Personal training

Is Sales a Big Part of Being a Personal Trainer?

By Joe Talarico on Sep 9, 2020 10:00:00 AM
4 Minutes Reading Time


Sales is a big part of being a personal trainer. However, it’s not in the way you think it is. Most trainers who start out think they have to close every person they meet, and close them the second they meet them. In other words, their mindset is the classic salesman approach. This can definitely close a lot of clients, especially the ones who already know what they want, but long term this method won’t hold.

Knowledgeable vs Personable

My biggest hurdle when I first became a trainer was thinking because I had all this background knowledge of what works best for each individual client, that this alone would help me be the top trainer at my gym. Boy did I learn that lesson the hard way. Nothing humbles you more than seeing the least knowledgeable trainer outsell you because he/she was just that much more personable. Clients just loved being around her. 

Don’t get me wrong, you definitely need to know what you are doing. Never stop learning. However, when it comes to picking up clients, and building a successful book of business, you have to be personable. These prospective clients aren’t just training with you. They’re choosing to spend their time and money to spend that hour with you. No client wants to be with a trainer that just talks science and lifting all day. Veteran trainers know, the majority of your sessions are going to be like therapy for them. Be personable enough that people actually want to invest that time with you out of everyone else.  

For Those Actually Working at a Gym

If you are at a big box gym, you better be working the floor, and the front desk. So many trainers are afraid of this. It’s not about trying to hammer the sale down right there, in their face. Use your floor time to just strike up a conversation with at least one person each time. Ask them how their day was, what they’re working on, or anything where you can grab information. That’s it. When you see them next time, follow up with that conversation if you learned something about them. Write down everything you learn about each person so you don’t forget it. 

If you can, try and just book assessments with newer clients, to get them used to being in the gym. For a lot of people, they’re intimidated having to work out in front of so many people and don’t know what to do.  

Online Presence

These days, having an online social media presence is a must. You are nuts if you think you don’t need one. Why wouldn’t you? Think of it this way. Create a fitness trainer Instagram even if it’s just to show as your portfolio for prospective clients. This will allow individuals to see what kind of trainer you are, where you train, and how you train. It’s the new version of a business card. Hell, word of mouth these days involves social media. If a client were to refer you to their friends, the first thing that friend is going to want to do is look you up on Instagram, or Facebook to see if you even have a page.  

It’s also a fantastic resource for your existing clients. After you’ve been a trainer for enough years, you’re going to notice that you get a LOT of the same questions. It could be about back problems, stretches, proper technique, you name it. Rather than answering it every time, why not post a tutorial video, or article addressing that issue? Not only are you answering your clients questions, you are also providing a very valuable and free resource for anyone to come across, which (now) allows them to see how knowledgeable you are.  

Also, people just need repetition sometimes. Even for myself, I can’t tell you how many times someone has tried to teach me a lesson, and I end up learning it after the 10th time, watching some random video, because somehow that person just made it “click” for me.  

I hope this helped clear the sales aspect of being a trainer. Try some of these tips out and let me know how you do.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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