3 Things My Trainer Did To Sell Me On Personal Training (And What You Can Learn From My Experience)

I’ve always been an active person.  I run 5 miles every other day and try to break a sweat in some fashion every day.

However, I’ve noticed I’ve hit a “plateau” when it comes to getting in shape.  My legs seem to give out at the 5-mile point and my knees start to get stiff after awhile.

Plus I noticed my arms were sore after carrying 4 bags of groceries this weekend.  That was the breaking point for me! 

So I just joined the local Gold’s Gym (now called Axiom).  Signing up was a piece of cake. I didn’t have to sign any contracts which I abhor.

However, the assistant manager asked me if I was interested in having a trainer.  I immediately balked at the idea–saying I already knew what to do, etc.

But he said he would sign me up for a “health consultation” with one of the trainers to access where I’m at regarding health and fitness.  He introduced me to a very nice female trainer and I set the appointment.

I immediately knew I was going to get pitched for further training during my consultation.  I do enjoy getting sold since that’s my line of work.

But I also know the “tricks of the trade” and immediately raise my guard when I detect a pitch coming–especially if it’s something I’ve already refused.

So I showed up for my assessment and…well…to make a long story short…she successfully sold me on training.

So in this blog post, I’m going to reveal the steps she took to successfully sell me on training.  Keep in mind that she didn’t perform ANY hard-nosed sales tactics on me (thank goodness!).

1) She Immediately Built Rapport With Me

People hate being sold.  I was expecting a long sales pitch regarding why I should get a trainer, how my health was going to deteriorate if I didn’t sign up, and all kinds of scare tactics.

However, she sat me down and asked me what I did for a living, and where I’m originally from.  I told her I was a copywriter–and she immediately told me she has a friend who is a copywriter too.

Nine times out of 10 I have to explain what a copywriter is to people I meet outside of the marketing realm…as most people mistakenly assume it’s about copyright law.  It truthfully gets old after awhile, as most people don’t “get it”.

However, she “got it” and I remember commending her for knowing what a copywriter was–so I didn’t have to explain it.  In other words, I immediately bonded with her.

We kept talking, and I found out she also ran half-marathons too (I have ran 4).  So that’s another thing we had in common–thus further allowing me to bond with her more.

2) She Asked Me The Right Questions

After the rapport-setting stage, she started asking me questions pertaining to my health.  I cannot remember the exact questions she asked; however, they did pertain to my previous exercise habits–and going to the gym to work out.

As an aside, I’m a “runner” and lifting weights isn’t my favorite exercise.  I’ll automatically default to running on a workout day, since that’s what I love doing.

I realized during our question-and-answer session that the only time I was consistent with working out with weights was when I was a part of a Crossfit class 2-3 years ago.  I realized the only reason I stuck with the program was because there was a trainer/instructor who was there to push me–and give me a hard time when I didn’t show up.

In other words, I realized I needed accountability.  This is evidenced by my declining workout habits after I stopped doing Crossfit due to an injury…and I never regained that consistency.

Sure I was consistent with my running…since that’s the activity I enjoyed.  But to get results, I needed to lift weights.  And that means getting out of my comfort zone when it comes to exercise.

And having an accountability partner to make sure I follow through…as I’ll automatically default to just running (what I’m comfortable with) over time.

Perhaps I can ask her to give me the questions she asked me that enabled her to flesh this out of me–so you have some context.  But to make a long story short, this is what I realized as I was answering her questions about my previous experience with diet and exercise.

But the biggest takeaway is that I did this through my own words thanks to the questions she asked me.  She didn’t browbeat me or hard-sell me.  I arrived at this realization myself–which made me realize I needed that accountability if I’m going to achieve my goals.

3) She Used The Power Of Demonstration

After our question and answer session, she took me out to the floor and showed me several stretching exercises.   She also had me do several squats so she can observe areas of my body that were tight.

I’ll preface this by saying that I am the most inflexible person you’ll ever meet. I never stretch before running, and I cannot touch my toes when bending over with my knees locked straight.

She immediately recognized I needed some help and immediately showed me several stretches I can use to loosen up.  I immediately felt the benefits of the stretches and felt myself loosening up already.

She then observed I have “rounded shoulders”…probably from sitting in a computer chair typing all day. She said my back needed more exercise and showed me a rowing exercise to strengthen my back.

“Piece of cake”, I thought.  I’ve done rowing exercises before.  So I get on the machine and she immediately diagnosed I was doing the exercise wrong.

After correction, I could definitely feel the rowing exercise working my back…instead of my arms.  And I could immediately imagine the benefits if I were to keep working out on the rowing machine.

So to wrap up, she used the power of demonstration to 1) point out deficiencies in my fitness 2) show me how doing certain exercises will help me achieve my goals.  If she had just described it to me during our initial talk, it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.

4) She Gave Me A Non-Threatening Call-To-Action

After our hour-long session was over, I was already sold.  She had built rapport with me, and she successfully demonstrated her expertise. In other words, I can trust her–and people only buy from whom they trust.

I was expecting a hard close, but instead she simply asked me, “So, are you interested in signing up for training?”

That was it. Anything harder than that and I probably would have resisted.  But she didn’t have to hard-sell me because I was already sold on getting personal training in a non-threatening manner.

So I now have a trainer.  Something I know I’ll get benefit from–and help me work off all the pizza and Starbucks mochas I’ve been consuming to meet deadlines.

So think about your own sales process.  Take a look at how my trainer effortlessly sold me above…and see how you can implement this into your own product/service. I know for a fact that I use these principles when selling clients on my copywriting services.

I don’t browbeat people and promise them millions of dollars with my copy.  But I do establish rapport, ask the right questions, demonstrate my expertise by answering questions and showing my previous campaign and results.  And I end by simply asking a version of the following question:

“Would you like to get started?” 

Thanks, hope this was helpful!

Kevin Hill

“The Professor of High Response”

2 comments… add one
  • Alex Jun 11, 2012 @ 18:50

    Nice one Kevin. Thank you.

    Helping you reach your own conclusion was a good tactic.


  • Ian McConnell Jun 12, 2012 @ 1:50

    Great article Kevin. Do you think she was trained to make sales this way, or if she was just a natural?

    The reason I ask is my wife is a personal trainer with absolutely no sales training and she converts at almost 100%. She is just naturally very helpful and just by watching you walk can tell where you are weak and need work. Her attitude is, if you don’t want to pay I’ll help you anyway, although she doesn’t say it. I think she has become a master of the law of reciprocity and doesn’t know it.

    Ian McConnell
    Western Australia

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