An important skill of a personal trainer, whether we like it or not, is selling.
Many personal trainers do not like being called sales people, but it is an important aspect of the role.
“I hate selling. I’m not a sales person, I’m a personal trainer”
So, how can you ‘sell’ personal training if your not too confident and/or do not want to appear pushy?
Here are some quick tips to help.
1. Get Their Expectations Straight
The first time you meet a potential client may, for example, be because you offered a free session or consultation.
This is one method of getting people ‘through the gym doors’.
While this is a good method of attraction, the difficult part for many personal trainers is how to steer the conversation towards purchasing a membership or personal training sessions.
We have all been there when the client looks confused thinking they are getting a free workout session then going home straight after.
Two simple methods to avoid this is are:
- Tell your prospects what to expect even before they come in for that free session. As you set up the consultation time (either on the phone or in person), or free workout session, give your potential client a summary of what will happen during your meeting and how you will also be presenting them with membership options during the session.
- Immediately prior to the free workout session inform the client that you will have a chat with them about the session and some membership/personal training options.
Do not ‘beat around the bush’ because you are afraid of loosing a potential client. This is exactly what you need to be doing, although you should tailor what you and how you say to each client. Telling them beforehand helps you weed out the those who are very unlikely to purchase and only targets those who are genuinely interested in training with you. For example:
“OK [Name of Potential Client], I’ll see you tomorrow at 4.00 pm for your fitness assessment. I’ll be asking you some questions about your health and exercise history and take your measurements. After that, we’ll go through a sample workout, and at the end I’m going to show you the personal training packages we have so you know what we have to offer. I’ll answer any questions you have for me then. Sound good? Great, see you tomorrow at 4.00 pm”.
2. Ask The Important Questions
You must discern the reasons why your customers need to buy into this, and the easiest way to do that is to ask!
Here is a quick list of example questions you can use to get the conversation going and uncover your prospects true reasons for buying:
- What made you decide to come in for a training session with me today?
- What is your experience with working with a personal trainer in the past?
- What happened to make you stop going?
- What made you put off personal training until now?
- What is your number one fitness goal?
- Why is achieving that important to you?
- How long have you wanted to get this done?
- What have you tried in the past to help you with that?
With experience you will be able to tailor your questions and answers to the individual client. Try to use open questions to start (to get a general answer and information) and then, maybe, ask closed questions (to get a specific answer from the open question answer).
Be personable, and do not be afraid to chat about non-sales stuff, but remember to keep the sale in mind and steer back it.
3. Nip Any Objections In The Bud
Objections are the part that most personal trainers get caught up in the most.
If you are waiting to ‘overcome the objection’ at the end of your (sales) presentation with a slick one-liner (or worse, a 12 step process) then you are already too late.
Selling personal training and overcoming objections to a sale all boils down to, again, asking the right questions early on in the process.
Without even realising it, you will have the answer to any potential objections later.
Here are some example objections and the questions you can ask beforehand to quash them. Remember, ask these questions way before you do your price presentation (Ask after you get the objection and you lose your impact):
- The Spouse Objection:
- Who will be your biggest supporter during your fitness journey?
- How long has he/she known that you’ve wanted to (insert goal)?
- What do you think they will say when you tell them you met with me today?
- The I-need-to-think-about-it Objection:
- How long have you been considering (having a PT/starting to workout/joining a gym) for?
- How long have you had this goal?
- The Money Objection:
- What have you tried in the past to help you with (insert goal)?
Once again tailor your questions and answers to the individual client.
4. Sell The Benefits, Not The Features
Your potential clients will purchase with logic, emotion, or both.
This is why it is absolutely important to get to know your clients goals from an emotional standpoint during the Q&A part of your consultation.
To avoid feeling and looking too ‘salesy’, do not talk about benefits during the consultation part, do it afterwards when you are showing them a workout or even during the gym tour.
Below are some examples of the differences when selling
benefits or features of personal training:
- Feature: Train with a personal trainer three times a week.
- Benefit: Develop the discipline to help make sure you do not fall of the wagon (again).
- Feature: Learn the correct form and technique.
- Benefit: Reduce the risk of injury.
- Feature: Loose weight.
- Benefit: Keep up with the kids.
