PT on the Net Research

Personal Trainer Sales - Part 2

This is the second article in a series addressing sales skills and communication for personal trainers. In this article, I will address one of the complimentary services many of us trainers provide to new health club members: health and fitness assessments/orientations.

Start by asking yourself the following questions: what percentage of your assessments/orientations turn into personal training clients? In other words, how many of these services did you do last month? Of that number, how many of those people started personal training with you?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you have some work to do. Ultimately, you need to know this number in order to know where you are in terms of reaching your income goals. If you are a manager of personal trainers, do you know this number for each of your trainers? If you are the overall manager, you should know the average number for your entire staff.

No matter how educated and talented you are as a trainer, no one will find out unless they work with you. In order for them to work with you, they need to buy sessions!

Building your personal training business is a numbers game. What this means is, if you know how many assessments and orientations you need to do to get one new personal training client, then you have two options to get more clients. You can either do more of these services, or you can increase your percentage (i.e., turn more potentials into personal training sales). Obviously, the best choice is to do both. You want to be better at turning the assessment and/or orientation into a new client, and you want to do more assessments and orientations until your book is filled and you don’t need to do any more!

Health and Fitness Assessment

Managers, listen up! How do you prepare your new personal trainers or floor staff to conduct an assessment in your facility? I have seen many trainers loathing the time they have to spend providing these services. Trainers sometimes think this process is something they need to go through before they can get to the real thing, like training. We need to educate the trainers as to the wonderful opportunity that an assessment provides them: the opportunity to get in front of people and help them. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of file cabinets around the United States filled with assessment sheets. They were filled out, filed away and never used in designing a program at all. Every piece of information we get from an assessment can and should be specifically related to the program and potential benefit to the member.

Plan of Action

First of all, your overall facility needs a plan of action. If you work in a private training studio or as an independent contractor for yourself, the same applies. What this means is defining the flow path of new contact or new member to an assessment. If you work in a health club, can the sales person set up the appointment for the assessment at the point of sale? We all know this is the best time to get a commitment from the person who has just paid a substantial amount of money to join the club. This is your opportunity to connect and get the rapport going immediately. If your sales staff feels they shouldn’t have to do this procedure (or not without pay!), you have a whole other issue to address, which will be covered in a later article about the health club environment supporting the personal training efforts.

Setting a date for the first contact is crucial for sales, as well as success in program adherence and retention. You may have a system set up where trainers make themselves available for assessments, or voluntarily sign up for them once a new member has requested an appointment. Either way, when a new member has joined the club, now is the time for you as the trainer to show your stuff!

Confirming the Appointment

How quickly do you call this new member back? Within 24 hours is a reasonable time frame within which to call someone if the appointment is in a few days. However, if the appointment is the next day or two, you should call them back at your earliest opportunity. Literally. Several things to consider with this phone call are:


Meeting the Member for the Assessment

Before you leave the locker room to meet your appointment, you might do some positive self talk to get into a positive mental state. You may want to say the something like following:

If you have never used positive self talk to enhance your self esteem and attitude, it is worth a try. It is a powerful tool to affect your “hard drive” with and can promote positive change in yourself that transfers to people around you.

Plan to be ready 10 minutes before the scheduled time. You should be waiting for the member when they come to the desk and ask for you. Other important points include:

Communication Skills

When conducting the assessment, your goals include:

Sample Conversations

One effective communication tool is to first congratulate the person (e.g., “that’s great,” “good for you,” etc.) on their decision to get more fit, and then to get them to constantly reaffirm it to themselves that they want to be successful in their efforts with this exercise program. The new member needs to hear themself say that they want to workout, get stronger, lose weight, whatever. In order for them to be successful and want to work with you as a trainer, they need to motivate themselves! Some of the questions and statements you may want to try are:

Some questions you may want to ask and possibly include in your assessment forms are:

And invite them to expand on their answers.

The answers to these questions are very insightful to the potential success of the program, and whether this person will buy personal training from you. Allow the questions to build in such a way that you reaffirm the positive change this person is making in their life. For example:

Another example:

Assessment Specifics

Using the examples above, let’s continue with the assessment. How you can relate the members' scores to their goals and how you can help them? When performing standard fitness assessments such as the number of crunches and push ups the person can do, you have a great opportunity to do a few things:

Another example

Remember, the bottom line is to talk about each component of the assessment through in terms of how it relates to the person, how it relates to their entire program and how you specifically can help them.

Keep up the good work!