If you are a personal trainer, then kudos because it is not an easy job to qualify as a personal trainer; considering the certifications and endless hours you have to spend in the gym lifting weights and learning all the training techniques.

If you scale all those hurdles and finally qualify, then you are now ready to set up your own business and start taking in your own clients. Here is where the problem now lies. A lot of trainers complain that they have problems getting enough clients to sustain their business, and some even have to give up and go work for someone else.

If you want to get personal training clients, the answer lies in marketing your talents. You have to make sure that everybody knows who you are and how great you are. To keep your business going strong and your client list full at every given time, make a conscious effort to find new and creative ways to effectively recruit new clients.

Here are some ingenious ways you can find personal training clients.

  1. Invest more work in social media

Recently, social media has been the most ideal way to sell a business. If you do not have social media accounts, you would do yourself and your business a favour to create them. Not only creating them, but you have to be active in them. This means that you have to do more than check your feed frequently and like people’s posts. Take time to comment, pose a thought-provoking question, offer another perspective and share your experience.

Note that the more accounts you have, the more your chances of gaining clients. You also need to find out what your competitors are doing and what they are posting to get engagements. Word of mouth holds more weight with potential clients than just advertising, that is why you need to engage more with your followers on social media.

Some social platforms to start with include:

Facebook: This is a great place to start because you already have friends and family who can share your information with others that you may not know. You can post information about what you do and also post motivational quotes. You can also add daily tips like “Drink eight glasses of water today.” or a bit more interesting things like, “Did you know that good fats lead to a healthy skin tone? After the tip, you can ask for more questions from you readers. You can also create a business page in your Facebook account, you can post testimonials from your clients on this page. Facebook also has the option to advertise or boost your posts. By boosting your posts to a target audience more people will see them.

Twitter: this is another good social media to use, though it deals more on text. You should however work hard to boost your followership. Connecting with other people who have the same niche as you will help you to see what they are doing to get online personal training clients, and increase their personal training sales online.

Instagram: Here is where you are given the opportunity to go all out with your pictures. You can take advantage of this to show the different programs you offer and some helpful tips on how to be successful in your fitness routine. You can also post short training videos here.

Website: Your website is where you have to list everything concerning your business. Creating your own website shows clients that you are serious about what you are doing. Your website does not have to be complicated. Clients can browse your website for different personal training advice and plans that you may offer. Also, make sure your contact information is right where they can easily access it.

Blog: a blog is another great way to sell yourself online, though it may not give you the kind of publicity you would get from other accounts in a short while. You can create blog posts a few times a week. Here, you would post fitness advice and tips, and also client’s testimonials. If you are diligent with it, you can grow your brand tremendously through this format.

2. Ask for referrals

One way a brand spreads is if people talk about it. There is nothing that says you cannot ask your satisfied clients to refer your services to may be their families or friends that would also need your services. Additionally, your client list will likely include a wide variety of professionals. Refer those professionals to others and build your referral reciprocity. Don’t worry about hurting your existing relationship with your clients. They love you and want to support your business. They might also enjoy the opportunity to show off that they have hired a trainer.

A lot of people may feel awkward asking their clients for referrals, so a great way to approach this conversation is to compliment your current client on what a great job they have been doing and then open the discussion to how you want to ask existing clients for referrals, since you have some openings in your schedule.

3. Hold mini workshops from time to time

A lot of employers rarely consider employee wellness as crucial. It is your duty to change that stance. Make connections with local business owners at after-hours business gatherings or other events and inquire about providing short workshops to employees over their lunch hour for a minimal cost. You can even offer to do it online over a podcast or webinar, but note that seeing your audience face to face beats every other method. After all, the main point of the exercise is to build your network, get your face out in the community and recruit new clients to take advantage of your professional services.

4. Offer one-off deals

People are always in search of the best deal or the most economically balanced option. You can make good use of this method to get yourself some clients. Do some market research in your area and find out what others are doing and then do it better and in your own unique way. For example, offer a 20% discount on the first five sessions. You can also take advantage of holidays to offer some specials.

You can also offer short term plans, such as 7 days, 21 days or 30 days. By offering a shorter commitment, clients are more likely to purchase your workout programs online. Once the client commits to the shorter time frame, you can offer a promotion for them to continue and graduate to a more long term plan. Promotions are also great because they are still offering your services but discounting the price so that you are able to get new online personal training clients.

5. Start up your own podcast

A postcast is where you can achieve some level of engagement with your clients. You get to talk about topics that reflect your business. Consider using a platform like YouTube to upload a talk, or record a podcast or series of podcasts. Udemy is another online learning platform that is easy to use and has a financial benefit to professionals who create classes or lectures.

6. Make yourself visible

You serve members of a community so you have to find ways to make yourself visible in the community if you want to gain clients. Find ways to not just be present in the community, but involved on an active level. Join a non-profit board, volunteer or join the local chamber of commerce or other business organizations to support and enhance your marketing efforts. This is going to make you meet a lot of people, and the more people you meet, the more you are able to spread the news about your business.

7. Market yourself

When intending to market your personal trainer business, the first place you should start is with yourself. You should make yourself seem likeable, approachable and helpful. People want someone who can not only guide them but also motivate them and be there for them if they need any type of help. You want to come across as highly motivated, energetic and passionate about what you are doing.

