Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Even Trainers Need Help...

Here is an e-mail I received yesterday from a good friend who happens to be a personal trainer going into his second year on the job:

Question: "Your blog rocks man, I was on it earlier this morning and I've read one of your posts where you mentioned a newbie and the conversation that you held with him.

Well after spending two years on the gym floor and studying my ass off, I now struggle to get clients more then I did when I first started. Do you think that it may have something to do with me going from 217lbs and 10%BF to about 240lbs/20%BF....my confidence is shut down and no one approaches me anymore. That being said, I've achieved phenomenal results with my clients and I always create positive change. Just today I had a 46 year old mother of two get into size 6 for the first time in the last six years. While working on her fat loss goals we've completely heal her skin, she had some serious inflammation going on and half her body was covered in bloody scabs....anyhow the point of this story is this, I'm by far the most 'effective' professional on our team...yet we have guys that sell like crazy who don't give a damn about how fat loss actually occurs in the body..

Once my clients sign up with me I don't have a problem retaining them and they do renew. My average client is with me from 8-12 months. Some clients I've had since my first day at the club (2 years)....Problem is getting them right now. I'm going into the middle of the summer with very few hours (20-25/week) I would like to get 2 or 3 new clients as soon as possible.

I have a marketing board on the wall at the gym. It has a bunch of success stories of my clients with photos, my bio, my services, etc. It's very neat and it looks nice. I often spot people reading it yet I have not received one phone call since it's been up there (3 months).

What's the problem? Thanks for any advice you can give me!"

Charlie, Orlando, FL

Answer: I read your message and you remind me alot of me back in my Gold's Gym days. I was always the chubby trainer, yet, I had the most clients because I had the most knowledge and knew how to build rapport. I've talked about my early experience as a commercial gym trainer HERE.

Here are a couple of reasons why I think you are struggling:

1.) It is summer. This is the time of the year when people spend money on themselves for guilty pleasures like vacations, camping, and outdoor dining. This is the time of the year that people spend time and money working out to feel their best. Like the eye of the hurricane, this time will pass and people will head back into the gym in no time.

2.) The economy sucks and people tend to get their priorities mixed up. I paired these two factors together for a reason. Sure,  the economy is not where it should be and the price of things seems to be increasing; but lets face it...people are buying things that they don't need with money they don't have. We are becoming a nation bent on buying pleasure instead of investing in a better future. Prices going up? So, you cut back on expenses and re-arrange your needs and wants. 

3.) Your confidence is low. Not withstanding the two factors I mentioned above, your confidence levels are low. That is no reason you cannot obtain clients. However, you have to work on conjuring up your confidence by refining your skills. I always recommend practicing what you preach---exercise and develop different program design schemes and try them out on yourself. Talk to people that are in  the gym and refine your rapport-building skills. Try to give out free advice or greet people at the door. If you become the "face" of the gym, you will develop the "mind" of the gym.

4.) Ask your clients for help. Connect with some of your clients that you are most comfortable with and ask them to make you as accountable to them as you make them accountable to you. Sounds ridiculous, but back in the commercial gyms days, I had 1-2 clients that I really was able to call my "friends" and we would workout together on weekends (not a session), keep records of each other diet; and go running with. If you  are having your won weight issues--being a  personal trainer only intensifies body image perception. A personal trainer doesn't have to be on an island alone.

5.) The 4 "E"s of client success. When all else fails to reach you. Check out this video tutorial I created to help guys like you:

Hope this advice helps. I know where you are coming from. Heck, I left personal training for management just so I could sit behind a desk and hide my gut. Trust me...I am happier now back as a full-time trainer. Keep me updated! ~John

1 comment:

  1. good info J.

    Over the past 7-8 years or so my weight has been up AND down and neither 235 @ 12% or 190 @ 7% has helped nor hurt my ability to get clients.

    The problem lies when YOU think YOUR weight makes a difference. I am so confident in my history and knowlege and personality that i think i could do the exact same job at 400lbs from a wheelchair.

    if YOU think your weight matters to your client, it prolly will. If it ever comes up, just explain to clients that everyone has different goals and yours is (whatever yours is--sounds like your sort of in a bulk that went a little wrong--no biggie). heck, just cut the weight right in front of them and you will really gain their respect. Just never ever doubt what you know and people really dont care about what YOU look like when they hear your resume, how much you care, or how intelligent you are. after all, no one wants to think that fat makes you stupid, right?


Thanks for checking out the blog and commenting!