Best Practices How to Write the Perfect Initial Client Questionnaire

There are many things to think about when creating and running an online training business, like which software to use, how to price your services, and how to connect with new clients. But another thing you need to think about, that can have a huge impact on the quality of your training and the success of your clients is your initial client questionnaire.

If you use Trainerize, this questionnaire is sent to a client automatically as soon as they’re added to your account, and you will receive an email notification once they have completed the survey. You also have the ability to personalize the standard questionnaire to ask questions directly related to the information you will need to build your clients programs effectively.

Because the initial questionnaire is most likely your first contact with this new client, you’ll want to make sure it sounds professional, is proofread (no spelling or grammatical mistakes), and is easy to understand/fill out. If you do not offer Skype or phone conversations in your training packages, this might be an important part of building a positive rapport with your client, so take some time to make sure it’s done right.

Here are 3 tips for building the best initial client questionnaire you can:

1. Get as Much Information as You Can—Right from the Start

This is your chance to make your life easier when go to create your client’s program and to prepare yourself for any further conversations with your client, whether it be via text, email, phone etc. The more information you can get from this form, the less time you have to spend with the client asking questions needed to set up an effective program for them.

It is much easier to have the client fill out a comprehensive and well thought-out form and follow up with them on only a few select questions, than it is to keep chasing down and asking your client question after question. So give some serious thought to all the information you need from a client and build it into the questionnaire. This will save you time in the long run and it will appear to your client that you are prepared and organized about what information you need from them.

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2. Keep Questions Short, Basic, and to the Point

Even though you want to collect a lot of important and meaningful information, you’ll still need to think about the length of the questionnaire and clarity of each question. If your questions are too long or too detailed, it can become confusing for the client. Also if your questionnaire is too long overall, it might take the client a long time to get back to you and they might become bored or frustrated and not put as much thought into it when filling it out.

Your initial consultation form should include questions about:

  • current and past fitness history
  • medical and past/current injury history (related to exercise and nutrition)
  • where they will be performing the workouts you prescribe
  • what type of equipment they will have access too (I provide boxes they can check off from the main pieces of equipment I like clients using in their programs)
  • client goals (ask short-term and long-term)
  • work life (job type, hours they work each week)
  • social life (how many times they eat out each week etc.)
  • how many days per week they can commit to exercising and how much time they have to commit to each workout
  • what days of the week they would like to do their workouts (I use this when so that I can just go ahead and schedule their workouts right into their calendar without having to ask again)

Of course, these are just a few examples of things you can ask your client right from the get-go. There are plenty of other questions you can ask your clients, but this will start to get them in the right mindset and prepare for their journey while also helping you get an idea of how you can approach the client and their initial program set up.

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3. Organize and Use the Information You’ve Collected

Once you have received your client’s completed questionnaire, you should be ready to set up the client’s initial program or be prepared for your initial consultation with them. My main tip is MAKE SURE YOU READ IT!

As a client, the worst thing would be to spend time filling out a detailed consultation form only to then have a trainer ask me all the same questions again or not implement my answers into my program (e.g., schedule workouts on the wrong days or assign workouts with equipment they don’t have access to). Trainerize has a spot in each client’s account where you can write “trainer notes” that act as reminders each time to access the client’s account or start a session. If you work with a lot of clients, it can be hard to rely on your memory alone to remember restrictions and details about each client, so I strongly suggest using this feature in Trainerize to make bulleted notes in each client’s account about the main details you got from their initial questionnaire.

Overall, remember that your questionnaire—and all content or communications you send to clients—is representative of you as a trainer and your fitness business. Keep things professional and enjoyable for your clients, and use all the information you can to become the best trainer possible. I hope you find these tips helpful as you get you started creating or updating your initial client questionnaire.

What do you think?