As a certified personal trainer, a good first impression isvital to the success of our business. Our first impression comes in the form ofa personal assessment and provides an opportunity to establish a professionalconnection with a potential client. Usually, a connection will lead to a clientscheduling their first session and potentially becoming a "lifer." Ifa connection is not made, then we, as professionals, should make every effortto match that client up with a different trainer in hopes that a successfulrelationship will be developed. Either way, this first impression lays thefoundation to build a successful business.
In the personal training business, it is extremely importantthat we offer our initial assessment. During this assessment, we get tointeract with a potential client to see if we are going to enjoy working withthem. In the beginning of my personal training career, I would work with anyclient I came across just to make a living. I quickly learned that it is moreimportant to enjoy the company of the individual I was working with. It madenot only that individual session much more enjoyable but improved my over allenergy level throughout the day.
We all have had a client that we dreaded working with. Forme, it was the last client at the end of my Tuesday schedule. I knew everyTuesday night, I had this one particular client that I couldn't stand but Iforced myself to train her so I could make some money.
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The energy that we produce during our personal training sessionsfeeds our client's energy level. My mentor once told me that we are not allowedto have "bad days" because we are, in many cases, the best part ofour clients' day. They come to us because they need encouragement and someoneto lead them in the right direction. Many of our clients sit at desks all daylong staring at computer screens. We are their saving grace and need to providethem with an enthusiastic and positive workout experience. This will leave themfeeling better and looking forward to their next training session.
It is important for us to make a living, however, not at thecost of ruining the quality of the product we provide. If you feel during yourinitial assessment that the relationship is not going to work, refer thatclient to another trainer. Yes, you will be losing money at that moment. However,it will not ruin the quality of your product in the long run. Only train theclients that you feel a positive connection with. It will take some time, butyou will establish a full schedule of clients that you look forward to andthoroughly enjoy training. Surrounding yourself with positive people will bringthe best out of you and will lead to referrals by your pleased clients.
Sometimes it is hard to tell if you and your potentialclient are going to gel. In this case, offer them a free workout session. Thisgives both of you another opportunity to see if the relationship is going towork. It's similar to dating; you might have to meet up for coffee once ortwice before you decide to ask them out to dinner and a movie.
It may feel odd to turn away business in the beginning. Ifyou trust in yourself and establish a good sense about people, then you cancreate a following of individuals that you truly look forward to working witheach and every hour. This, in a way, can become a trainers "dream job"in that we get to work only with the individuals that wewant to work with. Do not be afraid to assess and train a client for free tomake certain your relationship is going to be successful. It will pay off inthe long run.
Robert Linkul MS CSCS D*is the NSCA's Northern California state director and trains over100 clients a week in his personal training studio. Linkul has his master'sdegree in personal training, is a certified strength and conditioningspecialist and a certified personal trainer with distinction.