How to become a successful Personal Trainer


The fitness industry is churning out thousands of new instructors and Personal Trainer wannabees every year, but we are struggling to keep these people engaged within fitness. Over 80% of Personal Trainer’s are leaving the industry within their first year, according to Joe Oliver of YourPT. It’s a no brainer that member retention is linked to staff retention.

Here are 3 tips for new instructors or aspiring Personal Trainers; talk to members, get commercial, and communicate with your members.

  1. Talk to members

Whether you’re working in a budget club, a leisure centre, or a private or big box gym, there will be an opportunity (or requirement) to deliver new member inductions. Grab these opportunities; not for a ‘prospect pipeline’, but to meet and talk to as many members as you can. Finding out about members, checking their needs and goals, and being their first point of call will help you to refine your product, and increase your network. You might never sell to them, but their friends, or friends’ friends.

Of course, there is the prospect pipeline to consider too… for every 10 inductions that you do, one person might be interested in Personal Training… and for every 10 members who might be interested, one might buy Personal Training from you. But if you don’t deliver the 100 inductions, you won’t get the one client. [aka “you’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” Wayne Gretzky]

Other than inductions, there are programme reviews, exercise correction, quick tips, nutrition advice, and lots of other excuses to floor walk and get to know members. Member interaction can be intimidating at first for some, but you need to do it if you’re going to get clients, so get started now!

  1. Get commercial

When the time is right (not at the start of the induction), let the member know that you offer Personal Training as an extra. You don’t need to mention your prices (genuinely interested members will ask), but know your package(s).

Try to avoid free sessions, as much as possible. If your club has you deliver free Personal Training as part of an offer/prize/package, try to rebrand it as a £25/ £50/ £100 Personal Training session paid for by the club, delivered by you (even if you don’t actually get paid). The member will value the session much more, and have more potential to continue or follow-up.

Always ask for referrals. Ask after every Personal Training session (your clients will get used to it, and will think of someone for you). Ask each time you get turned down by someone, or after someone terminates (assuming they’re still happy). If a client reaches a significant goal, give them a gift card worth £50 for a friend to have a Personal Training session with you as a reward.

  1. Communicate with clients and prospects

This leads on from being commercial, but it’s critical that you are in constant contact with your clients and prospects. Build (or buy) a system that enables you to remind clients about their next session, follow-up on their last session, and stay in contact using whatever channels you offer – email and SMS are simplest. Build a newsletter list for all clients, prospects, ex-clients, and have a client of the month. Reward your members who overachieve, and shout about them (assuming they’re happy for you to do so!)

If you’re a new instructor or Personal Trainer, we hope these tips help you to stick around, or make it through your first year.

Guy Griffiths, GGFit