How To Get Your First 15 Clients As An Offline PT

Keir Wotherspoon
8 min readAug 1, 2021

You have just been awarded that all important certification. Now you are ready to be unleashed into the world and live your dream as a personal trainer.

But are you ready?

Because the truth is, most are not ready. In most cases PT’s are left with more questions than answers. Where do I start? How do I get clients? Why doesn’t this certification help me start my business?

I know, I’ve been there. The certification has one job only. To allow you to practice your craft. You tick a few boxes and then are thrown out into the real world to make it on your own.

Personally, I don’t agree with this because I’ve seen so many trainers fail because they were not given the right guidance from the start. But I’ll save that rant for another post.

Today is about you and how you can get your first 9 clients. I know what you’re thinking,

15 is a little random….

But there’s method behind the madness which will become clear as we move through. So, stay with me because we are about to go on a little journey.

You’re standing on the roadside confused and alone. Certificate in one hand with the other hand open, unsure what to do with it. But don’t worry, this is going to be your guiding hand. I’m going to take hold of it now and lead you to where you need to be.

The first thing we need to do for you is gain some clarity. This is where almost everyone goes wrong. They absorb themselves into the role of personal trainer but fail to identify the problem that they solve.

Think of it this way,

You might think a lawyer is just a lawyer, right? But if you have ever used a lawyer for whatever reason you’ll know this isn’t the case. They specialise in different areas of the law.

Whether that’s a family lawyer, estate planning lawyer, personal injury lawyer, business lawyer…. The list goes on.

Imagine you are going to be sued for everything you own. Your house could be taken away and your family left homeless.

Who would you turn to? Your cousin Vinny who, although a qualified lawyer, doesn’t specialise in any particular area. He just kinda minces around and works with whoever is willing to pay him a fee. Or a specialised lawyer in dealing will lawsuits?

Please choose the latter.

Your role as a personal trainer is no different. You want to be able to solve a specific problem. Or more importantly identify a specific problem you want to start understanding more about.

It doesn’t need to be too specific to begin with but have an idea. An area or person that interests you and you want to learn more about. This way you can lead with this when you’re talking with people. Which bring us to our next stop….

Getting in front of people.

The first thing you want to do is start telling people what you do.

Don’t say,

“I’m a personal trainer”

Personal Training is a title. It doesn’t highlight the problem you solve

It means nothing to most people. They will say,

“ah, that sounds interesting”

which translates to

“that’s not interesting”

Instead, lead with the problem you solve.

“I’m a coach and I help over 40’s lose weight and regain their strength and confidence without restrictive diets”

“I’m a coach and I help women over 50 reverse the symptoms of menopause and feel amazing again without medication or insane diets”

“I’m a coach and I help athletes enhance their power, speed and agility without the risk of injury”

“I’m a coach and I help post-natal women regain their body confidence and strength without feeling nervous about exercising again”

This way you have switched your focus and attention to one particular area or problem. Now you can start talking about the problem you solve.

Those who are interested will listen, those who are not interested won’t.

Which bring us to our next stop, the gym.

Here’s where it can really get interesting because, unlike years ago where there were few gyms, now there are aplenty.

Even the smallest of towns will boast several gyms to choose from. Which is a good thing. It gives you options. You can choose to be specific, or you can choose to be more diverse.

For example, a CrossFit gym is very specific, and they attract a certain type of person. Here you’ll find a more competitive person who cares about physical performance.

A commercial gym on the other hand has more generalised set of members. Here you’ll find a varied range of clientele. From the average joe wanting to lose a little weight to elderly people keeping on top of their fitness game.

So, the question I’d challenge you with would be:

Which place are you most likely to find your ideal client?

Let’s say there’s three types of gyms in your area.

1. CrossFit gym

2. A bodybuilding gym

3. A commercial gym

You’ve decided you want to help post-natal women (as in the example above). Where are you most likely to find her?

This is where you need to do a little research. Go to each place and workout. Look around and observe what type of people are coming through the door.

Not many nervous women will be in this type of environment. Understanding where your clients hang out is critical.

