Home How To Sell Personal Training My Sales Lessons From A Day At The Races.

My Sales Lessons From A Day At The Races.

I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.
– Socrates

When searching for tactics on how to increase your Personal Trainer Sales – a great lesson is learned through gambling and perception.

My day at Derby Day 2012 made me discover the secrets to overflowing Personal Trainer Sales…

Being the non-smoker, non-drinker and non-gambler in the group made the day ever more exciting.

We arrived through the gates just before race 3.  Prime time.  Crowd peaking.  Drunk women to my right.  Guys trying to look cool with beer on my left…

… “damn, I’m starving John.  Let’s eat something.”

“Yeah, you go.  I’m cool for now.  I had a huge breakfast – maybe later.”

“O.K. John.  Since you’re not eating, gambling, smoking or drinking… at least hold my paper.  Fold it up, put it under your arm and at least look like a bettin’ man”

As they were ordering food – I flipped open the paper and glowed upon the horses and racing schedules.  I quickly familiarised myself with the jockeys, trainers, the horses names, the ‘expert’ predications and race times.  In 7 minutes – I truly felt like a Derby Day bettin’ man.

I said to myself – ‘how hard can this horse stuff be?’

My group loves betting big on each race.  It was gonna be a whole day event.  I had plans on meeting new people, attending the events and exploring the wonders Flemington had in store for me…

… but another part of me was willing to take the risk and synthetically test my odds.

So there we were getting ready for race 3.  Amongst our group is whom they call the ‘Trifecta Perfecta’ (by that I mean he might win 1 in 20) And the other –Quinella Cinderella (in the beginning the odds are always against him – but in the end, he usually wins).  The other 3 guys were just there for the ride.

Tap – tap.  I look over my shoulder…

… and I see this big dude staring at me hugging a rose across his chest.  “hey buddy… – you got a light?”

“hold on a sec…”

… I turned to my 5 already smoking mates and got a lighter for this guy (why he approached me – the only person who was not smoking and asked for a lighter… I still don’t know…)

“So have you picked a winner yet…?”

“No… by the way – who’s the rose for?” I asked.

“It’s for that special someone I’m hoping to find today.”  He continued… “I’ve so far lost 1500 bucks.  I’ve lost my mates… but it doesn’t matter.  That gives me a chance to meet new people and hopefully give this rose to someone”

We spent 3 minutes talking about horses, jockeys and predictions.  This guy’s been in the game for years.  I’ve been in it for 7 minutes – and I can already speak his language.

How many times have you asked a prospect about taking up Personal Training… and they blurt things like –

“I need to do it on my own first and if I need you, I’ll call you”


“I need to get a little more fit before I hire a Personal Trainer”   

Most starting trainers I consult with receive these responses all the time.  And in the need of increasing Personal Trainer sales – trainers ask me… “so John, what do I say next…?”

First, you must understand their underlying response.  When prospects are saying things like “I need to do it on my own first,” or I need to be more fit – or anything where they feel like having to qualify for you – you know it’s a self-confidence issue.

Your response: From our short time together Jane, I feel like we can work well as one.  I sense you have great potential within you and with the right guidance – we can truly unlock fast transformations and get you down to a size 10 in no time and you can further experience summer like you deserve (or whatever goal they came to you with).  So why don’t we work within your limits and give it a try for a month while monitoring your progress each week.

The lesson: Once prospects know they are not going to be left on their own and you sincerely care for their well-being and results and will do anything in helping them reach their goal without judgement – they’re going to sign up.  It’s that simple.  Trust goes a long way.

The guy with the rose.

We were in rapport.  Why? – Because we were talking about a common interest.  There was a sense of togetherness for those short moments.  He believed I was some sort of bettin’ man because he saw me walking around with a folded newspaper under my arm.  Or perhaps had an eye on me walking around the bookies looking at different odds.  Or maybe it’s because I didn’t move from that betting section all day and yellin’ at every race on the big screen.

That’s why in your response, it’s important to include words like “we” “our” “together” so your clients feel like you’re a team who’ll constantly provide support along their journey.  There are so many greedy ‘give me your money and piss off’ trainers out there which have given the industry a bad name.

Be different.

When it comes to Personal Trainer sales, It’s not just about building rapport.  Perception has its place too.

I don’t know anything about horses other than those few minutes I read while waiting for everyone to order hot chips, sauce and mayonnaise.

That’s why as a trainer (especially when it comes to Personal Trainer sales), it’s never a good idea to mention that you’re ‘just starting off’ or you ‘just finished’ your course or any indication of inexperience.  They don’t need to know.

Sometimes trainers can’t hide it.  They give away their status by being ‘themselves.’  They bitch and moan, gossip and socialise with the other pt’s in their work environment.  They get sucked into the negativity of their surroundings and look silly at the same time.  Members aren’t stupid.  They can easily spot those who are professionals and those who don’t give a crap.

Be different.  Be the person walking around with work in your hand.  Carry a clipboard, look over and pre-plan your clients next session.  Be seen working things out.  Be full of activity.  Look busy.  Create a list of who to call next.  Write down your goals.  Jot down your daily discoveries…

… and when members see you, they won’t come up to you and talk about what their kids are doing, why their footy team is the best, what their boss did to them or what their wife said last night.  They’ll appreciate and respect you and instead will bother somebody else.

