Last month, there was excitement, pressure and high expectations as Kansas and Northern Iowa took the center stage for March Madness! According to the media and the sports channels, Kansas was favored to win it all. The problem was that someone forgot to tell Northern Iowa -- who walked away from the fourth quarter buzzer with the victory. Expectations were not met, and while one group celebrated, another group was disappointed.

What does this have to do with you? Sometimes as seasoned trainers, we are expected to be the best of the best. We are looked up to for our expertise, experience and knowledge. The worst thing that could happen for a seasoned trainer would be to get caught without the answers of a rookie or new/potential client!

Are you the person expected to be the top producer in your club? Are you the person who is expected to have the most lucrative new clients in 2010? Are you the person who is expected to have the best results of your existing client base?

What we have to realize is it doesn't really matter what others expect. What does matter is what you expect of yourself.

"Elite Eight" Tips to Upping Your Game
  1. Sound like you are seeded #1. Clients and candidates will react positively if they sense your level of confidence. They probably already lack confidence and need to operate on some of yours. So you have to believe you are the most talented trainer to help them achieve their goals.
  2. Rate your level of performance. If I was watching you train your client session by session since January 1 and had to rank you on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest rating, how would you score? Consider that, then know that you have to play at 10 every day -- no exceptions.
  3. Stand out. Know what differentiates you from your competition, and brand yourself as such. What do you bring to the table that other trainers don't? What is your level of commitment and service? I am writing a book right now called Standing Up Is Not Standing Out. Basically summarized, do not depend on your longstanding name or tenure to make you stand out, and make there are distinct differences that all clients will notice.
  4. Be respected as an MVP. Sound like an expert by reading the publications of your niche. Continue to get more certifications. Keep up with changing trends, equipment and sciences. Join the associations representing your area of specialization, and write for their trade publications. Refer people to utilize informational sources you use, like PFP! Respect is not something you can ever demand; it is earned by your level of expertise and the results you produce.
  5. Practice what you preach. You will get better at training your clients by putting yourself through the things you are putting them through. Have firsthand knowledge of what they can expect, and then clearly let them know what they may be in for.
  6. Bring your personality to work. People gravitate toward people they like. Write down the words your friends would use to describe you, then write down how your co-workers would describe you. If your co-workers use words like "stressed out," "intense" or "frustrated," then this has to change. It will come across in your voice as you bark instructions to your client, who may be referred to as a "victim."
  7. Prepare. Ballplayers know their strategy before they walk into the game. Know what you're going to do with a client before they get there. Don't wing it. Put together a specific workout for that specific client; know in advance where you are going and what you are going to do.
  8. Have fun. We do what we do because we love it. We want to help people, and let's face it: This is a fun industry. So train that way! Make the other people around you wish they had you as a trainer. What can you do to stand out, get attention and show that working with you will be a fun experience?
Whatever you do, wherever you do it, be ready so the expectations don't ever get lowered when it comes to you and your profession.
Happy training!

Mike McDaniel is an authority of leadership, goal-setting disciplines, sales strategies and corporate physical fitness. He has been a professional trainer for over 18 years and owned two health clubs, employing over 75 personal trainers. Mike can be booked for speaking engagements, sales training or consultant at