Need to Sell Yourself as a Personal Trainer? 26 Can’t Miss Tips
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Marketing your unique skills, experience, and education will help set yourself apart as a personal trainer and find new clients.
You are competing with a number of other fitness professionals, so you have to make yourself stand out among the crowd.
There are a variety of things you can do to sell yourself as a personal trainer, no matter if you are new to the profession or an experienced trainer hoping to expand your client base.
Some of these are ideas that are easy to implement, inexpensive, and use little resources, whereas others may require a little more monetary investment and time.
Whether you work for a fitness center or own your own personal training business, you will have to market yourself to increase your client base. If you work at a health club or fitness center, you may be able to market to their members, but you may also need to work to increase your clients beyond just the members.
If you own your own personal training business or are looking to add a few clients for a side gig, you will also need to sell yourself to increase your client base or get new clients. See the video below from ACE Fitness on attracting and retaining more clients as a personal trainer.
The fitness industry is saturated with certified personal trainers. You need to stand out. A successful personal trainer knows how to sell himself or herself without putting a lot of extra time or resources into this endeavor.
Here is a list of the best tips for selling yourself as a personal trainer. If you are interested in learning how Exercise.com can help you manage your fitness business better, schedule a demo of our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software today.
#26 – Develop Your Elevator Speech
An elevator speech is a quick overview to answer the question, “So what do you do?” This should be a quick one or two-minute speech (something you could deliver in the time you are in an elevator with another individual). This is a great conversation starter with prospective new clients.
You could offer a free boot camp, circuit training, or group exercise class for the community. You might consider handing out “coupons” for a discounted trial session or offer a small raffle prize to those who attend. See the video below for one idea for a fitness boot camp.
If you are planning on holding a fitness class in a setting like a public park, make sure that you check out your city’s Parks and Recreation Department to see if you need to apply for a permit to do so.
#24 – Get Business Cards
There are templates for you to make your own business cards with a personal printer, or you can order them from an online printing company, or you can have a local printing company design and print them for you. Make your business cards unique, yet professional. Keep some cards with you at all times, post to any social media pages or your webpage, and take them to events with you.
#23 – Be Warm and Friendly
Smile at everyone, be friendly and welcoming, and engage in conversation with others. It’s very important to create a friendly, welcoming, and comfortable environment for your clients.
New clients may be scared or nervous about beginning a new fitness routine, especially if they have not been active. They might feel self-conscious about their abilities or their physical appearance. They might also feel like you are judging them, so you must eliminate all of these concerns or clients will not feel comfortable with you.
If they feel comfortable, enjoy their time with you, and are making progress toward their fitness and health goals, they are going to spread the word to their friends, family, or coworkers, which helps build your client base even more.
#22 – Start a Facebook Business Page
Many people are using social media, including Facebook, as the first place they go to find professionals or businesses. Setting up a Facebook business page is free and does not require a huge time commitment. It’s a great way to interact with current or prospective clients and you can post about upcoming events, specials, incentives, photos, or workout tips.
It is important that you are responsive to messages that might come in from potential clients. You should also be posting regularly and monitoring any business reviews to make sure they are legitimate and addressing any issues that are posted.
#21 – Have a Business Webpage
Just like a Facebook business page, many potential clients are looking for information online when they are curious or looking for a personal trainer. Make sure you have your education, certification, and experience on there, plus current contact information, pricing, availability, and possibly some client testimonials or success stories (with their permission).
It’s also great if you can have an easy form for clients to request more information. It’s vital that you respond to their request within 24 hours or so. If a potential or current client has to wait too long for a response, they may seek out another trainer who is more responsive.
#20 – Use Instagram
Social media is a great way to promote yourself and your niche to prospective clients. You can post videos with workout tips and tricks, sample workout routines, or informational resources. The more creative and exciting your posts are, the more excitement you can build around yourself and your brand.
If Instagram isn’t your thing, then try Twitter or Facebook. Social media is a free and efficient use of your time to interact with clients and generate new client leads. See the video below for more tips on how to market yourself using social media.
#19 – Have a LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is a professional networking type of social media. This is a great way to network with other professionals and share relevant information with your LinkedIn network. You can add your experience, education, certification, and any other credentials for individuals to see on your LinkedIn profile.
#18 – Offer a Referral Promotion or Incentive to Current Clients
Word-of-mouth is the best tool you have to sell yourself as a personal trainer. If you have a few clients already, offer them a promotion (bring a friend for free) or incentive (gift card or goodie bag) for referring new clients.
#17 – Develop Your Personal Brand
This is how you can show off your unique skills, knowledge, abilities, or even personality. Aim for consistency with your business cards, social media pages, and webpages to help with branding.
