If you want to become a successful personal trainer, online or traditional, you need to know how to sell yourself and your services. There are various stages that a client goes through before deciding to hire or purchase a product from you. During each stage, your potential client is thinking something different and will need different information from you. By understanding this sales process, you will be able to provide them with that information and encourage them to hire you.
Having a strong sales process in place is the reason why some companies make millions each year, while others fail to succeed. Most personal trainers never take the time to plan out their sales process (otherwise, know as a marketing funnel). They focus on training and assume that clients will eventually come. This is not true, you need to have a well thought out strategy. In order to do this, you need to plan out each stage to give yourself the best chance of converting someone from a lead into paying client.
In order for you to a strong sales process, you need to be able to understand what your potential clients are thinking, the best way to know what they are thinking is by understanding which stage of the buying process they are at.
This will allow you to identify what their needs are and anticipate the challenges which might be preventing them from moving to the next stage and eventually purchasing something from you.
We have helped countless online trainers set up and optimize their sales process and in this article, we will walk you through the process that you need to have in place in order to constantly attract clients.
Below is an example of a typical marketing funnel…
When setting up your marketing funnel your goal is to filter out those who aren’t serious about hiring you and leave you with only those who are interested and ready to buy.
You will notice that at each stage of the process potential clients drop off. While we would all love to sell to everyone we speak to, it’s not going to happen. This isn’t something to worry about, it can happen for various reasons. Don’t expect everyone who shows interest in your training services to end up purchasing, no one achieves a 100% conversion rate.
Having said that, once you have a well thought out process in place, it is almost certain that you will gain more clients, your conversion rates will be a lot higher than before and you can work on optimizing it to reduce the number of potential clients who don’t reach the final stage.
So let’s break down the stages…
Stage 1: Attract
During this initial stage, you want to get as many potential clients (also referred to as ‘leads’) as possible into the top of your funnel. This is because as your potential clients move along the process, a large portion of them will drop off at each stage.
In order to generate leads, you need to be visible to your target market and engaging with as many people as possible.
The best way to do this is to tap into communities who have already demonstrated that they are interested in health and fitness. More specifically, you should search for communities who are interested in what you teach. For example, if you focus on body builders, tap into the bodybuilding communities. If you are a yoga instructor, tap into the communities of yoga enthusiasts.
A lot of trainers who are just starting out assume that they should create flyers and hand them out in their local area. The problem with handing out leaflets or paying for sign in a busy area is that the majority of the people who see your advert will have no interest in the type of training you offer. You not only save time and money but, you will see a much higher rate of interest when you tap into a community who are full of your ideal clients.
You can think of this as talking to people in the gym who clearly have an interest in health and fitness, versus talking to random people at a train station. You are more likely to find someone who will hire you in the gym because they have already started investing in their health.
An example of a highly effective way to find your target market is by using hashtags on Instagram. Here you can interact with users who post using hashtags relevant to your niche and draw them into your funnel.
As an example, a yoga instructor could search #yoga on Instagram and see that there are millions of posts from yoga enthusiasts.
Here they would find a much higher percentage of people who are interested in their service compared to the general public. For a more in-depth look at how market yourself on Instagram, take a look at our guide: How to grow your Instagram following as a Personal Trainer
Stage 2: Educate
The ‘Educate’ stage is where your leads will learn more about you and your experience. Once you have the attention of a potential client, you have an opportunity to start telling them more about what you do.
At this stage, your client is wondering why they should listen to your advice or follow your tips. There are plenty of alternatives so they want to know what makes you stand out.
This is your chance to show them what separates you from other trainers in your niche and why they should hire you. Your goal here is to build authority and trust by showing off your expertise because this makes it easier to get a sale.
This is why having a great Profile Page on Aflete is so important. After reading it potential clients should leave feeling convinced that you are an expert in what you are offering. So you should have a clear description of what you do and why working with you differs from all of the other trainers out there.
For a greater impact, you should illustrate your results with transformation pictures and testimonials. (We’ll talk more about what you can do to build a killer profile page in future posts).
At this point, your potential client is still not ready to purchase, there is still some work to do before that happens…
Stage 3: Capture
The next part of the funnel is capturing some information about the potential client. This gives you permission to talk with them and present your offers.
When you are online, capturing a lead could be as simple as a follow on social media. This way, you can post promotional content on your social media profiles and they will see it.
Another option is to set up an email capture where you can keep them updated with offers. To do this, you need to give people a reason to hand over their email address. It could be a free workout or recipe for example.
Here is an example of how the online trainer Steve Cook captures his follower’s email:
This is similar to being in the gym and knowing a members name or phone number. You chat to them and know they are interested in what you have to offer, they just haven’t seen the value or made the commitment yet. Whenever you talk to them, you can mention when you have an offer on to see if they are ready to buy. This is similar to what happens at this stage.
Stage 4: Nurture
So now you know that your potential client is interested, you have their number or email address or they are following you on social media and you are ready to build up their interest in and the desire for your services.
Before hiring you, a lead will want to know why they should trust you. You need to prove you know how to transform their bodies and get them to their goals.
