Alex Issa – @AlexIssaFitness
A few years ago, I made the decision to become a personal trainer. I wanted to help individuals reach their fitness goals and make an impact in their lives. After college, I passed my personal training certification exam and got a job at a local gym. I was pumped because I had everything I needed to start training clients. The only problem was, I didn’t have anyone to train. I thought the moment I walked through the door, I would have potential clients wanting to train with me being that I am a college graduate with a degree in exercise science, a former college football player and certified personal trainer.
After a few weeks of twiddling my thumbs, waiting for someone to approach me for training or coming to one of my fitness classes, I decided it was time for me to do something about this. I had to stop waiting for the opportunity to come to me. Instead, I had to go and CREATE the opportunity! That evening, I began brainstorming of ways on how I could approach members in the gym without coming off as pushy. After plenty of trial and errors, I landed my first client! After that, a few more signed on. The numbers continued to grow and I finally found my groove.
In the beginning, I contemplated giving up and going back to school to become a physical therapist. I thought that I didn’t have the skills necessary for landing clients and becoming a successful personal trainer. I stopped feeling bad for myself. I changed my mindset. I stuck it out during the hard times and persevered. I believe that being a new personal trainer searching for clients is quite possibly the most trying part of the profession. It is for this reason that I want to share with you some tips and strategies that helped me early in my personal training career. My goal is to help new trainers not only get their first client, but to eliminate to fear that they are not good enough for this profession.
Build a rapport with the individual
-The best piece of advice I received from my mentor was the client isn’t buying your workouts or program; they are buying you, your time and your coaching. They are investing their time and money into you. You must build a relationship with them and earn their trust. Even before this, start learning the names of the members of the gym, have a conversation with them and make it all about them. Start building the trust with your members; all of them. Once they are ready for personal training, they will come to you because a relationship has already been established. From there, you can give them the guidance to live a healthy lifestyle and lead them through great workouts.
Showcase your talents
-This may be difficult to do in the beginning because you’re still the new kid on the block. The members aren’t sure yet if you work there or just a regular member working out. But there are ways that you can showcase your talents besides your own workouts.
Here is what I did:
-Take a friend or family member through a workout: when I say this, I don’t mean you are all working out together. What I mean is you create a workout and lead them through the workout as if it was a client. Even though you and “client” know it is a test run, other members may not and can possibly be intrigued by how you do.
-Lead a fitness class that is offered at your gym: my gym offers free fitness classes to our members. Members that go to the class want two things: a tough workout and great experience. You have to create that social environment that they keep coming back for more. Even though my classes are free to the members, I have had a few members from those classes come to me for 1-on-1 training. Also, other members that aren’t in the class are still watching you do your thing.
-Offer free tips on techniques, exercises,or anything fitness: whether it is correcting someone’s form or mentioning a superset that they should include in their next workout, sharing your knowledge with members is a great way to build rapport with them. With that being said, don’t be too pushy with it or the annoying trainer because then they will avoid you rather than coming to you for help.
Look AND act the part
-As a personal trainer, or anyone in the fitness industry, you have to look the part. I am not saying you have to have 7% body fat or have shredded abs, but you do have to live a healthy lifestyle. You can’t expect someone to take your advice on nutrition or exercise if you’re munching on a cheeseburger in front of him or her with a beer belly. When you do get the opportunity to work with someone, it’s time to act the part. That means for the whole session, you are energetic and positive. You are smiling and correcting their form when needed. But most of all, make it all about them and make sure this is the most fun part of their day. Make it such a great experience that when they go home, they are bragging about it to their friends or spouse.
Find a mentor
-When you get a job as a personal trainer, there is a pretty good chance that there is already a personal trainer there that has been at the gym longer and has more experience than you. This is a great opportunity to absorb what they know and learn how they got to where they are. There was a time where my mentor had a potential client approach him about personal training. Due to time conflict for both parties, he sent the client to me and that was another client to my clientele. Also, your mentor can share tips on how he or she built their clientele in the gym. After all, all gyms and members will be different, so different approaches may have to happen.
These tips are what helped me land my first personal training client. But at the end of the day, the best advice is to be a good person. Instead of thinking of how much money you’re going to make if you make the sale, think of how you have the opportunity to make an everlasting impact on the individual’s life. You have the opportunity to give the guidance to live a healthier lifestyle. Enjoy the grind of personal training!
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