7 Tips to dominate personal training in your gym

By: Jonathan Hertilus

In this article I’m going to give you 7 awesome tips to help you get more visibility in your gym. New personal trainers, this one is for you. Personal training directors, you definitely want to send this to your staff. Sometimes trainers make obvious mistakes that result in lost sales. Here I will detail everything a trainer can do to pick up clients and how to create a filtering system so the gym staff can send people to you!

#1 Teach Classes

how to sell personal training
how to sell personal training

Many trainers develop a mental barrier against teaching classes. Teaching classes puts you in front of a lot of people and offers you a chance to show off your personality. Any subsequent interaction you have with anyone that has taken a free class of yours will be much more pleasant because they know you. 

Some gyms require group training certifications, but if you’re already employed by the gym and have a personal training certification you should make your best effort to get on the free class schedule and teach bootcamp. Your bootcamps should be very similar to your personal training style but a little bit watered down because people may not be inclined to pay for something they can get for free. In my Dumbbells to Dollars course, I offer you two separate syllabi, one for teaching free classes in a gym or park, and another for running paid bootcamps. If you could benefit from having a structure written out for you, check out my course here. 

Sell the fringe benefits of personal training (one on one attention and daily nutrition monitoring) both during and after your free classes and get access to as many emails as you can so you can add people to your newsletter, facebook page, and instagram account. You will be able to continue the sales process from there.

#2 Get other people to do the selling for you

Group Exercise Instructors

how to sell personal training
how to sell personal training

Align yourself with the group fitness instructors. They aren’t competing for your services and they get questions from members about extra things they can do to get in shape.You will get a lot of referrals from a spin instructors and Zumba instructors. Take their class and introduce yourself.  Let them know that whenever you have a client you will refer them over to take that class. Group instructors have a quota too. If people aren’t taking the class, the gym replace the class and the instructor is out of a job. So one hand washes the other. 



Sales Staff

how to sell personal training
how to sell personal training

You want to rub elbows with some of the salespeople. Understand that they have a thankless job, high-pressure job too. Take a bunch of their business cards, put your name on it and hand the cards out to people you meet. You want salespeople to think about you when they have somebody that is looking for a personal trainer. Salespeople refer certain trainers for two main reasons, number one, they think the trainer is reliable, number two they like the trainer. The more you can ingratiate yourself with the sales staff the easier your life will be.




The ultimate trick

how to sell personal training
how to sell personal training

Remember, you’re a businessman/businesswoman. Your goal is to make more money. I’m telling you to buddy up with these people so they can operate as salesmen for you. Now what really motivates a salesperson? Incentives and bonuses! There’s no rule that says you can’t give your own commission. If someone refers you a client that buys a large personal training package, they’ve just put money in your pocket. If you want this person to keep referring people to you, throw a little cash their way. Take the amount of money that you would make for your first paid session and give it to the salesperson. It truly shows your appreciation and it motivates the referring party get you clients. Most important it gives you an opportunity to guide their behavior. They want to make the money so now you can tell them what client you’re looking for, what you want them to say to the client and what kind of package the client should buy.

#3 Get clients to approach you — Assume the role of trainer on Duty!

how to sell personal training
how to sell personal training

Assume the role of trainer on duty. Being a trainer on duty communicates to the client that if they need a spot or don’t know how to operate a machine, you are the one to ask.  Here are some tips on looking official and getting traffic.

  1. Get a shirt made through cafépres.com or spreadshirt.com with your gyms colors that reads “trainer on duty” on the back
  2. Put a sign up at the front desk with your picture on it explaining that you’re the trainer on duty. Important: Include what you’re available for (ie spot, machine demonstration, exercise explanation, general information) and the times that you’re available.
  3. Have someone at the front desk announce you every 30 minutes as the trainer on duty and if anyone has any questions to come to the front desk to have you paged. ( if the front desk staff doesn’t want to do it, do it yourself!)

#4 Learn to train in space

In personal training it is very frustrating when you take a client through a complimentary session of showing them machines, only so they can turn around and say that they now know everything they need to know and don’t need personal training.

It’s equally frustrating to take an active client through a workout only to be interrupted when someone else is using a machine you wanted to use.

Here’s your solution: Learn to train in space!

how to sell personal training
how to sell personal training

If you’re confident in your abilities and don’t need to rely on machines, do complimentary sessions in open space. Use dumbbells, kettle bells, the TRX, and body weight movements. These types of workouts are harder to replicate and they are much more beneficial for the client. Again, if you’re looking for a structured workout plan along with guided explanations for every exercise check out my Dumbbells to Dollars course.