At this stage your goal is to stay visible to your potential clients while showing them you are expert in your niche. A great way to do this is to show them your passion and desire to improve people’s lives by sharing content. Content can be anything from workout ideas to showcasing the results of past clients. Transformation pictures are one of the most effective way to gain the trust of a potential client.
This stage is also referred to by marketers as ‘warming up the lead.’ Once you have nurtured your leads, they will know what you do, the type of training you offer and why you are better positioned to help them over anyone else. All that’s left to do is get them in front of your product and make a sale.
As an example, we will use Joe Wicks, The Body Coach. Joe executes this stage perfectly for his target market. One of the main platforms he uses is Instagram, so we will focus on this.
Joe knows that his target market is middle aged women who are new to exercising or haven’t worked out for a long time. They are likely to have a job and children, leaving little time to focus on healthy eating and exercise. He combats this by giving away free, quick to prepare, healthy recipes every 4th or 5th post.
This helps his followers realise that healthy eating is achievable for them.
He shows that he’s having fun and enjoying himself while living a healthy lifestyle. This speaks to his target market who want to feel young and energetic.
His Instagram page is also full of clients who have completed his training programmes. This is all building up his authority and giving followers more reasons to trust the brand he has created around himself. Joe and has done a very good job of lowering the barrier between himself and a stranger who stumbles across his account.
These techniques are all replicable. You can start to use them on your social media accounts immediately.
Stage 5: Convert
Now that your leads have warmed up, they are more willing to buy from or hire you but, they are currently just another follower on your social media account.
The challenge now is to get them from your mailing list or social media account to your product page where they can make a purchase or, hire you.
By this point, they have been following you and seeing your content which means it’s more than likely that you know that have a problem, and they know that you can solve it. For example, you may specialise in marathon training and there is a local marathon in 9 months time that you know they want to race in.
To convert them from followers into clients, you need to give them a reason to take action now.
An example of how you might convert someone online is getting them to click the link in your Instagram bio, by putting up a post which contains a special offer. They click the link and it takes them to your product page on Aflete. Here they can gather all the information they need and decide if whether or not to make a purchase.
Stage 6: Close
This is where the lead will make the purchase and become a paying client.
Once your followers land on your product page, they will still need some convincing to make the decision to actually take out their credit card and make a payment.
To convince them to invest in you, you need 3 things:
You must have a product they want or need
- A clear and detailed product description so they understand what they are getting
- You also need the correct processes in place to make them feel secure when they are purchasing online
Getting the right product in front of your leads comes from understanding what their challenges are. Does your following want to burn fat? …become more flexible or gain more muscle? You need to gain a clear understanding of the challenges your following feel are most important to them and, then create a product or plan that helps them solve these challenges.
Once you have the right product, you need to create a compelling description of your product so they know how/ why your plan or product is ideal for solving their challenges. Getting this right is something is really important for converting followers into clients so we have created a guide for creating a compelling product page, here.
Keep in mind that the most powerful elements to your product page that will help leads feel comfortable making the decision of investing in you are:
- The benefits of your plan over others
- Social proof
- Transformation pictures
- Money back guarantees
(We go into more detail about each component in the future Academy posts.)
To help you understand all of this information, here is a way to use your sales funnel to get new clients. This is something that you can put in place and start working on immediately.
A quick example of a marketing funnel
As a quick summary here is an example of how you can use a simple Marketing Funnel with Instagram to get clients from the client’s perspective, we will call her Sarah:
- Sarah has back problems from sitting at a desk all day. A colleague at work recommends Yoga. While on a lunch break Sarah stumble across your profile while looking through posts with Yoga hashtags for inspirational images (Attract)
- Sarah decides to follow you after reading your bio and clicking on the link in your bio which leads to your Aflete profile page (Educate)
- After seeing that you create interesting content and you are great at what you do, Sarah decides to follow you (Capture)
- Over the next few weeks you continue to post interesting content which is useful to her (Nurture)
- One day, she while scrolling through Instagram she sees your post saying that you have a Yoga video course specifically for people with back problems and it’s on special offer for the weekend. Your post explains she can find out more by clicking on the link in your bio which leads to your product page (Convert)
- Your product page answers all of her questions about how the pain will be removed and she can follow each step of the plan at home with no equipment. Having seen the results you have got for others she commits decides to purchase the video course on your product page.
It’s as simple as that.
You should now have a firm understanding of what a strong sales process or marketing funnel looks like and what you are trying to achieve at each stage.
If you have been struggling to make sales in the past get a notebook and take a moment to map out the 6 stages and work out what stage might be missing from your current process….
What are you currently doing or could you do to…
Equally, if you are starting from scratch, you should take some time to work out what your funnel should look like and actually put it into place to start gaining clients.
If at first your funnel doesn’t work, give it time. Try out different ways to get people to different stages. For example, if you feel like your ideal customer isn’t on Instagram, are they on Twitter or YouTube?
If you aren’t an Aflete user already and are interested in creating a funnel like the one above, you can sign up for free, now, here.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below. We’d also love to hear about any examples of interesting funnels you might have spotted people using…