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Sales! – I can’t do that! [article]

Helping others reach their goals. Making people healthy. Being active. Loving what I do for a job. Making lots of sales. All reasons you gave for becoming a personal trainer? No?

Helping others reach their goals. Making people healthy. Being active. Loving what I do for a job. Making lots of sales.

All reasons you gave for becoming a personal trainer? No?

If you are like most personal trainers, the idea of becoming a great sales person in order to be a successful personal trainer never entered your mind. The fact is that in order to make personal training a career rich in both experiences and financial reward, you’ll need to become as good at sales as you are at programming.

First, you need to understand what a sales process is all about. And what it’s not about.  This is not about becoming a greasy, less-than-desirable, used car salesman. This is about being a confident business professional. One who is able to explain coherently the benefits and the cost of your services. It’s also about getting the potential client to commit to using your services.

The first step in your sales process should be something you are already doing. Conducting a consultation to learn about the potential client is crucial to being able to produce a product or service that matches your client’s needs. Remember, if you don’t know what they want…you can’t offer it! Throughout the process, you’ll need to be asking questions that will eliminate potential barriers to the client training with you. This can include asking about support they currently have, their work habits, upcoming holidays, and the amount of time the client is expecting to spend with you.

Next, you’ll need to talk them through what you can offer to help them achieve their identified goals. This is about matching what you can do to what they need. Take care to watch the reaction of your client; they’ll give clues that will indicate whether or not they agree with your approach.  Watch for nodding heads, smiles and good eye contact – all the common sense positive stuff.

At the end of your presentation, when you’ve indicated how often they should train with you (3 days per week) and for how long (60 mins) and how much they should buy (20 sessions) and the associated cost ($1140) you need to ASK FOR THE SALE. I cannot stress this enough. Do NOT waiver in your approach, do not meekly let your talking mumble away, ASK for the sale.

This does not mean ‘so, do you wanna buy?’ Because, let’s face it, your professional business like approach takes a run for the door when you utter this awful, tactless sentence. You need to be prepared to ask for the sale in a respectful yet definite way. I’ve always used “So let’s get you started today”, indicating that I am more interested in training with them than getting my hands on their money. It’s precise, closes my presentation, and hands the decision making to them.

The trick now? SHUT UP. Give them time to think, let them ask questions, and don’t be afraid to enter into a conversation with them. If they don’t say yes right away it doesn’t mean that they won’t say yes ever. And if they do come up with reasons for not being able to train, don’t give up. This is where handling objections appropriately is so important. Just like everything else in the sales process, you need to have the words in place to be able to handle the objections well.


1.       Identify - Repeat and make sure you understand what they are objecting to.


2.       Isolate - Make sure there’s nothing else stopping them from getting started with you today.


3.       Reframe -This is a gentle way of asking if you can suggest a solution to their objection.



4.       Modify Solution -Just talk to them, there’s no need to get uptight about finding a reasonable solution that works for both you and the client (remember, you won’t get everyone, but you’ll get a few more just by providing solutions!).


5.       Close/Commitment  -Stop talking about their objection, and make an appointment to get them started !


Now we’ll look at an example in action:


  1. Identify

“So you’re saying the initial cost is more than you were expecting?”

  1. Isolate

“So, if it wasn’t for the cost, you would get started today?”

  1. Reframe

“So, if I can solve the cost issue would you get started on your new exercise program?”

  1. Modify Solution

“How much were you expecting to pay today?”

“You can do that as an initial payment, and pay the rest in installments”

  1. Close/Commitment  

“So, let’s book you in for your first appointment – what day works best for you? Monday or Wednesday? Morning or Afternoon? 1 or 3pm?”


Getting good at this process takes practice. Write a list of the most common objections you have heard. Now make the effort to practice on friends and family. If you wait till you have a potential client sitting in front of you – you could waste a lot of good leads because you weren’t confident enough yet.

Get all of this right, and you will start to see clients roll in. You may not consult with any more potential clients than you did last month, but you will start to see more agreeing to train with you.

Simply by being confident about what you can offer.  By having a plan of how you are going to explain what you do to others. By knowing what to say when questions are asked, clients will feel more assured about choosing you as their personal trainer.