Your Say-This-Stuff Guide to Growing a Gym

A line of 4 gym owners, with each one holding a blank cardboard "quote bubble" overhead.

Ever have anxiety as a gym owner because you’re not sure what to say in certain situations?

I’ve been there, too.

I remember giving “sales pitches” that involved haphazard gym tours, some confusing tidbits about “accommodating resistance” and then an awkward moment where I fumbled to suggest the person should join.

In some of my pitches, I actually told the prospective member that I was a terrible salesperson. 

Here’s what would have helped me: A cheat sheet of “exactly what to say” in situations where the right words would help me grow my business.

I’ll give that to you today.


They ask: “Do you offer discounts?”

You say: “No, we don’t have discounts.”

That’s a very simple line, but it’s valuable.

Do you know how often gym owners fumble to answer questions about discounts? Answer: All the time. Having a solid response handy solves a lot of problems.

You don’t have to say my lines word for word in a monotone voice like a programmed robot—but you can memorize them and drop them naturally as needed. Or feel free to make small adjustments to the wording so it suits you and the situation.

Whatever path you choose, I’d recommend you role-play situations with a staff member or partner and practice saying the lines.

If you do, everything will be much smoother when it’s real.

Start a Conversation Anywhere

Scenario: You’re out and about and want to start a conversation.

You Say: “Good morning!” (This is literally my No. 1 new-buddy opening line. It works every time.)

Make Friends With Neighboring Businesses

Scenario: You’d like to connect with the staff and owners at nearby businesses so they’ll say nice things when their clients ask about you (they will).

You Say: “Hi! I’m [NAME] from [GYM] down the street. I wanted to introduce myself, and I brought coffee for your staff. How’s business?”

Invite Someone in for a Free Consultation

Scenario: You’re chatting with someone who mentions a fitness goal or problem.

In Person, You Say: “I think I can help. I have an opening tomorrow at 2 p.m. Would you be open to talking about the next step?” 

Online, You Say: “I can help with a personalized program that will get you to your goals fast. Let’s talk about it. I’m free right now. What’s your number?”

Invite Someone to Work Out With You and Do a Free Consultation

Scenario: A person you’ve met is talking about their fitness goals.

You Say: “Those are great! I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we work out together at my gym? Just you and me. How’s Thursday afternoon?”

Invite a Client’s Friend for a Workout

Scenario: You’re doing a goal review with a client who’s thrilled with progress, so you ask if she knows anyone else who might need your help. She mentions a friend. You ask if it would be OK to connect with the friend, and she provides contact info.

You Say: “Hey, Alen, I’m sitting here with Joan and we were just talking about you! She’d like to invite you in to work out with her. What do you say?”

By Text/Email, You Type: Subject line: [CLIENT’S NAME] Text: Hey [LEAD NAME], I was just chatting with [CLIENT], and we agreed that we’d love to have you in for a partner workout. [CLIENT’S] next appointment will be [EXACT DATE AND TIME]. Can you make it?”

Ask a Client to Refer a Partner

Scenario: You’re doing a goal review with a client who’s thrilled with progress, and she’s regularly mentioned a spouse who might benefit from fitness coaching.

You say: “Jane, I know your spouse loves to play [SPORT]. What if we invited him in to do some exercises and stretches that would help him perform better? Just a little bonus from me to you. You think he’d go for it?” Then get the spouse’s contact info, text him an invite, and set him up with an appointment.

Get a Sports Team Into Your Gym

Scenario: You’re doing a goal review with a client who’s thrilled with progress, and she’s got a kid who’s involved in sports.

You Say: “Jill, I just wanted to thank you for bringing all of your friends in here. It’s so awesome. I know your daughter’s team is just starting [SPORT] practices for the season. Do you think they’d like to come in for a free mobility drill after practice? So if their practice is at 5 p.m. and they’re done at 6, I’ll wait here. They can all come in. I’ll teach them some mobility and some stretching—the stuff the coaches don’t really wanna get into. Or I can give them a seminar: I can come to them and I can talk to them and their parents about nutrition. What do you say?”

Ask a New Client to Do PT Instead of Group Classes

Scenario: In a free consultation, you’ve presented a workout plan. Now you want to close the sale and see if the client is interested in PT.

You Say (This is Literally a Million-Dollar Line): “Would you prefer to do these workouts one-on-one with me or in a small group setting?”

Ask a Client for a Video Testimonial

Scenario: In a free consultation, a client is very happy with progress and results. You’d like her to record a video you can use on social media and your website.

You Say: “Jane, I’m so proud of you! I think your story could inspire a lot of people! Do you have any idea how special you are? Look, I have my camera right here. I know it’s a lot to ask, but could you give some wisdom to those who are just starting their fitness journey? Maybe just something you wish you’d been told when you started here six months ago?” (Hold up the camera and press record.)

Get a Peer Group Into a Gym

Scenario: In a free consultation, a client is very happy with progress and results. You’d like to connect with the people he works with.

You Say: “I know work is crazy right now. Why don’t we invite your colleagues to come in and blow off some steam in a special class just for them? Or I can come by your office and do a nutrition seminar at lunch. What do you think?”

Be Prepared to Grow Your Gym

These are just a few of the many scenarios gym owners find themselves in regularly, and it always helps to be prepared.

Being prepared will ensure you take advantage of the many, many everyday opportunities you have to build your business.

My advice: Rehearse and role-play. Don’t do this so you can spit out “pre-recorded lines” that sound awkward and forced. Do it because practice will allow you to be calm, smooth and natural.

If you’ve already practiced operating in a situation, you’ll be much more relaxed when real life appears.

And you’ll earn more new clients!


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.