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When you work as a personal trainer, you need to have business skills in order to be successful – if you do not know how to operate your business then it does not matter how good you are at training others, you will still not be able to get ahead. One of the most vital skills that you need to work on is prospecting – the ability to present yourself and your work to potential new clients and bring in new business.

There is more to prospecting than just walking up to a stranger and introducing yourself– it is an art that requires subtlety and tuning into the needs and wants of others. If you can prospect well, then the most common concern for personal trainers – where to obtain new business from – will become a thing of the past.

Here are some common mistakes that are made by many personal trainers, and what to do instead to improve your prospecting skills:

  1. Being too pushy

People like personal training and many are aware that they may not push themselves hard enough, or know what to do in order to get the results that they want on their own. However people like their own ideas more than they like yours, so if you start to push too hard when a potential client offers some resistance, this may turn them off the idea of working with you. Demonstrate your knowledge by helping them out, offer your services if the conversation flows that way, but allow them to decide, rather than feel pressured into working with you.

  1. Forgetting who you have already approached in the past

Pay attention to who you are talking to! If you are just approaching as many people as possible then you may run the risk of forgetting who you have already approached. If you make the mistake of approaching the same person twice then they will know that you have forgotten them, and that you are actually just interested in making business rather than connecting with them. This is very risky as you may develop a reputation of not being genuine, which may turn many people off. Remember, members talk amongst themselves and you want to make sure that if you are being spoken about, that it is positive!

  1. Being too focused on the sell to actually connect with the person

If somebody tells you something personal, give them enough respect to properly listen and engage with this information. Make the effort to remember the details that the person tells you, especially their name. Remember that personal trainers are ultimately in the business of relationships and not just training. If you start on the wrong foot with someone by failing to communicate in a way that makes them feel like you have bonded then that person will not be inclined to work with you. If somebody just wants to know what exercises to do then they do not need you – they can just download a workout off the Internet.

  1. Talking yourself up too much

Never make promises that you cannot keep! It is easy to get carried away painting idealistic pictures of the services and results that you can offer, but be careful with what you say. Avoid promising that it will be easy or fast, or any other attribute that we all know is not true about health and fitness. No matter how good you are, it will take time and effort for all clients to achieve results and there will be tough days. If you promise them a scenario that differs too much from reality, you may sign them up, but you will not keep them for long, as their expectations cannot be met.

  1. Not being prepared for common questions

As personal trainers, treat prospecting like a job interview. You would never attend an interview without any preparation and be guaranteed to do well, so why should prospecting be any different? Take time to think about what you would want to know from somebody before employing them as a personal trainer, and ensure that you have clear and concise responses for all of these questions. You do not want to sound rehearsed and staged, but it is even worse to come off as disorganised and unprofessional. Find an approachable middle ground where you can effectively communicate what you have to offer to maximise your success.