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commercial gym

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3 Things You Need To Ask, Do & Say with Prospective Clients

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The first quarter of the year in a commercial gym is a fitness experience that is unlike any other part of the year.

Maybe that is a little dramatic…but what I am getting at is that the population of gym-goer’s that come in to a large commercial gym (maybe any Fitness Facility- not sure on that so don’t quote me) is going to be the most wide spread group of individuals.

Over the last 3 months I have spent time with individuals who are stronger than me, have had bilateral joint replacements, are starting their weight loss journey, are finishing their weight loss journey and now need a different side of guidance, and I have worked with those who know nothing about the gym but are eager to learn.

So. Many. People.

What I would tell you, a Personal Trainer/ Strength Coach/ Rehab Professional who is most likely the person reading this, is that there are some very specific things you need to ask, do, and say when approaching a prospective client of ANY background in your facility.

1) You need to ASK what they are expecting out of your initial consultation.

This was a game changing question for me. As soon as I asked what THEY were perceiving my service as I then knew how to curate their experience OR start to retell my story as to what they were truly about to experience.

Don’t assume that people know or understand what your service offering(s) will be. Ask them then readdress your approach.

2) You DO need to provide value - what that is is up to you.

In my experience, the initial greeting with a prospective client can be a shaky experience for both the trainer and prospect. The prospect may not know what they are about to do (see point 1 above…) and be guarded, nervous, or have alternative expectations to what they are about to be doing (again…see point 1 above). The Trainer is also in a position where they simply do not want to give away their secret sauce (or education/skill set) for free.

The scale must stay in a delicate balance.

I would encourage whomever is reading this to pause after this sentence and think about what value you are offering your prospective clients. If you say a sweeping broad statement like “you have an hour of my time” and then you do nothing to record that time, are you really giving them an hour of your time? Likewise, maybe they are not getting the full trainer experience and they will not be receiving any recorded information, so what DO they get?

You must use this time with your prospective audience to build trust and showcase the value of your service- the HOW you do that is up to you- but first addressing if you are even doing this is the first step to take.

3) You need to say these three qualifying statements….

ANOTHER THREE THINGS- kidding, but these three statements go in to the topics above…

“Have you ever worked with a Personal Trainer before?” - this is going to help set the table for what your prospect can expect.

“Here is what you can expect during our time together” - this sets the table. It informs your prospect what they will be experiencing and also gives you a transitional statement to readjust any preconceived notions on their end.

“From what we’ve done today and get to know you and your goals a little deeper. I would recommend (insert service offering here)” - Ultimately people come to you because YOU are the professional. You’ve got to do your job and make the recommendation. If you’re also in a commercial setting and sales is part of what you do, then this starts the ‘ask’ for the sale.

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3 Things To Consider Before Your Next Certification

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This is probably my favorite question from college students, our interns, and of course, my Personal Trainer colleagues.

“Hey, what’s your thought about XYZ certification?

or simply…

“What cert should i get next?”

At this point i have three pretty firm thoughts and here they are below…

1) Does this certification make you money?

I put this as my first point for a reason. Coaching courses typically run $500-$1500, sheesh! My FIRST year as a trainer I made $27,000. (double sheesh!) - you catch my drift here….You can argue that ANY certification will make you money. What I am specifically referencing is does your new knowledge in an area will expand your services, allowing you to charge more? Or will it add a new skill set that will bring you a different realm of clientele?

I typically almost recommend the Functional Movement Screen as a go-to certification - it’s affordable (with in person and online options) and gives coaches a specific skill set that can be monetized. By no means is this a sales pitch, rather, just an example of a certification that clearly adds to someone who holds a base level coaching certification.

The punchline here is to not be afraid of putting on your business hat and making sure you can yield a positive return on your investment!

2) Does XYZ certification fit the mold of your coaching beliefs?

This one typically stumps most people.

In our social media driven world it is very common to fall in to recency bias and want to learn about the new ‘thing’ in our industry.

Curiosity killed the cat, right?

Maybe that’s a dumb reference but you get the point.

Certifications cost a good chunk of money and if you’re in a remote location like northern Vermont, then you probably have to fly and stay in a hotel everywhere you go, compounding overall expenses.

Simply put- if what you want to learn has a place in your coaching methods, fire it up. If not, save your money for what you truly enjoy.

3. Is XYZ certification going to help you get to your career goal(s)?

In my professional life of 10 years of personal training, I have been asked once if I had my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS) certification. One time. The person to ask? The Athletic Director at the College who contracts our training facility to be their Strength Coaches.

Moral of the story? If you’re a personal trainer who wants to work within a certain population OR within a certain setting? Yes, a certification will help the resume - it will also help you network in that avenue- but don’t jack up your wallet to ‘just have’ every certification under the sun. I guarantee your clients care more that you’re a good person who helps them set and reach THEIR goals rather than pushing your knowledge of some random massage therapy gun that just came on the market.

So the next time you see a banner ad for XYZ certification and you jump to grab your credit card, ask yourself these questions and see if it is really worth your valuable money and more valuable time!


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