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Using Existing Clients to Get New Clients

The easiest way for you to grow your personal training business, is to ask for referrals. I am always surprised to hear that trainers don’t know how to approach their clients or other gym members for referrals. This is a critical step in your journey in becoming a successful personal trainer and for you to build a lucrative personal training business.

When approaching an existing personal training client, I always used something like “Carol, I could use your help with something, can I ask you for a favor?”

Never in my entire career did anyone turn me down.

Their typical reply was always some form of, “sure Dr. Bell, what can I help you with?”

“Carol, you already know how much I enjoy training you. I would like your help in finding more clients like you, that I can work with. I would like to train them and help them live longer, healthier and happier lives. Who do you know that I can help get in shape and stay in shape?”

You want to write down the name and phone numbers of every referral your client gives you. Once your client begins giving you referrals, let them go with it and keep giving you leads! If they give you ten, ask if they can think of anyone else. If they give you 20, ask for more! If they give you 40, you still ask if they can think of anyone else you can help.

Once you have a list of referrals from your client, you say, “I really appreciate your help on this. You know I enjoy training, but I have to admit, my biggest flaw…I really don’t like to sell, I’m just not good at it and I really hate to call strangers asking for something.

Can I ask you for one more big favor? I know it’s a lot to ask, but would you mind calling your friends and letting them know, I am going to call them and invite them to come in for a free Personal Training Session with me, which is a gift from you?

Then, if they like what I do, I will invite them to become one of my clients, like you! Do you mind doing this favor for me?”

Again, I have never had anyone refuse me this favor. You should understand something about human nature. You do not build rapport by doing favors for other people. You build rapport by getting other people to do favors for you!

When people help you build your personal training business, they begin to take a vested interest in you and your success. If you ask with sincerity, you will continue to get referrals from your clients.

Equally important is turning the members in your gym into your personal training clients. Here is a very simple approach. Always wear your IFPA Certified Personal Trainer Shirt in the gym. You want to be easily identified as a Personal Trainer.

Look Professional, Neat, Clean and Groomed! Professional….in word and deed! People must like you and respect you in order to consider selecting you as their Personal Trainer. Be friendly, approachable, visible and most important…make sure you smell good!

Get out on the gym floor and use everything you have learned in the Book on Personal Training, especially Phase 5: Exercise Management, specifically the sections on Biomechanics, exercise techniques, exercises Key Teaching Points, Safely Guidelines, etc.. Armed with your knowledge, skills and abilities, you will walk onto the floor smiling, greeting and being friendly and helpful towards all members in the gym.

When you see someone doing something wrong (which should be just about everyone) you will stop, watch them and as soon as they complete their set say,

“Hi, I’m Dr. Bell and I am a Personal Trainer here. Do you mind if I give you some techniques to make that exercise safer and more effective for you?”

Or…if they are on a machine and do not have the machine set correctly, use the same approach to offer to show them how to adjust the machine correctly.

After you have completed your instructions, hand them your card and say, “Here is my card, if you would like me to teach you how to get the most from your workouts in the fastest, most efficient and safest possible way, please call me or just come and get me. I would be happy to help.”

Smile and walk away!

Since I did this all day and every day, I would keep a long list of the name of everyone I spoke to and what we talked about, so I could remember them when they called or approached me.

When they approach you, your questions are something like, “Are you interested in a long-term Personal Training Package where I also do your Program Design? Or are you just interested in a few Personal Training Sessions for me to teach you some techniques? If you go for a long-term package, my hourly rate is discounted considerably for you.”

Be prepared to answer questions on your rates.

I do not suggest you offer a Free session with this approach, you already gave them free advice when you met them. If you offer them a free session now, you will devalue your Personal Training and make it difficult to get them to pay for your services in the future.

Start using these techniques and keep using them until you perfect the “Art of Closing.” Do not expect perfection the first time out, but do always aim for improvement.

Good Luck in building your Personal Training Career! I wish you much success!

Best Regards,

Dr. Jim Bell

CEO of the IFPA