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As a personal trainer whose focus is to sell their services to gain new clients and grow your business, it makes sense to understand your “selling personality” and how it affects your closing rate.
According to Psychology Today, there are five personality dimensions that define us. These include agreeableness, conscientiousness (a desire to task well), extraversion, openness and neuroticism (a negative emotional state).
It is said that our personalities are defined by the temperaments we had as babies and the life experiences we had as kids.
Your selling personality is your most valuable asset as a trainer and today we will help you identify the type of selling personality you have as well as help you see where these personalities go wrong when selling and how they can be fixed.
Keep in mind the goal here is not to change your personality – which is possible – but rather to teach you to understand the ways you sell, how clients perceive you, and how you can be more conscientious to develop greater sales skills.
Below are five common types of personal trainer sales personalities, where they go wrong, and how to fix them.
The Instant Friend is the most agreeable of all personal trainer sales personalities. They engage potential clients as they are the best of friends, looking to form an immediate social connection. Their personality is warm and inviting, sometimes to a fault.
The Instant Friend can be amongst the most successful of personal trainers as they attract clients who like someone they enjoy socializing with while training and who seems to understand them.
Where this personality type goes wrong is when they create too close of a connection that doesn’t feel like a professional relationship. The trainers tend to get a little less respect – aka the “friend zone” – making it easier, for example, for their client friends to cancel on them.
In an effort to be a good friend, The Instant Friend errs on the side of not capitalizing on potential sales opportunities. For instance, they don’t push a sale when a warm lead is in front of them because they don’t want to cross over into the “hard seller” type personality.
For example, Freddy the Instant Friend spends time talking with Rich, a potential client who has lots of very particular questions about his workout routine, specifically how to bulk up. Freddy, being the nice guy that he is, continues to provide this free advice – costing his time – without encouraging Rich to commit to a free (or paid) fitness assessment. In the end Freddy never gets Rich as a client because he’s made Rich feel like he has enough info to handle his workouts on his own.
If you are The Instant Friend, be sure to recognize the limits between professionalism and friendship. In the example of Freddy and Rich above, after the instant friendship is made, Freddy should follow up every interaction with a call-to-action to try an assessment to analyze Rich’s goals further.
The Instant Friend can still utilize their personality of wanting to help, yet they can fix potential lost sales by encouraging a free assessment (or equivalent) or making sure not to give away so much information that the friend doesn’t feel inclined to go any further with the relationship.
The Guru selling personality uses analytical data and logic rather than emotional selling to attract clients who value that type of credibility. They often seek to attract the opposite type of client than The Instant Friend as they are less interested in forming a social connection and more interested in goals.
Their sales technique involves sharing lots of information on research studies, effective workout methods, data and other logic-driven examples to install confidence in “Type A” clients who desire that type of expertise. The Guru is the type of trainer that far exceeds the continuing education requirements of personal trainers, has multiple certifications, and attends more conferences than anyone because they crave knowledge and want to utilize it.
The Guru goes wrong because he is conceded, a know-it-all, and is not personable enough to convert. He doesn’t focus on the client as much as the training. The Guru might dominate the conversation by speaking based on their experience and knowledge – which is well-referenced – however lacks the listening and communication skills to truly resonate with the client and what they are trying to tell him about their fitness needs.
When increasing value to clients, understand that people desire to feel important, and if they don’t (as is often the case of The Guru), they don’t feel valued. When this happens, client retention suffers.
For example, Gary is a Guru personality, and meets Gina, a potential client. Gina likes that Gary is analytical but feels that sometimes Gary is more interested in talking about specific studies or flexing his fitness knowledge than actually listening to what she has to say. Often times, Gary will talk about a specific industry study that is somewhat relevant to what Gina has mentioned but Gina, not understanding industry jargon, gets lost in the conversation and feels that Gary is perhaps not really understanding her goals, therefore losing interest and confidence in him as her potential trainer.
If you have The Guru personality style, be sure to take the time to know the person and their needs. Very often Guru’s assume they know what the client wants too quickly and blows the sale by not listening to the client’s needs and interests.
The Guru needs to keep in mind that training goals are personal ones, and part of their value is catering their training to show value in terms of personalization.
A mix of The Instant Friend and Guru, The Fitness Consultant can expertly blend science and the “friend zone” to attract clients. They are great at using data and science to attract clients who are impressed by knowledge and are also able to emotionally relate to clients who want a deeper relationship.
This selling personality opens them up to clients of varying interests, having a great blend of caring – telling stories, asking questions, building trust – as well as spending their personal time getting relevant CEUs, attending conferences, and reading blogs to enhance their knowledge and become as credible a source of information as any person their clients have ever met.
This is a good mix of personality types, but often The Fitness Consultant can lean too far in the direction of The Instant Friend or The Guru when they get too comfortable in one specific role. Where the Fitness Consultant goes wrong is when they get in the friend zone and talk too much (hints of the Guru) and at the same time use too much industry jargon (also hints to the Guru) without spending the time listening to what the potential client wants. As they are so friendly, it’s easy for people to turn way any attempts at one-on-one assessments, as The Instant Friend portion of their personality holds them back from more aggressive upselling techniques.
