As fit pros, we’ve all read the part in the NFPT Personal Trainer manual that advises us on how to overcome client objections, right? If we are successful, we’ve honed these skills in the field and pivoted away from using the word “objection” and instead, view such barriers as opportunities.

These are opportunities to:

  • Practice
  • Ask questions (preferably open-ended ones)
  • Reflect the clients’ answers back in a thoughtful manner
  • Provide value during your interactions but don’t give it all away, just enough to let the potential client know you know your stuff
  • Exude confidence; you know your craft and have a passion for fitness, you know you can help this person, let it shine
  • Ask for the sale

Now that we’ve gotten used to doing this in-person, fitness centers and studios of all sizes, shapes, and forms are closed due to COVID-19, forcing many of us to pivot to a virtual platform. What are the common “objections” OR where are the “opportunities” now in this new climate many of us are navigating?

Top client objections and how to respond optimally

Rather than wait for these so-called “objections” we can head them off at the pass by creating an opportunity to address it before the “objection” even becomes a stopping point.

Objection: I don’t enough time, money, and/or resources.

Response: Ask an open-ended question like “How much time and resources do you have?” This can impact the potential client’s mind-set. Rather than thinking, “I don’t have enough,” a question like this can encourage them to think, “What do I have” or “What can I afford?”

Objection: Lack of confidence or history of failing to commit.

Response: For the potential clients struggling to believe in themselves, a great question to ask is:  “Where are you now? What is your current state of health/fitness?” Followed by an exploration of how you as a fitness professional can help in a novel way, adding value to your service by offering approaches the client hasn’t tried in the past. This creates a new paradigm for the client to look through, rather than the lens of, “Been there, done that.”

Objection: I need to talk to my spouse/partner

Response: A great question (especially on a virtual platform) for potential clients who need to discuss with a partner is:  “How can you include them?” They may not have even considered tandem training or group sessions with family as an option.

Here’s a personal example of when I did in-home client training. One time, I started training a married woman alone. Her husband would watch and after a few weeks, he joined in! We now hold couples training sessions. Soon after, their adult child had life stuff happen and she came home to live with them. After watching a few sessions, she joined too. Then, she had a baby and the baby watched! It became a family thing. The really cool thing about this situation is that the initial client–the wife–she first started training with me because obesity ran in her family. She wanted to stop the family history through lifestyle change and exercise. So, here we started in-home training sessions and in the matter of several weeks, her husband and daughter joined, while the baby granddaughter watched. Talk about a goal met!

Objection: It’s too much of a commitment.

Response: If commitment is an issue for the client, discussing motivation (and not just initial motivation, but what keeps them motivated over time) could help. In addition, be sure to explore goal-setting using SMART-ER. Also, chances are this potential client has had some other success in life. Sometimes people tend to forget their ow successes and get hung up on failures. Help them remember by asking them where have they been successful in the past and what motivated them to stay the course. You both can work together to tap into this.

Objection: I want to explore my other options first, maybe just buy the equipment

Response: If they want to check out other options first, you can ask what options they’ve checked out already and what else they’re considering. Even if they ultimately choose a different path, always make your business objective to be helpful and serving the clients’ best interests.

It’s important to remember hearing “no” isn’t necessarily a rejection; try not to take it personally. I like to think potential clients say, “Yes” “Not right now” or “I know someone else who might be a good fit.”  So, even if someone doesn’t sign up today, if it was a positive and productive interaction, they may come back at a later time when it is more fitting or they may refer someone to you. You can always thank them for their time and ask if they know anyone else who might be interested. Asking for a referral can be yet another opportunity.

What other objections have you heard from potential clients and how did you handle them?

Shay Vasudeva

Shaweta “Shay” Vasudeva, MA (Psychology), MS (Kinesiology), NFPT-CPT, NASM-CPT-CES, THSA-CNT, and Tai Chi & Black Belt Karate Instructor is a teaching professional, speaker, author, coach, and cat lover! Her passion is to help people become the best version of themselves by using an interdisciplinary and holistic approach, bringing 10+ years of experience in Psychology, Personal Fitness Training, Corrective Exercise, Nutritional Coaching, Cranial Sacral Work, and teaching Karate & Tai Chi classes to her business, ShayTheCoach. Shay teaches classes at Maricopa Community College District as an Adjunct Professor. For more information visit her personal webpage: