Before reading on, take a look at these statements and see if you have said any of them

“I hate selling. I’m not a salesperson, I’m a personal trainer”
” I give good workouts and that should sell itself”
” If these people just knew what I can give them, then they’d definitely want to buy from me”
“I don’t have time to sell.”
“It feels awkward trying selling personal training to someone. I don’t like the feeling of failure every time someone turns me down.”

If you have, keep reading– you’re in the right place.

As a Mentor to fitness business owners, and as a Gym Owner myself, I have heard the above statements over and over again. I’ve found that no matter what the facility is or where they are located, personal trainers tend to be unhappy when they get the ‘salesman’ tag. But the question remains — how do you sell personal training sessions without being a pushy salesperson?

Here’s my take on it…

1) Get their expectations straight
Perhaps the first time you meet a potential client is because you offered some type of free personal training session or consultation. this seems to be the most popular thing now to get people through the gym doors. And while it’s perfectly okay, the difficulty now for most personal trainers is how to steer the conversation towards purchasing a membership to paid personal training sessions.

We’ve all been there when the client looks confused thinking they’re getting their free workout then going home straight after. The easiest way to avoid this is to simply 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) give your potential client a summary of what will happen during your meeting and how you will also be presenting them with gym membership options during the session.

Don’t beat around the bush because you’re afraid of losing a potential client. This is exactly what you need to be doing. Telling them beforehand helps you weed out the tire kickers and only target people who are genuinely interested in possibly training with you.

OK Laura, 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 in 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 know the reasons why your customers need to buy into this, and the easiest way to do that is to ask! Here’s a list of questions you can use to get the conversation going and uncover your prospects’ true buying reasons.

“What made you decide to come in for a training session with me today?”
“What’s 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’s 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?”

3) Nip objections in the bud.
Objections are the part that most personal trainers get caught up in the most so naturally, this has become the number one question I get asked all the time.

If you’re waiting to ‘overcome the objection’ at the end of your presentation with a slick one-liner (or worse, a 12 step process) then you’re too late. Selling personal training sessions and overcoming objections to a sale all boils down to, again, asking the right questions early on in the process. Without even realizing it, you’ll have the answer to any potential objections later.

Let’s have a look at an example objection 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’ll 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)?”

4) Sell the benefits, not the features
People don’t buy from logic, they buy from emotion. This is why it’s 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, don’t talk benefits during the consultation part, do it afterward when you’re showing them a workout or even during the gym tour. Let’s have a look at the differences when selling personal training:

  • Feature: Train with a personal trainer three times a week.
    Benefit: Develop the discipline to help make sure you don’t fall off the wagon (again).
  • Feature: Learn the correct form and technique.
    Benefit: Reduce the risk of injury
  • Feature: Lose weight.
    Benefit: Keep up with kids.

5) Present prices based on what they told you
The golden rule when it comes to presenting prices for your personal training options is to make sure you’re 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 up to three options creates a clear comparison, which gives consumers value perception.

For example, if you tell a client it’s $60 an hour to train with you and they’ve nothing to compare it to, it’s unlikely they’ll see the value. However, compare $40 an hour for basic workouts, $60 for elite workouts, and $90 an hour for premium workouts, that $60 doesn’t seem so bad now.

Make your sales presentation feel less ‘salesy’ by recommending a package based on the information they told you and using their words, versus your opinion on what they should buy. Remember, providing a solution to their problem is so much easier than selling a service.

And don’t forget, you’re 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’re talking about (that’s you!).

Try this;
Laura, 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 losing 50lbs 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!
Hopefully, at this point, your new client has her credit card in hand and is ready to start training with you. But like you, I’ve been around the block enough times to know that it can take more than a great Q&A session and a seamless price presentation to get your next paying client.

The number one reason why people don’t buy it because of fear. Fear that they might:
a) get in trouble with someone else (spouse objection),
b) find it cheaper somewhere else (I need to think about it/money/I want to shop around objection), and/or
c) find that it won’t work (money/commitment objection).

You can eliminate ALL of these fears with a guarantee.

After working with hundreds of fitness business and personal trainers, their first reaction is they don’t want to tell clients about the gym’s refund policy because they’re worried every single client will attend for a bit then claim a refund. I promise for every person gets a refund, you’ll have at least five others who signed up with you that otherwise wouldn’t have — simply because of the comfort of knowing there’s a guarantee.

Try this on for size next time:

Laura, I completely understand that you’d like to speak with your husband before making a decision. So I’m glad to let you know about our comfort guarantee. If you go ahead and purchase these sessions today, if for whatever reason you change your mind within the first three sessions, you’ll get 100% of your money back! So not only do you get a chance to try it out and see if it’s for you if your husband still isn’t on board I’d be happy to give you a full refund”.

7) It doesn’t hurt to ask and ask again.
Think about this — 44% of people give up after the first no, but yet 80% of prospects 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 earlier and remind them of what they told you–not what you think is best for them.

“Laura, when we spoke earlier, you said you’d already been thinking about this for a year. Let’s not wait any longer to get you to your 20lb weight loss!”
“Laura, when we spoke earlier you said your husband would be your biggest support in all this and that you’ve already been talking to him about this for a long time. Let’s get you started!”
“Laura, when we spoke earlier you said that you’ve been trying to lose these 20lbs on your own for more than six months. Let me help you get there!”

The number one reason personal trainers tell me they don’t follow up with clients who’ve already said no is that they don’t want to be that annoying person from the gym who’s “just checking in to see if you’ve changed your mind”. Avoid this by coming up with a follow-up plan and getting permission to stay in touch.

“Laura, how much time do you need to think about before you make a decision?”
“When will you get a chance to talk to your husband about this?”
“When will you be finished shopping around?”

Then solidify a follow-up time, either in person or on the phone.

“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 tonight so let’s 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’re going to follow up!

Follow the above steps to make the process of selling personal training a whole lot easier and getting back to doing what you love most-training people!