You can be the most knowledgeable personal trainer in the world, but if you are not capable of selling your services consistently, you will starve. I have had the opportunity to work with many talented trainers throughout my career. I have witnessed some achieve greatness and some crumble after only a few short months. The difference between the successful trainers and the ones that did not make it was not in their abilities as a trainer, but in their ability to sell their services.
I have been a personal trainer for 11 years and got in the business for all the right reasons. I love health and fitness, and I love to help people. But if you truly want to be successful and have an affluent career, you have to learn how to sell it. The protocol I am going to go over with you is proven. These are not sales tricks or gimmicks. This is what I learned from being in the "trenches" for over ten years.
Naming and Pricing
Before we get into how to do a fitness assessment, there are two things I want to discuss. First is naming your program. Do not just call it personal training. Give it a name. That way it stands apart and acquires an elite status. You put up what is called "The Velvet Rope." You give your personal training program a VIP status. Call it whatever you want, but give it a name, such as Phil Kaplan's Transform or Neil Spruce's Apex Fitness. Now when you go to sell it, you can simply ask clients to upgrade to your "VIP Program."
When it comes to pricing, there is a lot of controversy as to what is best. Many people feel dropping price for package deals devalues your time and service. Yet, package deals help sales incredibly. There is a simple solution. Figure out what the absolute least amount of money you want to make per session, and make that your largest package. For example, if the least you want to charge per session is $75, then that should be the price for your 20 packs. Your 10 packs should be at $80 per session and single sessions at $90 per session. That way you do not lose value.
People like choices, so give it to them. Let them decide what is best for them monetarily and commitment-wise. I recommend only three choices: singles, 10- and 20-packs. Keep it simple. If you offer too many choices, you will get less of a response.
Step One: The Meeting
Be ready for them before potential clients are ready for you. Meet him or her at the front desk. This may be difficult if you are running back to back sessions, so I recommend making sessions 50 to 55 minutes instead of a full hour. This will give you time to get ready for your next appointment. Attitude is everything. You have to show enthusiasm. You have to make them feel as if their presence at your facility has made your day.
Make sure that you know their names. This way you can greet them properly. Instead of the normal name exchange greeting, you can use a dialogue like this: "Hi, Jane. It is so good to meet you. I'm glad you made it in today and are trying to make a positive change in your life. Let's go in my office and see how I can help you." Be sure to keep the conversation going on from that point. Talk to them as you walk them to your office. Make them feel as comfortable as possible.
Step Two: The PAR-Q Medical History and Readiness Questionnaire
When you are doing a medical history and readiness questionnaire, the more in-depth it is the better. The more information you can learn about that person, the better chance you will have of signing her as a client. If you do not have a quality intake form, be sure to get one. This may be the greatest, yet most overlooked, sales tool trainers have. Never let them simply fill it out on their own; ask them all the questions verbally. It helps build rapport. Use the questions as your way in. Any medical condition they might have becomes your focal point of the sale. If they have heart problems, high blood pressure, back pain, whatever it may be, you must identify what it is and educate them on how you can help get rid of it. If they say they play a sport, focus on how your expertise can help improve their game. If it is a stay-at-home mom, focus on how functional training could help with daily activity and ultimately make her a better mother.
Do not simply find out what their goals are, but also the emotions they had that led them to their goals. You must identify their pain (low self-esteem, health issues, divorce, etc.). Once you identify their pain, educate them on how you can help relieve it. Relief of pain is the easiest way to sell your services. For example, if they have joint pain, they need you to make them custom workouts and postural stretching routines based on their conditions to strengthen and improve their joints, which will help with the pain. If they attempt to do it on their own, they not only have lack of results, but they could worsen current condition. Remember, every person that walks into your office needs you in one way or another!
Step Three: Building Rapport
During the questionnaire, you must try to find something that you have in common with the person, and enjoy some normal conversation with them. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Do not worry about time; this is more important than anything. People are more apt to buy from people they are comfortable with and trust. Taking some time to relate with them will do that for you. For example, if during the questionnaire they said they play golf, I'll say "Oh, I love golf... have you played so and so course yet..." This leads into conversation and makes potential clients comfortable. If you get someone that just moved to the area, and we get a ton of those, offer advice on good restaurants, activities in the area anything that will breed some casual conversation. You will gain instant rapport from this and be more likely to make the sale.
Step Four: Build Credibility Through Education
I am sure everyone is familiar with the saying you have to give to get. Well, that holds true with selling as well. In this case, what you have to give is information, and what you get is credibility. Building credibility will also help you close a sale. They have to know that you know your stuff. Do not be afraid to give free advice, it will do way more good than harm.
There are five key points you need to focus educating the prospects on. You want to give them enough info so that they are confident in your knowledge and abilities, but not too much that they now feel they can try and do it on their own. Always leave them hanging for more.
When educating on nutrition, stick to the "meat and potatoes" of the subject. Educate them on how the human body works, what a calorie is, the Law of Thermodynamics and the macronutrients. Do not give them specific numbers as to how to reach their goal. Let them know that nutrition can play up to a 70% result in achieving their goal and that the "VIP Program" can help them get there.
Educate them on the F.I.T.T. principle, and in this instance, they should get specific recommendations based on their readiness questionnaire. They deserve these recommendations free of charge. Let them know about all the health benefits of cardio and its main purpose of burning calories.
This is where you sell your multivitamins. Everyone needs a multivitamin. More importantly, they need to be warned about the lack of regulations on food supplements and that most products are not what they say they are. Point them in the right direction as to which supplements work versus which supplements are simply well-marketed. They will appreciate your caring as to what they put in their body.
Teach them all the benefits of resistance training. Also, educate them on all the dangers if not done correctly. Educate them on how muscles burn fat and are essential to any fitness goal. This is where you really begin to close the deal. This is where they need you the most. This is where you tell them about all the features of your "VIP Training Program." Postural assessment, corrective stretching routine, core stability training, proper form, proper breathing, proper pace, etc.
The Importance of a Personal Trainer
There are a million things clients need to be worried about when trying to reach their goals. How many calories, proteins, carbs, fats, how much cardio, how long, what type, which exercises, what weight, how many sets, how many reps, etc. Give them a visual on this one. Take a piece of paper and draw two circles on opposite ends of the paper. The first circle represents them now, and the second represents where they want to be. Draw twenty different squiggly lines from one circle to the other representing all the obstacles they have to overcome. Then draw one straight bold line from one circle to the other. The squiggly lines represent their efforts without you. The bold straight line represents their results with your guidance. You're taking out all the guesswork, giving them a straight line to their goal. That is what they will get if they upgrade (and use the word upgrade) to your "VIP Training Program." Now here is the kicker: When you are done, look them in the eye, and say, "is that something you are interested in?" How can they say no? When they say yes, you simply need to say, "Hold on and let me get my appointment book to see what times are best for us to meet."
You should never feel bad about trying to sell your services. What you have to offer is greater than anything else, and if you did not try to sell it to prospects, then and only then would you be doing them a disservice. Just back it with the highest quality of service and products that you can provide, and never leave a client dissatisfied.
Frank Pastorelli is a leading fitness professional and the owner of Florida Fit Pros Inc. in