Fall weather has finally reached us ladies and gents. It's October and now you can all have your pumpkin spice ridiculousness to your hearts content. Once we get past Thanksgiving I'd rather you just forget it existed, but hey I guess that's just a pipe dream.
I have something I’ve called, the Human Factor for you. You’d be surprised how many people ignore this little thing, we can all relate to it at some point I’m sure. Trainers and coaches especially will remember when this light bulb appeared over their craniums.
Here’s the scene; You’ve just gotten your first training gig out of school. You have the best certification possibly; you’ve read all the material out there you can get your hands on. It’s been 3 months on the job and you barely see one client a day, meanwhile the asshat coworker of yours that doesn’t know his S.I,T,S, from a sit-up is busy for 6+ hours of the day with clients. What gives?
The answer is you’re either not being yourself or worse, you’re being yourself and quite frankly, you’re an asshole.
When people go looking for a trainer they are looking for two things, first and foremost they want to be comfortable with you. No matter how knowledgeable you are, if that new client doesn’t like you in the least, you have no shot at hanging on to them. This makes sense, but it doesn’t to some of you out there.
I was in this situation, we all were! I promise, in one shape or form we all were. Thankfully for me, my problem wasn’t really that I was being an asshole. It was more that I was shy, being tight and not being myself. As time went on I learned to open up with the clients I had held on to, and that allowed me to be myself with every client I saw, new and old.
The second thing people are looking for, and usually don’t try to pick up on it nearly as hard as they do what type of person you are. They want you to be knowledgeable, or at least present yourself that you’re knowledgeable. That whole “fake it ‘till you make it” thing, it exists to a certain extent at least, it never lasts forever though, with few exceptions so know your stuff.
I can tell you from the experiences I’ve had that you will not to get to demonstrate any of what you know unless you have locked down that first problem. I know trainers that are quite lacking in their exercise science, or whatever term you want to put to it, but they have a boat load of clients and have for many years. Why? Because they know their clients inside and out, they know birthdays, they ask them what they did that weekend. When a session seems to be going rough they ask them, what is going on and actually give a fuck about what the client tells them.
At my old facility, more when I was director of training, I could always tell if a session was going well with a new client and one of our trainers. Even if I was not present in our training room. How? Because if there was talking, or even better laughing, then at least I knew the trainer was connecting with the client (or attempting to). The best sign is when the client is doing the majority of the talking, because if it’s the coach/trainer talking, they’re probably nervous and just rambling about god knows what (I’ve been guilty of this many times before).
Getting back to the point here, if you are not being yourself and being a real life human being, rather a robot instead. You will see about 0.1 clients a day for a long time. In the end maybe that’ll be your sign that you’re not ready for this line of work, or that it’s not for you. Be yourself and care about the client, it’ll at least get you some more time with them (likely). After that you can demonstrate how awesome of a coach you are and how awesome you are going to make them feel. The client will feel like they’ve hit the Jackpot with this randomly drawn person (you) and will rave about how good you are. One thing leads to another and they’re recommending people to you, other people (in the gym) see the positive changes your client has gone through and they want in on that. Next thing you know you are swamped and now have 0 time for yourself, also has its downside, but that’s not the point here, it’s a good problem to have.
Get yourself “in” by being a human being and genuine with your new clients, hang on to them and grow your business by combing that with the skills and knowledge you know you possess. That is all I have for today everyone, hope you enjoyed, go out there and get after it!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS