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How To Sell Your Fitness Services via Direct Messages Without Feeling Like A Sleaze

December 23, 2020
tim saye

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Whether you're an in-person coach using the power of social media to sell your face to face services, or you're a fully online coach, and online marketing is your primary source of leads, at some point, you're going to have to master sales. Specifically, chatting over direct messages and communicating with prospects in a way that feels ethical.

Step 1. Understand That "Sales" Isn't A Dirty Word

If you're looking to get started as a personal trainer, this may not be something you've experienced yet. Still, if you've worked in the fitness industry for any length of time, this guilt mindset around sales may have given you some headaches in the past.

Many personal trainers and online coaches start working with clients because they feel driven to help others with their health and fitness. This desire to help other people can sometimes feel incongruent with asking for money. So these well-intentioned coaches end up burning out or financially struggling because they can't reconcile being fairly paid for the work they do.

The reality is that any sale, whether that's in person or via direct messages on social media, is an essential component of providing that prospect with your solution to their problems. If people are engaged with your content, and you are in a position to help them, it's almost a moral obligation to sell them into your services - provided you can help them to get the results they want.

Step 2. Recognise The Purpose Of The DMs

The chat happening in the direct messages is to establish some rapport between you and the candidate. You aren't aiming to sell there and then. The purpose of messaging is to identify your potential clients' goal and figure out what problems are holding them back from achieving that goal. Once you've identified these "pain points" and why the goal is important to them, your next task is to ask yourself two crucial questions.

Step 3. Ask Yourself Two Important Questions

If you find yourself feeling like a sleaze when trying to sell people into your coaching programme, there are two critical questions that you can ask yourself to help provide some clarity.

Question 1: Can I help them?

This question is essential because taking money for a service that you are unable to provide is wrong. To answer this, you start by considering if the candidate fits your client persona - sometimes called the ideal client avatar.

If this person has a goal of adding 4 inches to their biceps and you work mostly with weight loss clients, think carefully. While you may have the skills to help them, if they have remarkably different needs from your other clients, accepting them into your programme may distract you from providing a high level of service to your existing clients.

Question 2: Can they afford me?

This question is vital because asking people to get into debt to work with you is questionable, and adding that level of financial stress to their lives can negatively impact their performance and results. However, don't make assumptions about people's finances based on what you see on social media. Let them decide that themselves.

Step 4. Send An Application Form

If the answer to question #1 is a confident YES and you want to take the conversation to the next level to find out if you're a good fit, you can invite your prospects to book a strategy call.

When you send a candidate the link to book a call with you, it could be a good idea to add a pre-qualifying question to the application form about how much they plan to invest into their fitness goal. That way, they understand this is a paid service that requires a financial investment, and you aren't wasting time on the phone speaking with people that have misunderstood your offer.

One way you can frame this is to work out how much your service costs daily or weekly, and make a comparison with something else they might readily buy. For example, a programme which costs £150-300 per month costs just £5-10 per day, and that's what someone might spend on a takeaway lunch. This is called price presentation and allows your prospect to make a comparison in their mind before investing.

Step 5. A Subtle Mindset Shift Before Your Next Call

When you're selling your personal training services, you're selling someone a solution to a problem that keeps them awake at night. Sometimes, they've lived with this problem for years, and it's making them unhappy enough that they've reached out to a professional. You are the expert that they think might be able to help them get rid of this problem at last. Consider this: if they could buy the result, without doing any of the work themselves at all, what would they pay for a guaranteed outcome?

You might try approaching the conversation from the perspective of you and the client versus the problem, rather than you trying to convince the client that you're a better trainer than everyone else. Consider that the client may have tried to fix this problem themselves many times in the past, and they're feeling overwhelmed and confused about what's important next. By providing your prospect with clarity, certainty and a plan of action, they'll leave that call sure that you're the right coach to help them to solve their problem and help them to get incredible results.

Step 6. Handle Objections And Accept Rejections

Let's clarify one thing: not everyone will be able to work with you. Some because they won't pass the two essential questions and that's exactly as it should be. You're providing your clients with life-changing, transformative results, and that's priceless. Others might not choose you for various reasons, and that's OK too.

When you face an objection, you can use motivational interviewing strategies to find out where that objection originates. Sometimes you may need to give your potential clients a little more time to make up their mind, and sometimes you need to accept that not everybody will choose you. When the latter happens, your best option is to respect their decision, and if they're open to it, ask them why they decided otherwise so you can learn from it.


Be reassured that by treating each prospect with respect, and not merely a sale to be converted, you're working ethically and not being a sleaze. The goal of the DMs is to thoroughly understand the goals and struggles of the candidate before getting them on the phone. It's a gateway to protect your time from people that aren't good fits for your programme.

People buy from you because you are honest and get incredible results, and selling to people that want your help is an honourable thing so don't feel like you need to undercut yourself on price or accept "just anyone" into the programme.

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