How to break the ice with gym members
Successful PT'ss have a flair for this skill, but many find it difficult. The following techniques will hopefully provide a confidence boost
Active marketing is much more effective for gaining clients than flyers and posters and, within the gym, the best method by far is ‘working the floor’.
Your initial contact with a potential client should establish credibility and rapport. The first part of the process is to pick your ‘target’ (i.e. someone who you feel would benefit from training with you) and then work your way into their personal space (walking straight up to somebody can be intimidating).
Try the following:
- Casually walk past as if you’re going to the changing rooms/office etc, then catch their eye and smile.
- Go and put away a few weights or pick up some litter near to them. Then, as you ‘go to leave’, again make eye contact with a smile.
- Have a ‘marketing workout’ yourself, and do your exercises next to the people you want to target.
The gym member will almost expect you to say something, so it will not come as a surprise when you start a conversation.
The next stage is saying something. Think of this as a bit like a chat up line (but not a cheesy one!) – the initial words that will set the tone for the rest of the conversation. Bad introductions will make it especially hard to gain the person’s trust. The gym member wants to know why you are speaking to them; they are thinking ‘what does this person want?’ So answer this question for them with one of the following:
For new faces: “Hi, I’ve not seen you here before, how long have you been a member?”
For regulars; “Hi, I see you training a lot but I don’t know your name yet”
For either: “Hi, I don’t think we’ve met before, what’s your name?”
Most gym members will then realise you are just being friendly and will relax. Some will even tell you how pleased they are that someone has acknowledged them, something which doesn’t happen enough in most gyms.
Next, be sure to introduce yourself as an expert in your field, e.g. “I’m Paul, I specialise in resistance training for fat loss”, or “I’m Emma and I’m a strength and conditioning coach”. This helps to establish your credibility. Then get them talking as much as possible - ask them what their favourite thing about the gym is, or their favourite exercise, or the best result they’ve had. Notice that these questions are phrased positively. This means the potential client will associate positive feelings with talking to you, enhancing rapport. Once you have got them talking, very often they will ask you for advice on some aspect of their training, which is where you can oblige with your skills and knowledge!