Getting Personal with Personal Training
Get really good at what you do.
You have nearly unlimited strategic choices and options about your career and what your organization does. Which means you can focus on doing things you are truly good at.
Or, if a particular task, project or career is important to you, you can do the hard work to get good at it.
But it makes no sense at all to grumble and do something poorly. To insist that the competition is playing unfairly. To try to persuade your market that their standards make no sense...
The market is selfish. It doesn't care a whit about how hard you're working or how difficult the task is. If someone else is consistently telling a better story (and delivering on it), the market will find them.
On October 6th 2016 Seth Godin posted this on his blog.
Seth is a marketing legend, and if you don’t follow him already, you should. I’m consistently thrilled by how applicable his advice is to personal training.
This post brought on a difficult realization for some personal trainers I know. They had to admit that they’d spent a lot of time trying to convince people their ideas about fitness were wrong, misled, ill-conceived, or outdated.
And they might have been right — at the time.
I remember when using stability balls and other air-filled devices for every exercise was the best way to train people for any goal.
Before that, it was pin-loaded weight machines or super-slow training, “muscle confusion,” isometrics…
Blah, blah, blah.
Fill in the blank with whatever trend has come and gone, and some of us believed we were right while everybody else was wrong.
Has that happened to you?
If it has, you might have actually been right in some cases, but here’s a hard truth:
It doesn’t matter!
As Seth points out, “the market is selfish,” and the average personal training client will hitch their wagon to the best story they hear!
Can you blame them? We’re all suckers for a good story.
You can sit in your ivory tower and argue that your way of training is the best way to train, or you can split hairs over the finer points of strength training vs. cardio for fat loss.
But while you do that, the best storytellers are out there generating more income and helping more people than you. Trying “to persuade your market that their standards make no sense...” doesn't matter...even if it’s the truth!
Where will that get you?
Answer this honestly:
Do you really believe creating a “confrontational” relationship is the best way to introduce potential clients to exercise?
As far as I can tell, that approach has led us to where we are today — a place where the general public is afraid of us! They avoid us in the very environment we wish to help them.
Whether your goal is to help as many people as possible or to make a living changing lives it’s time to stop the confrontational approach.
Make no mistake, there are principles of exercise programming that have stood the test of time and always will. We build programs to align our students’ fitness-related behaviors with them. But if you want more coaching and more success, you have to stop trying to impose your will on prospective clients.
Instead, meet them where they’re at. Coach from a place of curiosity and genuine care about their position — whatever that is. What you find might surprise you.
As the coaching relationship progresses, they’ll become more willing to try things they might have previously feared. And that helps you achieve better results with them.
After these clients see real progress, they’re usually far more willing to let go of their initial agenda and adopt the program you wanted to recommend in the first place!
That means you have to smile and nod when your client tells you how awesome their DVD about “muscle confusion” is. Sorry. Bite your tongue, give them a little of what they think they need, and they’ll reward you with their trust and their business.
If you want to grow your income and influence, but find yourself losing these “battles” with prospective clients, put down the warhorn and meet them on their side. You’ll be a lot more successful that way.