's huge.

Nathan, please elaborate a bit more on using maxpersuasion. What kind of money where you doing before the course?

NLP is a very powerful psychological tool. A good introduction to the field is “Introducing Neurolinguistic Programming” by Joseph O’Conner. I know that it works for many reasons, one of which is that I have been able to increase my wife’s sexual interest. NLP is also working it’s way into the field of magic. I have a couple magician friends integrating NLP into their performances, and am starting to do so myself.

I think that one of the best things you could do is find a large woman with a lot of motivation, and offer her some free sessions as long as she lets everyone know who is helping her drop the fat. When her friends see her drop a lot of weight, and you would be surprised at how fast word of mouth travels.


Hey Greg. To answer your question, I have noticed a 5% increase in my closing percentage in the last 2 months since purchasing the platnium packiage Kenrick offers. I haven’t even got to his magical objection handling mastery course yet. I have spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on sales, NLP, and related materials. Kenrick is bar none the best at direct healthclub/pt type sales. Interestingly enough he set the guiness world record for healthclub sales while being about a 100lbs overweight! All this at around age 20! I’ve always known hypnosis and NLP were the most effective persuation tools available, yet I was continually frustrated about how to apply them. It was great to find his course. Two years ago it frustrated the hell out of me to know that I was such competent personal trainer yet was making very little money. I can identify with everyones post. I close 50-65% of the people I sit down with and have an average deal of $800-1,100. I usually contract people for a year. If this helps anyone great. No, I’m not getting a kickback on the course…just think it kicks ass.