#3 Successful Personal Trainers Love to Sell.

It’s interesting how many Personal Trainers hate to “sell”. When talking about sales, what typically comes to mind is the sleazy car salesman who will say anything to get a sale. I, myself, as a club manager in the early ’80s, went through a sales training program that emphasized selling multi- year membership contracts and hoping that they wouldn’t show up. There were club salespeople that would sell memberships for classes that we didn’t even offer. Needless to say, I resigned shortly thereafter with a stong dislike for anything to do with sales. It wasn’t until years later when a friend pointed out to me that I was the biggest salesperson around, that I was able to re-define my ideas of what “selling” really was. My “selling”, that my friend pointed out, was my enthusiasm for fitness and my belief that I could help make others’ lives better.

In essence, that’s what selling is for us. used-car-salesman When we sit down with a potential client, we use our motivational interviewing techniques to uncover what their needs, wants, and what obstacles they have. Then, not unlike a doctor or physical therapist, we make an honest recommendation as to what we believe is the best course of action for them to reach their goals safely and effectively. The financial aspect, at this point, shouldn’t even come into play. This recommendation is our best case scenario for them. It may sound something like this, “Based on what you’ve told me, that you’ve had difficulty sticking with a program, become easily bored, and tend to get injured when working out on your own, I recommend that we work together ___ times per week. That way we can build your initial program, gradually ramp up the intensity while constantly monitoring your form for safety, and change it up before you get bored. It’ll keep you accountable and help you stick with the program, not to mention get you the results you want faster. Does that sound like something you’d be interested in?” That’s the idea. Specifically address their situation, make an honest recommendation, relate specifically how your recommendation will address their issues and get them to their goal, and ask if they’d like to have your help in changing their health/fitness.

Successful Personal Trainers love “selling” because it is offering the potential client their best chance at success. Wouldn’t you love giving everyone that chance? Embrace that moment and make them the offer that can change their lives.

Check out the full series.

Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #1
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #2
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #3
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #4
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #5
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #6
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #7
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #8
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #9
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #10

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Recommending vs Selling

In all of the years that I have been coaching personal trainers, one of the biggest stumbling blocks for them is getting a potential client to commit to a training program. This is often rooted in the trainer’s mindset about… “SELLING”. The act of selling, asking for people’s money, conjures up images of used car salesmen, telemarketers, and  late night infomercial pitchmen. How can an honest, idealistic trainer, who only wants to help others live healthier, happier lives stoop so low as to “SELL”?

recommendation value


This is where the mindset needs to change. Sales doesn’t need to be this evil thing. Selling is doing what is best for the person sitting in front of you. It’s recommending the best course of action for that person to reach their goals. Let’s see… You just greeted them in a warm, friendly way, went through their medical health history and lifestyle questionnaire, helped them clarify their goals, uncovered obstacles that have stopped them in the past, you may have done some health and/or fitness assessments on them. What do you do now? You’re the specialist. You’re the professional. So, you need to tell them what you believe is the best way for them to succeed. “Based on your goals and the information that we’ve gathered here, I recommend that you participate in the _________ program. It will teach you ______, take you through ______ step by step, and help you to pre-handle those obstacles that got in your way in the past (list the obstacles). How does that sound to you?” That’s it! That’s selling your service. The only time you need to discus price is when they are actually paying for it.

One last thought on this. What happens to them if you don’t get them to sign on? Do you think they will succeed as well as if they were working with you? They might not succeed at all if you don’t help them. Go forth now and make some heartfelt, professionally-based recommendations that will change people’s lives.