Establishing rapport with your clients or potential clients is probably the most important skill to master.
If you can’t generate a decent flow of conversation, you are going to seriously struggle, if not outright fail in this business. It’s harsh, but it’s true.
When you’re looking for clients, you are going to need to do two important things.
1. You need to learn about the gym members’ training habits/goals so you can give them workouts they enjoy and will want to continue with you.
2. Establish enough rapport so that they say yes to the initial free “WOW” session and then carry on training with you for years not weeks.
In this article, we will be exploring the questions you should be asking to learn as much about your clients and potential clients as possible.
Let’s dive in
Questions to ask gym members while floor walking
Floor walking can be seriously tough, or it can be a walk in the park.
Just because you have a bunch of enthusiasm for exercise and training people, doesn’t mean you will feel comfortable walking up to a stranger and trying to get them to train with you.
It’s daunting at first, but if you are armed with the correct questions to ask, you stand a much better chance of hitting it off with a stranger and getting them to agree to a consultation session with you.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so if you ask the wrong questions that make you look like you don’t know what you are doing, you will never be able to gain that member as a client (unless it’s years later and they can see that you’ve grown in confidence).
But don’t let that put you off, you’ve got this!
Below is a list of questions you can ask gym members that are designed to both establish rapport and learn more about your clients’ training and goals so that you can offer your services to them.
Rapport Building Questions
“Hey, how are you doing today?“
I know I know; this seems like a cheesy thing to start with, but it’s the easiest “opener” ever, it’s also incredibly important.
The member will feel obliged to give you an answer through common courtesy, so your conversation has already started. It also gives you an immediate insight into their personality and current mood.
If they are smiling and tell you they are doing great, you are getting the green light to carry on with your conversation and they are very likely to be receptive to your questions.
If instead, they give you the look of death as you are walking towards them and give you the “fine” answer without making eye contact, this is great!
It’s great because you know not to waste your time with this person as they don’t want to be approached and your conversation will feel strained and unwanted.
These people are not complete write off though, maybe they were just having a bad day.
Continue to smile at them and say hello to them in the gym when you see them, you never know when they might come back to you and ask for your help.
I had this happen to myself. I spoke to a member on the gym floor and got a seriously frosty reception, only to have them come up to about a month later and ask for training. It turned out that he had been spoken to by lots of people that day, but I was the only one that seemed friendly despite him being miserable.
Moral of the story? Always smile and be polite. You never know if the person is just having a bad day.
Do not, I repeat do not open your conversation with “Hey how’s your workout going?” this approach will show the member that you are only interested in talking about their training which means you are trying to sell them something, this will put them on the defensive immediately.
By asking how they are doing, you are asking them about themselves, people like talking about themselves so you are more likely to get a positive response.
“What’s your name?”
People love hearing their name and addressing a member by their name can establish an instant rapport with them. If you remember their name for the whole conversation and afterward too, it shows that you took the time and effort to remember this person. This shows you care and are not just looking for a paycheck from them each month.
Once you have their name, use it during the rest of your conversation with them. Don’t overdo it though or it will come across as creepy, speak naturally like you would with a friend.
Don’t be afraid to ask their name again at the end of the conversation if you forget, they will appreciate the fact you are trying to remember it.
“How long have you been training?“
This question is designed to learn a little bit more about the member, it seems like a basic question, but in one answer, the member can be giving you a ton of important information.
If they say they have been training for a few weeks, you might learn that they are a beginner, and may need some assistance in program design or exercise instruction.
If they say that they have been training for a few months or even years, you can have a look to see if it looks like what they have been doing has been effective or if they might need some assistance.
Try to say as few words as possible during these conversations, it is really about letting the member tell you about themselves.
You may even find some people are begging for help but just don’t know how to go about it or are embarrassed.
For example, I have heard on many occasions when I have asked this question that the member has only been training for a few weeks, but they don’t know what they are doing.
“So, what are you training today?“
This question again allows you to gauge the member’s experience level.
Most people training in a gym should have a good idea of what their aim is that day.
Is it their cardio day? Their back-workout day? Their full-body functional workout day?
Either way, they should know, if they don’t this is a good sign that they have a lack of direction and probably need your help.
You are not being sneaky in any way here, I know it may feel like it, but these people are training without a purpose and without knowing what they are doing.
They obviously want to achieve something, otherwise, they wouldn’t have joined a gym, they just don’t know how to reach their goals.
If you weren’t to offer your help, these people could be spending years of their life and a lot of their money completely wasting their time. By offering your services you are doing them a massive favor. People learn faster under instruction and will attain their goals more efficiently with your help, how can that be a bad thing?
Asking what they are training also leads you nicely into your next question.
“Have you tried doing exercise X?“
Once the member has told you what they are training that day, (a back workout for example), you can show them a cool exercise they might not have tried before.
A lot of the less confident people in gyms tend to stick to machines as they are the easiest bits of kit to use.
I’m not 100% against machines, I use them myself, but as personal trainers, I think we can all agree that free weights are a more effective training method.
By taking people from machines into the free weights area and showing them an exercise they might not have tried before, you are giving the member a new experience and a sneak peek into the type of training you could provide them with.
If free weights aren’t your thing, then feel free to show them any piece of equipment they might not have used before, kettlebells, suspensions training, anything. If it is something new and exciting the member will almost certainly enjoy the experience.
“What sort of time do you usually train?“
This question allows you to find out if they are a person that you could fit into your schedule and also gives the impression that you would like to help this person without directly asking them.
If they are sticking to a regular schedule and you know that you have a slot free where you could give them a free consultation session, this is the perfect way to find out without asking “So can you do a session on Thursday at 6 pm?”.
