Launching a new career as a personal trainer is an exciting step for anyone who loves fitness and wants to make a difference in the lives of others. In the process of becoming certified, you studied anatomy and exercise physiology, learned how to create effective programs, and how to prevent injury. Yet, no matter how much you learned about fitness training, you probably were not fully prepared for the business end of personal training.
Many new trainers in gyms and small studios are surprised to learn that selling session packages is an important part of their job. Large gyms often offer two or three free personal training sessions to all new members, and it becomes the trainer’s job to convert them into personal training clients. In a small studio, you may have to make a sales pitch to every curious visitor who wanders in off the street.
Let’s face it, without clients, you won’t get very far as a trainer.
So why do some trainers successfully convert prospects into clients, while others flounder? You may need to make some changes to your approach.
Here are five common reasons you are not getting conversions:
- You lack confidence. New trainers often have great credentials, but lack the experience that builds confidence. If you are hesitant about selling training packages, potential clients will pick up on it. They may already be skittish about spending a lot of money for training, and your reluctance could convince them not to buy. You need to convey to them that you believe in yourself and the program, and you think it is well worth the investment. Stand tall, look them in the eye, and project confidence in yourself and your product.
- You fail to project professionalism. Professionalism is a somewhat elusive concept, but it is the way you present yourself and interact with others. Everything from personal grooming to wardrobe to body language makes up your professional image, and your ability to interact comfortably with a diverse range of people seals the deal. Adjectives that describe an unprofessional image include (but are not limited to) sloppy, lazy, bored, sexy, profane, mumbling, shy, boisterous, obnoxious, arrogant, slouching, smelly, dirty…the list goes on! Do a self-check, and try to up your game by building a more professional image.
- You make it all about you. As a new trainer, you may feel you need to persuade potential clients that you are qualified for the job. However, making yourself the focal point of your sales interview is a sure way to lose a sale. Prospects already assume you are qualified if you are talking to them about training. Take time to get to know your prospect, and do a needs analysis to understand what they expect from a personal training program. Ask open-ended questions and listen attentively. Showing you genuinely care about your prospect is the best way to build trust, and trust is key to making the sale.
- You make it all about the money. Sure, personal training is expensive, and you may fear your potential client will get sticker shock when you reveal the rates. Just remember that they did not come to you to talk about money. They came to you for help, to lose weight, reach their fitness goals, or improve their health. You build value by paying attention to their needs and projecting confidence that you can help meet them. Never apologize for the cost of personal training. Believe you are worth it, and deliver the results to prove it.
- You just aren’t ready. Developing confidence, building a professional image and honing your people skills is a process that requires exposure and experience. You may have great credentials, but lack the practical experience of working with people in a professional setting. Thankfully, those skills can be learned and acquired. Ask for help from your supervisor and co-workers, and don’t be afraid to put yourself in situations where you are forced to interact with others in a professional way.
If you are lucky enough to be certified by W.I.T.S., you received some valuable training during your internship that you cannot find in a textbook. Our internship is a unique feature that gives you a glimpse of gym life “behind the front desk” where business transactions take place. With a W.I.T.S. certification, you are already on your way to a successful career as a personal trainer.
Getting and keeping clients is a challenge faced by every new fitness professional, but having the right tools makes it easier. W.I.T.S. has dozens of continuing education courses geared to helping you succeed in the fitness business. Get a Fitness Management Certification, or explore the many options in our Online Business Management Success Series. Keeping your head in the business game is crucial for success, and W.I.T.S. is here to cheer you on!