Monday, July 30, 2012

When People Don't Understand What You Do

I am always cautious to tell people I don't know or meet what I do professionally. When asked what I do for a living, I tend to cringe inside. My response is always, "I am a trainer". After the weird looks and stare down from my head to toes; the next question gives me stomach pains like I swallowed a fistful of nails:

"Does that mean you watch people while they workout?"

Hmmm...if I wanted to relate to that assumption literally, I guess it would mean that I stand there and simply watch gym goer's populate the floor while they exercise.

This takes me back to a day when I was approached by a prospective client that was interested in my services. As I always do, I asked some questions to assess if she is the right person to be a client of mine.

I asked her what her goals were; what is her history of exercise is; and what types of activities does she participate in now. 
Mind you, I always investigate their intentions before I even get into my script on the benefits vs. fee. She looked at me dumbfounded and replied, "I just want someone to watch me as I workout".

My eyebrows crinkled like flavor of a crinkle and I squinted my eyes like Clint Eastwood. 

I replied, "What do you mean?"

She answered, "Well, I want to have you there to watch me as I do the exercises...to make sure I am doing them correctly. I don't want to get hurt or anything."

Immediately, I laughed inside my head. Then I became offended. She was requesting that I play caddy with her and accompany her from machine to machine and simply count reps and supervise. 

As much as I wanted to help this woman, it became apparent to me that:

A: She is unaware what my job description is.
B: She is not ready to work hard.
C: She is not prepared to work with someone like me.

So I looked at the woman and said, "Unfortunately, at this time I have a schedule full of clients in the midst of attaining their goals and accomplishing things that they never thought were possible. Because so many clients have awarded me such accolades, it has made me a very busy man. I'm sorry I don't have any session openings available at this time. If you want to get started sooner rather than later, I can refer you to a trainer that I feel is more than qualified to supervise you during workouts and get you to where you want to go. Would you like that?"

A word to other trainers: It is OKAY to refuse to work with a client. During your investigative phase of rapport building, if you feel a person fails to meet your requirements to fully benefit from your services, then you should pass them along to someone else. Every trainer should have a set of standards that they should require of all prospective clients. Because as you will find in this profession, the client makes the trainer

As much as it is hard to understand, the product makes the seller. In this case, the client makes the trainer. Those clients that are willing to put in the hardwork, commitment, and eat well ; are the ones that will achieve the results that they seek faster.

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