Fitness Business Basics – Selling

There’s a very simple rule when it comes to opening a gym or fitness facility that I’m not sure people 100% grasp.

It’s quite simple, really:

If you don’t sell contracts, you won’t be in business very long. Period.

Now I know what some of you are thinking – “Duh, Mike, I know that!”

But step back for a moment; you may know that, but do you really grasp this concept?

Because I’ll tell you one thing – I didn’t.

We all know going in that we have to have customers and clients to survive. But I’m not sure we always know and understand that when you open a gym, selling is part of the deal.

In my previous jobs (strength coach, rehab practitioner, 1-on-1 in home training) I had to do little to no selling whatsoever.

In a collegiate strength and conditioning environment, athletes are placed in front of you and you work with them.

In the chiropractic rehab field, same deal – the chiros get patients, and then you work with them.

There was maybe a little bit of selling in the in-home 1-on-1 deal, but those situations were few and far between. We were already very busy, and since we catered to an extremely tight niche, almost every single new client we landed was a referral, and they were already pre-sold on our services.

So when I opened IFAST, it was a totally different ball game. Now I have this prospect in front of me, who I know needs my help, but I have to ask them to give me their money in exchange for my knowledge and services.

It sounds incredibly easy, but until you actually have to sell someone your services and make them sign a contract, you have no clue how difficult it can be.

There have been volumes of books, magazines, webinars, etc., that are focused on selling, but I’ve found the two biggest issues are the following:

  1. Getting your own personal issues out of the way first. This could be self-worth issues, money issues, etc.
  2. Consistently over-delivering and making your prospect feel like they’re getting a bargain.

Let’s look at both of these.

As human beings, we all have issues related to money, our own self-worth, etc. I don’t claim to be a guru on this topic of anything, but I can at least get you started on the right path.

If you don’t feel you’re worth the money you’re asking for in return, you will not succeed.

Read that again.

If you don’t feel you are worth the money you’re asking for in return, you will not succeed.

You can’t have any reservations whatsoever that you are 110% worth what you’re asking for, and then some.

Unfortunately, a lot of selling issues are the result of a lack of self-worth by the seller, not an issue of value by the client/prospect.

Along those same lines, you need to put your own personal money issues aside. Maybe $200 per month is more than you’d care to spend for training, but that’s not to say that’s true of everyone.

DO NOT put your personal money issues in the way of selling contracts. Let each and every prospect tell you what they want to do – after all, it’s their money and they’re free to do what they want with it.

All you have to do is understand the value of your service – nothing more, nothing less.

Second, it should be a goal to consistently over-deliver each and every day you work with a client. At IFAST, we run a semi-private gym and our training options are definitely more expensive than just getting a day pass at the local fitness club.

To counteract this, we offer a discounted 30-day trial to get our prospects exposed to how we do things.

One of the keys to this trial process, though, is showing our clients every day the value of what we have to offer.

Because as my good friend Pat Rigsby always says, you never know what day they make the decision to either stay with you and sign on, or leave your facility forever.

So we give them a thorough total body assessment on Day 1.

After that, we develop a training program that’s customized to their needs and goals.

And every day following that we coach them up, to make sure they’re getting the most out of each and every exercise.

But perhaps most importantly, we genuinely show we care about them as human beings. We want to see our people get great results.

I tell you what – if you just show people that you care and that you want to help them, I don’t think you’ll ever have any issues “selling” a client from this day forward.

So these are two of the biggest issues I see with regards to selling.

What do you guys think?

What issues have you run into?

I’ll look forward to reading (and responding to!) your comments below!

All the best


BTW – you have two more days to pick up a copy of the Fitness Business Blueprint for the discounted price of $197!

But don’t delay – the price goes up tomorrow at midnight!


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  1. Couldn’t agree more Mike. I think part of the problem is the motivation that people have when entering this profession. Most people didn’t get into this thinking they are going to get rich. They got into it because they really like helping people. This causes a problem when they try to ask for money. This person really needs my help, how can I charge them (what may seem to me like) alot of money?

    Also, I would like to add that, even though you’re in a spot where money doesn’t exchange hands (strenth coach, chiro assistant), you still have to “sell” your program. Before I was a trainer, I was a D1 assistant and still had to get my athletes and sport coaches to “buy into” what we were doing. The only difference is, money doesn’t exchange hands, but jobs and scholarships are still on the line.

    Just my .02

    • Great points Jason!

      And you’re absolutely correct – the sooner you realize that you’re always selling (whether it’s via writing, speaking, coaching, etc.) the easier things will get.

      We all have a lot of experience “selling” – some of us just don’t know it!

  2. I think the #1 point that you mentioned above has to do with believing that you are worth the coin. Every new trainer I work with one of the first things I do is help them take a personal inventory in addition to writing down 5 clients that they’ve been successful with.

    Would you agree with the statement that sales take care of themselves if you portray confidence and present a well-thought out program? That no trickery is ever needed.

  3. I agree with the need to believe in yourself and your abilities. Also, you don’t have to feel that you know everything. I realize I have tons left to learn and that there are plenty of expert trainers that are way ahead of me. But what has helped me increase my feelings of self worth is realizing that even though I may not be on the level of the elite trainers out there, I still know enough that I can take 99% of the population and make them a better athlete or a more healthy and fit person. I also know that I am hungry to learn more and reach the elite level and anyone that I take on as a client will get my best.

    Basically what I am saying is that you don’t have to be “the best” to have a great sense of self worth. You just have to know that you have great things to offer and that you are always striving to be better.

  4. Great post Mike. I have recently raised my fees by 30%. I was a bit apprehensive about it and had second thoughts, but then I reminded myself of my track record and value as a trainer.

    Reading all your business posts now.


  5. You touched on my biggest issue which is feeling like I’m worth what I’m asking. Over the past few years I’ve overcome that issue and have more confidence than ever and it’s all about believing in yourself. Might as well spend your time thinking you’re great than thinking you’re worthless. Great post!

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