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.