How to Get New Personal Training Clients: 5 Steps to Acquire Your First 10 Clients

Nov 16, 2017 - 6 min read
gym clients

In the recent future, the number of personal trainers in the US is estimated to pass the 300k mark. A massive market, as well as quite some competition. To compete successfully, of course, quality service is essential. Yet, if you are not able to reach out to prospects properly, all that high-quality service is in vain. If you’ve been scratching your head trying to work out how to get new personal training clients,then look no further for 5 key steps to client success…

If you start off as a personal trainer, it’s just as important for you to promote yourself as it is to offer good personal training. The average personal trainer needs between 15 and 20 clients to run a business successfully. As a rule of thumb, the first ten clients are considered the magic number - once you got them, your business is up and running. So, be especially careful with your first ten acquisitions, and keep these five steps in mind in order to build up your base camp of clients.

1. Be Social

Especially when you are just starting off, social connections are your lifeblood. Networking, socializing, making contact is what you should focus on. What does this mean? Well, when you are about to start your business, you have to be where your prospects are.

Present yourself as a reliable, professional, well-educated and proactive trainer in public so that people around you can imagine you as their coach.

Introduce yourself. Offer complimentary introductory group sessions. Ask them to bring friends and show off your competencies. Those friends can bring company for the upcoming group training. Those who enjoy your free sessions get an invitation to an individual personal training session with you.

Another gimmick is something simple and old school: business cards. Carry them with you, especially when you are in the gym. When you see people struggling with exercises, help them out and introduce your services. Leave them happy and leave your card.

2. Be Local

No audience is as important for your personal training business as the community it is located in. Residents in the vicinity are the people who will talk about you and eventually are most likely to become your clients. Hence, focus on the people that are in your area. Get in touch with beauty salons nearby, visit doctors and physiotherapists and maybe even pay the main local bakeries and cafes regular visits. Other than that, find out where people like to be, whom they trust, and who the thought leaders are. All these establishments and individuals can function as your ambassadors.

Once you’ve found the right partners in crime or human billboards, offer them deals and work together. For example, create joint deals or mutual referrals with physiotherapists. Or train some local heroes and use photo footage to feed your social channels. Maximizing the impact on the people in your community means that you can maximize your chances of becoming a top suggestion.

3. Be Online

The fitness generation of #EatClean and #NoPainNoGain demands that you’re online. The fitness industry has been taking over Instagram, and Facebook is flooded by health and fitness enthusiasts from yoga enthusiasts to cross-fitters. When it comes to discovering how to get new personal training clients, social media is your best friend.

Use this to your advantage and utilize this relatively cheap and easy way to promote yourself. Create your own pages, trigger people’s interest and showcase your professionalism. Create content, comment and interact on other pages to create brand awareness.

Both Instagram and Facebook give you the possibility to create and maintain an engaged audience. On Instagram, you can focus on appearance, post results, and share motivational quotes. On Facebook, you can share more in-depth articles to start up a discussion, or publish training tips.

With a little bit of creativity, effort and time you will be able to attract the right people who may eventually turn into clients. And you can boost the loyalty of your existing clients with an active and engaging social presence. What’s very important when you have social media presence: regular updates, reactions on comments as well as fun and informing content.

4. Be Clear

No matter if they gained a few too many pounds during the festive season or want to get their beach body in shape for the next vacation: people are looking for results. In your communication, however, always be clear about what to expect.

Don’t make promises of instant transformations that you can’t deliver on. Do explain that with your expertise and assistance (and a bit of sweat and hard work), you will be able to help them reach their goals.

If they’re still in doubt, consider offering your prospects small snack-sized previews of your services. The aforementioned group lessons, for instance.

5. Be Picky

You might be wondering why, if you’ve been searching for how to get new personal training clients for a while, you should be picky. That’s relatable, yet the answer is quite simple: you’re building a business that’s based on your passion. It might happen that you just cannot offer the service that some potential client is looking for.

Or even worse, you will have clients that cause trouble. Therefore, analyze every prospect coming in before you make them your clients. Otherwise, you might waste time and skills on something that doesn’t fit your niche and expectations. Especially in the early stages of your business, you better avoid maneuvers like that.

If people don’t fit your philosophy, explain to them why you think other personal trainers would suit them better. That’s nothing but an honest and genuine gesture, most people will usually be grateful for. Even more so, they might even pay you back for your honesty and send you their friends who fit your philosophy better. Keep in mind that a healthy business naturally needs time to be set up, but if it’s set up it works smoothly. So, choose the first clients wisely, everything that comes after them will be built on the first magic ten.


These 5 steps are a simple, yet effective way of solving the issue of how to get new personal training clients. Plus, the first ten clients are the foundation of your business. That’s why you need to invest extra time and effort to make those quality clients. If you behave proactively, build up a positive reputation within your community, create and furnish a social media presence, clearly communicate your results and behave a little bit picky, this challenge can be tackled and you’ll be on your way to setting up a successful personal training business.

Already got some clients, but they need motivation? We’ve found 7 ways to increase client motivation easily .

Prepare for Success

Would you like more in-depth tips and information about what it takes to set up a personal training business that’s ready for success? Download our free ebook, The Essentials to Setting Up a Successful Personal Training Business today.

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Niklas Melcher

I'm the German of the Virtuagym Communications Team. I define happiness with football and East Asia as much as long nights out and wanderlust. And cold beer. After the workout, of course!