Home Personal Training Business Foundations How To Make Clients See You as a Need Instead of A...

How To Make Clients See You as a Need Instead of A Luxury.

“That does it,” said Jace. “I’m going to get you a dictionary for Christmas this year.”
“Why?” Isabelle said.
“So you can look up ‘fun.’ I’m not sure you know what it means.”
– Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

When it comes to your Personal Training Business – one of the biggest questions I get is in regards to Client Retention and keeping clients happy.

Questions like…

 “I signed up this new client.  He was excited and all… but he doesn’t rock-up to his sessions… cancels all the time, he never calls and then suddenly stopped coming.   I’ve only had him for 4 weeks.  What do I do…?”

Sometimes you get clients who don’t have any idea how important your time is.  Or maybe they were excited about training with you…then realised it wasn’t up to their expectations or perhaps had a different idea of what ‘Personal Training’ was all about.

Other reasons may include:

  •        They may find sessions boring
  •        Sessions are too hard…or not hard enough
  •        They perhaps feel too sore after their sessions…or not sore enough
  •        They perhaps believe they can do it on their own
  •        They maybe don’t see training as a necessity and their trainer is usually the first person to cross off their list when things go bad (i.e. money problems)
  •        They might of found a cheaper trainer and cannot justify paying their currents trainer’s rate

I mean, the reasons are endless!

To fix this problem, one of the fundamental’s I teach is that people don’t buy ‘Personal Training’  They buy experiences.  They buy Excitement.  The Escape.  The FUN…

In other words…all the emotional stuff they can’t get on their own. 

You have to ask yourself…

What are the reasons your clients are seeing you that they can’t get on their own? 

What do you give your clients that no other trainer can give?

What makes you so unique that they can’t live without?

These are questions you probably have to answer yourself.  But as a hint…every client is different and have different needs.

Here are a few examples:

What do you give your clients that no other trainer can give?

Could it be your specialist knowledge?  If you have a male client who is coming to your for weight loss and you have a great track record with male weight loss… then that’s something that separates you from other trainers. 

It becomes a privilege for your clients to be with you.  He regards you as a necessity.  He chose you because he needs it.

Also, one of the biggest reasons I have found that works well with client retention is educating your clients. 

I was at one of my clients BBQ’s a few weeks ago and I asked why he continues to be with me after 4 years.  His response:

“Jonny, the only reason I’m with you is because of knowledge.  You educate me at each session and that’s the only reason I’m with you.”  … he continued… “and plus…you give me great results”

I mean, it makes sense…  He is always interested in what I’ve got set up for him each week.  One habit I always had is to explain to my clients WHY I’m doing what I’m doing… The WHY always includes the BENEFIT to the reasons they are seeing me.

Here’s an example of something I’ll say when I’m setting up something new…

In the last 4 weeks, we’ve been focusing on general cardio and weight training to prime your body for what is yet to come… For the next 2 weeks we’re gonna be focusing on high-intensity kettlebell training.  We’re going to involve every muscle in your body and shock your metabolism into new grounds.  As a result, you’ll experience a huge energy burst throughout the day, as well BIG changes to your metabolism.  Fat loss will be much faster and your fitness will skyrocket to brand new levels.  Not only that… you’ll be burning fat while you sleep!…

…and after these 2 weeks of kettlebell training, we’re gonna shift gears in your training so your metabolism doesn’t fall asleep… so you’ll continue losing fat even faster – non-stop”

As you can see in the example above, everything I have mentioned relates to my clients benefit…which is to lose fat and keep losing it.  Most fat loss clients have one fear… and that is the fear of putting weight back on.  So losing fat and keeping it off is important to them.

Also, it keeps them excited about their ‘reason’ for coming and seeing you.  You have a structured workout set out for them… something they can’t get on their own.  In other words, you have specialist knowledge they are happy to be paying for.

Most trainers I see just come up with workouts on the spot.  They don’t bother writing anything down and don’t show much enthusiasm when training their clients.  They then wonder why their Personal Training business is a constant struggle…

That leads us to the next question…

What makes you so unique that they can’t live without?

What is it about YOU that clients find attractive…?  Perhaps it could be your personality, your enthusiasm…you passion… or maybe it’s your caring nature.

Out of the blue, a few of my clients have told me…

“you know what John, every time I see you, you always have a welcoming smile.  I could be having a bad day but I know when I come and see you, I feel better”

We are all human and at times, us trainers can also be having ‘bad’ days.  The best thing is to hide it.  We are here for our clients.  They are paying us for a good time.  We must always be two steps ahead of them. 

