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A Guide to Selling Personal Training in Your Facility

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Photo courtesy of Tiffany Levine, GATC.

Hiring the right personal trainer for your training department is a large part of any fitness manager’s duties. Finding the right mix of personality and technical knowledge to meet your club’s needs is a cumbersome and sometimes lengthy process. So once you decide on the right fit for your needs, the next step is coaching the trainer on how to sell their services to your members. Regardless of previous sales experience, it is the responsibility of the fitness manager to teach every new trainer how they are expected to sell in your facility.

Initial Training — The First Two Weeks

The first step in hiring a trainer is the most critical in determining the success of that employee. When you hire a new trainer, you should set up a training program and progression that educates that trainer on how you (the fitness manager) expect that trainer to sell. Whether it is initially laying out sales quotas/expectations, or an actual specified sales presentation, the trainer needs to learn specifically how your club expects them to perform and how they should conduct themselves during a sale.

Whatever your expectations, you need to educate your trainers thoroughly on how they should sell. This is important because setting initial expectations in terms of sales is not enough without telling trainers how you want them to sell. Every club has a different perspective on sales, so regardless of a trainer’s previous sales experience, you need to educate them on how you want them to sell. Do you want trainers approaching and selling to clients on the weight room floor while members are working out? Or do you want them performing special services for free (i.e. body compositions, postural screenings, fitness testing, etc.)? In either case, the trainer needs to know how to sell in your club.

This will also eliminate problems down the road if clear expectations are set. If the trainer has a particular method of selling or presenting training, the fitness manager needs to be taken through that process to ensure it fits the philosophy of the club. All this should be performed in the first two weeks after hire, or after your initial employee orientation.

Personalized Sales Training

Once the new trainer has been given sales goals and taken through how the club wants personal training to be presented to members, the next step is helping the trainer develop a sales presentation that works for them. Being comfortable and confident is half the obstacle most trainers face when selling personal training.

This is why personalizing the sales presentation for each trainer is important. The manager needs to sit with each trainer and discover the personal strengths of each trainer, and then find a method of selling that plays to that strength. If you have a trainer that is a functional training wizard, but who has difficulty selling training when sitting down with a new member, find a way to put that trainer on the floor and let them demonstrate their proficiency in action. Sometimes the standard sales pitch does not work for all trainers, so the manager needs to find ways to capitalize on the strengths that trainers possess.

Sales – The First 30 Days and Beyond

“What is expected should be inspected.” This is a common rule of employee management and nowhere is it more important than in sales training. Since the initial sales expectations were set up upon the initial two weeks, and the fitness manager has helped develop an individualized sales presentation for that trainer, the responsibility is now on the trainer to perform. That performance must be checked and reviewed on a regular basis. Beginning with the first 30 days, sales performance should be checked and reviewed with that trainer every 30 days to ensure that expectations are being met, and the proper corrective actions are being taken.

This gives the trainer enough time to act on any areas of improvement as noted by the fitness manager and enough time to begin to develop a comfortable pattern of sales. Depending on the number of memberships your club sells per month, it may take up to 30 days for a trainer to close a sale on a new member package. This review cycle should typically continue for the first 120 days of employment, allowing the manager time to decide if progress is being made, or if the trainer is not a fit for that department.

Sales training should continue for every trainer and should be an ongoing topic for trainer meetings or individual reviews. Sales training is very similar to the personal training field — there is always something new to learn.

By Vic Spatola, the director of personal training at Greenwood Athletic & Tennis Club

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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