4 Ways to Build Trust with Clients as a Certified Personal Trainer

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Having a killer marketing strategy is important for turning leads into prospects, but what turns potential clients into long-term ones? Trust.

You could possess the greatest workout insights, done on cutting-edge equipment, and geared toward maximum results; however, if you don’t have client trust, it’s unlikely that you’ll build the kind of relationships that make a personal training business sustainable and growth-oriented.

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To help grow your brand, look to these tactics to help you earn trust with clients. Ultimately, you'll help them achieve their goals while helping yourself build a successful career as a certified personal trainer.

1. Be Honest

Sometimes, clients come in with sky-high dreams and ask you to focus your training on that mission. It might be doing a triathlon in just two months from now, or getting six-pack abs even though that’s likely about a hundred pounds away, or hitting the track for sprint intervals despite significant knee issues.

There’s no denying that ambition can be a beautiful thing, but it’s up to you to provide your clients with a realistic plan. Maybe a 5K is more doable, or losing 20 pounds, or switching from the track to the pool. Clients may be miffed at first that you’re not sharing a grand vision, but they’ll appreciate your honesty, and as they begin seeing results, they’ll trust you when you make recommendations in the future.

2. Be Reliable

You don’t have to give clients the okay to call you day or night—unless you feel like that would be beneficial for specific clients—but you do need to demonstrate a high level of consistency and integrity. That means keeping appointments, being on time, being prepared for each session, and being organized.

Trust is built when clients see that you're reliable and put thought into each session. If you tend to get overbooked and slide into every appointment in a rush, it might make you seem unprepared. That makes it difficult for clients to trust that you’ve put effort into what’s best for that session.

3. Be Ethical

Unlike doctors, therapists, and lawyers, there’s no rule about having to keep your client information private; nevertheless, do it anyway. As many trainers know, exercise can bring up a host of emotional changes that can cause some clients to struggle. Being a good listener is just as much a part of the job as knowing proper form and avoiding physical injury.

As your relationship with a client deepens, you’ll likely hear more about his or her life, including the difficult parts. Consider yourself a confidant, similar to a therapist. Avoid the temptation to share information with other clients, even if it might be relevant to their situation. What you can share, though, is your personal story. That makes you more relatable and shows you’ve overcome your own challenges, thus giving them fuel to keep going themselves.

4. Get Educated

Staying aware of current fitness trends helps you keep your training mix fresh, but replacing a few moves here and there isn’t the same as staying current on your education. For that, you should expand your skills with certifications that reflect specialization in areas like youth fitness, weight management, or balance therapy. Not only do these certifications give you a broader base of knowledge, but they also communicate to your clients that you possess rigorous insight.

Furthermore, certifications demonstrate a certain level of educational achievement, and that brings trust. There’s a reason why physicians, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals hang diplomas on their walls where clients can see them—those credentials assure clients that someone has met educational standards, and personal trainers can do the same. To learn more about AFPA’s accredited certifications for fitness professionals, view our programs.

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