After five successful years in the health and wellness business, I decided to take a 180 degree turn to see what a career in sales had to offer. In the beginning, I was nervous. I had gotten used to the routine of waking at 4:30 a.m., coaching four to five clients per day, and being home with my dog by noon, waiting for my wife to arrive home from her nine-to-five job. I did not understand how she could sit at desk on a computer all day and only speak with customers via email, phone, or text message. I had built personal relationships with my fitness clients. I was in a non-traditional work atmosphere, on my feet all day, with a schedule that constantly changed with the availability of the client. However, a wise man once told me, “You only grow when you go outside your comfort zone.”

When I began working at Acquirent selling on behalf of one of the most highly respected hospital supply companies in the world, I had to figure out how to successfully transition the skills I gained over five years of self-employment in wellness into a new role. Interestingly, there was a significant carry-over of skills. First and foremost, being on time is a priority expectation among clients in both fields. Your punctuality reflects on your professionalism. Both areas also require a systematic approach to training people according to their needs, and it begins with sound product expertise. In my wellness role, my product was my knowledge of the latest fitness modalities and understanding of the corrective exercises I should incorporate into client workouts to maximize their benefits from our training session. In sales, you must also know what you’re selling inside and out. It is vital to have market insights about how your product can positively affect your customers’ business. Minimizing or resolving your clients’ problems helps you close sales and retain customers. Figuring out what limited my clients’ success in fitness required many of the same skills as resolving my customers’ frustrations in sales.

One of the reasons I was so successful in my fitness career was because I was great at retaining clients. If you are constantly losing clients and have high turnover rates, you will always be struggling to maintain a consistent book of business. This can lead to a short career. In my new role, the following traits and skills I developed as a personal trainer have helped me to gain trust from my customers, create positive outcomes, and build long-term relationships:

  • Punctuality
  • Polite manners
  • Efficient organizational skills
  • A neat appearance
  • Working to understand clients’ problems
  • Identifying S.M.A.R.T goals and defining metrics to gauge progress
  • Designing detailed plans to help them resolve problems and achieve goals
  • Proactively applying expertise
  • Gathering and analyzing client feedback
  • Keeping promises to clients

Many of the skills and traits that are essential for success in a given profession are really guidelines for success in any career, and in life. Develop yourself to be the very best you can be and the discipline and habits that will emerge will serve you well in any occupation. The confidence of knowing you have enjoyed success in one career path is an excellent foundation for starting a new one.

Zac Walters

Team Lead, Acquirent