How to Develop Effective Client Relationships

How to Develop Effective Client Relationships

Having the ability to form positive and effective working relationships with clients is central to your role and success as a Fitness Professional. Clients need to work with an Instructor who they trust and feel comfortable working with. When working at its very best this relationship is a win-win situation where you will be supporting client needs and they will be enjoying your training sessions and making good progress.

It follows that it’s your job to make sure you invest sufficient time getting to know your clients, putting them at ease and understanding their fitness goals, enabling you to maintain this effective working relationship at all times. But exactly how should you go about it?

1 – It Begins With First Impressions

It’s commonly said that you’ve less than 3 seconds to make a great first impression so time really does count here!

  • Smile, shake hands, make eye contact and greet using the name of your client.
  • Pay attention to your professional appearance and conduct. Look smart, maintain tidy hair, have clean clothes and behave and speak in a way that reflects your position.
  • Ask open questions that build a connection.
  • Stand or sit confidently.
  • Turn friendship on quickly by treating your client how you’d like to be treated, always with an optimistic outlook.
  • Be punctual for booked appointments and avoid interruptions.

In brief, ask yourself ‘Have I made a connection with my client?’

2 – Be a Positive Role Model

To get off to the best possible start with your client it’s vital you present yourself positively. After all, your job as a Fitness Instructor or Personal Trainer is about more than simply prescribing exercise. Your client will look upon you as a role model, a leader and a source of knowledge and expertise to help them accomplish their goals.

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Be a key source of motivation to help them achieve their goals. Remember your positive attitude massively impacts the extent your client buys into your fitness programme and adopts and adheres to it.
It’s well known that a positive mental attitude delivers positive results in humans so instil the mind-set of ‘can do’.

Remember your client is seeking your fitness expertise to make things happen for them. This stems from each interaction being a positive experience and over time the desired results will follow.

3 – Offer Expert Education

A key aspect of effective relationship building stems from offering support and guidance that assists your client with adhering to their exercise regime. Your expertise means a lot. It builds trust and secures commitment to try new things, adapt and change.

It’s taken you time, effort and commitment to obtain your fitness industry training and level 2 and 3 qualifications, so seize opportunities to showcase your knowledge.

From the straight forward, such as correct exercise positioning, to the complex, such as recovery from a major illness, be well researched and prepared to use all your experience to give your client the very best experience.

4 – Develop Self-Belief

Clients who exude self-belief show a confidence level over time not only in themselves but also in their abilities. Self-belief stimulates action and persistence that delivers results inside and outside of your sessions together, maximises longer term change and tackles any minor setbacks.

It’s hard for clients to take action towards a goal if deep down they don’t truly believe they don’t truly believe they can achieve it and its part of your job to help them find this self-belief in their true potential.

From the outset at the start point of your relationship have a frank and open chat to clarify that you’re working in a partnership.

This is one of the key aspects of effective relationship building and starts to forge a mutually trusting business relationship that delivers positive outcomes for both you and your client.

How This Helps Your Client

The more your client feels at ease and on board with your approach the more relaxed they will be and the more effective your relationship will become.

By empowering and educating your client on why they need to do the exercises in their programme, follow certain habits and behaviours, and what they will achieve from doing so it provides a sense of ownership in the process, instilling a commitment like no other.

How This Helps the Fitness Professional

Happy clients that see results tend to stay around for the long haul. We know of clients that have been with the same Personal Trainer for decades. This type of client commitment contributes massively to the Personal Trainer’s salary and makes far more commercial sense than constantly churning through clients. What’s more these are exactly the type of clients who will refer your service to others helping your client base expand and grow other time.


The Academy of Fitness Professionals provide the gold standard in accredited personal training courses with state of the art training fully endorsed by REPs, Skills Active and the NCFE. Their specialist knowledge features in the UK health and fitness media including the Mirror, BBC2 and Women’s Running. This is the ultimate learning destination for those serious about their fitness industry education and long term career as a Personal Trainer.

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