How to Get the Most Out of the Initial Fitness Consultation

The initial fitness consultation is the single most important exposure you will have to leads and future clients. The initial fitness consultation is the first impression and sets the stage for the relationship that you and your staff will have with the client. That is why it is so important to make sure you have a great system to not only make sure the lead becomes a client, but also to make sure that they are excited and on board with your program for the long haul. A great fitness consultation system will help you land more clients, increase retention, and increase referrals so keep reading to find out how to improve your fitness consultation system.

Although your fitness consultation process will always be unique to your business, I would like to breakdown the parts of our fitness consultation process that I feel can really help you. I started my fitness industry career in supplement sales. In that time learned the importance of tracking numbers. Since then I have always tracked my closing percentage and have found that this method has produced the highest percentage of my entire career. Here are some of things I do to make sure leads become long term clients.

1) Welcome them at the door with a big smile. This one should be a no brainer, but I’m surprised how many times this simple step is taken for granted. Make sure that you say their name when you welcome them. Shake their hand and ask them a simple question to break the ice. Something very simple such as; Hi Jane, welcome to Complete Fitness Results (with a handshake) Did you find the place ok?

2) Give them something simple. From that point I usually ask them if they need to use the restroom or if they could use a bottle of water. This makes them feel more at home, but you are also starting the relationship by giving them something without them asking. Regardless of whether this increases closing percentage (it does, I’ve tested it) or not, it’s just nice to give away something small to people, and make them feel comfortable.

3) Show them around and get comfortable. Show them around in a professional manner, but make it very light hearted. Ask them about where they have trained in the past. Even though you are showing them your gym, it’s still all about them.

4) Get their Health History. Get a DETAILED history of everything that has ever happened to them whether they think it pertains to fitness or not. Ask them about everything and get stories. Take detailed notes and if you have staff make sure these notes are highly visible. It really surprises me how lightly some trainers take this. Even if they are good to go it pays to be thorough and show that you care.

5) Ask about their goals. Besides this being the most important part of designing a training program for the client, it is also the most important part of the sales consultation. This is the part where you find out what they want. This information is vital when selling your services. It’s your job to find out what they REALLY want and explain to them your plan of attack to make that happen. Finding the goals that really motivate your clients is absolutely HUGE if you want them to sign up and reach their goals. They can’t reach their goals if they don’t sign up. You have to find what motivates them, sell them a solution, and provide what you sold. Shut up and listen to them, ask questions, and dig deep. Keep asking the question “why” In order to peel back more layers. The closer you get to the motivation, the better off everyone will be.

6) Give handouts. It’s not possible in one fitness consultation to explain everything you want the future client to know. This is why we give out handouts that cover the most important aspects we would like to teach our clients. Obviously a few handouts are not going to change their lives, but it’s a great way to go the extra mile in order to further their education. At the same time, you are continuing to give them more value.

7) Explain your screen or assessment. It’s a good idea to tell people what you are about to do before you do it. Explain your screen/assessment, what you will be looking for, what that means, and quickly touch on what you can do with the results.

8) Screen before you train. Just doing a screen/assessment alone will highly increase your professionalism and the trust that the client has in you. You are looking for more, you know more, and you are going the extra mile. Chances are, if they have seen another trainer or have done other group training, they have been thrown directly into workouts. You just took the time to learn more. Make sure they know that.

Fitness Consultation

9) Explain your solution to their problem. Combine what you have learned from the health history, goals session, and screen and explain to them “the problem”. (Obviously they have a problem or they wouldn’t be in to see you in the first place.) Then explain to them a step-by-step solution to their problem. Let them know that you have a plan that will help them, and you are committed to helping them achieve their goals. Let them know the advantages of training with you over the competitors. If you cant’ help, refer them to someone who can.

10) Guide them to the proper package. You’re job here is not to be a used car salesman and try to sell them the highest priced package. Answer any questions they have about training and recommend a training package that best fits their needs. Base this decision off of the health history, goals, screen, schedule, and budget. Make sure you explain to them you are just there to guide them. Recommend three options that are best for them and ask them to pick which one will make them the most comfortable. Always assume that they are going to pick one, the question is which option, not if they are going to train or not.

11) Recommend any other options that they could benefit from. Do you sell supplements, offer nutrition education, have support groups, or other options? This is the time to let them know. They are in a buying mood, so if they need some additional support there is definitely no better time to try to get them going on what they need.

12) Explain to them what is going to happen moving forward. Ask for any final questions that they have about training and make sure they are confident in their purchase. Explain to them scheduling, systems, etc. Make sure you thank them multiple times before they walk out of the door.

**) Make sure you follow up with a thank you card and thank you email regardless of if they sign up or not. Put them on an email list so you can stay in touch.

There you have it. This is a basic version of what I have been doing to close well over 90% of the clients that come into my training studio. I know that if you practice some of the steps above with a focus on details, that you will see your closing percentage, retention rate, and amount of referrals skyrocket.


Steve Long