Updated: Mar 2
Regardless of whether an initial fitness consultation is free or paid, the goal is to turn the client into a repeat customer which, requires some tact and understanding.
First-time training sessions may be trials, recommendations, or a random client but, all the same, they are new members who you would like to keep coming back.
Conducting free training sessions is a great tool to promote fitness offerings.
Subtly handling them will make the difference if you want to turn new clients into long-term paying clients.
It requires tact to get new clientele to start paying or come back as a result of their initial workout session.
Making a great first impression throughout the session will give you the advantage you seek.
Adequately Prepare for the Initial Session
You must plan beyond the initial fitness session if you are to close the sale. It is tempting to concentrate on only fitness activity which may not be sufficient to lock in a customer.
Take a broad perspective on fitness and understand what the new client seeks, and derive the best possible options to help them get there.
A plan unique to each individual client is a starting point.
You can engage new clients to understand their needs and come up with a plan.
Do not make assumptions but rather get the facts from the source.
The Power of First Impressions
Consider your daily experience and pause the question.
Would I want to have my fitness sessions at a disorganized gym that often mixes up my appointments and gets me feeling irritated?
Sure your answer will be no, and so will your clients or prospects.
Be nice, cheerful, friendly, and professional in a subtle manner.
Only contact clients to schedule and confirm appointments during business hours.
Get the client's details right the first time.
Be aware of your verbal and nonverbal communication as they speak louder than imagined.
View a first-time session like a job interview and make it a habit to prepare for each session.
Confirm Appointments and Plan Sessions Beforehand
It is not uncommon for a new client to forget about a session.
Get in touch in advance to confirm or cancel the appointment early so that you can reallocate that time.
You can send a text or email reminding the client about the session in advance.
Also, point out requirements they should come with to make their sessions as smooth as possible.
Plan your Session, Discuss Challenges and Goals
Give the client a questionnaire to assess them.
Take basic measurements such as weight, height, waist circumference, and body fat index. Also measure the thighs, hips, shoulders, chest, and neck.
Let the client know that it will help in tracking progress.
Measure cardiovascular fitness using the one-mile walk test or the step test to establish a client's starting point for a cardiovascular training program.
Measure and evaluate clients' flexibility and strength.
Discuss a client's current diet and lifestyle to assess its impact on their fitness and physical build.
Get to know the new clients' level of training experience, fitness, and health as well as their fitness goals.
This will help you customize sessions to each client's capabilities saving you time and increasing productivity.
New clients usually seek a taste of what they will be signing up for, so you need to carefully craft drills that will make them feel like they will get value.
Be careful not to overdo it.
Give first-time clients just enough to keep them wanting more.
Carefully plan smooth transitions from one exercise to the next to cater to the health, fitness, and limitations of individual clients.
Ensure the environment appeals to the emotions of a client.
It should be motivating and not make a client feel bad about themselves.
Give yourself enough time and desist from engaging other clients during a session.
Allow sometime after the fitness session to engage the new client in a Q&A.
Doing so will help you get to know the client's fitness goals as well as make recommendations from an informed point of view.
Choosing Activities for New Client Sessions
Find out which activities are a turn-off for the client and then proceed to choose activities that are in line with their goals and do not cause pain and discomfort.
Managing clients' expectations as unrealistic ones may result in abandoning the program.
Build trust and rapport with the client and they will be receptive to adjusting unrealistic goals into achievable ones.
Focus on what the Client Stands to Gain
Together with the client, make their imagination go wild with the imagination of what their life will be like upon achieving their fitness goals.
Having a clear picture of where a client is and where they want to be will motivate and drive them in that direction.
Be Welcoming and Empathetic
Have brief and friendly introductions to other staff at the fitness club to loosen the tense atmosphere that is not unusual for newcomers.
Understand that the client is not perfect and only seeks to better thy self.
Making the client feel a part of something as a sense of belonging in itself is a motivator.
Go the extra mile to make a client feel comfortable.
Explain drills, and their benefits to clients and put on a good show.
Just do not try to convince a client to commit financially but rather do things that will make them want to commit to a membership of sorts.
Remember you are the coach, engage your client and seek their consent if you must touch them to position them in a posture suitable for a particular workout.
Take Advantage of Short Breaks
Understand that the beginnings can be tough and a client might need a little more than a short break.
In between short breaks, bring up topics such as diet and lifestyle and how they will contribute towards the attainment of their fitness goals.
This will give the impression of you being knowledgeable beyond fitness and could prompt them to seek dietary recommendations that can help them reach their goals.
It is important not to voice strong opinions and take note that too much talk could work against productivity.
The Art of Closing the Sale
Finally, the fitness session is done and you must close the sale.
From the moment the client got into the session, you've been playing your sales game, and now it's time to know where you stand.
Maintain your composure and keep a straight friendly face.
Some clients will commit, some will commit at a later date and some will not.
It just matters to have those who will not commit in small numbers and the former in larger numbers.
Subtly get a client to reveal their experience during the session by asking simple straightforward questions like.
Would you like to train with me again?
Did you enjoy the fitness session?
What are your thoughts on the session?
Would you bring a friend?
Positive responses are a great sign and the next step would be to talk about the different packages to identify the most suitable one for a client as far as cost and goals.
Make sure the discussion is free from distractions or interruptions.
Provide a Solution, not a Product
Position yourself as a problem solver and not someone trying to make a quick buck.
Make sure to convince the client that you have understood the problem and that you have an appropriate solution to that problem.
Be flexible with the pricing of packages, such as giving a better price for longer commitments.
Clearly show the client why you recommend any given package, how it will align with their goals, and put a time frame to it.
Go ahead and ask a client which package will suit them. Come up with a custom package if necessary.
Remember that you are offering solutions to your client.
Having stated your case, let the client respond to your offering.