It is sometimes an issue for trainers when thinking about how they might approach gym members and then get talking to them. The aim being to perhaps encourage them to take up your PT services. The first thing to bear in mind is, just be thinking “engagement”. If they are exercising perhaps just compliment them on the way they were performing the exercise (offer no advice). Use an open question like “are you training for anything specific”? Or “how is your training progressing”? Whatever they respond with you should then reflect their answer. Reflections are a skill you learn in motivational interviewing (MI) and they allow the client to hear their own words, perhaps in a slightly different way to the way they were said. The skill of reflection is that it allows the client to continue talking and perhaps start to explore their subconscious thoughts. This means the client is doing the majority of the talking. As they explore deeper, they may uncover a problem and this may be your opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in this area. If you can see you might be able to offer some useful advice, then ask the client if they would be interested in hearing how other clients have resolved this issue or maybe what the latest research suggests. Whatever you offer just make sure you ask their permission first.
If the opportunity doesn’t arise then don’t worry. Just by engaging and having a general chat you have started to form a relationship that can be fostered over the coming weeks. Rome wasn’t built in a day as the saying goes. Make a mental note of what you discussed or better still put a voice note on your phone. Next time you see the client quickly listen back to what you discussed previously. Now when you approach them this time you can pick up where you left off. The fact that you remember the previous conversation is demonstrating your interest and professionalism. Better still if you were discussing something tangible then maybe find some info in the form of a handout you can give them that covers the topic. Make sure your contact details are in the footer.
The well-used sales adage is very true here; people buy from people they know, like and trust. Taking the time to build a relationship will produce far better results than just walking up to a client discussing the weather and then asking them if they are interested in personal training. You will only likely get one opportunity to offer your services. Make sure you do this when the time is right. The time is right when you’ve built that engagement and trust. This is why having the MI skills can be so empowering.