7 ways for building rapport as a personal trainer

Insure4Sport Logo

Building rapport as a personal trainer is essential for gaining a strong client base. If you’re new to the fitness industry, this is one of the first things you should work on.

Online
marketing and establishing
your niche as a PT will
certainly help you thrive, but not without cultivating positive relationships
with prospective and current clients. Many trainers overlook this when starting
out, so mastering this skill could give you an edge over your competition.

Here you’ll find 7 ways to build rapport as a personal trainer, so you can attract new clients on the gym floor and retain those you’re already training.

 

1. Appear friendly and approachable 

In
a recent
survey, 62% of consumers
were most attracted to companies that exhibit ethical values and authenticity.

This
applies to you and your business, especially since you are your own brand when
working as a PT. The more you smile and interact positively with clients on the
gym floor, the more ‘human’ and relatable you’ll seem.

Instead
of immediately approaching clients with a sales pitch, try greeting them and
chatting with them each time you see them on the gym floor.

Establishing
yourself as a friendly acquaintance first can work wonders for attracting new
clients. If you want to learn how to transition into this stage, skip our
fourth tip.

Related: 12 roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer

 

2. Pay attention to your body language

With at least 70%
of communication being non-verbal,
mastering your body language when talking to potential clients is essential for
building rapport as a personal trainer.

Mirroring is an effective way to create an affinity with
others through your body language.

This
technique involves matching the body language of the person you’re
communicating with to subconsciously signal that you’re connected somehow.

This
includes sitting down if they’re sitting or standing up if they’re standing. It
can also include talking slower or faster to match their talking speed. When
done subtly, it’s a proven method for building rapport with potential personal
training clients.

Other
tips for positive body language include:

smilingstanding tallholding your arms in an open positionusing eye contact when speaking

The
key thing to remember when building rapport as a personal trainer is it’s not
just about what you’re saying. It’s how you say it.

Avoid
body language or speech patterns that could appear abrupt or standoffish, such
as crossing your arms or talking too fast, even if this is how your potential
client communicates.

Appearing
friendly and relaxed could help them warm to you during your initial encounter
if they seem introverted or shy.

Related: How to become an online personal trainer 

 

3. Find common ground 

Once
you’ve greeted a potential client a few times and started a conversation, it’s
a good idea to try finding common ground early on so you have something to
connect with them over.

It’s
a great way to get into further conversations with them before you follow the
advice in our fourth tip and invite them to a free exercise class, for example.

Common
ground could be:

shared hobbies away from the gymsimilar taste in musicsimilar taste in films or TV showssimilar taste in booksfollow the same sports

Bringing the above into conversation can be
difficult if you haven’t spoken much before.

To
make this stage more natural, try engaging in small talk first, such as
discussing the weather or their plans for the weekend.

Remember,
the main goal here is to find common ground, which at first could simply
involve showing them you’re human too.

This
is hugely important when building rapport as a personal trainer, as
establishing a connection with potential clients will make them more likely to
choose you over a PT they’ve barely spoken to yet.

Related: How much should I charge as a personal trainer?

 

4. Build rapport by offering a free exercise workshop 

This
is hands down one of the most effective ways of building rapport as a personal
trainer.

Once
you’ve become acquainted with a potential client, you’ve set up the opportunity
to indirectly showcase your services to them.

The
process is simple. Create a short workshop focusing on an area of fitness you
specialise in or one that aligns with the goals of the potential clients you’ve
been talking to.

Then,
around 15-20 minutes before you run it, approach the gym members (make sure
they aren’t in the middle of a set or cardio session first) and politely invite
them along.

Let
them know it’s due to start soon and that it’s half an hour long and completely
free of charge.

Not
only is this more effective than delivering a hard sales pitch, but it also
means that if potential clients aren’t interested, your relationship with them
isn’t damaged.

They
may still love what you’re offering and refer a friend interested in working
with a personal trainer.

If
they are interested, they’ll be much more likely to sign up with you over
another personal trainer, especially since you’ve kindly given them free advice.

At
the end of your workshop, give your attendees a strong CTA (call to action) to follow.

Don’t
be afraid to let them know you’ve got an offer ending soon, and they’re welcome
to sign up for a free consultation to learn more about your services.

Related: How to design personal training packages (step-by-step)

 

5. Make your consultations personal and memorable 

Your personal
training consultations are
your time to shine to prospective clients.   

While
their structure can vary, they are free sessions that allow you to discuss the
client’s goals and show them how working with you will mean they achieve them.

They’re
also the perfect opportunity for you to present your personal trainer packages
and encourage them to sign up, and the only time you’ll be able to hard sell to
potential clients.

If
you’ve put effort into building rapport with potential personal training
clients beforehand, you’ll find consultations much more effective.

But
if you haven’t had a chance, you must put extra effort into making them
personal and memorable to stand out against competitors and establish trust.

Follow
our previous tips for building rapport with personal training clients and be an
excellent active listener when discussing their goals.

Find
out any special training requirements they have because of an injury or health issues
and use strong examples of relevant clients you’ve worked with to demonstrate
your previous successes.

Related: What insurance do personal trainers need?

 

6. Use examples of client successes 

Another
go-to method for building rapport as a personal trainer is to demonstrate the
success current or past clients have had by working with you.

The
key thing many trainers overlook is using a relevant testimonial for each
person they’re selling to.  

For
example, if you’re talking to someone looking to gain muscle mass, you wouldn’t
show them the progress of someone who lost three stone because their goal was
weight loss. 

It’s
better to demonstrate the success of someone who started in the same position
they are in. That way, they can visibly see the results you can help them
achieve if they choose you as their trainer—you’d struggle to find a better way
to sell your services.

Related: Using PT testimonials to boost your business

 

7. Don’t forget about your current clients 

Trust
is key when building rapport with personal training clients. The more your
client trusts you, the more they can open up and talk to you about their goals
and even the barriers they face. 

Be
honest with them. If you think that their targets are too high, tell them. Push
them if you think they aren’t working hard enough or can go even further. Don’t
hide anything from your clients—they’ll thank you for it. 

Going
the extra mile for your clients is also vital for client retention. Show them
the session doesn’t end when they go home. This will help convey to your client
that you are there to help. 

A
friendly email asking how they are getting on or a text with a brief reminder
of that 5k park run they should be doing this morning helps build a better
working relationship with your client.

You
could also point them to helpful books or podcasts or buy them a token gift for
their birthday. Small, kind gestures can make your clients feel valued, which
works wonders for retention. 

Above
all else, remember to always be an active listener, so your clients feel heard. 

If
they’re having a tough week, adapt their session accordingly. If their goals
change, alter their workout plan and set specific goals to facilitate their
progress. 

 

New
to the fitness industry? You may want to consider protecting yourself and your
clients with specialist insurance.

With
Insure4Sport, specialist
personal trainer insurance is
designed to cover you if your equipment is lost, damaged, or stolen or if a
client makes a claim against you.

If
you suffer a serious injury while carrying out your PT sessions, you’ll also be
covered for loss of earnings for up to 52 weeks.

Learn more about how we can help here, or click the button below to get an instant online quote.