Even if you show a little negative emotion, they sense it a mile away.  And that could be the single biggest factor that ruins their time with you.

They ‘expect’ you as their trainer to always be positive and upbeat.  If you have to fake it, then so be it. 

Your personality largely defines you uniqueness.  But you can extend your rareness through little experiences no other trainer offers.  Things such as:

  •        Sending your clients articles of interest
  •        Calling them every once in a while to check up on things and the freedom to ask you questions
  •        Follow-up on pieces of information you had given them
  •        Taking note of the little things they mention and then later asking them about it (e.g. Kids birthdays, holidays, events they had gone to, etc.)

It’s always the little things that count. 

I have this friend who remembers the littlest things I say to her.  Even things I forgot I had mentioned, she asks me about.  In January I briefly mentioned I went to this seminar and met this interesting guy who was going oversees and coming back mid April.  We haven’t talked about it since… and just last week she asked me about him.  She recalled everything I said in detail!  I had totally forgot…knowing that you’re being heard is a powerful thing!

The same goes for your clients. 

Very few people recall what they say. 

Be different.  Stand out and offer your clients experiences they are not likely to get anywhere else.

Most people mention giving your clients ‘value’ but fail to describe what kind of value.  If you give your clients a bunch of stuff they’re not interested in…yeah, you’re giving them valuable things…but stuff that has no value to them.

Sometimes the most valuable thing is to just feel like someone out there is listening to you.  Most likely they’ll forget what you said…but the feeling stays.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 
–  Maya Angelou

One so called ‘PT guru’ once told us that he outright tells his clients to not exercise on their own.  He scares them by saying… “You better not exercises on your own…you’ll injure yourself”

Or “don’t do any exercises without me, you could get injured and that’ll set us back and we won’t achieve any results”

He backed it up by saying… “if clients find out they don’t need us, we’ll be out of business”

How stupid is that!

He puts a box around his clients, and thinks that’s a good thing…?

Come on!

And it happens more times than you think.  I scoff at these trainers.

As an observer, I have seen time and time again… these are the trainers who have high turn-over clients. 

All the clients I have had and all the trainers I have taught throughout the years, I can say one thing with confidence… The more you teach your clients, the more they want to learn from you…And best of all… They’ll find reasons to stay with you.

You won’t be the first thing off the list to go when things go bad.  They’ll see you as a need and will always see you that way.

In the rare occasion where trainers believe they’ve learnt so much from you, that they don’t need you no more… they’ll leave happy.  Of course, only good things can be said about you.   And in more cases than not, they’ll act as your personal sales person… and refer everyone they come across! 

Forget about worrying clients leaving you…  You’ll be making more money… and at the same time you’ll receive more testimonials.  In addition, you’ll never have to search cold leads again… In this way, you’ll land top clients you’ll love working with!

In other words, you create an invisible client attraction force working solely for…you!

You must come from an abundance mentality…A scarce mentality only sets you up for failure. 

Manifest abundance and you’ll be rewarded.

As a trainer, the clients you’ll always remember are the ones whose lives you’ve changed the most.  The clients which you’ve caused the biggest positive impact.  The biggest change.  They are your BIGGEST rewards.   

This is an essential ingredient to super success.

There is nothing greater having a whole fitness centre talking about how great of a trainer you are… from this alone, you can live off referrals…never having to search cold leads – taking the pressure of ‘proving’ yourself to clients…eliminating free ‘trial’ sessions and dealing with clients you don’t want to deal with.

Because you are liked more, you can easily charge more.

Moreover, your clients are more likely to listen to you and achieve results faster – further adding credibility to your name.

Because most trainers out there are afraid to ‘teach’ their clients too much… it’s your duty to be different.  Be the one who stands out and give your clients the value they deserve.

Be a teacher.  A motivator.  Give the right value.  Structure your workouts and explain the benefits…and best of all… BE Different!

Dedicated In Accelerating Your PT Success Every Step Of The Way…

John Toumpakke

For some more killer Personal Training Client Retention Strategies – click here… 

Previous articleHere’s an Easy Weight Loss Trick To Try With Your Clients
Next articleHow To Handle Your Late Personal Training Clients
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. Another excellent post John. Great Quote… Be a teacher. A motivator. Give the right value. Structure your workouts and explain the benefits…and best of all… BE Different!” Great stuff.

  2. This boosted my self-confidence when i speak to my leads. To come to think of it, I am a need and my clients need me.Interested to see how my sales will improve.

Comments are closed.