One of the keys to successes on the gym floor is having a positive relationship with the members. By being a key part of the community within your organisation you are able to promote yourself via word of mouth. Being able to effectively communicate with people is going to be key to building rapport and as we all know this then leads into being able to sell to clients.
So what are the key aspects of having an effective and meaningful conversation with a gym floor member? Are there any ways that we can improve the level of interaction and the connection that goes with it? Here are my top 5 tips:-
- Use questions to start a conversation – the use of particularly open ended questions can help to ignite a conversation. In many cases a set of generic situation specific conversation starters can be used. I often encourage personal trainers, particularly those who are a little newer to the industry to come up with a list of questions they can use to start conversations with members, this often takes some of the anxiety out of that initial conversation.
- Find out who you are talking to – this come from asking effective question to find out more about them… remember people love to talk about themselves most of the time! This knowledge of who the person is, what drives them and where they are heading in life is very useful information when you are trying to build rapport.
- Listen more than you talk – now as an industry we tend to be outgoing, extroverted people, this then often leads to us lecturing people or falling into the ‘look how great I am’ trap. To have an effective conversation with somebody you need to put just as much if not more effort into listening than you do talking.
- Remembering peoples names and stories – in order to sustain a repeated bout of interactions you need to make an effort to remember peoples names. This simple thing can help to increase the chance of the development of rapport with individuals. As I am sure you have heard before ‘people buy off those they know, like and trust’. By encouraging repeated interactions you will allow people to get to know you!
- Keep learning and improving – it is vital that you keep honing and developing your communication skills. But keep in mind the important factors above as a starting point.
Our communications skills are an area that many people in the fitness industry feel they have mastered, however there is always scope to improve the way we relate to others. Any improvements in our communication skills can only be a good thing!
- Make a list of effective conversation starters that would be applicable to your environment.
- Practice listening, for every response you get to a question wait until the person you are talking to has genuinely finished… that means no interrupting!
- Most importantly get out there and practice… talk to people try and engage not hard sell!