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Column Marketing & Sales Personal Training

Sales: How to Sell Personal Training to More Members


Use specific tactics to help personal training reach more members.Less than 2 percent of all people who join gyms do so because they want to hire a personal trainer. About 5 percent of the American population can afford traditional one-on-one personal training. Many gyms never even reach the 5 percent mark, meaning that for every 100 members, there are only three or four who are working with a trainer.

But so many people could benefit from working with a coach or trainer. So, how do you sell this life-changing service to more of your members? How do you get 40 percent or more of them to reach into their pockets for more money, in exchange for a service that many of them do not fully understand?

1. You must let them try the service before they purchase the service. This can be best explained by the Ferrari analogy: Before a person buys a Ferrari, are they going to drive the Ferrari? Of course they are, and it is the same with personal training. No more consultations. No more fit scores, or fitness scores. No more poking and prodding, proving to the member what they already knew — they are overweight and out of shape. Put them through an actual strength workout. Use functional exercises, and make sure the trainer is your best and only salesperson.

2. Have one trainer sell, and only one trainer sell. Personal trainers did not choose their career path because they wanted to be salespeople. Most of them suck at the sales process. BUT, with some effort, and trial and error, you can find Bigfoot. Sasquatch is out there. He or she is the elusive creature who meets the following criteria: Three or more years as a personal trainer with solid program design skills and experience. In addition, they should have demonstrated sales experience.

Basically, the ideal candidate is someone around 30 years old, or older, who is tired of sweaty bodies, and is not afraid to ask for money. Find this person, and make him or her provide a complimentary workout to as many people as possible, all day, every day. At the end of the workout, this trainer will present the training membership options.

3. No more focus on one-on-one training. People can’t afford it, as I mentioned above. Traditional one-on-one training, at around $400 a month, forces most of your members out of the market of getting the help they need and want. Instead, sell them team training and small group personal training.

Team training, conducted in groups of 10 to 15, costs around $99.00 per month in most markets and includes gym access, costing consumers only about $50 to $60 per month for a great group training experience.

Small group training is conducted in groups of two to four people and includes intensive coaching. It costs about $139 per month in most markets, and includes gym access, making this only about $100 per month for a member to get a regular, intensive coaching experience.

One-on-one training is not going away completely, but it is becoming less and less common as smart gym operators capitalize on opportunities to help their members get results, without breaking their bank accounts.

By chasing general athletic conditioning while training all people upright, using functional movements, and doing this in a group setting — only after the member experiences the service with that one trainer who can sell — are you are going to be “in good shape.” Pun intended.

Keep changing lives.


Jason Linse is president and founder of The Business of Fitness, a consulting company. He graduated from Minnesota State University with a degree in public health and corporate wellness. He started working in the fitness industry in 1995. In 2005, Linse started with Snap Fitness at its headquarters, helping them grow from 14 locations to 1,100 locations by October 2010, when he left to start the Business of Fitness. Linse also owned a gym for two and a half years before becoming a consultant. He also owns a personality assessment company called People Plus+ Fitness. He can be reached at jason@jasonlinse.com or at 612-310-1319. Visit www.jasonlinse.com.

Jason Linse

Jason Linse is president and founder of The Business of Fitness, a consulting company. He also owns a personality assessment company called People Plus+ Fitness. Contact him at jason@jasonlinse.com or 612-310-1319 for resources on scheduling more tours and personality assessments, or visit www.jasonlinse.com.

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  1. Vaughn Marxhausen April 3, 2014

    I hear a lot of comments about “trainers are not sales people” and in order to “sell more personal training, you need to have only one person “sell training for other trainers.” While this may be true in some aspects, personal training is “personal”. A member forms a bond with a person and once they have “connected” with them, they want them to train them. So with one person “selling personal training and doing the initial session” this can create an issue with a member now wanting to train with the “sales person” instead of being handed off to another trainer.

    Trainers need to have passion and when they have that passion, they don’t have to sell, the passion becomes contagious and people will want to train with the passionate trainers.

    People don’t like to “be sold to”, but they love to buy. They buy from people they trust [Trustworthy = high character + high competence].

    Find trainers who have true passion, and you won’t have to find a “sales person to ‘sell’ personal training.

    1. Jason Linse April 4, 2014

      Vaughn, Thanks for the comment. I approach everything from a gym owner perspective. A gym owner must control the product and the process. And I am glad you brought up the “Personal Training” phrase. I used that in this blog post, and use it in most of my writing because it is a term the people recognize. My clients all shift to the term, “coaching” and hire “coaches”. As a gym owner, if you chase general athletic conditioning and hire “coaches” who are not independent contractors, you are setting yourself up for success. Sales is simply defined as helping people get what they want, BUT many people are afraid to ask for money. This takes some sales skills and sales training. It is not an issue to sell coaching to a person and have them work in groups of strangers with a different coach each time. OR in the case of one on one, have them with a different one on one coach every time, or every few sessions. My point is this: If you want it to be about the relationship with the trainer/coach, the gym and gym owner loses. The relationship should be with the gym, the employees and the culture. Employees (coaches/trainers, salespeople) come and go. The gym stays and the gym needs the member to stay.

  2. Daniel Maxwell April 3, 2014

    Interesting article about PT sales. THE number one problem with training sales is less about the sales pitch and much more about the “someone to sell”.

    A fraction of your members have ever attended a complimentary session/orientation/fitness presentation appointment.

    Members fall through the cracks every day.. Until now that is. PT Follow-Up is the process that drives members into an actual selling opportunity, it educates them and inspires them to show up.

    Club OS is the only company that offers a 100% intelligent PT Follow-Up. You can’t sell PT to members if they don’t come in for that orientation appointment.

  3. Mario Morgado April 11, 2014

    We are about to launch a revolutionary platform that allows you to reach an active audience of people specifically looking for health and fitness programs. TeachIT community http://www.teachitcommunity.com/ allows you as a personal trainer to create a single or a series of videos, establish a price point and generate immediate interest and revenue. We are super excited to have launched our premier client http://dccentre.ca/ who will be putting up their new RAMP series http://www.ramp-training.com/

  4. tim May 29, 2014

    Ramp looks like a knock off of P90X. I hate workout videos. A video cannot motivate me to push through the hard parts of the workout. I like crossfit cause I get the support from coaches and the class the vet my results.


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