Business & Management

The Psychology of Selling Why People Hire Fitness Professionals

By Jim Labadie

Now more than ever, we in the fitness industry have a moral obligation to help those who are in desperate need of our help. We, in fact, have a responsibility to sell solutions to the problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Therefore, as a fitness professional you need to understand something very clearly knowing how to sell is not only necessary for financial success, but it’s also allows you to fulfill your moral obligation to others. Many personal trainers despise having anything to do with the word sales.

They don’t want to have to worry about selling anything.
All they want to do is train people. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to help people, there is also nothing wrong with selling people.

Not when the result of the money the client spent is a new body, outlook and lease on life. How do you put a dollar value on that? Personally, I don’t think you can. And I highly recommend if you want to become a leader in this industry, or even merely survive in it, you instill the same belief in yourself that regardless of what you charge for personal training costs, clients simply can never pay enough for the end result.

Your belief must be concrete. Now don’t get me wrong.
I don’t mean to tell you that you should start to charge obscene amounts of money for personal training.

And obviously, you must be able to deliver results. The point I’m trying to get across is it’s not easy to sell something you don’t believe is valuable. And since fitness comes so easily to personal trainers, many have a hard time asking for money (selling) due to the fact they cannot understand why others would pay for such a service.

Trainers need to take a step back and really look at the value of the service they provide. Often when that step back is taken the benefits to your clients becomes not only more obvious, but a selling point. Here’s the tricky part. Promoting benefits makes for great marketing, but not great selling.

Do you really believe in this day and age people don’t know being more physically fit would benefit their health? Please. Instead of trying to sell the benefits of fitness, you should be trying to find the pain of prospective clients.

What I mean by pain is the emotional reason why a prospective client would hire you. People almost always buy for emotional reasons, not logical ones.

Don’t believe me? Why do people spend $100,000 on a car when they could purchase one that performs the same basic functions at a fraction of the cost? Have you ever spent twice as much for clothing you would have spent elsewhere just so you could have a certain name brand? Is either of these examples of logical decisions?

No. They are both emotional choices. People make them all the time. Maybe not for a six-figure car, but emotional buying occurs often because in reality people buy things they want much more than things they need. When you realize this phenomenon selling becomes even easier.

If a prospect doesn’t want to hire a personal trainer then don’t bother trying to sell them training services.

It’s practically impossible to convince someone to buy something they don’t want even if they desperately need it. This makes for no-pressure selling. You see, professional selling is about closing every sale you should.

It’s not about pressuring people into forking over their money. Prospects must convince themselves they need to hire a fitness professional.

As a trainer you don’t really need to do much more than listen and assure the person that you are capable of relieving their pain. And who knows what their pain is? It could be anything. People buy for the strangest reasons.

However, they always buy for their reasons and not yours. Selling is about listening, not talking. The prospect should be talking approximately 70% of the time so you can find those reasons. You need to be listening for pain cues from prospects.

Words such as: distraught, confused, frustrated, upset, concerned these are the types of things prospective training clients say about their lack of results. And these are exactly the type of people who are ready to work for results. They don’t need results, they want results.

Remember, everyone needs to live a fit lifestyle. But unless someone wants to they will continue to sit on their couch and stuff their face. It’s only when we find the prospects who want results do we have a realistic opportunity to sell them personal training services.

And even then it probably won’t be until they’ve exhausted less expensive options. But believe me, there are plenty of those prospects out there.

Jim Labadie is a fitness entrepreneur, sales expert and speaker. To sign up for his FREE mini-course on sales for fitness professionals please visit:

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