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How to Attract and Retain More Clients

How to Attract and Retain More Clients

Want to know the one skill that will set you up for business success as a personal trainer for life? 

It’s being able to consistently attract and retain clients for the long-term.  

But it’s not some arcane gift that the select few business-savvy trainer possess. 

It’s a skill that can be learned, used, and improved by any fitness professional out there from the industry newbie to the seasoned pro. 

This article will unveil the top strategies to help you cultivate priceless client loyalty that gives you the edge in a dog-eat-dog industry.  

Learn these five steps and you’ll build a solid foundation for your career and your business for life.  

Understand your client  

In the dynamic world of personal training, grasping the essence of the client isn't just a suggestion—it's the cornerstone of success. When discussing 'understanding', it moves beyond mere metrics like BMI or the number of push-ups accomplished in a minute. It's about diving into a more profound, multi-faceted understanding. 

Digging deeper than fitness goals 

The initial encounter with a new client is a window of opportunity. This is the moment to delve into the intricate fabric of their personality and motivations, beyond mere surface-level observations. 

Personal motivations: every individual has unique reasons propelling them towards fitness. For some, it's not about achieving an aesthetically pleasing physique but rather keeping pace with their children during play. They may be driven by the desire to actively participate in family activities or simply to embrace every moment fully. Unearthing these deeply personal 'whys' and reinforcing them can be a potent motivator. 

Long-term aspirations: while personal motivations provide the initial spark, long-term aspirations fan the flames, ensuring continued dedication. Some clients might envision participating in adventurous activities with their family in the future, while others could be aiming for personal milestones. By identifying these long-term goals, a roadmap can be crafted to guide them towards their desired destination. 

Building trust and emotional connection 

In personal training, the emphasis isn't solely on physical well-being. The emotional and psychological aspects play a pivotal role. 

Authentic conversations: if a client has had a challenging day, sparing a few moments for a genuine chat can be invaluable. While schedules are essential, offering an understanding ear can strengthen the bond significantly. Such interactions ensure clients feel acknowledged and appreciated, fostering loyalty. 

Celebrate small wins together: every accomplishment, no matter how minor it might seem, is a step forward. Celebrating these minor triumphs instils confidence and reinforces commitment. Recognising and celebrating these achievements assures clients of their progress, making the journey more meaningful. 

Success in the personal training industry isn't just about proficiency in exercise or nutrition; it hinges on the depth of human connections cultivated. Establishing these strong bonds ensures not only client retention but also transforms them into ardent supporters who wholeheartedly endorse and value the services provided. This organic advocacy is the most genuine form of endorsement, unparalleled by any marketing strategy. 

Brand yourself uniquely

In the bustling world of personal training, where every Instagram influencer seems to be peddling a 'transformational' fitness program, what makes you stand out? If you’re scratching your head trying to figure it out, it’s high time to understand the art of brand building. It's not just about donning a fancy training kit or having a fancy title; it's about stamping your mark in this expansive fitness universe. 

Determine your niche in fitness 

Not every personal trainer is created equal. And why should they be? Your unique experiences, passions, and expertise make you ideal for a particular segment of the fitness market. 

Specialised training methods: 

Maybe you're the go-to expert in HIIT routines for rapid fat loss. Or perhaps, you have a penchant for calisthenics, helping people master their own body weight in ways they never deemed possible. By focusing on a specialised training method, not only do you perfect your craft, but you also attract clients who are hungry for that specific expertise. 

Target demographics (e.g. postnatal or senior fitness): 

Remember, the world of fitness isn't just populated by 20-somethings looking to flaunt their beach bodies. There are new mums who have just had a baby and want to feel confident again. Then there are older people, in their golden years, wanting to ensure they are fit enough to chase after their grandkids. By targeting specific demographics, such as postnatal mums or senior fitness enthusiasts, you're filling a gap, answering a call, and believe me, they're listening. 

Create a memorable PT brand 

It's not enough to be good; you need to be memorable. 

Your unique selling proposition (USP): 
Ask yourself, why should someone choose you over the PT down the road? Maybe you combine yoga with strength training, giving clients the best of flexibility and power. Or perhaps, you’re the PT who integrates mental well-being, teaching meditation alongside squats. Your USP is your golden ticket, your irresistible hook that reels clients in and keeps them. 

Personal branding essentials (logo, values): 
Don't underestimate the power of a crisp, clear logo or a catchy tagline. They're not just frills; they're signals, silent communicators of your brand's ethos. Is your training philosophy about balance? Or perhaps, relentless perseverance? Whatever your core values, they should resonate in every facet of your brand, from your logo to your communication. This isn’t about being showy; it’s about being authentically, unapologetically you. 

Branding isn't a buzzword; it's your ticket to standing out in a crowded fitness marketplace. By focusing on your unique strengths and packaging them attractively, you're not just building a business; you're building a legacy.  

Deliver exceptional service

In the vast landscape of the fitness industry, it's easy to think that the latest gadgets or edgy workouts are what make you stand out. But let's strip away the fluff and go back to basics. The cornerstone of a thriving personal training career isn't just about what you're teaching; it's how you're delivering it. The quality of service you provide will be the lifeblood of your client relationships, and thus, your business. 

Consistency in training 

Every client, whether they're a newbie trying to shed a few pounds or a seasoned athlete aiming for their next PB, values consistency. It's the bedrock upon which trust is built. 

Punctuality and preparation: 
Being on time might seem rudimentary, but it speaks volumes. It signals respect for your client's time and shows your professionalism. Being prepared, with a session plan in mind, allows for a smooth, efficient workout, maximising every precious minute. 

Adapting to individual client needs: 
Your clients are as unique as fingerprints. While Laura might thrive on high-intensity intervals, Robert might need more strength-based routines. Tailoring your approach not only ensures better results but also demonstrates your commitment to their individual success. 

