Using Rapport to Put a New Personal Training Client at Ease
You can start building a profile on a personal training prospect from the moment they enter the gym. The more information you can gather, the better you can serve and relate to the person’s needs.
From the clothes on their back to the way they stand – not only will this help you design their training programme but it will also tell you exactly how to approach the interview stage.
If you’re interested in the science behind this school of thought, the business-oriented courses from Health and Fitness Education are highly recommended.
Interviewing a new client
This isn’t a job interview – there is no need to put a desk between you and the potential client. Sit to the side (without invading their personal space) and you will both feel more comfortable.
You want to carry out all interviews away from the busy gym environment – somewhere informal and quiet is ideal.
Most clients are nervous at this stage but you can put them at ease just by using phatic talk and asking some regular questions:
- How are they feeling?
- What do they do for a living?
- Have they been to this gym before?
Adapt your posture, tone of voice and language to match theirs. This mirroring technique is a form of rhetoric and has been used by conversationalists for centuries. It wasn’t until the 1970s that Dr. Richard Bandler and John Grinder used it to form part of ‘neuro-linguistic programming’ as we know it today.
By jotting down some notes, you will reassure the talker that their points are important. Just don’t let this interfere with the key elements of your rapport (i.e. eye contact).
Your client (or potential client) should have your full attention at all times – both during and beyond the interview stage; concentrate on listening and always have your phone switched to silent.
Note: Be careful if you’re using an office, as if the interviewee spots any information about another client, you could lose all trust before you have even started.
Over to you
As a takeaway, remember that words make up just 7% of human communication. Let the interviewee do most of the talking and respond to what they tell you.
As a professional trainer, you’re probably utilising some of this methodology already. Still, there is no better way to master the art of communication than to study – again, the HFE personal trainer course comes to mind.