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Developing a Selling Personality as a Personal Trainer

Personal trainers aren’t afforded the luxury of selling a product that is so cheap it is a breeze to sell nor are we selling something people can’t live without. That’s why such a large portion of success involves selling.

It seems that every successful personal trainer has a great combination of traits that include social butterfly, ripped and fit, excellent communicator and listener, and a keen ability to understand why clients buy personal training.

But not every sales technique that works for one trainer will work for another. There are lots of really good articles out there on marketing for personal trainers but very few on how to use your sales personality to close deals.

Today we will look at what is perhaps your most valuable sales asset: your personality. The goal is to identify the type of selling personality you feel the most comfortable with so that you instill confidence in your potential clients so that more of them buy from you.

Five Examples of Personal Trainer Selling Personalities

Below are five (of 100s) sales personalities I frequently see with personal trainers. None of these are perfect, but you should be able to learn a bit more about your style to more effectively sell.

The Instant Friend

“Jerry! What’s cracking? Those shoes are sweet! I’m doing a leg work out today if you want to join?”

The Instant Friend selling personality engages potential clients as if they were the best of pals. Looking to form an immediate buddy-buddy connection, the Instant Friend is warm and inviting sometimes to a fault.

However, many clients want to form a friendly connection with their trainers to make the time go by faster and enjoy someone who listens to them and creates an atmosphere of understanding. For this reason, the Instant Friend personal trainer often has a lot of sales success and understands they need to attract a certain type of clientele that is interested in forming a personable relationship.

While the Instant Friend approach can be very effective with certain types of people, it can be rather annoying to those who wish to maintain a strict trainer-trainee relationship. Those who have this personality style have to be careful when talking to clients to see if they are open to this type of immediate vigor or if they want to hire based on the trainer/client relationship.


The Guru

“Jerry, I’d recommend HIIT workouts that use a combination of intense anaerobic exercise and minimal recovery periods due to your desire to get in quicker, yet effective, workouts.”

The guru generally attracts the opposite type of clients as the Instant Friend. They use a logical approach to selling and stray away from conversations that lead towards higher levels of friendship. This is not to say that the Guru is not friendly, rather their sales approach is confidence in their knowledge and they desire clients who want someone with a certain degree of analytical training.

No question is too big or too small for the Guru, that’s why people pay them to train them. The Guru’s sales technique usually involves references to research studies, attracting “Type A” clients who recognize knowledge and desire it.

The Guru will generally thrive off of referrals and testimonials and understands that their sales personality is a result of their successful client track record. They tend to deter clients who want an emotional connection but are ok with that because they don’t want to hear about other people’s emotions anyway.

The Fitness Consultant

“Jerry, killer Nike’s! I’m showing a few clients some HIIT workouts if you’d care to join.

A perfect blend of the Instant Friend and the Guru, the Fitness Consultant expertly sells with a willingness to develop relationships on an emotional level yet will pull back the “friend zone” when science needs to be used to sell.

The Fitness Consultant is an extremely effective selling personality because it opens you up to large populations of client personality types. The Fitness Consultant is not without its negatives though; because they can cater to so many clients they often spend a lot of time cutting through emotional connecting when they also know they need to present the science to close deals.

The Network Builder

“Jerry, great seeing you at the Chamber of Commerce meeting, I didn’t realize you were a member too. Your colleague Sally mentioned an interest in a free session, can you give me her contact info?”

All trainers know that some degree of networking is important to their success, but the difference with the Network Builder personality is that they thrive in this environment more than most. The Network Builder seeks out any and all social events, making it a point to “work the room,” letting everyone know they are a trainer and that they love helping people get in shape.

The Network Builder, as witnessed in the above quote, will constantly ask their contacts – clients or not – for referrals and gains lots of leads because of it. The Network Builder must work equally as hard at client results as they are often more concerned with generating new clients than enhancing their existing clients’ suite of services. Not quite as scientifically sound as many trainers due to their almost natural ability to gain new clients, the Network Builder can become extremely successful by backing up their social skills with a solid educational base.

The Hard Seller

“Listen Jerry, I know you were concerned about the costs of our sessions. I’ll give you two free sessions if I can get you to sign up for three months today. You won’t get a better offer than this.”

Often the result of a big box gym’s goal-based selling requirements, the Hard Seller personality type has little regard for anything other than completing the sale. These types of trainers won’t take no for an answer and their persistence usually results in a decent client load. It is not uncommon for the Hard Seller to use scare tactics – “You won’t get a better offer” – and this often creates a negative energy around their personal or corporate brand.

The unfortunate reality with Hard Sellers is that the effort they put into selling is not matched by the effort they put into their clients’ success, resulting in poor retention rates. Still, Hard Sellers can have success if they place a bit more effort into client results and effective training methods.

What Selling Personality Are You?

Do you resonate with any of the above five types of selling personalities? Perhaps you expertly chameleon your sales technique based on your read of your potential client?

Clearly identifying your sales personality will better help you identify the clients you are most likely to attract as you want to be the trainer with whom people will want to associate. If you are still unsure, ask yourself the following question:

What kind of trainer does my ideal client want to work with?

Answering that should give you a good idea of the selling personality you should work towards. See you in the boiler room!


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