You’re about to walk into a consultation hoping to sign a new client up to one of your services.

You enthusiastically greet them. You ask a couple of general questions and get them to fill out a PAR-Q. You tell them all about your personal training services and suggest they sign up for the 2 x per week package.

But something happens during this conversation that you weren’t quite expecting. The prospect tells you they can’t afford it, and even though you offer a discount, they just aren’t interested in your personal training services.

And like that, you leave without the sale and without a new client.

First and foremost, rethinking how you’re likely thinking about what selling means is a smart move. Sales are not about taking advantage of people, but about learning what people want and helping them get that thing. If someone wants to lose weight or improve their fitness, personal trainers are the perfect people to help with that.

Here are 7 other things personal trainers need to know about sales:

1. You Don’t Need To Be a Pushy Salesman To Sell

Let’s take two car salesman.

One is your typical car salesman who is always using obvious closing techniques on you. He doesn’t seem interested in your actual needs. He speaks over you and shows you cars he thinks you’ll like without asking anything about your needs or wants. He just wants the sale.

The other is different. He takes time to learn about what kind of car you want, why you want it and what your budget is. He listens when you tell him you’re interested in a car from his garage, but he also listens when you say you’re interested in a completely different model from another dealer. He takes the time to compare the two and give an honest assessment of the pros and cons of each car.

The former leaves you with a funny taste in your mouth. The latter leaves you feeling understood.

Which are you more likely to do business with?

People are drawn to you, or not to you, because of how you make them feel. Make them feel understood and cared for and more often than not, the sale will take care of itself.

2. Take The Time to Understand What The Prospect Wants & Needs

“Selling is not at its core a business transaction; it is first and foremost the forging of a human connection.” – Bob Berg

Through a consultation or a phone call, you have to understand where the prospect wants to go in order to link it to your service.

Asking questions like:

  • Tell me about you and your goals?
  • Why am I talking to you now and not six months ago?
  • What would you like to achieve?
  • Why is that important to you?
  • What will it give you?
  • How will that improve your life?
  • How much has it cost you in the past to try and hit that?
  • What barriers do you see getting in your way?

These will help you gain an insight into exactly what it is that the prospect wants. You may find that what they want is not what you offer. In which case, it would be silly to sell to this person. On the other hand, you may find that their goal is exactly what your service offers and you’re able to present a solid package.

3. You Need Clients, But You Don’t Need This Client

Have you ever walked into a sales conversation with a prospect thinking “I really need this sale”?. It’s absolutely normal to do so as you need clients to pay your bills.

But the problem is, if you’re coming across as needy, your prospect can feel and sense it.

So, how do you approach a sales conversation knowing that you need it but not wanting to put the prospect off?

You separate your economic need for clients and the emotional need that it must be THIS client. You need clients, but you don’t need THIS client. You want to come across as eager to sign them up, but not desperate.

Look out for the moments when you:

  • Try to solve their problems too quickly. Give them the space to talk about what’s going on. Ask questions, paraphrase their responses to check your understanding and once you’ve learnt all about them, summarise it back to them.
  • Enter into a negotiation about your price. Your price should be your price. Don’t budge on it.
  • Find yourself thinking about how great it will be when they pay you. You aren’t there just yet. Be patient.

Read: 15 Things to do When You Don’t Have Enough Clients

4. Make It Easy to Try Your Service

In this blog post, I wrote about why trial periods work great for personal trainers.

A 30-day trial can work incredibly well for improving your sales percentages. Prospects get the chance to try before they buy and experience your services before signing on long term.

Typically, there is a 20-30% discount off of a package for the trial, but this price is just a trial price.

I’d also consider offering a 100% money-back guarantee on the trial. You’ll probably encounter one person every five years who asks for their money back, but it’s a useful tactic to push people over the line who aren’t sure if they should jump on your trial.

5. Nowadays, a Lot of The Sale Happens Before The Actual Sale

Prospects now have the ability to look at your shop window, step inside your business and talk to your clients – all without you even knowing it.

The internet is a fun place for a consumer. If you have a Facebook business page, a website or online reviews, prospects have likely seen them before getting in touch.

It’s for this reason that a lot of the sale happens well before you actually hear from a prospect.

With this in mind, be sure to present yourself appropriately and professionally online. Be mindful of what you share, how it sounds, spelling, etc.

If you’re in a commercial gym then remember that you are always on display. Anytime you’re on the gym floor you want to be mindful of how you’re representing your business. Are you standing around on your phone? Or are you actively engaged, helping members and putting your best foot forward? Your next prospect may be watching.

6. Follow Up!

If you walk out of a consultation unsure if the prospect is going to sign up, the best thing you can do is follow up, and follow up often. The prospect should be sent an email detailing exactly what was covered and how you can help them get to their goal. Then, they should receive consistent check-ins from you.

For the first month, check-in weekly. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help, refer to something they mentioned struggling with from your conversation and if they would be interested in coming back in to trial your services.

For the months following, reduce your communication to a monthly check-in.

If you’re asked to stop, you stop. But if you’re not, keep following up.

I’ve had clients sign up 18-months after they came in for an initial consultation.

7. Aim to Prevent Rather Than Handle Objections

Objections are common in any sale.

Unless you’re an Apple employee selling the new iPhone to the people who queue up on release day, you’ll encounter objections no matter you’re selling.

They are not something to be feared. But there is a difference between handling objections, which typically happens at the end and covers things like cost and time, vs preventing objections, which happens throughout the sales conversation.

Take the time to check-in every now and then to ask questions like: “I still have more questions but before we move on, do you have any concerns around X?” or “Based on what we’ve talked about so far, are there any obstacles that would stop from buying” or “you seem a little worried about X. Tell me your thoughts?”

The reason this proactive approach works so well is that it helps solve these objections as they arise.

The other way you can start objection preventing is to make sure you’re building up the need for your service. If all you’ve talked about is why a client wants to lose weight without delving deeper into why that’s important and how having things like accountability, a supportive community and consistent exercise will help them, you need to go a layer deeper and ask more questions (for more on the type of questions to ask the book SPIN Sales is fantastic).

Find Out More About LTB

If you would like to learn more about what we offer at LTB, head here to check out our membership benefits and to learn about our 1 month for £1 trial (which is ending soon). You’ll be able to take courses on programme design, lead generation, business practicalities and download sample meal plans and marketing checklists the minute you sign up!

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