You sit down with a potential client, convinced they’ve been so impressed with your services that they’re bound to sign up.
The free session you gave them went so well, and you did everything you knew you should have done – listened to their fears and their goals, assured them you could help, would make it fun for them, and then delivered the best darn taster session the personal training world has ever seen.
After running through how training works, timescales, what your packages are and talking a little more about their goals, you’re so confident they’re going to sign up you’d bet your last scoop of protein powder on it. Then they utter the sentence –
“I’d love to, but …”
Having a potential client change their mind at the last minute is a real kicker for any PT, but the objections are usually one of just a few, all of which can be overcome. In this article, we’ll show you how.
You should never discount your services just because someone can’t afford to pay your usual rates, but there could be a cheaper option for working with you.
For instance, if you usually charge $70 per session and have clients work with you two to three times a week, could you maybe offer this person just one session a week at $80, provided they still come to the gym at least twice on their own?
With the rise of online training, you could even construct some sort of hybrid package that costs $200 per month and includes one session with you, and the rest of their workouts programmed for them.
Rather not do that?
That’s okay – cost comparisons work well instead.
If you can relay the cost of personal training to money they spend every day, week, or month without thinking about, that puts things into perspective. People will happily drop hundreds of dollars on a night out or a monthly TV subscription, and pay $5 for a coffee. Pose personal training as an investment rather than a cost, and you’ll double your chances of getting a new client.
Quite often, potential clients will say they’d rather do classes/ jogging/ Weight Watchers/ yoga, and that’s understandable – picking things up and putting them down again, combined with counting calories and having to eat yucky things like broccoli doesn’t sound too appealing to Joe or Jane average.
So it’s up to you to sell the sexiness of personal training.
If you have testimonials, use them. Picture ones especially are worth their weight in gold.
Say about how you get results fast, but also have fun, train safely and can tailor sessions to suit their needs and their preferences. Ask if there’s anything they particularly like or dislike, and explain how you can make sessions as enjoyable as you can, while getting those noticeable visual changes they desire.
The best thing here is to agree with the prospect.
Sure, everyone can do it on their own – as trainers we know that we don’t hold any deep-kept secrets on how to get lean and fit, but what we do have is the gift of accountability and support.
Ask the person what happened last time they tried to lose weight or stick to a workout program on their own. Tell them that your job isn’t just to stand there and count reps or pick exercises – your job is to keep them motivated, make sessions fun, and ensure that they get the results they really want.
This is very common.
To prepare yourself for this, it’s always good to get an idea of how supportive friends and family are during your initial consultation, using questions such as –
“Does your husband train as well?”
Or “Is your wife supportive of you losing weight.”
That way, you can mention during the complimentary session (or any talks you have) just how impressed the partner will be when the client reaches their goals. If the opportunity is there, you could even invite the partner in when discussing signing up.
The objection from the husband/ wife/ boyfriend/ girlfriend often comes because they have an outdated view of personal trainers being nothing but military drill instructors. Show them you’re not, and you’re in a far stronger position.
Assure them that working with a trainer will actually take less time than if they did it on their own.
Ask what they’d usually do for a workout. The answer will often revolve around some form of steady-state cardio, machine exercises, and a load of ab work.
Tell them what your sessions would involve and why they’d be more effective and quicker. If you’re working in a busy gym (especially one in a city centre) you may even benefit from constructing special “blast sessions” that last for 30 to 45 minutes for those clients who need to train in their lunch hour, or just can’t spare a whole 60 minutes.
Ask what was involved with the training before, then say how you’ll be different. Listen carefully to what exactly went wrong with the relationship, then describe how your methods and approaches differ.
Just ask them what there is to think about.
“Thinking about it” might be a way to avoid saying one of the above objections, in which case you can deal with that, or they might be nervous or unsure about something.
If you can find out what this is, and assure them you can help, you might just have picked up a new client.
Selling personal training isn’t easy.
Most of us don’t have any background in marketing or sales, so the best thing we can do is be honest, and be upfront.
It’s easy to assume a potential client is being awkward, or get offended that they don’t see the value in training, but think about it – they’ve just paid money to sign up to a gym, and now you’re asking them to part with more.
They may have preconceived notions of what personal training is, or genuinely believe they can do it on their own. They might be able to, but we know that this probably isn’t the wisest move.
Do your best to sell the amazing benefits that hiring a trainer has. Keep them positive throughout the session by asking questions they answer “yes” to and when talking about their goal, use “we” instead of “I” or “you.”
As much as you can, create a vision in their head of what it will feel like when they reach their dream physique with you helping them.
After all that, if they still say no, then wish them luck, shake their hand, and say you’ll be around if they want any help. Say hi and ask them how things are going whenever you see them in the gym, and even if you don’t sign up a new client that day, at least you know you’ve helped someone get started on their fitness journey.