The Ideal Personal Trainer Intake Process

Mar 2, 2017 - 6 min read
Personal trainers working at desk - Virtuagym

You don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. And especially in the fitness industry, the first impression decides whether prospects will choose you as their trainer. The good news: as a trainer, you have more than the first few seconds to make a good impression. You have the whole  intake process  to convince a prospect of the quality of your services. Consequently, the intake process is of major importance if it comes to establishing an efficient fitness business.

The intake can take place in different forms: on the phone, online or in person. The more personal, the better. Good intake processes include an overall assessment with a proper intake form, an introduction to the facilities, a first consultation, and further future plans. Let’s dive into this step by step.

A Nice Welcome

Highly under-rated and often not taken care of, the welcome. If you do it right, you can create a relationship at first glance. Greeting first-timers with a smile, a firm handshake, and eye contact will build up a sympathetic impression. When prospects feel welcome from the first moment, they are much more likely to take the next step with you.

And let’s be real, you should of course practice what you preach. If you appear healthy, fit and balanced, prospects will understand that you know how to help them. And that’s half the battle. Now you can give the newcomer a quick tour through the facilities and introduce them to the philosophy of your business. First base cleared.

Determine Goals

Once you’ve built up a comfortable conversation with your future clients, you can sit down and talk about their needs. Offer them a glass of water, coffee or tea, and get started. Don’t just work down a checklist, but turn it into an activity. Create an atmosphere in which the prospect gets enthusiastic about his/her goals. Build rapport and gather all necessary information. At the same time, educate the client while formulating their goals in a professional way.  Motivational interviewing is one way to get there.

Always keep the focus on the client and try talking about yourself as little as possible. Cover your client’s experience, their achievements, and find out where and with whom they trained before. Plus, create an understanding of their expectations. Want to build up trust from the very beginning? Ask them why they came to visit you – that way you build up a more honest relationship from day one.


Need the right form for your intake process? Download our free intake form and use, copy or adapt it for your fitness business! Click here to download

Assess Your Prospect

You’ll want to know more about your client than just their goals and fitness experience. To properly assess who you’ve got in front of you, you also need to know about their lifestyle. What are they interested in? What are their favorite spots in the city? Which hobbies make them happy? These questions don’t only help you to appear more professional and experienced, but also help you to get an insight into their current fitness level and what impact their lifestyle has.

With your intake form, you can easily go through all the important information you need (if you do not have your own one,  download our free copy ). An overview of their everyday life, their health, and their nutritional behavior will give you a good understanding of what type of training program you need to set up to make those soon-to-be-clients happy. Plus, it makes for a talking point when you contact them again. If you consider it necessary, you can already start with a first body assessment at this stage, though this depends on the prospect’s individual situation.

Present Results, Address Objections

Once you build up an understanding of the client and discuss their goals and needs, it’s time for you to shine. They already made the first step with the decision to come and see you (or fill out your online form). Now it’s your turn to emphasize them in a subtle way that this decision was right. And what convinces people more than results? Let your past achievements speak for you, and present what people can reach when training with you. While you are on your best behavior, create an honest and realistic understanding of what is possible when clients work with you.

Be careful not to sell packages to your clients. Nobody who goes to a personal trainer wants to hear a sales pitch. People want to see what’s in it for them. Use a selected range of existing testimonials to illustrate your skills. Give a detailed but understandable insight into what earlier clients achieved with you. Also, don’t be afraid to cope with objections. Your prospects will have certain concerns and it is only fair to mention them. Discuss time scarcity and financial aspects, but always approach it with a solution.  Management software for Personal Trainers can help you with this.

Close the Deal

The golden rule says that a price isn’t mentioned until the client is convinced. And you should try to stick to that. Once you present your price range, show your flexibility and align it to the wishes and needs of your prospects by presenting a solution that suits to assessed with the intake form.

When presenting your pricing, try offering at least 3 options: a budget, a mid-range, and a luxury option. That way, you set two anchors for your clients that they will use as an orientation for what’s cheap and what’s expensive.  Research has shown  that price anchoring helps your sales grow. Usually, most people tend to decide for the mid-range option in this scenario as it seems to be the ideal compromise. If you only go with a budget and a mid-range option, people tend to perceive your mid-range deal as expensive and go with the budget option. On top of that, offering these three options also means that you have solutions for those with smaller wallets and those that want the special experience.

Here’s an example of what your price list could look like:

  • Trial subscription: 4 sessions in one month for $400
  • Results subscription: 25 sessions in six months and a monthly body assessment for $2,000
  • Transformation subscription: 50 sessions without time limitations, body assessments whenever needed, grocery shopping advice for $4,500


Nothing is as important to your business success as the intake process. The recipe to success is a smooth start, followed by a vivid conversation about fitness and lifestyle, combined with the right intake form, an overview of possible results and an honest and tailored discussion on pricing. The heart of this process –  the intake form – should suit and represent your business and should always be accessible – online or in printed form at your studio.


Need the right form for your intake process? Download our free intake form and use, copy or adapt it for your fitness business! Click here to download

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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!