Talking Money with Clients

Talking Money with Clients

As a personal trainer, you’ve undoubtedly spent a great deal of time learning about a variety of aspects of health and fitness. You’ve probably studied anatomy and physiology and experimented with a countless set, rep, and rest schemes in order to find out what works and what doesn’t.

However, regardless of how much you know in terms of exercise science or general health, you will not be very successful in this business without being able to effectively communicate your knowledge to clients. Clear, effective communication that is delivered in a user-friendly way is the most important aspect of your job as a trainer. The idea of effective communication expands beyond teaching and training; it also applies to the monetary side of the trainer-client relationship. Not only do you need to effectively demonstrate proper squat form, but you also need to effectively demonstrate the value proposition that you are offering to a client for using your services.

With these things in mind, here are a few tips on effectively talking money with clients and potential clients.

Don’t Discount Yourself

The first mistake many trainers and gym owners make is selling themselves short to clients. When a potential client walks into your gym and asks for prices, do not respond in an apologetic manner as if you think your prices are too expensive.

As trainers, we often want to level with clients and be very relatable which is a good thing on the health and fitness side of things. However, when you say things like “I know training is expensive” or “ yes, this gym is a bit pricier than some of the others in the area” you are re-affirming what the client, who is much less informed than you on the value of a gym membership or personal training sessions, may already erroneously believe.

You are offering something of real value that should not be discounted. Rather than apologizing for not giving away your services, shift the conversation to your value proposition.

Clearly Explain Your Value Proposition

Your value proposition is simply what you are actually offering at a given price. Simply, how much benefit does the client get relative to how much they are paying you.

For example, let’s say that your client comes in and says that he likes your gym, but he can pay $20 per month to work out on his own at a gym that is closer to his house. Your gym, which includes 3 training sessions per week is $120 dollars per month. On the face of it, the client sees the other gym as a better value because he is “exercising” for $100 less per month than he would be “exercising” with you. At first, he doesn’t see the added value of 1 on 1 or small group training … it is your job to effectively communicate that value to him.

First, you should explain that realistically he would probably not use the other gym 3 times per week on his own.

Secondly, even if he did go on his own 3 times per week, he would not have the same know-how or motivation on his own as opposed to with you. So, he will not reach the same results that he would if he trained with you.

Because of these two points, the lower cost gym may save him some cash as opposed to joining your gym, but it offers a much lower value at the lower price point.

Shift the Client’s Focus to Immediate Rewards

Once you’ve effectively communicated your initial value proposition and a client decides to work with you, your next challenge is convincing them that the training is working even though they aren’t seeing the unrealistic results that they had envisioned before starting with you.

Generally, most clients are looking to lose weight, body fat specifically. However, it can take months or even years for a client to safely lose the amount of body fat that they would like to or need to. This is where you have to convince them not to give up and stop working with you.

Instead of focusing on the goal of losing weight that is going to take months or years to achieve, have them focus on the immediate rewards for coming to sessions with you. Explain that by showing up to the workout every day they are exercising a certain level of control in their lives.

Moreover, exercise has been shown in many studies to boost people’s moods, reduce stress and anxiety, and help deal with depression. All of these benefits can be realized during and after a single session, not months or years later. People will almost always pick short-term rewards over long-term rewards, even if the long-term rewards are greater. Rather than fighting that, lean into it by helping the client develop a habit of looking forward to and focusing on the short-term “feel-good” rewards rather than the long-term “physical” rewards.

As a trainer, your job is not only to explain the best set and rep schemes or a better way to do breakfast; your job is also to establish to your clients and potential clients the value of living a healthy lifestyle and of working with someone that can help them do that.

Don’t sell yourself short, you offer a value that they can’t afford to refuse, and they need to know that.

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Matthew Johnson is a fitness writer, personal trainer, strength coach, as well as a former gym owner. Matthew holds an MBA from The University of Memphis and a Master’s in Exercise Science from Middle Tennessee State University. Matthew has also earned the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist credential from the NSCA. Matthew recently published his first book, 300 30 Minute Workouts for Busy People, and lives in Memphis, TN with his wife, Anna, and their dog Henderson, and cat, Sox.

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