Overcoming objections

Objections raised by prospective clients will cause many personal trainers to lose sales. By following a series of simple steps you can overcome any objection and increase your conversion rate, writes Jared Roy.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between personal trainers who struggle to convert prospects into sales, and those that make sales look easy? You already know the answer, it’s no secret: successful salespeople do not take no for an answer. While most people stop when they hear objections such as ‘I don't have enough money’ or ‘I want to think about it’ the most successful salespeople sail smoothly through these objections and close the deal. They do not see a door closing, merely a small obstacle to be overcome.

You may think that some people just have the gift and others don’t – but that’s not true. There are a series of steps that anyone can learn to overcome any objection. What can this do for your business? I have witnessed fitness professionals increase their closing percentage from 30 per cent to as high as 75 per cent. So, let’s look at the steps.

Step 1. Yes and No

The first step is the Yes and No questions, which should be performed before you try to sell to a prospective client. The aim is to get them thinking in such a way that they will be primed to buy personal training. First, ask the prospect three questions that they will answer ‘no’ to: this shows them that they are on the wrong route to achieving their goal. Then ask three yes questions, to get them agreeing with you.

When they answer no to the first question, I ask ‘Why not? Why don't you do any of these things?’ Then I explain why each of these items is important in helping them reach their goal. This reinforces that they are not doing what is required to reach their goals. As a trainer, tracking our clients’ progress and having a plan set out for them is what makes us different and more effective than simply following their own training program – so highlight this. Then ask the yes questions, which are just the no questions in reverse. The prospect will answer yes to these questions, and once they do, the sales process begins.

No Questions
  • Do you have a fitness plan written out that you follow?
  • Do you take measurements and track your progress?
  • Do you keep an exercise log?
Yes Questions
  • Do you think you would benefit from a planned fitness routine?
  • Do you think seeing your measurements regularly will help you make better choices outside of the gym, for example, with regards eating habits?
  • Do you think having an exercise log will ensure you make improvements each week?

Step 2. Quash the objection

After the Yes and No questions, pitch your product. This is where prospect’s objections will arise. The first objection given is generally just a smokescreen for the real reason they are apprehensive to buy – but luckily there’s a simple process to uncover the real objection and to obtain the information needed to overcome it. Firstly, repeat the given objection as a question. Secondly, repeat their answer back to them as a statement. Thirdly, use the information they have given you to directly counteract their objection. Fourthly, offer a solution, or reason with them to change their thinking.

As you repeat their objection to the prospect, they are forced to keep talking and will generally give you more information about themselves. You will then take this information and use it to reason with them to overcome their own objection. A great way to do this is to talk about their goals again, for example: ‘You told me you wanted to lose 10 kilos, I'm sure it’s important for you to make the time to reach this goal isn't it? Great, let’s get you started.’

Step 3. Ask for the sale

The next step is the most important part of the sale, yet it’s the number one reason most salespeople fail: you must ask for the sale. Doing so will dramatically increase your closing percentage. There are some guidelines when it comes to creating your closing question. I like to think of it as more of a statement than a question, it should be a small nudge towards a purchase. Something like, ‘Great, let’s get you started.’ It’s easy and simple and I feel comfortable saying it. I also like to avoid any negative words like money, paperwork or contract because they can change the way the client thinks about the sale. After you have asked the closing question, it’s very important to stay quiet until after they have responded. Remember these rules and you will deliver closing questions that are impossible to say no to.

Ask and you shall receive…

‘Six out of 10 people need to be asked to buy before they purchase.’ Read Steve Jensen’s article ‘Why you need to ask for the sale again …and how’

Practice each of the steps, experimenting with different closing lines to see what works best for you, and use them in every sales situation. Once you are comfortable with these strategies your confidence will increase and the process will get easier. Remember the key to sales is consistency, you must use the same process each time, gradually refining it as you go.

Whether you like it or not, the fact is that the sales process is part of a personal trainer’s role. Selling your services to prospects can be intimidating, but when you follow a tried and tested process you can achieve extraordinary results – and become more comfortable with the process as a result.


Jared Roy
In his ten years as a fitness manager and personal trainer Jared has also made it his mission to help fellow trainers build profitable businesses. He has worked internationally for Golds Gym International and for Goodlife Australia. During this time he has developed a proven sales system that any fitness professional can master in order to build a successful business in the fitness industry. For more information visit www.Facebook.com/personaltrainingsalessystem or email Jaredbroy@gmail.com