Client Synergy – What Sales People Can Learn from Personal Trainers


Client Synergy – What Salespeople can Learn from Personal Trainers.

Are you are regular gym goer? Doesn’t matter if not, but if you are you can’t not have noticed the Personal Trainers there working with their clients.  Personal Trainers are amazing really, they have truly outstanding interpersonal skills that help build rapport and trust in people very quickly. Think about it, why do people use a Personal Trainer in the first place? Usually it is because the person wants to be thinner, leaner, bigger, stronger, faster or simply healthier.  This is very personal stuff, and involves the Personal Trainer having information about their clients eating habits, exercise routine (or lack there of), their measurements and weight.  It is clear that if trust is built quickly, that the relationship between the client and personal trainer can echo those of counsellors as clients pour out their troubles, worries and insecurities in between reps. It is not unlike the relationship between clients and hairdressers, people tell them everything, confiding all sorts of personal information. Psychologically we look at Personal Trainers as objects of perfection. They embody physical fitness, physical health and well-being as well as being highly motivated and encouraging. We like these traits in people and we find it very attractive, but more importantly in an aspirational way, we want what they have. They exude what is known as referent power over us.

PT PhotoReally excellent Personal Trainers like Carl Constanza pictured here, do a terrific job. He is in a perfect ‘client zone’ watching every move, posture, position and effort the client makes. He is able to anticipate any potential risk, and constantly assess and supports his client.  It is clear his clients feel very comfortable, safe and assured that what he is getting them to do will deliver results.  As a sales trainer I have discovered that by watching the interaction between Personal Trainers and their clients, that the clients who are most engaged work very hard for their Trainer, they really go the distance and push themselves to the limit. This in turn makes the Personal Trainer work harder still to keep the client engaged, motivated and feeling good. They use really powerful phrases that keep the momentum going, phrases that encourage.

  • Can you feel the difference when you do it that way?
  • Do you see what happens you change your posture?
  • Will you make sure you keep this up?
  • Are you seeing a difference in the way you look and feel?
  • Should you try and lift a little more?
  • Are you feeling stronger? you know you are, don’t you?

These are powerful phrases, they are also closed questions. Closed questions require a yes or no answer, and the Personal Trainer is asking these looking for the magical ‘Yes’. Many clients I have listened to, seem to always answer ‘Yes’, they rarely disagree or answer ‘No’. Why is this?

Could it be that the Client wants to Encourage and Motivate the Personal Trainer?

Sounds crazy doesn’t it, but lets look at this. If the Personal Trainer is getting results, we would naturally want them to makes us feel even better. The endorphin rush from exercise is addictive enough, but the rush we get from seeing and feeling things actually working for us is even stronger. Add to this the way we perceive these Personal Trainers and suddenly you have a heady mix.

The Winning Formula

Perception (about Trainer from client) + Results (delivered to client from Trainer) + The Feeling of achievement and Effective work (from both client and trainer) + Endorphin rush  =  Synergy and Addictive Success!

So let us move away from Personal Trainers and see how this can be applied to sales situations.

Whatever business you work in sales plays a role, from Personal Training, Lawyers, Accountants, Advertising Sales People and traditional sales training advocates the use of open ended questions, and suggests pulling away from closed questions as they limit the information you can get back.  OK that makes sense, however a blend of questioning types and informed opinion or point of view (thanks Challenger) can illicit even more. BUT, it is my belief that if you create a list of closed questions, strategically placed in to the sales call, be it first call, follow up call, post booking call, service call, written proposal or presentation you could create excitement and confirmation from the client.  Think of the list of questions above and translate them into a business situation so they might read like this.

  • Can you see the difference in how using our product over your usual product will benefit you?
  • Do you see what could potential happen to your business if you were to change?
  • Will you be sure to keep this in mind moving forward?
  • Are you seeing a difference in the way your business is performing?
  • Should you perhaps try booking a little more?
  • Are you aware of the difference? You can see it is better can’t you?

I am aware that some of you reading this might be thinking that these questions make help to create an objection in the clients mind. This is fair, but if you use these questions with clients who have already booked or bought from you and you use them post sale, you may find the responses encouraging, this then could help you in how you position the questions in the afore mentioned scenarios. You see if the client answers ‘Yes’ to these questions then it gives the sales person permission to make it work even harder by enhancing what is on offer even further through perhaps an added value offering. This stimulates excitement in the client’s minds and reinforces the perception away from you being just a sales person, but actually to an effective business partner and expert, who’s opinion and insight can make a difference. The relationship between the sales person and the client will be further enhanced when barriers break down as trust is built up and rapport flourishes. In time the client will not ever believe they are being sold to, instead believing and quite rightly too, that the sales person can really help them solve their problems, help them reach a goal and ultimately make them money.

The sales person should have a full understanding of the clients motivation to buy.  This is more than just a fact finding mission into discovery of needs. This is about the true reason why people buy.

With the Personal Trainer we can see that there is a need to be thinner, leaner, stronger, bigger, faster or healthier. In business the motivation is more in line with what makes the client stand out from everyone else, or conversely blend in; becoming a part of a market place that creates choice in their own client’s minds. Further motivation can be around the need to be a part of something that is trusted, something with heritage and history, something that instills faith in the customers mind. Another is being a part of something that can make things easy, convenient and quick, with no hassles or quibbles, something that requires little effort, but still works. Finally it can be about the client simply wanted to make money, a box shifter, someone who sells by volume making money quickly so that they can buy more and sell even more.

If the sales person, can truly understand the client at this level, and offer insight and opinion through the use of excitement based closed questions and therefore become perceived as the true business partner to the client then the addictive success will follow.

The Winning Formula

Positive Perception of Sales Person (from the Client) + Insightful Opinion and Understanding (delivered by Sales Person) + The Feeling of Effective Results (from both Client and Sales person) = Synergy and Addictive Success

As Clients become more and more aware of sales techniques being used on them, the more I believe that it is about creating a synergistic relationship, based on good insight, excellent process and most important, the ability to build rapport through thorough understanding and trust. The clients I work with currently are to me, an intrinsic part of my life.  Therefore I do not want to be a trainer that delivers and walks away, I strive to become part of their business, always in touch, never out of reach even if it means at my inconvenience (although they would never know). The Client is absolute and as time is moving on, it is becoming clear that my presence in their world is paying dividends too, and so the synergy continues.

Thanks to Carl Constanza for allowing me to use him and his image as an example, Carl can be found at Fitness First in Bath, and on Twitter@stanzabodybuild

This blog is part of the Sales Persons Journey, and if you would like to develop the skills of your sales teams further then drop me, Simon, an email at Thanks for reading and drop by again soon.

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