With that said, if a client new to the gym genuinely just wants to learn the machines, you have to show them. But give them an extra opportunity to see what personal training is all about. Even if you have to give an extra complimentary session. 

#5 Give any prospective client the full experience of having a personal trainer.

So you’ve scheduled a one on one with your client.Remember you’re end goal is to get the client to invest the equivalence of a car payment in YOU! So you have to show value. This won’t happen with 2 good workouts spread over 5 days. This should be a 7 day courting process.

how to sell personal training
how to sell personal training

Start off by giving the client a fitness report card with the FitPro Calculator. Why does it work so well? Because many trainers don’t do it. Instead of just giving your clients a workout that they will just repeat without you, show them a map of their current health situation that includes a route to their success. Click here to learn more about the paperless fitness assessment and Par-Q application.

Next, give them a journal review for 7 days. We all know nutrition is 80% of the game so we have to make it a priority. Teach your clients how to use MyFitnessPal and check their journal every day. It only takes 2 minutes. Now you will have an opportunity to develop a relationship with the client. The client will begin to understand that hiring you as a trainer doesn’t just mean a few good workouts, but a good relationship.

Of course a free starter pack for the fitprocalculator and a walkthrough on how to effectively coach nutrition is available on my course. Click here for more info.

#6 Show your rates early

how to sell personal training
how to sell personal training

Now I know a lot of gyms tell you to wait until the last complimentary session to show clients your personal rates but this puts you at a disadvantage. If client have no idea what the rates are, it’s completely reasonable for them to say:

  • I need to think about it
  • I have to ask my spouse

These are the two biggest barriers you have to climb in the closing process. Many fitness “gurus” will try to teach you tips on how to pressure a client into buying now, but no one likes to be bullied into a sale and if you’re reading this article, you’re probably not the type of trainer that likes to bully clients.

The best time to show your clients your rate is after you’ve developed some rapport and shown value but before you start your courting process. After you give your clients their fitness report card, which involves explaining the importance of body fat testing, setting goals, going over caloric need, and teaching your client how to use MyFitnessPal, you are now ready to explain the terms of your relationship. These terms include an explanation of your workout structure, and daily journaling. This shows the client that you have a program, not just workouts. 
After you’ve shown all that value, now you can explain how the rates go in a non pressure meeting letting the client know that if they enjoy their test drive they can sign up for a personal training package.

Clients should feel good about signing up with you. Also, you should be confident in your rates, so if your clients say, “that’s expensive” you should be able to respond that all of your current clients know it’s worthwhile investment without hesitation. Also put the ball back in their court and say “I’m giving you an opportunity to see if this is worth it for you, this is a test drive, we’ll revisit rates after our week, but for now let’s focus on training”
If a client really can’t afford personal training, nothing you can say will change their financial situation. But if there’s a 50/50 chance, you’re better off offering a great courting experience than trying to pressure the sale. 

#7 Always have a backup plan

Just because you work in an affluent area, that doesn’t mean everyone can afford to train with you one on one. That doesn’t mean that they can’t pay for other services you offer. If you only offer personal training as an option, you’re limiting your chances to build your book of business.
Let’s assume you took your client through a great courting process and they love you, but they just can’t afford your personal training rate of $50/hour.

  1. You can always offer semi private training at $30 per hour, where the training is the same, but they share the hour with up to 3 other people.
  2. If that is still too expensive you could offer to continue monitoring their nutrition habits as they attend your recommended free classes to make sure they stay on task at a rate of $50/month.
  3. Finally, in addition to or instead of number 2, the client can meet with you once a month for a fitness profile to make sure they are approaching fitness correctly. You can charge between $25 and $50 per session.

These are all great options because you gave a killer courting process. The best part is, a client may take you up on option number 3 and after a month realize they need option number 2, 1, or decided to try personal training out. As long as you give options, you’ll always give yourself a chance to see success. 


So that’s it, those are my 7 tips on how to sell personal training. If you take this advice seriously it will make selling personal training a lot easier.

If you like the idea of offering a fitness report card, click here to learn more about the fitprocalculator

If you want a free starter pack for the FitProCalculator and think you’ll benefit from all the high level resources that my course provides including, website building, business management, training, contracts, nutrition coaching and sales sheets, check out my Dumbbells to Dollars course.