As a trainer, being fully booked is always the aim (yes, even during the dreaded 1pm -4pm lull). Building a maintainable roster of clients is often a struggle many personal trainers face, yet they continue to run their business in ways that make growth almost impossible. While the goal seems to be a simple one, trainers are not always aware of the changes they need to make in order to sustain their business and have a fully booked schedule – in any season, on any given day. From thinking outside of the box, to better communication and networking, the following are the top ways to be the most successful personal trainer you can possibly be.
1. Be a Walking Billboard for Your Business
A true fitness professional looks the part. In many cases, obtaining clients has less to do with actual training and often more to do with how you are viewed. In other words, do you look as though you care about fitness and about your business as a whole? Really nailing your professional image is important. Of course you shouldn’t show up to work in a suit and tie, but proper grooming and a clean image can go a long way. Taking pride in your appearance and maintaining a professional look, even with clean workout clothes and clean gym shoes, can be an extremely powerful tool for your business
2. Talk like you mean business
Having a close relationship with your clients is great for business. You will earn each other’s mutual respect and trust. But regardless of your relationship, some topics should be off limits. From politics to religion, keep things professional and avoid topics that may be uncomfortable for you, your clients, or for anyone overhearing the conversation. Also, be sure to keep your language clean. Remember, someone is always listening, so be respectful with everyone from your clients to fellow trainers.
3. Be on time
In fact, be early. Always be ready for your clients and never rush to the appointments or keep them waiting. You should have their workout ready and be prepared for the hour ahead. You’ll also want to respect your client’s time by finishing on schedule too. Also, never cancel a session without having an extremely good reason. A good reason to cancel a session would be if there was a blizzard and it simply wasn’t safe to be out on the roads. Not feeling like it or oversleeping, are not good reasons for cancelling a session!
4. If you want more clients, make yourself available
It should go without saying, but be in the gym as much as possible if you want to meet new clients, new members, and develop relationships. The more people see your face, they more they will get to know you and want to train with you. Show up often and be as friendly to everyone as possible. Even if you don’t have a full book, the more people get to know you, the more you will build a credible business. So, work out amongst the members, introduce yourself and talk to people between sets. Also, eat lunch or study for your next certification in an area where people can see you. The more people see you, the more comfortable they will feel coming up to talk to you about training.
5. Your workouts don’t have to be too radical
Many trainers feel as though they have to be as unique as possible in order to get noticed and outshine the competition. But all too often trainers try to come up with workouts that are too over-the-top and clients end up not coming back because the workouts were uncomfortable, not fun, didn’t get results, or actually injured the client. Thinking outside of the box is a good idea, but going overboard will only backfire. For the most part, stop worrying so much about being different, and instead work on nailing down the basic principle that guarantee results and keep clients happy and coming back for more.
6. Communicate with the intent to deliver results
In any given gym at any given time you’ll find at least one trainer who loves the sound of their own voice and communicates as such. However, that’s not typically the way to win people over and gain clients. People are busy and they are only getting busier, so the more you can keep your communications concise and informative the better. Whether you are sending a text or email to your client or training them, your words should communicate knowledge without being overly chatty. For example, as you train, help your clients understand the intent of the training session and the program as a whole, without getting too science-y. You can help them feel confident that you have a plan while speaking at a level at which the client can understand. This allows them to be part of the training process without alienating them for a lack of knowledge. The way you communicate to your clients in and out of a session helps your clients get better results and leads them to better enjoy their time with you. This will also ensure they speak highly of you to their friends and family – all potential clients for you.
7. Create a niche and make it your base
Some personal trainers feel as though they have to train every person that comes their way. While it’s great to be versatile, becoming comfortable with a particular population, exercise (think kettle bells, TRX, etc) or group, than you will be able to expand your business even more. Having a particular mastery is one way to be a step above the competition, so make sure when you’re on the gym floor that you communicate that to your clients. They may not be aware of your particular certification or knowledge if you don’t let them know. Don’t assume they go to the gym website or have read your bio.
8. Hang on to every word from every person you meet
The number one rule in sales, and in life, is that people want to be heard. Don’t forget this when you’re speaking with your clients and potential clients. While you may have an answer to every single question that comes your way, try to listen more than you speak. When a gym member speaks to you, they are giving you an opportunity to embrace them. So while it may be easy to lump every prospect together as those who want to “lose weight” or “put on muscle” or “get in shape,” if you really listen to what they are saying, you can respond to the emotion behind their real motives. For example, they may say they want to “lose weight for their high school reunion,” but what they really want is to look amazing so they can go back and face their bullies. Instead of automatically going into selling mode, you can avoid jargon and actually focus on what the clients want to hear.
9. Build a great community that provides value to everyone
Nobody wants to be a lone wolf, and every person wants to feel as though they are a part of something much bigger than just themselves. As a successful fitness professional the more you can find ways to build off the energy of your clients and bring them together either through a monthly newsletter, group workout once or month, or even an occasional happy hour, the more likely they will stick around. People want to be where their friends are and they want to do what their friends are doing. Introducing your clients to each other in person or through email is a great way to build community and for everyone to build out their network. 10.
10. Be Interesting
If you want to be a more interesting person and an interesting trainer, do things that make you interesting. Read books beyond just nutrition and coaching and go for a self-help book or autobiography. The point is, never stop consuming information. No matter what industry you’re in, the most successful professionals go beyond simply mastering their craft. Novels can expand your vocabulary and your perspective. Both in business and in life people want to be intrigued. People with depth of character and intellect that go beyond just their industry are intriguing. As you meet new clients and prospects, the more interesting you are and the more your knowledge of various topics, the more you can bond over shared experiences and perspectives.
As a personal trainer, you’ve probably already discovered that it is one of the most rewarding careers in the world. Yet, the market is tight and it’s very easy to get lost among the millions of other personal trainers in the industry. By focusing on the above principles and positioning yourself as a leader in the industry, you will quickly rise to the top and succeed beyond what you ever thought possible.
This industry is filled with talented professionals who have booked schedules and a steady flow of clients. Their positive reputation, exceptional training style, and good communication skills allow them to live extremely comfortable lives doing what they love. Yet, these individuals are not the ones with the loudest voices, biggest social media following, or trendiest gym shoes. Instead, they have mastered the art of delivering premium personal training based on exact science and the fundamentals of fitness.
If you want to build your personal training business into a sustainable lifestyle, then start by following these principles and discover just how fully booked your client schedule can become.