The Personal Trainers Guide to Rapport: People Skills – Build Rapport in less than 10 min.

You have people skills right?

Maybe. But do you have the right people skills for building rapport and turning members in to clients?

Rapport is like a bridge, it takes time to build but seconds to burn, so don’t rush it.

In my opinion a good trainer will possess the following skills:

– Positive Attitude
– Abilities in Establishing Common Interests
– Good Listing Skills
– Friendly Eye Contact
– Asking the RIGHT Questions
– Empathy

All of these skills are linked around what you can DO for a person.

Lets break down each of those skills so that you can apply them to your own business and create some outstanding rapport.

Positive Attitude

To form a positive attitude you need positive body language – smile, saying hello, offering help, being friendly and most importantly passionate. If you keep these simple thought’s in mind you will make yourself more approachable to more people.

60 Second Task: Using the body language tips above and take a note of how many people engage you in just one minute.

Objective: Get lots of smiles and hopefully initiate a conversation – If you get chatting you’ve succeeded and the time limit becomes removed so that you can talk to the potential client without pressure.

Outcome: A conversation.

Establishing Common Interests

Once you’ve formed an initial conversation I would advise finding out something that they find interesting, something personal but not invasive. A favourite hobby, TV show anything that you can form a common interest with and why. The will put them at ease and they won’t think you;re trying to sell them something.

60 Second Task: Find out 3 interesting facts about THEM. You can ask a question and then just wait of the answer, it’s that simple. People love talking about themselves.

Objective: Out of the 3 interesting facts about them pick one that is of shared interest and continue the conversation on from this point. They should be doing most of the talking.

Outcome: Common interests.

Good Listening Skills

Hopefully you now have a friendly conversation in full swing and it’s only been 2-3 min.

Next you will give the person the grand gift of silence. Yep, you need to keep nice and quiet allowing them to chatter away, all the time they are becoming more open and relaxed with you, thus creating some stellar rapport.

60 Second Task: From the 3 interesting facts they gave you previously I told you to pick one and continue the conversation from that point. As they are talking about their interest DON’T INTERRUPT! Even if you know about the subject just let them keep talking, listen to what excites them the most about it (Their voice pace will often hasten and their pitch will also be slightly higher.).

Objective: Learn about this passion of theirs, smile and share their enthusiasm with positive body language, but don’t interrupt them.

Outcome: The client becomes more relaxed and you know a potential *emotional trigger.

Friendly Eye Contact

Eye contact is essential, but don’t stare at them intently like you’re about to murder them, remember to blink and be natural. Make sure you smile and nod at the appropriate places. The more eye contact they make with you the more rapport you’re building.

60 Second Task: Maintain eye contact for an extended period.

Objective: Watch for their eye contact with you to increase, as it does smile, change how your standing or make a hand gesture and see if they mirror your actions. If they do you’re on to a good thing.

Outcome: The potential client feel comfortable enough with you to copy your actions.

Ask the Right Questions

What is the right question? If you have build your level of rapport to the point where the potential client is mirroring your smile and/or minor body actions then you will have enough rapport to start asking about their motivation/goals.

60 Second Task: Ask ‘How’ they can see the gym being beneficial to their goal – This will keep them engaged in the conversation and they will be selling themselves all the positives. If you ask why you could bring up a potentially bad reason for them being their.

Objective: Use the word ‘How’ instead of ‘Why’ when asking them questions and listen to their response for how it will be a positive thing to their lives.

Outcome: They have sold the benefits of the gym to themselves, this will make it easier for you to have them sell the benefits of Personal Training to themselves also.


Understand their situation, frustrations etc but don’t sympathise because this can make people feel that you’re pitying them. Offer an interesting fact that you had similar thoughts once upon a time, this will build even more rapport.

60 Second Task: Tell the potential client how you were in a similar situation, or you how you have helped people in a similar situations. Be EMPATHETIC.

Objective: Aim for the potential client to ask you about how you helped your clients in more detail.

Outcome: Gain the potential clients interest.

If you have followed these steps and successfully achieved each then you have succeeded in establishing a very strong rapport. From this point you can speak to them bout your services and offering the the most valuable product possible that is suited to their needs.

Each part would take around 1-2 min which is why you have the 60 Second Task, if you don’t feel the conversation is progressing naturally then it is best to stop… for now. You can always speak to them again another day. Don’t try and rush things because it will only serve to destroy the rapport you will have cerated up to that point.



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