5. Present Prices Based On What The Potential Client Has Told You
The golden rule when it comes to presenting prices for your personal training options is to make sure you are never presenting more than three options. Any more than that leads to choice paralysis and your client genuinely needing to think about it. Presenting just (or up to) three options creates a clear comparison, which gives consumers value perception.
For example, if you inform your potential client it is $60 an hour to train with you and they have nothing to compare it to, they are unlikely, or less likely, to see the value. However, compare $40 an hour for basic workouts, $60 for elite workouts and $90 an hour for premium workouts, and that $60 does not seem so bad now.
You should attempt to make your sales presentation feel less ‘salesy’ by recommending a package based on the information the potential client has given you and using their words, versus your opinion, on what they should buy.
Remember, providing a solution to their problem is so much easier then selling a service. And, do not forget, you are the professional here! Although it may not always feel like it, people want help in making their decision from a professional that knows what they are talking about (i.e. you!). For example:
“[Name of Potential Client], based on what you told me earlier I have three packages that would suit your needs – basic, standard and premium. To get you to your goal of loosing [amount] by your wedding in December, I would recommend the standard package. However, the choice is yours. Which one of those options would work best for you?”
6. Satisfaction Guaranteed!
By this point, hopefully, your new client has their bank details/debit card in hand and is ready to start training with you.
However, it takes more than a great Q&A session and a seamless price presentation to get your next paying client.
A common reason why people do not buy is fear, Fear that they might:
- Get in trouble with someone else (spouse objection);
- Find it cheaper somewhere else (I need to think about it/money/I want to shop around objection); and/or
- Find that it will not work (money/commitment objection).
You should aim to eliminate ALL of these fears with a guarantee.
Many personal trainers, and fitness organisations, do not want to inform clients about their refund policy. Due, in part, because they feel clients will attend for a short period and then claim a refund. For the small number who may claim a refund, more will join as a result than otherwise would have – simply because of the comfort of knowing there is a guarantee of getting their money back if it does not work. For example:
“[Name of Potential Client], I completely understand that you would like to speak with your [husband/wife/partner] before making a decision. So I am glad to let you know about our [comfort or money back] guarantee. If you go ahead and purchase these sessions today and, if for whatever reason you change your mind within the first three sessions, you will get 100% of your money back! So, not only do you get a chance to try it out and see if it is for you, if your [husband/wife/partner] is still is not on board I would be happy to give you a full refund.”
Some personal trainers prefer to offer less than 100% money back, 80%, for example. This is usually an ‘admin fee’ to cover costs/sessions etc.
7. It Does Not Hurt To Ask and Ask Again
There is some research to suggest that 44% of people give up after the first no, but 80% of prospects will say no four times before they say yes.
Nobody likes going down the rabbit hole of desperation when a client says ‘no’, but it is important not to give up after the first objection.
Go back to what you talked about with the client earlier and remind them of what they told you – not what you think is best for them. For example:
“[Name of Potential Client], when we spoke earlier, you said you had already been thinking about this for a year. Let’s not wait any longer to get you to your target weight.”
“[Name of Potential Client], when we spoke earlier you said your [husband/wife/partner] would be your biggest support in all this and that you have already been talking to them about this for a long time. Let’s get you started!”
“[Name of Potential Client], when we spoke earlier you said that you have been trying to loose weight on your own for more than six months. Let me help you get there!”
One of the main reasons why personal trainers do not follow up with clients who have already said no is because they do not want to be that annoying person from the gym who is “just checking in to see if you have changed your mind.” One way of avoiding this is by coming up with a follow-up plan and getting permission to stay in touch.
“[Name of Potential Client], how much time do you need to think about before you make a decision?”
“[Name of Potential Client], when will you get a chance to talk to your [husband/wife/partner] about this?”
“[Name of Potential Client], when will you be finished shopping around?”
Now finish this with a follow-up time, either in person or on the phone, for example:
“Let’s set up a time to follow up so you can let me know what you decide. You said you’ll be speaking to your [husband/wife/partner] tonight so let us arrange to meet back up here tomorrow at noon, or I can call you if that is more convenient, how does that sound?”
And, most importantly, follow-up when you say you are going to follow up!
Following the above steps can help to make the process of selling personal training a whole lot easier and getting back to doing what you love most – training people!