How to Get Personal Training Clients | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

How to Get Personal Training Clients

For personal trainers, learning how to get personal training clients is imperative to success. By using a combination of marketing techniques, you should be able to get more personal training clients in just a few months. In fact, getting more fitness clients can be simple for knowledgeable trainers who genuinely care about the success of their clients.

Thomas Barnett is a writer for Exercise.com and a Professor of Exercise Science at Keiser University. He has over eight years of experience working in rehabilitation, personal training, and strength and conditioning. Additionally, Thomas holds a Master's Degree in Human Performance, a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science, is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), a Certifi...

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UPDATED: Mar 8, 2021

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  • Set yourself apart from other trainers by getting credentialed with specialized certifications to find more personal training clients with specific goals.
  • Personal training marketing in person, online, and through networking can help build a larger personal training clientele.
  • Using personal training referrals and testimonials can help boost your visibility so you can find more personal training clients.

Learning how to get personal training clients is an integral part of becoming a trainer. Let’s face it, the personal training industry is full of options with a variety of credentials, backgrounds, and settings. Since so many trainers rely on commission, you’ll need to learn how to get personal training clients and how to keep them. 

Whether you’re a personal trainer at a standard gym, fitness studio, or a personal studio, you’ll need to build a reliable clientele to establish a healthy business and pay the bills. Thankfully, the Exercise.com fitness business management software platform is designed to help you find and retain clients without much hassle. Learn more about our platform’s features by booking a demo with our team today.

6 Ways to Get Personal Training Clients

There’s a lot of money to be made for personal trainers, but without a strong client base, even the best trainers won’t be able to survive. We’ll take a look at a few ways to get more personal training clients so that your business is as lucrative as it is rewarding.

#1 – Find Your Personal Training Niche

If you’re just starting as a personal trainer, it can help to find what you’re most passionate and knowledgable about so that you can market accordingly. There are many personal trainers out there that can write a generic workout plan, but being a specialist in a specific field is less common and ultimately more valuable.

All of your major accredited personal training organizations have additional certifications for specializations that could direct you into various rehabilitative, performance, or special-population certifications and credentials. Take a look at some examples of specializations from leading personal training organizations below.

Certifying OrganizationRehabilitative CertificationPerformance CertificationSpecial Population Certification
NASMCorrective Exercise SpecialistPerformance Enhancement SpecialistSenior Fitness Specialization
ACSMCertified Exercise PhysiologistN/ACancer Exercise Trainer
ACEOrthopedic Exercise SpecialistSports Performance SpecialistYouth Fitness Specialist
NSCAN/ACertified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistCertified Special Population Specialist

Each certifying body has its own niche and can help personal trainers find theirs. Finding your niche can help you market to a special group of individuals that need your help rather than a generic workout program. Interested in working with older adults? A Senior Fitness Specialization might be a good option for you to improve your credentials and secure the clients you want and need.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, personal training is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. Setting yourself apart should help you even more in a growing industry.

So, now that you’ve found your specialty and you’ve upgraded your credentials, you’ll still need to figure out how to get clients as a personal trainer with your improved value. This can be done by being visible.

#2 – Be Visible in the Gym

Novice personal trainers likely ask, “how do I get my first personal training client?” on a daily basis. After all, in the beginning, getting personal training clients can seem like a long and hard journey.

Many trainers start off in a gym or fitness studio owned by another industry professional. This is a good thing. When you start under someone else, you’re often given a decent volume of prospective clients just by working there.

What does it mean to “be visible”? This means finding ways to showcase your knowledge and skills. One way you can do this is by simply working out during relatively popular gym hours. Typically, these are the hours when the working class isn’t at work.

Because of the standard nine-to-five, the working class tends to train before or after their workdays; between five and seven in the morning and five and seven at night. If you’re looking to work with older adults, mid-morning is appropriate since they’re retired.

During your workouts, you’ll want to do some of the things you’d have your clients do, based on your specialization(s). If you are looking to get performance clients, it might be good to showcase your Olympic lifting or plyometric skills. If you’re looking to work with older adults, a variety of banded exercises might be more appropriate since weights can often be intimidating.

Another way to “be visible” is to offer complimentary sessions to friends, staff, and members to practice and continue sampling your value as a trainer. As other members see you working with clients, you’ll pique their curiosity and could get more clients just by putting yourself out there. Nobody likes to work for free but consider your time and investment for your future.

#3 – Market Your Personal Training Services

After you start getting experience, there always comes a time when you’ll start wondering how to get more personal training clients. In the beginning, your work schedule might become a little sporadic as you adjust your schedule to match your clients’ schedules. This might mean training a client at six in the morning and having a two-hour break until your next client.

 

How do I promote my personal training business?

The downtime between clients is an excellent time to market yourself. If you’re working at a gym or studio, being visible is one of the easiest ways to market yourself. (Learn how to “pick up” personal training clients while at the gym by watching the above video.)

If you’ve exhausted those members and are looking for more personal training clients, you’ll want to start finding ways to reach outside sources. To be successful, you have to sell yourself as a personal trainer.

The way you should approach marketing will depend on your specialization. For example, if you’re looking to work with high school athletes, social media marketing can be an effective method of marketing since teenagers and young adults tend to actively use social media. The same can’t be said of seniors.

Marketing to seniors might require a different approach. but it isn’t impossible. Partnering with a physical therapist or other rehabilitation specialists might be beneficial. At some point, health insurance companies won’t cover physical therapy anymore. Those patients often need a place to go that’s more reasonable. A personal trainer who specializes in older populations, and who is recommended by their physical therapist, is an ideal post-physical therapy solution.

