The Pre-Exercise Questionnaire is the most important sales tool in your sales toolbox. This is because it gives you useful background information about your client and creates a framework for you to build rapport, discuss goals and present solutions. It also gets the client thinking about the reasons why they wish to start Personal Training and not focusing solely on the price.
The Pre-Exercise Questionnaire often gets mixed up with the Health Screening or Medical Screening form. The pre-exercise questionnaire should not delve deep into medical history rather concentrate on the 'reasons' why the prospect is thinking about starting Personal Training.
A good Pre-Exercise Questionnaire should firstly capture the prospects full name, email, address, phone number and date of birth. This information is needed so you can enter them onto either your client database (if they purchase) or your inquiry database.
The Pre-Exercise Questionnaire should also capture the prospects exercise history, description of their current condition, why they want to train (goals), and an indication of how often they would like to train.
Who Fills Out The Answers To The Questionnaire? The Prospect or The PT?
I believe the best method is to get the prospect to fill out the Pre-Exercise themselves. Give them some quiet time to answer the questions and do not rush them. Once they have completed it, take it from them and have a quick scan of the responses so you can get a feel for their situation.
Go Through The Answers With Them.
With the Pre-Exercise Questionnaire in front of you, go through the answers of each question and dig down into each response. As you find out more information write it down on their sheet in a different color pen. Remember you can never have too much information.
Some answers will not require too much further discussion but others will. Using the questions as a prompter for open discussion can also lead into great rapport building opportunities.
Q: What regular exercise are you doing at the moment?
A: I walk my dog every 2nd morning and that's about it.
PT: So I see here you're walking every second morning with your dog, that's great! What type of dog do you have?
Client: He's a Lab.
PT: I love Labradors; my mate just bought a chocolate-brown lab puppy, and he's so cute. What's you dog's name?
PT: Cool name! How old is he?
Client: We think he's about 2, we're not sure 'cause we rescued him from the pound.
PT: Seriously? That's cool. I think more people should do that, I feel so sorry for the poor dogs that end up there. Was he OK when you first met him?
Client: Yeah he was OK, but very quiet and shy. He was like that for the first two weeks but now he's full of confidence.
PT: That's good, I often wonder what sort of homes those dogs have come from? Hey, what sort of pace do you and Buddy set on your walks; slow, medium or fast? Is he good on the lead?
And so on!
Rapport! Rapport! Rapport!
As you can see the conversation took a different path there for a while focusing on the dog rather than Personal Training, however great rapport was established. Rapport helps to build relationships and create trust. You can not script rapport so do not try. The easiest way to build rapport into your presentation is to ask open ended questions and try to find commonality, like in the example above.
The Pre-Exercise Questionnaire should also have a planning section to it. This is where the prospect can actually indicate how often they would ideally like to train. By writing down how often they wish to train and even scheduling which days is a form of commitment which is very powerful.
Move Towards Pleasure!
Through the discussion you should focus on the solution, and get the client visualizing themselves once they have achieved their goal. It is OK to discuss the possible painful reasons to why they have come to see you (depressed, lazy, overweight), but use the positive results as the motivation for them to start Personal Training.
Get A Commitment!
At the end of the Pre-Exercise Questionnaire, try to get a commitment from the prospect that they would like to start Personal Training with you. Once you have this, then you can present what you believe will be the most appropriate package / service for them.