Posted on 13 Comments

7 out of 10 Personal Trainers Go Broke—WHY?


7 out of 10 Personal Trainers go broke and leave the profession they love. WHY?

1. Because they are afraid to ask for business.

2. Because they take “NO” for an answer!

In the last blog we discussed #1 and shared tips for getting new business and generating leads. Today, let’s talk about #2. How to turn a “NO” into a “YES.”

Here’s a typical conversation:

Trainer: Hello, Mr. Smith. I’m calling to offer you a free personal training session at XYZ gym. Are you interested in personal training?

Prospect: No, thank you.

Trainer: OK, thank you for your time.

Such a lost opportunity! Here are some tips from new classes, How and Where to Find Prospective Clients and Practical Sales Techniques for Personal Trainers.

1. Ask “YES” questions. Instead of “Are you interested in Personal Training?” ask “Would you like to exercise efficiently, save time and meet your goals?”

2. Find out the client’s fitness goals and then emphasize how YOU can help them achieve those goals. Personalize the approach!

3. If they do say “NO,” don’t just accept that! Remind them of their goals and why they joined the gym! They joined for a reason. They have reasons and motivations. Tap into that and make a connection.

4. If they do say “NO,” don’t consider it a “done deal.” Let them know you will contact them again in 30 days and see how they are doing. At that time, you can review their goals with them and if they are not making the progress they hoped—you can help them!

So, how do you turn a “NO” into a “YES?” Please share YOUR tips and ideas!

I look forward to hearing from you!


Check out our new Fitness Business Institute! We have a new catalog of sales and marketing classes designed specifically for YOU!

Is your certification getting ready to expire? Do you need your CECs for your renewal? Email us at to find out about our new online courses and FREE course promotion.


No ratings yet.

Please rate this

13 thoughts on “7 out of 10 Personal Trainers Go Broke—WHY?

  1. Over the last 3 years I have interviewed some of the industries top managers, VP’s and CEO’s. Each one oddly stated the same thing in the US or Canadian market. Trainers can either sell themselves or they cannot. The very successful ones stay and grow in the organization or move on and start up their own studios. Unfortunately the other 80% wither on the vine and drop out of the business. So are you a self starter and lucky enough to know how to sell yourself? Have you formally set up a game plan or direction to be successful? Most of us need direction and structure to succeed. Some organizations have in depth programs but most do not. I am interested in seeing what we all share here. Let us know what was a key element in making you successful with selling clients. The biggest tactic I ever saw or heard was asking for the commitment. Don’t be afraid to tell them how good you are and how it will all come together with your comprehensive approach. The, you have to wait for the answer! There is an old adage, the one who talks first is the one who loses.

  2. The, you have to wait for the answer! There is an old adage, the one who talks first is the one who loses.

  3. When trying to gain information from clients / potential customers you have to ask “open-ended questions”. This style of questioning allows the person being asked to usually answer from the heart and/or deep subconscious. They will actually think about the reply they give you, so you as the recipient can listen to them and (if you are smart) figure out what “road block” or “fears” they have for doing business with you. You then can reassure the client that you will honor their wishes and deliver on those expectations and goals.
    For example: If you ask ” Tell me about the best and worst experience you had at your last gym.”… their response could come from all sorts of directions, allowing you to better understand the client and give you the opportunity acquire their business through relationship building and trust.
    If you give someone the opportunity to say “NO” – they will. If you give someone the opportunity to express themselves so you and they can get to know each other better, so you can work together, the word “NO” will be eliminated from their vocabulary.

  4. It seems that most trainers don’t know who to sell themselves in the market. You can be the best trainer in the world but if you can not sell yourself then you will have empty pockets. I really like the sales courses that WITS offers now . They have great tools to help with generating more revenue and marketing techniques.

    1. Thank you, Erin! I’m pleased to hear you enjoyed the classes. You are absolutely right. Many of us are uncomfortable with “sales”. We became personal trainers because we want to help people—not sell to people! But if we don’t sell—they won’t be our client and benefit from our amazing services.

      When I speak with trainers who are uncomfortable with sales, I remind them that they are actually “selling” every time they work with a client. “Selling” is “Influencing”. Whether we are trying to influence healthy behaviors, exercise adherence, good nutrition—we are selling. We need a “paradigm shift” about what “selling” is and then, through education, training and practice, fine tune our skills.

      Thanks for the post!

  5. Selling yourself is simply listening to what your potential clients say and creating a need from their want. W.I.T.S. new business courses have really helped me fine tune my sales approach. I am not afraid of sales anymore, now that I understand the whole process.

    1. That’s awesome Olivia! You’ve hit upon such an important point. When we try to connect with a new client, we sometimes are so eager to tell them about all the awesome things we can provide; all of our credentials; our services/prices, etc. that we forget to find out what the prospect wants and needs. So, we may miss the mark and not connect! If we spend more time listening, I bet we can do a better job putting together a “pitch” and offering services that the individual will be excited to say YES to!
      Thanks for the post! I’m so pleased to hear that you found the classes helpful in your own sales!

  6. All of this information is very beneficial to new, upcoming personal trainers. However, say you live in a small town that is kind of secluded away from any big city and you can’t seem to get any clients? How do you re-approach people that have already declined your services?

    1. Great question! We’ve brought together an amazing group of successful fitness professionals and educators who share great tips in our Sales classes and Fitness Business Insitute. The same principles would apply in your situation. I think the best tip I learned in the classes is that “NO” may just mean “NOT NOW!” I recommend finding out as much as you can about your “prospect”, just as you would if they were your client. It may be that the service you offered (and they declined), may not be what they need and when they need it. Too often, when we approach prospects, we are uncomfortable and just want to get our “pitch” out. We need to LISTEN more than we TALK. Find out about him/her. FInd out what motivates or concerns him/her. Find out how he/she is progressing since you last spoke—are they meeting their goals. I am confident that you will be able to find out how you can offer a service/product/program that they will say “YES” to.

      As for the rural/remote issue—one of the most popular trends in fitness and personal training is Fitness Coaching. W.I.T.S. has a brand new class on this topic. The great thing about FItness Coaching, is the service can be provided via computer. Think outside of the box about the types of services you can offer–and be creative with how you can deliver those services to generate more business and make more $$. Thanks for the question. Hopefully others will share their ideas!

  7. I communicate with personal trainers on a daily basis. What do you think is the best advice to give them for improving growth in their business?

    1. Great question! From what we’ve learned from successful fitness professionals and top Fortune 500 company trainers… we have to strategically plan and execute our marketing efforts. This requires both “old school” approaches (word of mouth, networking, referral programs) and more current social media efforts (facebook, twitter, you tube.) The key is to identify your business goals, and implement the appropriate marketing strategy. Generating leads, increasing visibility, and developing relationships all require consistent and persistent efforts! Business success does not happen by accident. Thanks for the question! Hopefully others will share their ideas!

  8. I agree it’s really important to ask the open ended or “yes” questions. I think any other approach leads to too much thinking and too munch chance for that thought to turn into a negative response. Also approaching your sales in this manner makes you seem confident that your product will help your consumer. GREAT TIPS I must say and the business courses only build on these fundamental things we all should know and practice.

  9. […] 7 out of 10 Personal Trainers Go Broke—WHY? | World … – 7 out of 10 Personal Trainers go broke and leave the profession they love. WHY? 1. Because they are afraid to ask for business. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *