Often one of the most overlooked tool a personal trainer needs in their toolbox is experience/education in sales. Sales for a personal trainer is more than creating and sending out flyers and brochures. Sure it is a way to get the word out about yourself or your facility, but doing this alone will not set you up for success. In fact, sending out marketing is only the first step taken in making a sale. A sale by definition is: an agreement (or contract) in which property is transferred from the seller (vendor) to the buyer (vendee) for a fixed price in money.
To actually get to a sale takes more than just marketing. If someone responds to your marketing, than it is a good indication they are wanting to learn more about what you have to offer, and more than likely you will end up discussing with them your services. However you still need to build a rapport with them (the next step) after initial contact. Building rapport is more than just discussing with someone what services you can provide them. Building a good rapport is about talking with the person, seeing how their day went, actually getting to know the person. The more comfortable a person is with you, the easier it will be to openly talk with them about your services. This way the individual will not feel like they are being pushed for a sale, but more they are getting advice from a friend.
This is no suggestion to pretend to make friends with someone. Sincerity can go a long way. Giving the person free advice, remembering their likes/dislikes, showing true interest in how their family is doing are all ways to show a potential client you truly care about them and their well-being. Oftentimes people can tell when you are being sincere. If there is even a hint you are not, they will put up a wall and you might have just lost a potential client.
It is a fine balance between being a salesman and being a friend. The reality is you are trying to earn money to support yourself. However, if you truly love helping others reach their goals, than working to build an honest rapport and converting it into a friendship will not seem like as big of a step. This might be a slower way to make a sale at first. But after a few weeks at working hard to honestly get to know potential clients, soon word will spread about how honest and trustworthy you are as a trainer. We all know word of mouth advertising is the strongest form of marketing. Which sets you up to make a sale easier. If someone learns from a good friend how good you are as a trainer, they walk into meeting you with a level of trust you never had with the initial clients, helping you skip a few steps in the rapport building stage and make the close all the quicker.