How to Approach a New Personal Training Client: Eight Strategies You Should Use

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As a personal trainer, you should constantly look for ways to expand your client rooster besides waiting for other trainers to leave. Like all commercial settings, a gym gives you the opportunity to meet new clients, have a good conversation, and sell yourself. In a gym, you can also find those long-term clients that will offer endless referrals and testimonials that can give your business a huge boost.

Having a few certifications won’t be enough to build a client base, while directly approaching potential clients may be too intrusive sometimes. In this article, we have compiled a list of some of the best strategies you can use when approaching a new client to win them over.

Eight Strategies to Approach Potential Clients

#1. Make a Hit List

Before going on a hunt, you should make a hit list. Ask yourself, who would you want to work with? Young girls in their twenties wanting to tone up or lose weight or middle-aged men looking to build muscle or stay healthy? Fitness buffs or amateurs?First step can be creating a profile of your potential client with specific data, like age, gender, fitness goals, workout expertise and other similar things and stick to it. This strategy will save you tons of time and energy. Plus, it will keep you focused on the clients that match your current expertise.

#2. Think about the Dating Scene

Also, for a successful approach strategy, always keep in mind that finding new clients in the gym is very similar to dating. If you find a cute girl that you like and have been chatting with her for some time, you wouldn’t ask her out directly. You should try toattract her attention and make her interested first.

In trainers’ world, gradually approaching new clients is very similar to the courting phase of a dating relationship. Spend a couple of weeks greeting and smiling at potential clients and making yourself visible in the gym.

#3. Be a Nice Guy

Throw some random acts of kindness into the mix like offering free exercise advice (but not too much of it) when you see somebody making mistakes when working out.

You can positively influence that person’s life, like preventing them from injuring themselves, leaving the door open to future business. For instance, that person you helped so generously six months ago, may return to you when they are ready and ask you to train them.

#4. Break the Ice

Some experts recommned keeping things light and working on gaining your clients’ trust for 1 to 2 weeks. Just greet them, smile, and engage in small chit chat with the ones that seem more open. On week 3 and 4, try some ice-breakers like compliments and other statements that provokes a more elaborate response than just a ‘Hi,’ ‘Yes,’ or ‘No.’

You can compliment a potential client on their looks or ask for advice on a particular topic. Next, you can politely ask them what they are training for. This opens the door to a longer conversation in which you can offer technique tips without seeming patronizing.

#5. Be Action-Oriented

You can now ask them questions about exercise history and their fitness goals. Then, you can move one step further and ask them where they think they are at the current moment. In this manner, you will build a connection between their past (history), future (fitness goals), and the present (how should do to achieve those goals). This approach will also make you look like an action-oriented guy who can deliver results.

#6. Bring Up the Sales Pitch

Until now, you have built enough momentum with a potential client to ask them for a sales meeting. The best strategy is to offer a two-hour session for free in which they will be asked to answer an intake questionnaire. These questions should enable you to learn more about their goals, medical history, attitude and other things you consider helpful in a future trainer-client relationship.

Also, you can offer a free body fat test to get them hooked. Let your potential client know what they are going to get (for free) during the sales meeting. The risk of getting a ‘No’ for an answer will be minimal.

#7. Grow a Positive Attitude

While on the gym floor, greet and keep smiling at everyone within 10 feet to encourage potential clients to approach you. You can have a small chit-chat with the friendly-looking ones, which can turn into decent conversation that may engage other members. With a positive and helpful attitude, you can attract new clients withouttoo much effort. During chit-chat you can present yourself, what you can do for your clients, and let them know that they can look out for you if they need any help. Don’t forget to mention the free stuff.

Another trick is to truly be passionate about what you are selling. A trainer who walks their talk will become a magnet to clients. Strive to be a walking example of what you are promising to help your clients to become. There’s no strategy better than that.

#8. Be active on social media

This last step is optional, but important, given the fact that people tend to spend more and more time on social media these days. Take into consideration the fact that it can be an easy way to promote your business, grow your audience and post your train demos. On the other hand, this can become time consuming and, at some levels, you’ll probably need the help from marketing specialists to grow.


Be client-oriented, gradually presenting yourself without seeming desperate or too intrusive (just like in the dating world). Plus, your attitude can make the difference between failure and success. People will see right through it if the only thing on your mind is making some cash and winning a new client. Also, don’t take turndowns personally. Keep in mind that most of people’s reactions toward you are about themselves, not you.

About the Author:

Luke S. Mitchell is an MS Undergraduate in Sports Journalism and manager of Defend Your Healthcare. He is interested not only in the mind-body relationship and how motivation shapes our bodies but also in how we draw energy just from one simple yet powerful thought. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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