Building rapport and trust with your clients/customers is vital in a personal training career (as in most businesses!). Most PTs enter the fitness industry because they have a genuine passion for the fitness industry, but it’s equally as essential to build a trustworthy, approachable reputation along with that passion. In reality, there is a huge sales element to a personal training career. Knowledge, skills and passion should always be at the core of what you do, but if potential clients don’t buy into you, you’ll find it harder to build a successful career. Having confidence in yourself and the services you offer is key, as this is what breeds that all-important confidence in your clients.
Verbal and non-verbal communication skills are essential to thriving in a high-demand industry like personal training. Many personal trainers don’t pay attention to this basic rule of communication and thus struggle; don’t let yourself be one of them! So, what simple skills should you abide by to build that all-important rapport with your clients?
The first step is to look at how you present yourself. If your body language can be perceived as closed and defensive (folded arms and hands on hips are the two big culprits of negative body language here!), clients are far less likely to retain a positive mindset and get the best out of their personal training journey. Be open, happy and positive EVERY time you meet your clients, and your positivity will spread.
This one may sound simple, but many personal trainers fall into the trap of having their own ideas on their clients’ training before the client has ever even been asked! Be attentive, listen to what your client wants, and discuss how to get there. Your ideas are there to construct a plan around your client’s personal goals, not what you believe their goals should be. This will help instil a sense of collaboration and build a trustworthy relationship with your clients. Ensure you are always actively listening when your client discusses anything and give them your undivided attention.
We all have our own stories, and everyone will have external influences that may cause stress and concerns, especially when embarking on their own fitness journies. Relating to your client and understanding their limitations, whether these limitations are just within an individual session or a longer-term issue, is absolutely vital to building trust. Be prepared to adapt if required.
Always show concern about your client’s health and mental well-being. Use your skillset and passion to show them that you care and that you’re there for support when needed. By using your knowledge to achieve their fitness goals and being there to offer advice for other matters, you will build a really good level of trust with your clients. It can be hard to keep a balance, though, so remember to keep some boundaries in place and do not let yourself become too involved in a client’s personal life.
It may seem that this goes without saying, but what is said between you and your client is always confidential. Maintaining care and empathy is key to building trust and rapport, but sticking to confidentiality and discretion is key to maintaining that rapport.
Both loyalty and reputation will be built by meeting your client’s needs and building these types of relationships.