T Nation

Are You a Personal Trainer?

I’ve recently started working as a trainer in a local gym. I’ve been working hard to learn as much as I can in order to provide the best advice to my clients, I’m NASM certified and I’ve been part of T-Nation for a few years now. But the hardest thing to learn has been how to GET the clients. How to coax them into buying your services, how to make them realize they are going to accomplish little to nothing without proper guidence.

Any PT’s out there care to share some of your tips/secrets in landing clients?

First tell me where located at? Trainers learn anatomy, how design programs etc…but we never learn marketing…you need to learn how to market yourself and your skills. But you also need to know how to produce results. There are a many books and programs on fitness marketing out there…any thing by Phil Kaplan and Eric Ruth are great resources.

Easy steps to getting more clients:

1)Talk to 5-6 new people every day

  1. Be different… (look who is your competiton and strategise and define who your are and what you can offer that they can’t)

3)Find the need, and ask yourself how can I help this person?

  1. Write out a missions statement for yourself and ask what am I about and what can I offer?

In all honesty once I had the true confidence I could help anyone, thats when I had clients rolling in. Everyone I met I planted the seed, and told them what I would do, and what I offered, I always asked them what their fitness goals were…and I was so diverse in my knowledge I knew I could always help them.

Hope that helps

I actually just submitted and article to TC on this very topic. Basically, it outlines a number of things you should and should NOT do when training clients.

Hopefully he likes it enough to run it!

Stay strong

You can also go to Ryan Lee’s site and check out his marketing stuff. Lots of great ideas. Hope this helps.

I’m in Jacksonville, FL. Its a privately owned gym thats fairly small, so talking to 5-6 different people a day would be tough after a week.

This is my first PT job, and everywhere else I applied at immediately disqualified me (I could tell by their physical reaction) after they found out I had no prior experience. So I’m startin small and I’ve gotten one client so far, but it was setup by the guy who runs the place. He’s helpin me along pretty good, trying to help get me clients and such. He’s actually an ex running back for the Dallas Cowboys.

Perferably what I would like is something similar to what I’m doing but that pays hourly. Any ideas?

As crappy as it sounds getting a job in a big chain gym that has guys that sell the training and then pass the clients off to trainers is a great way to get experience in both areas. Getting fed clients will pay much less per client but you’ll usually get more clients sooner, allowing you the chance to get your hands dirty and learn how to actually train someone. The more confident you are in your abilities the more training you’ll likely sell.

You can also spend some time watching the actual sale staff and pick their brains for selling techniques. Most of these guys don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to training but they can sell sand to an arab so if you can combine your knowledge with some of their selling tactics you should do alright.

Above all make sure that you are comfortable with the way you sell training. If you don’t feel comfortable people will pick up on that so even if somebody who makes money hand over fist uses a certain sales tactic doesn’t mean it will work for you if you don’t beleive in it. This is where having morals and stuff can be a hinderance.

Once you’ve built up your confidence in training and sales you should be able to strike out on your own. If you did a great job with your clients some will probably follow you where ever you go and their word of mouth advertising is always the best that a trainer can get.

If you decide to stick it out as an independent trainer I would offer a free consultation or training session to get people in a one-on-one situation where you can shine and let them see what you really have to offer. Assessments are also great, especially posture, flexibility and technique assessments. The more that you can show people you can help them with the more likely they will feel compelled to buy training from you.

Anyhow, got some clients to train. Hope some of this helped. BTW, Ian King has some great insights on training from selling to assessments to program design. If you haven’t read any of his books check them out.

If you treat people really nice while training them e.g. doing some assisted stretching at then end, they really seem to appreciate it. Also, the top two reasons that people select a trainer, without a sales person making the sale beforehand, is a) their looks and b) their personality. So do your best to be outgoing and if you need to gain muscle or lose fat or dress a little better, then put the time in to do that.

If you wanted an easy way to get clients in a gym then select a good looking, slightly out of shape, focused, outgoing person and train them for free for 6 weeks, nutrtion programs, stretching at the end, really go the extra distance ensuring that they are adhering to the program and enjoying it. I know a guy who went from 0 to 40 clients doing this, then on to running his own PT gym.

Simple advice:

Become good at making “instant friends”.

If you’re working in a gym, I’ve found it to be almost harder than freelancing, because the people there usually start out feeling like you’re trying to “sell them” (which you are, but it shouldn’t come across that way).

I got most of my clients when I was working out at the gym. Try to do unique exercises, but not in a flashy way. If you’re doing a 1-arm deadlift, or a full contact twist, or Turkish Get-Up people will notice. And then they’ll whisper. And then someone will come over to ask you questions. It’s an effective passive attention-getter that’s worked pretty well for me.

Aside from that, Ryan Lee, Phil Kaplan, and especially Eric Ruth are some great guys to look into, in terms of fitness marketing.