Personal Trainers, Stop Being Slaves, Start Being Mechanics.
Too many Fitness Professionals are slaves. Slaves to their clients – their expectations and demands. Stop being a slave. Start being a mechanic.
The age-old adage is ‘the customer is always right’. But does this apply to Personal Trainers, or does it belong only on the wall of fast food restaurants?
Early in their career, it’s not unusual for Fitness Professionals to live in constant fear, the fear that they’ll lose clients. It’s human nature to want to please people, and inexperienced Fitness Pros think that bowing and bending to the immediate needs of their clients will please them… ensuring they keep coming back.
But while having every wish granted may be what your clients think they WANT, it definitely isn’t what they NEED.
They aren’t just paying you for your service – a half hour session a couple of times a week. What they’re REALLY paying you for is your EXPERTISE. Your KNOWLEDGE. And ultimately, your ABILITY TO HELP THEM.
And you expertise isn’t how good you are at teaching them a squat. It’s not you being able to tell them what to eat after a workout. Your expertise is YOUR ABILITY TO TELL THEM WHAT THEY NEED TO DO, TO GET TO WHERE THEY WANT TO GET.
Your client isn’t paying for your compliance, they’re paying for your expertise. And while human nature tells us that compliance may make people like us, it doesn’t make people RESPECT us. And at the end of the day, your client wont stay with you just because they like you. They’ll stay with you because they know you have their best interests at heart and they RESPECT you.
So if Fit Pros aren’t going to be slaves, what should they be? They should be mechanics.
You take your car to a mechanic. If you’re like me, you don’t say I need some ‘overhead lifters and some four barrel quads’ (disclaimer: I know nothing about cars, that’s a line from ‘Grease Lightning’). Instead, you say something like ‘there’s a weird rattling noice coming from the engine and my steering wheel is wobbling… WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST?’. Those last four words are key, because THEY ARE THE EXPERT. They have the knowledge and skill set required to solve the problem.
Just like you do.
So if a client comes to you and says, ‘I need you to keep me motivated during long slow bouts of exercise, and help me stick to a low fat diet so I can lose weight’, your response shouldn’t be to conform to their request for fear of losing them as a client. Instead it should be to educate them and show them a better way to reach their goal based on your expertise.
So stop being a slave, and start being a mechanic. Trust in your knowledge and skill-set. By being a mechanic, everyone wins. Your client achieves their goals, and as a result, your retention rates sky-rocket, your referrals increase, and your business goes from strength to strength.
Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology. He has worked with many thousands of individuals along the full spectrum of health, and has coached at The CrossFit Games. He regularly presents to corporate and fitness industry groups and mentors Fitness Professionals.