How I Overcame Client Objections and Increased Sales by 318%

Whether you like it or not, personal training and selling go hand-in-hand. 

For years, I hated selling, and admittedly I wasn't very good at it. I never wanted to seem pushy, so at the first sign of resistance from a prospective client, I'd cut them loose by saying something like,

"Why don't you think about it and get back to me?"

​In other words, "Thanks for taking up my time, but I'm afraid to close the deal."

Client Objections

I left thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars on the table because I was afraid to close sales.​ Fortunately for me, I ended up working with a client who happened to be a sales guru. He saved me from awful sales track record, and helped increase my top line revenue by 318% in the process.

Here's how:

It's Time to Believe In Yourself

This client's name was Steve, and he was getting great results from the work we were doing together. He challenged my apathetic approach to selling:

Steve: "Do you think you're a good personal trainer?

Me: "Yes, of course."

Steve: "Would the prospects you meet with benefit from working with you?"

Me: "Yes, definitely."

Steve: "So why are you afraid to sell something that will help them?"

Me: [silence]

Steve was right. If I really believed that my services would solve the problems of the people I was trying to sell to, why on earth would I be hesitant to close the sale? I (and you) must approach selling with that confidence.

This person needs help. I am the perfect person to offer that help. I would be doing them a disservice by letting them leave without the solution they came to me to find.​

If this is true, act like you believe it.

Preparing to Handle Prospective Client Objections

Now, even though a prospective client may want what you're offering, there is still an extremely high likelihood that he will put up at least one objection before shelling out thousands of dollars to hire you as a personal trainer.

In my years of experience, I have found that people tend to use one of four main objections. Without planning, these objections will kill your chances of making a sale.

But, if you follow the tips below, you can not only recover when these objections arise, but you can use them to quickly close a sale, often for even more money than your originally aimed for!​

Let's take a look at each objection and how to handle it:​

1. "Now's just not the right time."

"There's not enough time" is consistently the #1 reason why people don't exercise more, or, at least that's what they claim to be true.

Prove that the time is NOW!

Overcoming this objection is easy when you are prepared and confident. Here's the series of questions/statements I use to combat this objection:

  • "What would make this the right time?"
  • "Think back over the past year. Has that 'right time' ever existed?"
  • You have the power to make now THE time, whether it feels "perfect" or not.
  • If you don't start now, I guarantee you will feel that a week from now, a month from now, or a year from now is not the "right" time either. You just have to commit to start.

The second question is especially important. You want your prospect to think back, not ahead. Most people imagine that things are going to change. They will magically have more time in the future, and will then begin to exercise. This is not the case.

Asking them to think back gives them a dose of reality. The only answer to this question is, "No, I guess there never is a perfect time to start" because if there had been a good time to start, they would have started already!

Help your prospect conclude that there is no right time, and you sales job just got so easy.

After admitting that there is no perfect time to start, your prospect has only two options: Start now OR admit that they might not ever start. Guess what the vast majority of people will be choosing?

2. "I don't think I can afford it."​

Personal training can be quite a financial investment. This is true. But, it should not be a barrier for 99% of people who come to see you.

Why not? Because people who are exploring the idea of hiring a personal trainer have disposable income, otherwise they wouldn't even be considering buying a luxury service like this in the first place. They have money, and they are ready to spend it.​

When they say, "I can't afford it" they are really saying, "I'm not sure I want to spend my money with you."​ This is an entirely different objection altogether. It's not that they CAN'T, it's that they need to be convinced that they SHOULD.

Here's how you can prepare to handle this question:

  • Why are you by far the best choice they'll ever find?
  • What can you offer that nobody else will or can?
  • How can you guarantee that their investment will be the right choice?
  • What have other people said about working with you? Or, what has happened to the health/fitness of your other clients?
  • Why is it financially prudent to make this decision immediately?

Use these questions to develop an air-tight response to the "I can't afford it" objection. Show that your experience, expertise, methodology, satisfaction guarantee, past client successes, special one-time offers, etc. make this an offer than the prospect cannot pass up.

Doing so gives only two options for your prospect: Buy now OR leave, knowing that there isn't a better deal elsewhere. Anyone who actually cares about their finances will make the smart decision on the spot.

3. "I think I'm okay just using my gym membership."​

Again, this objection, or similar ones, is really getting at something quite different from what your prospect is saying. They don't actually think that doing what they've been doing is going to suddenly start working. They just need a little push to try something new.

A prospect doesn't come to see you if they think they can do it alone!

Here's how you can respond:

  • What have you tried in the past to get the results you're looking for?
  • How did it work out for you?
  • Are you the type of person who is willing to try something new?
  • What would you say if I could guarantee that working with me will get you where you want to be?

This questioning sequence is very strategic, so follow it closely. You're helping the prospect realize that what he  has tried in the past will NEVER work.

Nobody will answer "No" to the third question because everyone wants to seem open-minded. So, now you're all set. Your prospect just admitted that he needs help and is ready to try something new. You simply offer a guarantee to remove any doubt. Sold!

No you just need to deliver results, which, as an experienced personal trainer, you can do!​

4. "​I just want to check out some other options before I commit."

This objection has one of two root causes: Either the prospect is a "tire kicker" who will likely never be ready to buy, OR he is just needs a little reassurance that he is going to get the best value for his money.

If he is kicking tires, don't sweat it if you lose the sale. A tire kicker is going to be so much more work than he's worth. Let him become someone else's problem.

You will know a tire kicker when he continues to object to purchasing despite all of his objections having been met with a logical answer. There's nothing left for you to do at this point - Let him go!

On the other hand, a quality prospect may in fact want to check out one or two more options. This is reasonable, especially if he is looking at buying a large package of training sessions.​ You can tackle this objection the same way as you did with the "no money" objection:

  • Why are you by far the best choice they'll ever find?
  • What can you offer that nobody else will or can?
  • How can you guarantee that their investment will be the right choice?
  • What have other people said about working with you? Or, what has happened to the health/fitness of your other clients?
  • Why is it financially prudent to make this decision immediately?

Make it obvious that there is no reason to waste time looking any further. You are the choice, and the time is now. In fact, the prospect stands to lose something (e.g. a limited time discount on his first package) if he doesn't buy now. This urgency can easily turn "I need to see some more options" into an instant sale.


I personally scripted out my responses to all four of these objections and instantly reaped the results. Not only did my closing rate go through the roof, but my increased confidence allowed me to sell much larger training packages...all to the tune of a 318% increase in revenue. 

You can do it too. Get scripting your answers to these client objections!​

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About the author

Dave Smith

Dave Smith was chosen as Canada's Top Fitness Professional for his innovative online fitness coaching found at Make Your Body Work. He now teaches other fitness professionals how to build their own profitable online businesses. Learn more at the Online Trainers Federation.