Forget the home loan, show me the house!

If you can convince prospective clients that you can help them achieve their goals, they will put up with training as a ‘necessary evil’ – and may even grow to love the experience, says Aaron Whear.

The reality is that nobody wants a home loan, but they do want to own a house.

In much the same way, many of your clients don’t really want the ‘pain’ and physical exertion that comes with personal training sessions, but they do want the benefits of the training, i.e. a fitter and healthier body.

Fitness professionals often have a different view of the world than that held by the general population. Those of us drawn to the fitness industry love the feeling of pushing ourselves physically during sessions, sweating it out, and even the feeling of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that goes hand-in-hand with a strenuous workout.

However, the majority of the population think that because we enjoy exercise there must be something wrong with us! In fact, one of the main reasons so many people don’t train is due to fear: fear that the exercise sessions will be too hard for them, or that they will feel so sore from training that they will be hardly able to move afterwards.

So what does this have to do with selling personal training?

If you want to make more sales you need to focus on selling the benefits of training, not the process of training. Remember at all times that they want the outcome (the ‘house’), and if you can convince them you have the answer, they will put up with the training as a ‘necessary evil’. Of course, as people continue to train they may come to love the feelings of wellbeing induced by training, just as we do – but this is not usually the case when they are just getting started.

In terms of the selling process, you should make getting the outcome sound as simple as possible. For example, a prospective client who wants to lose between 5-15kg does not want to listen to technical speak or hear about how hard getting a result is going to be. Yes, they may nod their heads at what you say, but if you over-complicate things they will be the ones who end up telling you they want to ‘think about your proposal’ or that they cannot afford your services. Excuses like these are because you have not been able to establish enough value in the mind of the potential client for them to act, i.e. buy personal training with you. Remember: they wouldn’t be talking to you unless they were serious about training with you – they are just waiting for you to cement the deal by showing them the outcomes you will enable.

People love to think things are simple or easy. With this in mind, I would recommend saying something along the lines of: ‘In order to achieve your weight loss goals there are really only five things we need to do’:

  1. Get really clear about your goals and decide on a specific date as to when we will achieve them.
  2. Do a health evaluation to get some baseline data to measure your progress against.
  3. Design a tailored exercise plan for you in order to safely achieve maximum results in minimum time.
  4. Conduct a nutrition audit and then give recommendations in line with your goals.
  5. Coach you and keep you accountable – I’ll follow you up between training sessions, educate you, and provide all the support you need to make your goals a reality.

Ask the potential client how what you have just said sounds and if they have any questions, then ask them to buy.

A pitch I have always found effective is: ‘based on what you’ve told me about your goals and budget (you have found this information out previously), in my professional opinion there are two options I would recommend (present them with two options). Which one is going to work best for you?’

Then wait for them to respond. They will choose one of the options, or raise an objection you can discuss further. Notice that you have not asked the client if they would like to buy. Rather which of two options they would like to buy. Asking an alternate choice question like this will increase your closing rates.

Try implementing this information into your sales process and watch your close rate – and your income – skyrocket. Remember, nobody want the home loan, they want the house.


Aaron Whear
The managing director of Career Fitness, Aaron is renowned for his practical and profitable solutions for people involved in the fitness industry. His unique approach to the problems fitness businesses face has won him accolades throughout Australia and overseas. For information on developing your business email aaron@careerfitness.com.au