The video below is a Ted Talk about creating your personal brand. This talk is not geared just for fitness professionals but has useful tips to create and develop your unique brand.
#16 – Attend Local Chamber of Commerce Events or Professional Networking Events
This is a great way to get to know others in the community, get your name out there, meet other professionals that may be potential partners, referrals, or generate some client leads. Networking events are also the perfect places to practice your elevator speech (as seen in point #26).
Other professionals like physical therapists, occupational therapists, registered dieticians, and other health care professionals are great partners in the community. They might be willing to recommend their clients who need a personal trainer to you and you can recommend them to your client.
For example, a physical therapist might recommend you for one of their clients who has completed a rehabilitation program and is looking to get back into a regular physical activity routine. Or, a registered dietician would be able to sit down and work with one of your clients on their meal plan, specifically if they are interested in losing weight or have a chronic disease.
#14 – Find Your Niche
If you have a particular audience or age-group that you feel more passionate about working with or if you have specialized knowledge about training certain groups, use that to find your niche. Let’s say you previously worked with older adults and feel passionate and knowledgable about training this audience, there’s your niche.
Is there an audience that you think might be underserved in your area? This may be a potential opportunity for you to get a larger client base. You may need to do some additional education or continuing education (which you need anyway as a personal trainer) to be prepared to train these clients, but it might open up a lot of new possibilities for you.
#13 – Offer a Discounted Trial Session for New Clients
This is a great way to get clients in the door. Once you have them for a trial session, your job is to make them feel excited and comfortable with you. Get to know them and take them through a sample workout. You might need to have a template of some basic exercises or activities, but also allow some flexibility to add activities or exercises that would help the new client meet their fitness goals.
Grow and manage your fitness business better with Exercise.com
#12 – Send out a Monthly Newsletter
This newsletter could include information about your education, certifications, and experience. You could include short articles about health or fitness, recipes, an “exercise of the month,” client testimonials (with their permission), tips, current trends in exercise, or anything else your clients would enjoy reading.
Your newsletter does not have to be lengthy, one to two pages would be plenty. Make sure to include relevant contact information, like phone, email, webpage, Facebook business page, and links to other social media accounts.
The newsletter could be shared via social media, posted to your Facebook business page or webpage, or be sent out via email. You could also have some copies printed to be put in various local businesses, like waiting rooms or bulletin boards.
For an in-depth checklist to follow when creating your newsletter, check out this resource provided by the content marketing platform, HubSpot.
#11 – Write Blogs or Articles for Local Media Publications
Local newspapers or online publications may allow you to write monthly or regular articles or blogs on health, fitness, or nutrition in their publication. It’s likely that they will not pay you, but this is a good way to get your name out in the public arena. This may be more difficult in a large urban area but may work well in a smaller rural area.
Many older adults and adult audiences tend to read newspapers, so this would be a good way to reach those audiences. Some of these audiences may not use social media and may not search online much, so the newspaper is a great way to reach them.
This is a great and efficient way to get information about your brand out to a lot of readers that you might not otherwise be exposed to. It doesn’t take a lot of your time or expenses and can generate new clients easily. Additionally, many certifying agencies will award CEUs to personal trainers that have authored published articles.
#10 – Consider Investing in Fitness Business Software
Fitness business software does come at a cost but can provide numerous benefits for current and new clients. Fitness business software can save time on administrative and management tasks, which frees you up for more face-to-face time with clients. One area that could really help you sell yourself as a personal trainer is by offering online training sessions or packages.
#9 – Volunteer to Supervise Internship Students From a Local University
If you have a local university or college that has students in fitness, exercise science, exercise physiology, human performance, or personal training courses, you could supervise internship students. This is a great way to get to know individuals outside of your normal circle and may lead to new clients.
#8 – Attend Local Health or Fitness Expos, Race Events, or Health Fairs
Some of these events charge businesses or vendors for booth space, but it would be worth it if you could add some new clients. Events like 5k races, health fairs sponsored by hospitals or other organizations, or other local expos are great options. Take some business cards and a recent newsletter and mingle with others in the industry.
If you have a booth, you could even have an area set up with some workout equipment for expo attendees to engage in workout challenges like “Max Number of Push-Ups” (easy prizes are things like branded water bottles, towels, or workout bands).
#7 – Offer Package Pricing
This is a great way to build client loyalty and incentivize your training sessions. It will be easier for you and more fair for all clients if you offer the same pricing structure for everyone. It might be tempting to discount sessions, but if clients are talking to others, they may not be happy about this and it’s more difficult for you to remember who’s paying what amount.
