It's funny, but I'm sure you will agree, that as a coach there are times when you become your own student. Here's what I mean by that: every year I either attend or present at the annual Fitness Business Summit. It's an amazing experience to be around so many fired up like-minded individuals. Each year there's always a takeaway, this takeaway of course is different for everybody; it just so happens this year my takeaway came from my own presentation, I became my own student.

    I was teaching a segment on sales and how I feel the world of sales has changed. Businesses that historically thrived on negotiation with a sales force motivated by getting customers to buy at the highest dollar have eliminated commissions in favor of flat rates and many cases even entirely eliminated negotiations.

    We're left with an environment that has shaped around the way we feel as consumers, and this is what I was teaching. I was discussing that in order to help a prospect (or yourself for that matter) make a decision you must first allow them to acknowledge how they feel about the decision emotionally. You then must follow this with getting multiple affirmations that this not only makes sense but they also agree with you in that this decision is necessary.

    It had never dawned on me in the way it did in that moment, here I was teaching this to a gathered group of more than 600 fitness professionals all excited to get more clients, but I had never taught this in this fashion to my own trainers as a means of gaining more compliance, better results and ultimately keeping the clients I've been attracting for them.

    For a long time I've always told my fitness clients that, "I can't change your life in 30-60 minutes, I only hope to influence the other 23 hours a day."

    There's no truer statement in our industry in my opinion. It's not a workout, it's not a nutrition program, it's not some new fancy method that gets people results. Those may be tools of varying effectiveness but at the end of the day it's one important, very difficult for all of us thing; it's our ability to consistently stick to different behaviors than we have now. For this we need each other.

    That's it in a nutshell your clients success, satisfaction, compliance, results, and ultimately how long they stay with you are solely determined by your ability to inspire them to maintain habits that are different and likely uncomfortable.

    New Year's resolutions are a great example. They don't fail because people are lazy, they fail because the radical change is exhausting, and when results don't happen as fast as that extra work was added we emotionally become discouraged, we can't stay motivated because we lose the inspiration that drove us to action in the first place.

    The best part is, this isn't just the key to a fitness or weight loss goal, and it's the key to being human. Whether it's your clients, you, your family, or otherwise you can help them succeed at anything if you simply ask them questions pertaining to the emotions of the problem, then affirming that they understand and agree before doing what we usually do as methodical, task oriented trainers, which is lay out the 10 step process without first letting them affirm they're ready for it!

    In short mom taught us everything we needed to know about client retention. To first ask how something would make you feel, then to be sure you agree that it makes sense (if not start over) and once you agreed it makes sense, to then suggest the solution to move forward.

    After struggling for eight years as a personal trainer, Cabel McElderry challenged the typical gym setup and created quite a reputation for himself. His 7 figure studio, now five years old, has won multiple awards for business excellence. Cabel has been recognized as one of the top 100 fitness entrepreneurs in North America and is currently one of 50 nominees for Optimum Nutrition's Canadian Trainer of the Year. He now mentors fitness professionals worldwide in an effort to help them achieve similar or better results than his own. Cabel's advice and writing can be found amongst some of the biggest blogs online and he is constantly called upon to offer his advice and strategies at some the largest fitness events worldwide.