People tend to train at the same times of the day, and days of the week. Choosing a time that you have a free slot and asking them to train then is not a great idea, you are likely to get a negative response and we don’t want that.
It also sets you up perfectly for the final question!
“Can we schedule a consultation session?“
This is the all-important question, the make or break question.
The whole reason you came over to talk to this person is to ask this question, but you need to be careful how you ask it.
Ask this question too quickly, with a lack of confidence or awkwardness at the end of the conversation, and it can sour the whole experience.
Instead, use this quick tip that I developed over a few years to make it seem as natural as possible.
After asking the above questions, you need to get out of the conversation ASAP!
Say “It’s been great talking to you today (insert name), but I’ve got a client in a second so I’m going to need to go. I’d love to show you some more techniques and give you more information though, so can we book in a quick free session sometime that’s convenient for you?”.
If they agree, book a session, and make sure you get contact details for them, an email address or phone number is fine.
This completely neutralizes the awkwardness of the situation and allows you to get your session booked in and you have your opportunity to leave without it looking like you are desperate for clients.
Once you have said this, you do need to disappear, if only for twenty or so, but they cannot see you walking to the next person and asking them questions or they will see you lied to them.
Personal training consultation questions
When going into a consultation, you’ve really got to be prepared, if you know nothing about the person you will be training, how are you going to write up a great program that makes them want to carry on training with you?
What if you spend two hours writing the greatest, most incredible program with all the “wow” factor a session could have, only for the client to turn up and let you know they have terrible lower back pain and a twisted ankle?
Then what? Everything goes out the window and you will be standing around thinking of what you can do, which automatically makes you look like you have no idea what you are doing.
Don’t do that, instead, ask plenty of questions beforehand so that you are fully aware of what your potential client can and can’t do, so you can write up that incredible session that takes into account any injuries or issues they have.
Common questions you should ask during your initial chat would include:
- Their main goals and objectives
- If they have ever trained with a trainer before
- Info on current or previous injuries/health issues which cause any discomfort or issues whilst training
- How long they have been training in general
- Do they do any additional exercise outside of the gym (weekend sports etc)
- Time preferences for training
- How many times per week they will be able to train either with you or on there or on their own
- What their current knowledge of nutrition is
The more information the better, if you have a ton of info on your prospect before you go into a training session with them you can prevent the very awkward situation of being totally stumped on what exercises to give them. I’ve seen it happen plenty of times before, and it’s like watching one of those dating shows where the two people have no idea what to say to each other.
Cringey…….but entertaining to watch!
Questions to ask during the “WOW” session
During your “WOW” session, you need to deliver excellent exercise instruction, show them exercises they have never seen before, demonstrate your expertise on why you are performing them and how they are helping your potential client reach their goals.
This goes without saying, but what is even more important is establishing a strong rapport, strong enough so your prospective client likes you and learns about who you are.
People only buy from people they like, this is a well-known fact, so if you make little to no effort to get to know them, why should a person start paying you hundreds of pounds a month to train them.
You also have the opportunity to show how fun you can be and how enjoyable each session will be.
People love to talk, and they love to talk about themselves, so in between exercises and rest periods ask them questions like this to get to know them more;
- Whereabouts do you live?
- What do you do for work?
- How long have you worked there?
- How did you get into that industry?
- Do you get to travel much with your job?
- What are your hobbies outside of work?
- Do you play or watch any sports?
- Have you got any good holiday destination recommendations for me?
- How did your session go with your previous trainer? (if they said they had)
- Have you got any good film recommendations for me?
The idea here is that you are asking questions that are giving you a great deal about the person you are training.
By doing this, you are establishing rapport, but with that, you are more importantly establishing trust. People don’t buy from people they don’t like and don’t trust.
If you can make them like you by asking questions that show you care about them, and then establish trust by also giving away a bit of information about yourself, you have created a strong connection which will make them much more likely to buy from you.
Make sure you maintain this rapport through your entire time training with your clients, I continue to be friends with my ex-client several years after I finished training with them.
I wrote a great article (if I do say so myself) about how to create the perfect wow session that converts gym members into paying clients. Give the link a click if you want to create high-converting complimentary sessions.
Questions to ask before the sales pitch
Once you’ve completed the initial consultation session you will need to have a sit-down chat with your prospect to sell the sessions.
I developed this list as it very cleverly makes the prospect sell Personal Training to themselves.
By asking this list, you will have the client telling you all the great things about personal training and overcoming their own objections for you. Let’s look into a few of those questions now:
- How did you find the session today?
- Was there anything new you enjoyed today?
- What was your favorite exercise we did today?
- Was this style of training something new to you?
- Do you think exercising in the way we did today will help you reach your goals faster?
- Is reaching your goals important to you?
- Do you think you would benefit from further coaching?
- Do you have enough time to train several times a week?
- Did you feel more confident in the gym whilst we were training today?
- Do you have any questions for me?
Some of these questions may seem very closed, which means that they only require a one-word answer.
In sales, you usually don’t want this, however, they are there for a very specific reason.
A question like “Is reaching your goals important to you?”, usually will give you a yes answer, and we want to get at least three “Yes’” before we go in for the close.
By now you now have a great understanding of just how important it is to ask the right questions during your; initial meeting, pre-consultation session, consultation sessions, and sales pitch.
You should now be prepared with a full list of personal training consultation questions to ask your prospects, You should hopefully have no need to ask needless questions or struggle for ways to make conversation with your prospective clients if you use the advice in this article.
Have a great day and good luck with your business!
Go get ’em!
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|Personal Training Consultation Sessions: Supreme Guide|