How to Get More Personal Training Clients

Getting more personal training clients is all about consistency and creativity. It is quite different than getting certified as a trainer but there is a similar step-by-step process you can follow to get to your goal. You start from the inside with your current clientele, work your way out into the community, and supplement with the internet.

Having the drive to get more clients is the foundation for finding people to train with you. Why do you want more clients? Most personal trainers give these two reasons, “I want to help people” and “I want to make money”. If you can dig deeper than that and get to the core of your desire it will help fuel your fire when you get tired of marketing yourself.

The deeper reasoning might be tied to a specific financial goal or personal reason for helping people – such as your own fitness journey story or that of a loved one.

Beyond this, it’s all found in a days work. Here is the path toward getting more clients and earning more income.

Captivate Your Current Clients

Every mentor I have ever had has told me that the best kind of marketing is word of mouth. You have to do an excellent job to get and keep personal training clients on your schedule. If you want your clients to talk about you after they leave the gym you need to exceed your client’s expectations.

Referrals are the best type of business builders. Cathleen Kronemer says, “Some are referred by the physical therapist who has an office in our gym. Others come to me having heard about me from friends who have had success working with me. Our gym posts photos of all the trainers with brief bio’s. Many people look at those as they decide on a trainer. Also, I am a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and my pic is on the Hall of Fame Wall. That brings people to me, too.”

Enhance your credibility with current clients by writing, speaking, teaching, or mentoring other personal trainers – clients like to know they are working with the best of the best. I allowed college students to attend my sessions and observe (with permission from my client ahead of time). A few of my clients mentioned how proud they were to work with me for that reason and because I was teaching in the field.

Plant a seed with your current clients that you are looking for a few more people to fill spots in your schedule. Ask if they know anyone looking for fitness guidance. Tell your clients you will provide a free consult or that a friend could come in and try a buddy session if that’s comfortable. You could also offer an incentive to get friends to try a sample workout. It might feel awkward to ask, but it works – especially if you are doing an awesome job and getting results.

Debrae Barensfeld the owner of Nitroforce Performance Studio in Medina, OH says, “Since all of my business is referral, I would have to say in my email blasts, I offer extra free classes if they buy the Frequent User Card and I offer Bring a Friend & get a FREE Class! Also, all of the clients get results so regular measuring & assessments mean a lot.  Women LOVE a specialty class like BUTTS & GUTS, etc. I also send out informative health & fitness articles to my clients to read.”

Susan Finley of TrainSmarter in Birmingham, AL says, “I went through a period a year ago when I was trying paid Facebook ads, referral contests, promotions and spent a lot of money generally in an effort to make up the clients we lost when 2 trainers left and opened up 3 miles away. It was a huge bust and I was SO frustrated and discouraged. (though not desperate enough to engage in weight loss competitions, which I abhor!)
“Then I started following Jon Goodman’s advice—focus on making your current clients’ experience top notch. Deliver quality content. Get out and meet people—Jon says to introduce yourself to 5 new people every day. I started posting videos designed to address peoples’ problem issues, like plantar fasciitis and teaching the implications of walking “duck footed,” and continue to grow our YouTube channel. I’m hoping to increase our “hybrid training” through a local large insurance company that has a fantastic facility but lousy options for training. And I continue to reach out to people who have been in but aren’t currently working with us.”
“A big strategy was focusing on us and what we do best, blocking out what other facilities are offering. Also, we now have the best coaching staff we’ve ever had, one that works together beautifully and respects and genuinely likes each other. So this year, things are completely different. Our atmosphere is fun and engaging–and our last 2 weeks beat the same 2 weeks of the last 4 years! AND we have already gotten 6 new clients in the first 2 weeks of May.”

Connect With Your Community

Spread the word beyond your gym walls and into the people around you and your business. You should be networking weekly – with potential clients, with other fitness professionals and with influencers like doctors, physical therapists, hair stylists, health cafe owners, etc. Invite people to tea or coffee, an educational event, or for a free workout. Apply the same principles you use to make friends and the referrals will come later.

To network effectively you need business cards that sell your business well and you need to know how to use them. A business card tells people you take your career seriously. The design on the card gives them a taste of your personality. Sharing your business card with others is only half the equation.

Make sure you get one in return, or some type of contact information so you can follow up. Make sure and follow up and build the relationship in any way that you can.

Having a website is an online version of your business card. It’s a smart idea in today’s world – but doesn’t have to be complex. A simple site with your biography and professional photos can help people see what you are all about before they make a commitment. It also makes it easier for the people you network with to spread the word.

Supplement With Social Media

Whether you are using social media for business, pleasure or both – it’s important that you are authentic but professional. How you spend your time online can make or break your success with marketing your services – even if you aren’t trying to sell yourself on social media. Especially if you are connected to your clients or colleagues online, be mindful of what you post.

If you want to use social media intentionally to sell yourself, consistency is key. Study your social media platforms of choice the same way you did to pass your personal training exam. Ideally, you start with one (just like your cert) social media network, master it and then add a second channel. Here are specific strategies for Facebook and Instagram that work well for personal trainers.

Mike Kneuer, an NFPT Certified Personal Trainer in Boca Raton, FL and creator of says, “My biggest driver of new clients has been my Instagram @WhatMikeEats. I’ve been posting all my meals, fitness tips, workout videos, and funny fitness related memes consistently for over 5 years. People like to be educated and entertained and by providing that type of content day in and day out for years you become familiar and trusted and when one of your social media friends decides its time to hire a trainer I’m usually the first that comes to mind because they see me every single day.”

Getting more clients isn’t rocket science, but it does take hard work – just like lifting weights and committing to cardio. Put some of these strategies into your planner, calendar or to-do list each week and keep an open mind. If you are planting seeds consistently you will eventually see the fruits of your labor sprout in more business.

Check out this Get More Clients Three Week Challenge with 15 specific action items to get you toward your goal.



Beverly Hosford, MA teaches anatomy and body awareness using a skeleton named Andy, balloons, play-doh, ribbons, guided visualizations, and corrective exercises. She is an instructor, author, and a business coach for fitness professionals. Learn how to help your clients sleep better with in Bev's NFPT Sleep Coach Program and dive deeper into anatomy in her NFPT Fundamentals of Anatomy Course.
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