A few months ago, I received a prospect call; a frustrated woman calling because the last fitness studio she tried ultimately failed her and she was desperate to find a place that worked for her. Without prompting, the woman immediately described the recent experience of her trial workout at the new studio in town. The studio offers a group circuit workout, is led by motivational coaches, and utilizes heart rate training technology.

To sum-up her experience, she felt discouraged and deflated because she was the only one in the entire group who didn’t get into the right heartrate zone during the workout, and despite the “motivational coaches” who told her that “she can do it if she pushes herself just a little bit more,” the reason she didn’t get into the expected zone was because she hurt her ankle and was in pain nearly the entire workout. No one asked how she was feeling or demonstrated any effort to make a personal connection with her from the moment she walked in until she walked out. Too ashamed, scared, and embarrassed to say anything, she just finished the workout, walked out, and never returned.

In less than one hour and because of one prospect’s experience, this studio lost a potential for thousands in lifetime revenue, lost the opportunity for referred business from that client and compromised the business’s reputation because of the likelihood that this woman will share her negative experience with upwards of five of her closest connections.

And it was completely avoidable.

Had the coaches leading her workout demonstrated greater Emotional Intelligence, the negative situation may have actually turned out quite the opposite.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) - in a very broad definition - encompasses self-awareness, self-management, social awareness (empathy) and the ability to effectively manage relationships. The fitness industry is one of several service industries that is leaving perhaps millions in potential revenue on the table and hurting the broader credibility of the industry because of a lack of training in EQ. The great news is that an individual’s EQ is developable!

It is imperative that as leaders of our businesses, of our staff, and of ourselves and clients, that we invest in developing EQ. Why? Because Emotional Intelligence directly impacts our effectiveness at every point of the business lifeline from attraction to conversion to retention. And not just in attracting and retaining clients, but also attracting and retaining a vested and loyal staff and cultivating important relationships that play a key role in the success of our business and career.

Unfortunately, the woman’s experience I described earlier is not at all uncommon. While I love the opportunity to serve a new client, as a proud and vested professional in the fitness industry, these all-too-frequent discussions are disappointing, and frankly, damage the credibility of our industry, at least in the mind of many consumers who don’t know that far better options exist. The great news is that by investing in developing our EQ and that of our team, we can directly impact our bottom line, our long-term vision, and most importantly the number of lives we change.

There is copious resources on Emotional Intelligence; a great website to begin your search and take an EQ self-assessment test is www.emotionalintelligence.net.