How to Convert In-Person Consultations into Online PT Clients
In the last article of our "Get Online Clients via Offline Marketing" series, we arrived at a strategy that isn't strictly an offline marketing tool. It's more of an opportunity for you to build rapport with a potential client for the long term.
We are talking about your consultation process. Even if a prospect doesn't sign up there and then, the impression you make and the connection you build can become significant at a later time. Let's run through the potential outcomes of a consultation that usually happen for personal trainers.
#1. You Get a New Client
Happy days! There is not much to say here. It's not even that hard to convert people when they come in to see you in person. People dedicating half an hour plus travel from their day to something today shows a level of commitment. If you can tap into that and the person fits your ideal client definition, most times it comes down to personality and whether or not you can win their trust and show competence.
#2. You Don't Get A New Client
Let's clarify, the prospect doesn't sign-up there and then or within a week or two. Some people need a few days to make a decision, and it may take up to 1-2 weeks you see them the first time depending on your schedule.
We are talking about those people who vanish after a consultation. There could be a few reasons why someone who came for a chat doesn't end up buying: - The person was looking for free advice. - The pricing is out of their budget. - They couldn't relate or connect to you on a personal level or didn't find your services suitable for what they were looking for. - Availability issues - hectic schedule on their part or you are not free when they are
What's the best you can do to handle these reasons?
I'll start with the one where there isn't much you can do. We're all human, we have our personality, and naturally, not everybody will click with everybody. Don't take it personally if that happens with a consultation. You won't click with everybody that comes through the door, and that's fine.
You can improve your consultation process and your interviewing skills to learn how to build a rapport within half an hour, so the person sitting next to you would realise the value of your services and trust you can help them. Check out our other blog on consultations and motivational interviewing if you feel you are stuck. Also if you have some simple tools to make a big difference to a client instantly this is an incredible way to show your skill and value. A muscle release or quick treatment using something effective but gentle like the Dorn Method are great examples of this.
When someone's looking for free advice only, there isn't much you can do to convince them to hire you at that moment, but if they found you relatable, trustworthy and knowledgeable, they may come back when they are ready. Offer these prospects to join your newsletter list for valuable free content and follow you on social media. This way, you will stay on top of their mind, and when the time comes, they will want you to help them because of the rapport you built.
You will only ever experience this "excuse" on consultation if your marketing channels don't include pricing in the info package. If they do, people who can't afford you won't even get in touch, or you would have the conversation via email or a phone call.
Whichever way you get to a budget block, you have a few options:
- You let the prospective client go and find a service they can afford. - You offer them free resources if you have them. - You bring up your online personal training services.
You can also do all three or a combination of them. The critical element here is to gauge where the person in front of you is in their buyer's journey. Some people are ready to buy, but they genuinely have a budget that isn't enough for your personal training services.
They still need help and if your online fitness services could help them with their goal, bringing it up during the consultation is your best chance to convert that person into a client. They will appreciate that you are offering a solution and not just sending them away.
If you're the first person mentioning online coaching, they may need some time to assess if that's something that would be suitable for them. For that reason, you don't push sales at this stage, but instead, you ask them to join your newsletter list, social media accounts and request consent so you can contact them to follow-up. Then do as you say and email them or call to see what they think.
When it comes to in-person fitness services, you and your potential client's availability will be a crucial deciding factor in being able to work together. Online personal training can bridge such issue by providing flexibility in their training schedule.
Availability is a topic that won't come up ahead of the consultation. First, because clients don't think of it until they have decided they want to work with you, second, because trainers don't often ask such a question on the contact form.
Either way, by the time you talk about scheduling with a prospective client, they will have likely made up their mind to hire you. If it then turns out you aren't able to sync your calendars and find a slot that fits you, they'll be more likely to trust your recommendation and potentially open to trying an online or hybrid training service.
A consultation can be successful in more than one way. Don't get disheartened if a new lead doesn't become a personal training client straight away. It doesn't mean you will never hear from them again. Do your best to show them your value, wow them with your personality, listening skills and expertise, and offer them help whichever way suits them!