Hi, I’ve been a lurker here for a while, it’s a great community with lots of useful insights and I eventually joined to ask a question!
I’m really confused on how one should build a client base, starting from scratch, working in a commercial gym, assuming you have to build your own client base without any help from the gym itself.
A lot of advices and suggestions I see take for granted you have already a base to start from, but what if your completely new to the world of personal training?
What are your best advices for a new trainer looking to build a client base relatively fast? Should I approach everyone and give free sessions? Should I ever try to sell my services or just be nice, help people and try to build relationship and trust hoping someone will eventually request personal training?
To sum it up: please, share your knowledge on, going back, everything you would do in the first weeks in a gym setting. I’m very very confused (and… terrified)!
If it was your first day in the gym, I would spend the whole day try to get to know each and every client that walks through the door. You want to be the trainer that everyone knows. Let it be know that you are a personal trainer and you are there to answer any questions and help in any way. The key is to build relationships. If people begin to know and trust you, then they will begin to ask you questions. Those questions lead to you being trusted. Even if the person you are talking to isn’t interest in training, they know someone who is.
Especially with the new year approaching, and plenty of new people coming into the facility with New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if there are interested in personal training. There is a right time and wrong time to ask the client if they are interested. That is something that you have to be able to feel out and just know the time is right.
Matthew has some good points.
People will not run up to you just because you say that you are a personal trainer. But they will watch you even if you are not directly interacting with them. Chances are that you will be ask to assist people with their workouts, and that will be an opportunity for you to present yourself. I often see that trainers make a real display of themselves and talking incessantly in an effort to impress with their knowledge.. And while our job is to educate, it is not to pontificate. Take an interest in anybody you interact with and ask about their goals and what they are trying to accomplish.
I assume that there will be other trainers, and you will be in competition with them. Resist the temptation to criticize them even when egged on by somebody to do so. I saw enough in a gym that I would not do but my standard answer has been that I do not know the client and his goals and thus cannot comment on what I observe there.
Keep in mind that somebody is always watching you. I have gotten clients through referrals from people who I did not even know but who were gym members and recommended me.
Getting that first client is not easy. Yes, you may ask a friend to be your ‘client’. Just remember all the time that you need to display a professional relationship when you train him.
You are in for a wonderful career. I wish you good luck.
Matt and Karin gave great info. In addition to what they mentioned, you can offer “One Time Kick Off Session’s” to all new members. I’m sure there’s some type of weekly list you can get of new members, you can either call or email offering the Kickoff session.
You can circulate the floor offering assistance to those who might need it or if you see someone performing an exercise with improper form ask if you can correct their form or demonstrate an exercise that might be more effective for what they are trying to do.
Create flyers and post within the fitness center, bathroom, etc. and handout flyers as members walk in.
Set a booth with flyers and information about you, your credentials, and host an “Ask the Personal Trainer” session at the booth.
Hope this helps, good luck!
In addition to the above great points and suggestions I would encourage you to make some business cards and place them at the front desk (assuming that is ok with the management). Also every time you talk to or help a member pass them your card. This way they will remember you and they will also have a contact information in case they decide to go ahead and want to hire you. This is also a great way of them passing your information to others who might not even being members at that gym, but who are looking for a trainer. Another suggestion for you would be to get to know the sales people at the gym. They are the ones who come in contact with pretty much every member/person who comes through those doors and they could be a great referral point for you. Good luck to you.
You have gotten some good advice from the others! I would like to add that building a client base can take time. So, in addition to the actual tasks you want to accomplish to attract clients–also focus on how you present yourself. Always be professional (how you dress and act), offer to help someone if you see that they are in need, be friendly, smile, greet people in the gym, and just be genuine. Karin is correct–someone is always watching you! I have also gotten clients by having others watch me train, only to have them come up to me to request sessions.
Others will notice your passion for helping others and you will attract a client base. You will also build your client base through referrals. But, be patient! One of the most important things I’ve learned in this business is to have patience!
Best of luck to you!