Going the extra mile 

It's often said that it's the little things that count. In the world of personal training, these 'little things' can be the difference between a one-time client and a lifelong advocate. 

Additional resources (nutrition, home exercises): 
Sure, your one-hour sessions are crucial, but what about the other 23 hours of the day? Offering clients tailored nutritional advice or short home exercise routines ensures they're equipped to succeed outside the confines of the gym. It's about empowering them, every step of the way. 

Regular progress check-ins and feedback: 
Progress isn’t always linear. But through the highs and lows, what matters most is open, honest communication. Regular check-ins allow you to celebrate milestones, however small, and offer constructive feedback. This two-way street fosters a collaborative environment, where the client feels heard, valued, and motivated to push forward. 

True success in the world of personal training isn't gauged by the number of sessions you clock in a week. It's measured by the depth of relationships you cultivate. By consistently delivering exceptional service, you're not just training bodies; you're touching lives. And that, my friend, is the hallmark of a world-class personal trainer. 

Diversify your outreach

In the ever-evolving landscape of fitness, merely relying on conventional advertising isn't enough. To truly set your personal training business apart, you must cast a wider net, reaching out to communities, professionals, and potential clients in diverse ways. Not only does this increase your client base, but it solidifies your place as an influential figure in the health and fitness sector.  

Network with allied health professionals 

Building a network isn't just about adding names to a contact list; it's about fostering relationships that benefit everyone involved, especially your clients. 

Physiotherapists, dieticians, etc.: 
Imagine a client with a niggling shoulder injury who's keen to get fit. Wouldn't it be brilliant if you could liaise directly with their physiotherapist to devise a workout plan that's both safe and effective? Similarly, while you can provide basic nutritional guidance, having a dietician in your corner ensures your clients get tailored advice that complements their training. Building these professional bridges isn't just smart; it's essential in offering a holistic approach to fitness. 

Referral programs: 
A word-of-mouth recommendation, especially from a trusted health professional, is worth its weight in gold. Consider collaborating with local physios, dieticians, and even general practitioners. Introduce referral incentives, ensuring it's a win-win for all. When health professionals see the genuine, transformative results you bring to shared clients, they'll be more than keen to send more folks your way. 

Host informative workshops 

Share your expertise, captivate an audience, and watch as your reputation grows. 

Benefits of different training methods: 
The world of fitness is vast and often overwhelming for many. Demystify it by hosting workshops that delve into the benefits of, say, strength training versus cardiovascular work. Why is HIIT so popular? How can pilates benefit even the most ardent bodybuilder? By educating the public, you not only position yourself as an expert but also attract those intrigued by what you've shared. 

Nutrition seminars: 
In the age of fad diets and flashy supplements, there's a hunger for clear, evidence-based nutrition advice. Quench this thirst by hosting nutrition seminars. Whether it's decoding the mediterranean diet or exploring the science behind protein intake, such sessions can pull a crowd. Partner with a dietician to add further credibility and depth to your content. 

Remember, your influence as a personal trainer doesn't have to be confined to the four walls of a gym. By diversifying your outreach, you cast a wider net, draw in a diverse clientele, and stamp your mark as a leader in holistic health and fitness. The world needs your expertise. It's time to share it, far and wide. 

The art of communication

At the heart of every transformative fitness journey is effective communication. While your training techniques and fitness knowledge form the backbone of your service, it's how you convey, connect, and converse that truly seals the deal. Personal training is just that - personal. And for clients to entrust their aspirations and vulnerabilities to you, you need to be more than just a trainer; you need to be a confidant, a guide, and a mentor. 

Active listening skills 

It's not just about hearing; it's about understanding. Active listening is the key to truly grasping a client's goals, concerns, and motivations. This isn’t about nodding along as they speak but genuinely engaging, asking clarifying questions, and providing affirmations. When clients feel heard, they feel valued. This establishes a deeper connection and makes way for more tailored and effective training programmes. 

Providing constructive feedback 

Feedback is the compass guiding your client’s journey. It's not just about highlighting what's wrong but also about celebrating what's right. Be genuine in your praise and specific in your critiques. Rather than saying "that wasn't quite right", try "you've got the motion down, but let's work on your posture a bit more." Remember, it’s a journey, and every bit of feedback should aim to steer, inspire, and uplift. 

Mastering the art of selling without selling 

No one likes the hard sell, especially in such a personal realm. But there's a finesse to advocating for your services without making it sound like a rehearsed pitch. 

Value-based discussions: 
Lead with value. Before talking packages or prices, discuss the transformations and benefits they stand to gain. Paint a vivid picture of where they could be in 3, 6, or 12 months with your guidance. When clients visualise the value, they're more inclined to invest, both emotionally and financially. 

Soft sales techniques for pts: 
The essence of soft selling is subtlety. Share success stories, offer trial sessions, or introduce loyalty schemes. Rather than pushing a sale, create an environment where the sale naturally follows the value you've showcased. Make it about them, their journey, and how you can be the catalyst for the transformation they seek. 

Communication is the bridge between intent and action. As a personal trainer, it's your job to ensure that bridge is strong, supportive, and leads in the right direction. Master the art of communication, and you won't just gain clients; you'll build relationships that endure and transform. 


The realm of personal training is much more than sets, reps, and workout plans. At its core, it's about relationships. It's about delving deep into the aspirations, fears, and dreams of your clients, guiding them towards their best selves. Trust, understanding, and delivering consistent value form the triad that stands at the heart of this connection. They're the keystones upon which every lasting client-trainer bond is built. 

Look beyond the immediate horizon. When you weave together both the art of relationship-building and the science of strategic growth, there's virtually no ceiling to what you can achieve.