Most of us pursued a profession in fitness because we want to help people. I often hear fitness professionals, especially when they enter the industry, say they would "give away their services for free if they could." While this is altruistic at heart and there is a time and place for volunteering your services, ultimately, there are two unintended issues that arise from this perspective.

First, our altruistic mindset is often at the root of undervaluing our services. When fitness professionals undervalue their services, at some point they find themselves overworked and underpaid. This is a topic I've discussed in previous columns, so for the purpose of this discussion, I'd like to focus on the second pitfall: positioning the sale from the fitness professional-perspective, rather than the client-perspective.

Most fitness professionals are not naturally wired to sell. Most cringe at the thought of the sales pitch to sell packages, sessions or memberships. It's a skill that needs to be honed and practiced, but first and foremost, successfully selling fitness requires a mindset shift. This mindset shift happened for me when a coach told me to "sell them what they want, but give them what they need."

The typical client buys into a fitness program because they want fat loss, they want to lose the muffin top and they want to look better in a bikini. As fitness professionals, what we want to give our clients is increased energy, better flexibility and more self-confidence because these are what they need in order to sustain a healthy lifestyle. But frankly, in the mind of your client, energy, flexibility and confidence are simply added bonuses.

Where many fitness professionals get it wrong is positioning their sales and marketing around what the client needs, not what the client wants. Focus on selling them fat loss (or whatever your target client wants), but ultimately what you give them is confidence and more energy (and fat loss, of course!).

Initially, this approach for some may feel disingenuous or uncomfortable. But the reality is that you can’t change anyone's life unless you get them in your door. Just like putting cheese on your kid's broccoli to get them to eat vegetables at first; you must sell your client what they want, but ultimately give them what they need.