For example, Cary a Fitness Consultant personality type, is speaking with Caitlin, a potential client who wants to know more about nutrition. Cary, xenical us buy remembering that Caitlin had previously mentioned that she was impressed by all her credentials, goes on a rant about her training with Precision Nutrition and how much in-depth knowledge she has designing nutritional programs for her clients. Caitlin, while a fan of credibility and credentials, wanted a more focused answer that related to her specific goals rather than a general explanation of how awesome Cary’s training is.
The Fitness Consultant personality can avoid missed sales due to the above by listening first, avoiding overly technical explanations of fitness strategies or advice, and always making an attempt for the one-on-one personal assessment.
In the example of Cary above, she can take a lesson out of our post on 4 Skills You Can’t Learn from Personal Trainer Certifications. The first skillset is the ability to help clients using science while keeping in mind that a personalized vision is what makes the client feel valued.
The Network Builder is a trainer that utilizes networking events – and enjoys them – to meet potential clients and spur referrals. This trainer attends far more networking events than any of their peers, working the room, handing out business cards, and trying to establish personal relationships quickly.
The Network Builder is not afraid to ask for referrals and tends to get a lot of business because of their personality style of playing the numbers game.
The Network Builder goes wrong by focusing too much on networking and going out to meet people then he does on client consultations and more intimate relationships. The Network Builder is great at knowing a little about a lot of people but to their detriment, they would be better focused knowing a lot about a few people – their clients – so that they can better train them to meet their goals and build long term rapport and relationships that would actually help spur referrals down the road.
The Network Builder is a personality type that tends to have a lot of leads on the table and generally can have a great book of business. It is not uncommon, however, for The Network Builder to negate furthering their continuing education or certifications because they don’t have problems generating leads. They sometimes miss the importance of building on their personal skillsets because they are so good at networking that they neglect this aspect of their business.
For instance, Nancy the Network Builder goes to three social events per week, hands out 25 business cards each time, and makes it a point to stay in contact with each person she meets, even if it means asking them for a referral. However, Nancy, in her eagerness to grow her business via networking so consistently, would be better suited spending more time with hot leads than making it a point to talk to the entire room.
Neil was approached by Nancy at a networking event and told her that he was interested in a personal training assessment and thought it was a great idea. Nancy, in her haste to work the rest of the room, told Neil she’d follow up with him rather than spend a bit more time with him to walk away with the sale while at the event. Nancy would do well to realize the old adage of “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” going for the certain thing (Neil’s business) rather than the uncertain (those she was yet to meet in the room).
Nancy needs to be able to better recognize who has a fitness goal as opposed to breezing through her meetings with the intent of following up later. When she can recognize that someone she meets does in fact have an interest in fitness and her services, she needs to focus her efforts with that person and build rapport to really nail down the possible sale.
Often honed by the strict requirements and goals of big box gyms, The Hard Seller is the most persistent type of selling personality. This can play to their success as they become great at addressing buyer hesitations and constantly press the sale.
Hard Sellers often use scare tactics to close sales “This is the best deal you’ll get” – and will not take no for an answer. The Hard Seller is always prospecting and uses a mix of all the selling personalities to try to find one that resonates with the potential client.
Obviously, The Hard Seller can rub some people the wrong way but there are some charismatic hard sellers that don’t fit the “used car salesmen” definition. The Hard Seller is great at making the sale but is bad at getting to know people and this results in a lack of sustained trust in a client and therefore retention. The Hard Seller generally can drum up business better than most but once they do they lack the personal relationship lots of clients want which makes them seek training elsewhere.
For example, Harry the Hard Seller brings Hazel, a somewhat reluctant client who felt forced into buying a package during her fitness assessment (but did so because Harry convinced her it was a great deal), to training and they have been meeting for almost a month. At the time, Hazel didn’t really feel like Harry truly understood what she wanted out of a personal training relationship and by the end of the month-long package felt this was still the case. Rather than renewing, Hazel feels her goals were not attended to and this is was due in part to Harry’s inability to build rapport and trust. Harry, as Hazel told her friends, spent more time trying to make sales than trying to build relationships with his clients.
The way Harry fixes this is not by stopping his hard selling technique, but building more trust by talking about Hazel’s goals, showing that her personal plan is catered around those goals, having frequent re-assessments of her goals, and constantly checking in with Hazel to ensure that the training is meeting up to her expectations.
Harry would do well to have the “expectations conversation” with his clients. This means asking them what they expect from the training and telling them what they can expect from him as a trainer. If there are any inconsistencies in expectations, they are laid out and discussed so everyone is on the same page.
The good news for those of you who feel somewhat trapped by your selling personality is that you can change them for the better. According to the Psychology Today article, simply recognizing that we can change our personalities can mean more effective treatment of people, and in the trainer’s case, potential clients.
If you are motivated to alter your selling personality to become a more effective seller/trainer, first identify the type of selling personality you possess. If you identify with some of the areas where these selling personalities go wrong, try to understand how you can adjust your approach so that you can work on getting better at identifying with potential clients.
For more information on becoming a successful personal trainer click the below link and check out our business and sales course.