If it’s angry bicep pumping gorillas, it’s probably not the right place for you to start. If you find it’s full of competitive athletes, again (maybe) it’s not the best place to begin.

Now let’s say it is a commercial place and there’s a range of people in there. The chances are you can hone down on your specific target.

You notice a few women coming in and working out. The odds are you’ll have a better chance of meeting your ideal client.

Which brings me to our next stop….

Start talking to your ideal client.

Let’s say you have identified now where your ideal client hangs out. You now approach the gym and ask if you can either:

Rent some space

Work some hours

A combination of both

Either way think of it as an entry to speak with the people you want to work with.

Once you are inside you can start talking to people and helping them out, for free.

Yes, for free. And this bit is very important.

What most trainers do is hold the status of PT and expect people to approach them and ask for help. It’s an ego thing.

First off, no-one cares you are a personal trainer. Seriously, no-one cares. In my early days I thought people would be jumping over each other to get a piece of the action, but I was very much mistaken.

You must go out and help people. Let them know you care and give them advice for free. Talk to every single person who walks through the gym door and get to know them personally.

When I had my gym, I knew every single one of my members names. I knew their jobs, their kids’ names and what they liked to do in their spare time.

This builds up likeability and trust. It means you are approachable, and people feel at ease coming to you for advice. Developing relationships should be your number one priority to building your reputation.

So now you’re probably thinking, what has this got to do with my ideal client?

Let’s stay on the track with the above example, and say, you help post-natal mothers lose weight and gain back their confidence. This gives you an opening statement when you talk to people.

Think of it this way….

New member Jessica walks into the gym. You’re the first one to meet Jessica and you introduce yourself with your opening statement,

“Hi Jessica, my name is …. I’m a coach here and I help post-natal women regain their body confidence and strength without feeling nervous about exercising again”

Jessica immediately knows what you do. And Jessica just happens to be a post-natal mother. She is now going to be asking you questions, and you are going to give her your best advice.

You can demonstrate exercises she can do in the gym and advise her on the dos and don’ts of post-natal exercise.

After a few weeks pass and one day Jessica approaches you and asks you to be her coach. You have just landed your very first ideal client.

You listen with intent to all of Jessica’s problems. This gives you avenues to research and you figure out ways to solve her problems. It also gives you content for your social media.

The problems Jessica is facing, many other women will be experiencing the exact same problems. And here you are showing them you know how to solve them.

8-weeks pass, and Jessica is in the best shape, physically and mentally in her entire life. You have put your heart and soul into helping her and it’s paid off.

Jessica is ecstatic and can’t thank you enough. So, you ask her for a testimonial. She gives you a glowing testimonial and out of this you gain another two clients, just like Jessica.

The power of testimonials multiplies. By getting one amazing testimonial you will gain, on average, two more clients. Social proof is your best method for selling your services.

If we assume one testimonial will generate an additional two clients, then producing even better results with your two new clients will generate four more clients.

Four turns to eight and now you are building momentum. All-in-all you have coached seven clients, got results and now have eight on the books.

You become the busiest PT in the gym, and you become known for what you do. And all because you had a strategy. You didn’t go all-in guns blazing trying to work with anyone who showed interest. Instead, you were purposeful and patient.

Everyone in the gym now knows what you do and who you work with. New member Steve comes through the door. You’re the first to welcome him,

“Hi Steve, my name is …. I’m a coach here and I help post-natal women regain their body confidence and strength without feeling nervous about exercising again”

Steve: “That’s amazing, my wife gave birth to our first son only 6-weeks ago. She is desperate to get back into shape . I’ve tried getting her to come to the gym with me but she’s too nervous. Can I book her to speak with you?”

Thank you for reading and I hope you found this helpful.

As always,

Don’t be afraid to think differently & Never give up on your dreams

Keir

P.S.

If you want more insights like this, download my guide

The 5 Reasons You Don’t Have Enough Clients In Your Personal Training Business & How To Fix It Fast

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Keir Wotherspoon

Top Writer in Health | Performance Consultant & Writer • Defeat Burnout & Win Back 10-15hrs per week >>> www.keirwotherspoon.me