I'd always been a bit suspicious of personal trainers, but about 15 years ago I'd moved houses, was joining a new gym and they were offering three free personal training sessions. So I decided to give it a go.
I struck it lucky. The trainer that my free sessions were allocated to was a young, enthusiastic guy who clearly knew his stuff – after the three free sessions were over I didn't hesitate to sign-up for more. It took me a while to let my guard down and really connect with him, but we soon built a solid training relationship that delivered me results and delivered him a loyal client.
Over the years I've moved around and had numerous different personal trainers. Everyone has their own style, and areas of expertise, but why are some personal trainers more successful than others?
Even if you're working side-by-side with other personal trainers in the same gym, why are some personal trainers attracting more clients, more profile, and more income?
From a client-perspective, it seems to be that a lot of it has to do with confidence.
Being a personal trainer requires a lot of confidence — you are putting yourself out there every day, with every client. If someone doesn’t return your call, or a client decides not to continue with you, it’s hard not to take this personally. The problem is that this type of insecurity can almost become self-fulfilling — if you’re worried about calling someone, how they will respond, what would be best to say, then you’ll sound nervous and hesitant, you’ll be less likely to make a positive impression. If you’re worried about retaining an existing client, then this anxiety will translate into the way that you interact with that person — they’ll sense your fear and you’ll appear desperate and unsure, making it even more likely that they won’t come back to you.
This is one of the biggest challenges for all personal trainers looking to build their careers, looking to build their personal training businesses.
Here’s three simple steps to help give you the confidence that you need to win new clients, build loyalty with existing clients, and build your brand.
Be clear about what you stand for
Why is it important to stand for something? You need to be proud of what you do . Imagine that you’re at a party and someone says: “Personal trainers are a bit of a luxury aren’t they?” or “Personal training isn’t much of a career is it?” You need to be able to articulate why personal training is important, how it can help people, and the difference that you can make to people’s lives.
It might be a simple statement such as “I believe that diet and exercise are the key to health, fitness, and body transformation.” Or you might be a bit more technical and talk about the power of a tailored resistance training program, or how people can actually damage their body by doing the wrong things in the gym. Find the words that accurately describe why you believe that having a personal trainer is important. Think of it as your elevator pitch, a simple but compelling statement that convinces people that you know what you're talking about.
Articulate what makes you different from other personal trainers
It’s relatively straightforward to get a basic personal training qualification, and there’s a lot of personal trainers out there — what makes you special? Why would a client choose you?
If you’re just starting to build your personal training business then it might be something more personal to you like: “Always punctual, always focused.” Or you might make it more marketing focused such as “Bringing you the latest celebrity workouts!” Or you might specialise in a specific type of diet and exercise regime. Find something.
What's crucial at this point is to be authentic – there's no point just quoting the latest fads about how to get a six-pack within ten days, you need to be able to deliver on the promise that you're holding out to potential clients. Being able to articulate what makes you special helps to give you the confidence to talk positively to potential clients about the experience that you can offer them, the knowledge and expertise that you bring to the relationship, and the results that you can help them achieve.
A basic marketing plan will not only help with recruitment and retention of clients, but it will also make you feel good about yourself and the skills and experience that you have.
Ensure you have a website in place. Look for opportunities to be quoted in the media as a fitness professional. Ask your friends and clients for endorsements and testimonials.
Choosing to be a personal trainer is choosing to be part of a tough and competitive industry. Don’t let a lack of confidence limit your success.