#6 – Use the First Session to Really Get to Know Your Clients
The first session should be about you and your client getting to know each other. Tell them a little about yourself, but take most of the time to get as much information about your client as possible. You might consider having a form of questions that you ask each new client and fill out as you are talking with them.
While talking with them, gather information like:
Their fitness goals. Are they looking to improve strength, run a race, lose weight, be more flexible, etc.?
Barriers to success. Do they struggle with motivation, time, tiredness, etc.?
Are there any exercises or activities that they genuinely love or enjoy? Are there any activities they genuinely hate?
Do they have any injuries or orthopedic issues?
How often are they looking to train? How often do they plan to work out outside of your sessions?
Do they have support at home or a support system?
What is the flexibility with their schedule? When do they envision meeting for training sessions?
How would they rate their nutrition?
How would they rate other areas of health, like mental health, emotional health, etc.?
Also, Exercise.com can help with client engagement and retention by automating parts of the information collection so you can focus on your clients as people.
You can then use this information to develop a workout plan that will be successful in helping your clients meet their health and fitness goals. See the ACE Fitness video below to learn more about making cardio fun to retain more clients.
#5 – Complete Fitness Assessments
Fitness assessments are a great tool to gather baseline data about clients. You can do them the first or second session, share the information with clients about where they are starting, and then use the assessment data to plan the structure of their fitness program and workout routines.
You might also consider taking before and after photos. Clients usually hate this part, but it’s a great way to show progress down the road.
#4 – Train Clients Where It’s Convenient for Them
If you are trying to increase your client base, go to where the clients live or work. If you have a group of clients that work at the same employer, see if you can train them at their office or near their office. If you have clients that live in the same area, go to them and train them near their homes.
You might also be able to market to clients that live in the same residential area, like in the same neighborhood or apartment complex. This is a win-win scenario; it’s convenient for the clients and you spend less time traveling from one location to another.
With Exercise.com you can grow your business where ever you’re at — whether that’s in the gym, in a park, or training remotely.
#3 – Share Success Stories, Before-And-After Photos, or Client Testimonials
Client testimonials, success stories, and before-and-after photos are a great way to build excitement around your brand and personal training business. Make sure you have the client’s permission before using them in any publications or on social media. These are great for marketing and could be added to your Facebook business page, social media posts, or newsletters.
An added bonus is that clients are likely to share your posts with their friends and relatives. This is a free way to market your business. Word-of-mouth is important, especially in the fitness industry. People are more inclined to work with a trainer that has provided their friends, family members, or acquaintances with noticeable and sustainable results.
#2 – Make Sure You Are Listed in the Directory of Certified Professionals for Your Certification Organization
All certified personal trainers should be listed in the directory for the organization they are certified from but double-check this information to make sure it is accurate and up-to-date. If you have moved or changed addresses, this information may be outdated.
#1 – Add a Specialty Certification or Specialization
This is a way to stand out among the sea of personal trainers. As a certified personal trainer, you must complete continuing education credits or units (CECs or CEUs) for recertification, so use some of those to add a specialty certification or specialization.
ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) also has many specialty courses to choose from, like inclusive fitness trainer and autism exercise specialist, plus many others. ACE (American Council on Exercise) Fitness has a number of specialty courses, like senior fitness, functional training, fitness nutrition specialist, or many more. See the video below for more information about ACE’s fitness nutrition specialist program course.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– Do I have to sell myself if I’m personal training at a commercial gym?
It’s important to sell yourself as a personal trainer no matter if you work at a commercial gym, small fitness studio, or as an independent contractor.
– What are some business tips to be successful as a personal trainer?
This article explains some helpful business tips for personal trainers to be successful in their profession.
– Where can I personal train my clients?
This article details the places and locations where personal trainers can train clients and the pros and cons of each.
– How do I get started with an online personal training business?
There is more than one path to getting started with personal training clients online. Fitness business software, like the All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software by Exercise.com, provides important functions like workout creation and delivery, an exercise library, mobile apps, and automated options that make it easy to personal train clients online.
All personal trainers have to sell themselves to stay competitive in the fitness professional business world. New fitness professionals need to do so to grow their client base, whereas experienced professionals may want to expand their client base or generate additional revenue.
Melissa Morris is a professor by day and a part-time writer for Exercise.com. Melissa has a BS and MS in exercise science and an EdD in educational leadership. She teaches nutrition and applied kinesiology at the University of Tampa and has worked in health education, fitness, and nutrition for 15 years. In her free time, Melissa loves to workout at Orangetheory fitness and run 5K and 10K races.