Those of you that are fans of the hit TV show The Apprentice will know one of the contestants, Katie, is a fitness professional and is currently doing our industry proud with her sound business skills having won her task as project manager in week 3. That task was all about selling scented candles and we saw the contestants standing in the street trying to entice passers-by to buy their products by simply asking questions like “would you like to try one of our candles?”, or “can I interest you in any of our products today?”. While they did sell, you can bet they asked A LOT of people and were turned down by most.
This is very reminiscent of the approach many personal trainers take in the gym, asking everyone they can “are you interested in personal training?” or the marginally better “would you like a free taster session?”. They then get frustrated at the lack of positive response and conclude there’s not enough business in the gym.
Now let’s be clear, talking to as many people in the gym as possible is not a bad thing. In fact it’s very definitely what you should be doing, it’s what you actually say that’s key. It’s a percentage game whatever you do or say of course; you’ll very rarely get absolutely everyone to take up your offer and immediately book in (if you do, let us know your secret), but this is a basic business principle. You need to find as many good leads or enquiries as possible, then some of those will book in for consultations and taster sessions, and a fewer number of those will then become paying clients. Say your ‘conversion rate’ of consultations to paying clients is 1 in 4. By increasing the number of consultations, simple maths tells us you will get more clients, even before working on improving your consultation skills (by the way, this illustrates why it’s essential to know and track the numbers in your business).
So how do we do that? Here’s 3 simple things to say to increase the chances of gym members booking in for a free session. Remember the aim is simply to get them to commit to spending a dedicated period of one-to-one time with you. Once you achieve this it’s then much easier to tailor that time to their needs:
These strategies often work more effectively the second or third time you interact with the person. So make a point of just introducing yourself the first time you see them in the gym, without trying to offer anything (unless they ask of course!).