Five ways to increase your personal training business

If you are starting out or if you are recovering due to the impact of COVID, building your client base is going to be one of the most important indicators of success. The personal training industry has changed so much over the past decade and while there were far more personal trainers than ever before pre-COVID, there has been a sharp decline in numbers, especially in states like Victoria. The good news for the industry is the likelihood that it will bounce back over the next few years, and that means you will have more competition than ever for clients.

While it is impossible to build your business overnight, we have put together five solid strategies to increase your client base and set you up for business success.

1. Retain existing clients

It is so much easier to keep your current clients rather than win new ones but in the personal training world, there can be some specific strategies you need to employ in order to retain your client base.

Goal setting

Setting goals for your clients is a critical part of the training agreement between you and your client. Not only is it important for your client to feel confident you are helping them to maximise their health and fitness, but they also need to know how they are progressing so they are cognizant of the positive changes. And importantly, you need to help them celebrate milestones along the way. Let’s face it, getting up early in the morning to work out is not always easy, especially in the colder months, but if they have SMART goals in mind (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound), it will make the early alarm much easier to deal with.

Providing positive feedback

While setting goals is important, you need to be encouraging them along the way. Not every session is going to be amazing, but if you are a constant source of inspiration and you provide constructive feedback about their efforts, you and your clients are going to have a much stronger relationship.

Tailor your approach

All clients are different and each will benefit from a different approach. While some clients are happier for you to be tough on them each session, some clients will react better to a softer approach to their training. Importantly, you need to tailor their program, and your approach, to best suit their needs. We recommend you discover their preference very early on and keep adjusting as you go and their mindset changes.

2. Upsell to existing clients

While you may start out with fewer sessions with a client, as things work out and they are seeing the positive benefits of training with you, you may be able to increase their workouts each week. Let’s face it, the more sessions they have with you each week means the faster they are likely to see positive changes to their health and fitness, so encouraging more sessions can be a win-win. The other part of upselling is offering additional services like nutritional guidance or any other area in which you may have skills and qualifications. You don’t want to be giving them a hard sell each week, but if you see areas of opportunity, there is nothing wrong with offering compatible services.

3. Encourage referrals

If you have happy clients, they can be like your own frontline sales team, so encourage them to tell their friends about you. Like in any sales position, you need to ask for the client’s business and likewise, with your clients, you need to ask them to refer their friends to you. You may even offer a discount on services if they refer someone to you. That makes it a win-win and provides a greater incentive to your clients to stick with you and help you to grow your client base.

4. Determine your ideal client

Only you will know who your ideal client is and usually, that is the kind of client who works to your strengths and fits within your schedule. You may want clients who all live in a close geographic region to reduce your travel time and fit more clients in your day. You may want to target the corporate market so you can offer services to larger companies that provide health and fitness programs to their employees, as a way of incentivising staff. Another segment is the older fitness client who has more free time during office hours so you can utilise the hours when it’s harder to schedule clients. Whatever segment you go after, it’s a good idea to specialise, and that way you are more likely to get referrals and build your reputation as a quality provider.

5. Target your ideal client

So once you have determined your ideal client, you then need to target them when you are building your business. There are loads of cost-effective tools to promote your services through social media platforms. When you are posting content on your pages, make sure you talk about the kind of client who is your ideal client and talk about how you have helped them. Always ask your clients if they mind being part of your posts, but if you provide the right kind of content (and a flattering photo or video of them working out) they might be happy to be involved.

There are paid promotions you can use and if you have skills in social media, you may not need to spend a lot to promote your page or your post. If you don’t have social media skills and you aren’t having any luck with your posts attracting new clients, it is a good idea to talk to a professional as they can definitely help you to increase your reach and start building your business to be as successful as possible. Most businesses need to spend some money on marketing and you have to choose what is going to give you the best bang for your buck.

For more information on managing clients or growing your personal training business see the Scheduliser app.


Scheduliser helps you manage your PT clients in an easy-to-use platform with unlimited client capacity, auto appointment reminders, and cancelation notices, and in-built business insights to help you increase your return, grow your business and save valuable time and money.