The ramping-up process for a personal trainer is difficult. It’s downright scary to be honest. Let me start by saying I strongly dislike the process, I don't know anybody that likes it; it's a damn grind, it’s uncomfortable; there's no way around it. It takes time, persistence and patience to get the client load that supports you. It's a process full of fear and doubt, not very fun at all. That being said, I've learned to embrace the process...somewhat.
When I first moved to SF from the east coast in 2013 I was just leaving a career in commercial real estate so for me personal training was a complete shift in careers. I got really lucky to get my first job at a brand new Equinox in SF; the ramp-up process happened pretty quickly as a lot of the members were really excited to start training. Although it was relatively easy and the leads were provided all the things I mentioned before were there; the fear, the doubt; the struggle was still very real.
When I went independent a couple years later some of my clients followed me, some didn't. This meant I had to go through the ramp-up process again, this time without a member base to pull leads/clients from. The fear, the doubt, the struggle were magnified times one hundred!
The best lesson I learned about the process is that you can "sell" your ass off and if the potential client isn't ready, or doesn't see the value, there is really nothing you can do to get them signed up, I tried that, it didn't work for me at all. SO, I changed my strategy. I presented myself and my services as an open door, no pressure at all to sign now or ever. I just let the prospective client know that if and when they are ready, send me an email or give me a call. I also gave them "in the meantime" access to me and my knowledge. Meaning if they had any questions about fitness or nutrition to text or email. Once I took this approach I felt more comfortable talking with the client, not having to worry about "the sale" at the end of the assessment or consultation. In most relationships the more relaxed you can be the better rhythm you will have in that relationship, the same is true for the trainer-client dynamic. This strategy proved much more successful for me and it made the ramp-up much less stressful and more successful.
The grind, though, is still there. It’s just not a sell, sell, sell grind...really. The reality is that we’re all selling ourselves (our services and our knowledge) all the time. Whether it’s on social media or talking with friends, family or randoms. I’ve found the best thing to do is to put yourself out there, get your name out there, get your brand out there and the people will come. It will build trust and rapport before you even really interact with your clients.
Most importantly let go of the result of a "sale" and just worry about being a good trainer. This, above all else, will go the farthest in getting not only clients, but the clients you want.