In their eyes, you’re the expert.  And in your mind – you know you’re the authority.

That rose guy perceived me as the expert.  I had enough material to last 4 minutes of conversation.  And just before he left, he asked for my prediction on the Derby Day main race.  I told him…  “I don’t know who’ll win, but I can virtually guarantee fiveandahalfstar will place.  The odds are 11 to 1 – so it pays well.”

“Why do you choose that horse?” – he asked

I went on… “Well… Damien Oliver has been in virtually every race so far today.  And he’s been placing at best.  He’s been saving his energy for the main race – and I know he’ll give it his all.  Because of his current allegations and the media being all over him – it’s making him extra hungry for the win.  That’s why it’s safe to bet on him placing”

I continued… “Plus, fiveandahalfstar is a creative name… so whoever named that horse must treat it well and have an open mind.  I always support open-mindedness.”

He took my advice and bet $70.  And did 4 others in my group.

That damn horse didn’t place… he bloody won!

Each person got paid out more than $800.  All I get are bragging rights 🙂

I have known a few trainers who were not experts.  Who never knew what they were doing (and you can see it) who are half-ass sit-down trainers (you know those pt’s who train their clients whilst sitting down looking at everybody else, the floor, their shoes… but never their clients) who have no technique whatsoever and really seem like they don’t give a crap…

… Anyway – these few got lucky with at least 1 highly motivated client in their career – who received great results and shot them into overnight superstardom.

People don’t observe or notice the pt’s poor consistency with their other clients.  They just see that ‘one’ client who was already self-motivated and disciplined to follow-through and happened to have great genetics.

On Saturday, I picked that 1 horse in which I had a good feeling for.  He won the race.  Experts were saying one thing.  I said the opposite.  But for the other races… I was wrong.  I had no consistency.  But those observing me for the first time… and speaking to me just before the main race – I was the ‘charm.’

In the long term – with my current knowledge on horses, I wouldn’t last long.  I have no knowledge or foundations for horse racing.

Without Foundations, Your Personal Trainer Sales and PT Business Slowly Fades Away…

3 out of the 4 over-night superstardom trainers have all quit Personal Training.  They failed to discover the secret source.  2 quit last year and the other – I found out quit a few months back.  The fourth one is on her way out.  They were marked for death from the start and they didn’t even know it.

Strong foundations are built with time, patience and discipline.  If you believe Personal Training is an ‘easy’ money job – think again.  Luck runs out.  It always does.  Consistency is ONLY as good as the foundations you’ve built.

Far too many trainers are spending money on learning new exercises and skill.  Hardly any importance is built around their business structure and strategies.  They hit a certain level – and stay there.  The floor beneath them crumbles with just the thought of expanding.  They spend thousands of dollars in learning how to use the latest gadgets and overcome exercise plateaus for their clients… but once their career hits the wall -the only way out is in committing career suicide and live with failure.

“Example isn’t another way to teach, it is the only way to teach”
– Albert Einstein

Once you firmly have your establishment in place, then you can dedicate your time and money in learning new skill and technique.  In combination, your delivery is better received and you’ll have a reputation no-one else will ever reach.  You are the one with Master Level Savvy.  No one else.

Safeguard your Personal Training business now by educating yourself and build the foundations that’ll support your career for many years to come… and when you do expand and reach the next level – you can do so easily without the fear of collapse.

You won’t be ignored.  That I guarantee.

Dedicated To Accelerating Your Personal Training Business Every Step Of The Way…
John Toumpakke

P.S. Clear skies and a crowd of 98,823.  There were many winners… but in every which way you turned – you saw losers.  The wonders of Derby Day 2012.

P.S. Your comments are always welcome 🙂

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John Toumpakke for years has been helping Personal Trainers build marketing systems and business positioning strategies - turning regular PT's into gurus of their industry. His brand PT Power Club is known as the provider for advanced Niche marketing solutions for Personal Trainers and has developed new and unique systems helping trainers find and develop their own fitness niche. He coaches and trains a tightly, successful bound community of trainers teaching them how to stand out and dominate their competition through his powerful positioning strategies. PT Power Club’s goal is to teach and coach Personal Trainers across Australia on how to truly find their unique status within their community and eliminate all competition.


  1. Hi John,

    Thanks for another great post!

    You see too many people these days spending money on the latest gadgets and not on their business structure and strategies. I guess they just want what’s easy.

    P.S I hope that guy found that special someone!

    • You hit it right on Michael!

      I see it all the time – and perhaps you do to.

      Those who spend money and time – in other words, INVEST in their business structure and foundations are the most successful – and the most happiest 🙂

      The system never fails. On the other hand, folks not bothering with the boring hard stuff overcompensate by OVER spending their time and money on skill and techniques… and invariably – are trapped doing so for the rest of their lives.

      P.S. Yeah… I hope he did to. That rose was probably the most valuable thing he had going for him 🙂

      Thanks for your post Michael

      • Gambling and perception for PT sales! That’s another way of looking at it they won’t teach you at these silly fitness schools.

  2. Amazing Story John 🙂

    Some can call it luck. You had such a great time. When there’s a horse race on – i’ll call you.


    Anyway… I like the idea of not looking like the ‘rest’ of the PT’s. Walking with work in your hand is the best piece of advice for any starting PT. That’s what I did. You can just sense how well it worked.

    Another great post !

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