A good way to show this is to share daily quotes of motivation or posts that encourage your clients to do better and motivate them. Show before and after pictures of your own personal journey in order to encourage your clients. Make sure your accomplishments are easily accessible. Personal training clients want to see what your education background is and that you are still working to better your training and your education in that particular field.

8. Write an eBook

For some reason, certain people feel that writing is not for them. In as much as this is true, you need not be a professional before you can write little things that can help enhance your career. An eBook is just a good way to use writing to enhance your personal training career. You can essentially start by reading articles and jotting down your thoughts on them. When you make dinner, write a short article about the dish you just made, and how it impacts your fitness routine. You study and research anyway so why not write a short article about whatever you’re researching.

Remember the goal is to provide materials that clients will want to show off. Everybody wants to pass on word that they know an expert. For some reason, the act of writing something makes it look like you know it better than the next trainer.

Write articles for local magazines and publications too if you can. Contributing articles to local magazines or fitness websites can position you as a true fitness authority. If you live in a small town, your local newspaper may even be interested in allowing you to write an “Ask the Fitness Expert” column, where you answer questions from readers. Give your best info away for free and position yourself as the local fitness and fat loss guru.

9. Use people who come in contact with a lot of other people

In our various neighborhoods, there are people whose professions require them to always be in contact with people. These are the people you should sell your business to. These people not only come in contact with other people, but they are a trusted source who people can take advice from.

One of such people are real estate agents. These people may be too busy to train but your goal is not to train them. They sell houses to all of the rich people moving into your neighborhood looking for a gym. If somebody trusts a person enough to buy a house from them, they will take their suggestion for a gym and trainer. You can start by calling the agents you have in mind and offer to add value to their service. You can offer them a gift certificate worth some training hours to give to anybody who buys a house. Make sure the certificate has a monetary value and doesn’t say free sessions alone.

Another source would be doctors. Doctors do come in contact with patients that need training, and they can help to bring some referrals your way.

Again, you should think of Baristas. These people are always a friendly friend in the neighborhood and they also come in contact with loads of people daily. Find the local fancy coffee shop and go there every day in your training uniform to buy a cup of coffee. You can locate a popular coffee shop and become a frequent patron. Endavour to make friends with the barista first before you start anything. Be polite and tip well. After a while, you can ask if you can leave your business card in their shop. You might also ask them to put in a good word on your behalf. You will be surprised at how effective this can be in helping you get personal training clients.

10. Get a good professional image

A true fitness professional doesn’t just walk the walk, they also look the part. Getting more clients sometimes has less to do with training itself and more to do with how you and others view you and your business. If you do not exude the right professionalism, nobody is going to take you serious, and you may never attract high paying clients. While the gym is hardly a suit and tie environment, but you should still try to take pains with your appearance and fashion. You need to still look sharp and professional because you want your clients to take you seriously, not like someone who couldn’t cut it in some other profession.

You need to separate yourself from the other trainers by looking like a fit professional. If you want to emphasize your personal flair, you can do it in subtle ways like with your shoes or the way you do your hair, or by wearing shirts instead of Tees.

11. Listen to your clients

One rule of business is that people want to be heard. When a prospect or current client speaks, they are giving you a chance to embrace them. At first, their words may sound like everything you have heard before: they want to lose weight, put on more muscle, and get in shape. But you have to take care not to draw the conclusions here and start reeling out what you think they are doing wrong and what they need to change. Making your client feel special is a great reason for them to choose you over the competition.

You can better improve your connection with a client by asking how a prospect views personal training, the training experience, or gym culture as a whole. Coming to understand their attitude toward you and your business may help you adjust your language and training style to meet their needs. Never treat a person as “just another customer”, even if your business needs customers. You must have to personalize every customer you get.

12. Hold biggest loser contests

What better way to tell your community that you are around than by holding annual biggest loser contests. This program would undoubtedly cost you time and resources, but it would do your business a whole lot of good at the end.

You could find a very suitable time in your community calendar, then put up an advisement in the local newspapers or post fliers in your community center for people to come for reduced or free physical fitness training at a certain venue and for a certain period.

Ensure that you add prizes for the five biggest losers; this can help you draw in a lot of participants. There is a high chance that you would retain more than half of your participants at the end of the program.

13. Send Weekly Emails

Giving people reminders about their health situation can help put you in their minds quite frequently. This can be achieved in a subtle way by utilizing mails. You can start sending weekly emails to clients and prospects where you talk about various fitness topics. These mails can also make you appear to be an authority in the business. Your content could involve helpful tips such as how to deal with lower back pain, or how to avoid exercise-related injuries. Always include a great promotional offer in the emails.

14. Get a bit picky

You may think it is counter-productive to be looking for clients and yet still have the gall to pick and choose; but I can assure you that it is for the best. Every personal trainer has an image he or she wants the business to reflect, and you may lose that touch if you start taking on just about everyone that comes to you.

Again, some potential clients are just too troublesome and can cause problems for you, so it is best to stay away from them. You need to analyze every prospect coming in before you make them your clients; otherwise, you might waste time and skills on something that doesn’t fit your niche and expectations.

If people don’t fit your philosophy, explain to them why you think other personal trainers would suit them better. This is nothing but an honest and genuine gesture, and most people will usually be grateful for being told the truth. Even more so, they might even pay you back for your honesty and send you their friends who they think fit your philosophy better.

Ajaero Tony Martins