Again, this is where improving your credentials and becoming a specialist could become essential. How likely is a physical therapist to recommend someone with no experience in training seniors?

For other populations, like weekend warriors and the general population, taking advantage of online resources can be helpful.

Where can I find personal training clients online?

Marketing yourself online can take a good bit of time once you determine your perfect client. Thankfully, fitness business management software exists, partly, for this reason. The Exercise.com software platform, for example, provides you with a custom personal training business website and you’ll be given access to other promising marketing tools like:

  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile App Integrations
  • Analytics Software

In short, anyone searching for a service that you offer will be able to find you easily. From there, you can track all prospects so that you can follow up on every lead and you can send weekly emails and automate services to maintain contact and close sales with those prospective clients.

Additionally, social media marketing is one of the many ways to promote your skills as a personal trainer. If you’re looking to get more personal training clients, all of your social media accounts can be linked to your website to make it easy for potential clients to find you and what you offer.

Check out Instagram Marketing for Gyms and Fitness Professionals to learn more about marketing yourself as a personal trainer on one of the most popular social media platforms.

#4 – Use Referrals to Get More Personal Training Clients

With any business, positive reviews can be the best form of advertisement. Personal training is no exception. Once you establish a few clients, it’s good to use referrals to continue building a greater clientele. There are a number of ways to handle client referrals depending on your situation. Here we’ll break down a few business tips for personal trainers through referrals.

One of the easiest ways to find more personal training clients through referrals is to offer your current clients rewards. For example, you could give your current clients a free week of training if they refer someone who ends up purchasing a personal training package with you. If you’re confident in your ability to retain your new client, this should be worthwhile.

Another way to get referrals is to provide your clients with free passes for their family and friends. These passes could be a week, a day, a few sessions, or whatever you’re comfortable with. More exposure could mean more clients and a better paycheck in the long run.

Don’t forget, your clients provide referrals based on good experiences. This means they’ll need to be seeing progress. For you, this means keeping your clients accountable, listening to their goals, and keeping accurate records of their assessments and workouts. The more data you can use to suggest an improvement, the better. This is where workout software and fitness assessment software come into play.

Book a demo now.

Get more personal training clients with Exercise.com.

These Exercise.com platform features help you stay efficient by providing various automated services like assessments, workout plans, appointment reminders, and more. You’ll spend less time preparing a schedule and more time working with your clients. And part of that work is compiling client testimonials.

If you’re trying to figure out how to find more personal training clients, think about your portfolio. Have your clients been successful? Who knows that your clients have been successful? Positive testimonials can help you use your clients for referrals.

Together, you and your client can promote their success by taking before and after photos, comparing metrics such as circumferences or body-fat percentage, and comparing performance measures like running distance or time. Your client should be proud and so should you. Promote their success and be sure they know that you would appreciate a recommendation in their testimonial.

#5 – Be Genuine and Care About Your Clients’ Successes (and Failures)

One of the biggest mistakes personal trainers make is trying to be something they aren’t. Let’s face it, it’s extremely difficult to be a specialist in every major category. It’s also not realistic to expect every client to treat you exactly the same. The moral of the story is: be yourself if you want to create loyal clients.

Almost every gym hires an assortment of male and female trainers for just that reason. Some people specifically want a male trainer whereas others strongly prefer a female. This could be due to body image concerns, demeanor, or other reasons that may or may not be warranted. That preference alone is without the consideration of your personality.

Whether you’re on the training floor, at the customer service desk, or even on social media, be yourself. Personal training can be a somewhat intimate job where you and your clients share various personal details. Some of your clients might become great friends over time. If your client doesn’t enjoy being around you, the relationship and sale might not last.

As mentioned before, this is to be expected to a point. With any sale-related position, you can’t take those losses personally. Be confident in your product, stick to what you believe in, and give consistent effort. It’s worth mentioning that if you don’t genuinely care about your clients’ successes, personal training might not be the job for you.

You’ll be expected to be up at odd hours, you’ll have to listen to disheartening stories, you and your clients might even get frustrated with one another at times. A wise man once said, “Nobody cares what you know until they know that you care”.

#6 – Master Your Time Management Skills

Time management is already challenging enough when you don’t have to consider other people’s schedules. There are a limited number of hours in a day. If you start to consider the fact that you’ll be working around the typical workday, then your hours become very restricted.

Once you start to get a substantial client base, you’ll eventually get to a point where you want to make more money but don’t have any open time to bring in more clients. How can you continue to build a larger clientele, create more testimonials, and most importantly, make more money? For starters, organizing your personal training clients can help.

Taking advantage of shorter sessions or training multiple clients can both be options to continue getting more personal training clients. Once you’ve had a client for a while, they should know what’s expected while warming up and cooling down. This means you could have your clients do these things on their own while you focus on the bulk of the workout.

Typically, you’ll get paid more per minute with shorter sessions but your client pays less in total. If you can fit in more clients this way, you’ll make more per hour overall. This also helps when clients go on vacation or have personal matters that might restrict them from training.

Finding compatible clients can also be a way to make more money per hour while freeing time for more clients. Again, usually, your clients will pay less while training in pairs or groups, but you’ll get paid more. This is a win-win for everyone.

Get More Personal Training Clients: Breaking it Down

Personal training is a unique job that requires a mixture of programming, customer service, and sales skills. If you want to be successful, you’ll need to be able to find and retain personal training clients. You’ll be able to do this by being genuine, available, and by using your clients as advertisements throughout the process.

Managing your personal training clients can be easy with Exercise.com’s fitness business management software. You’ll spend less time with client management and more time working with your clients to increase your revenue. Book a demo with Exercise.com to see how you can benefit today.

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