Servicing the Client Not Ready

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A trainer on our staff asked at our role play meeting last week, “What do you do with someone without any goals?”

What we know about stages of changes, tells us he’s in pre-contemplation. What we know about the fact that he just recently joined the fitness center is in congruent with that. So you have to ask.

“What prompted you to join the club? What was it about now? What made it a good idea?”

In our business we sometimes have a great special that for someone who wants to join is too hard to pass up. Yet, that is not a sufficient answer to why they’d been thinking about it in the first place. There is an answer you need to get to about why. Do they know fitness is important, it seemed like a good thing to do, did someone else tell them they should do it, there is something there. If you find out someone else is behind it, you have gained information. The person in front of you isn’t totally opposed to it, knowing that by joining he’ll have to use it for it to do some good.

The trainer reported that the man didn’t have any goals. He didn’t want to lose weight, didn’t want better cardiovascular fitness or more energy or endurance. She was looking for typical goals someone will give her like weight loss that she could run with but didn’t get them. She was stuck knowing what to do.

You’re not going to motivate someone to have a goal that YOU think is important. It’s not even your job to do that. People find all kinds of value in belonging to a club. It may be that the social component was of greater value for him. It may be his spouse also joined or a friend did and they agreed to take advantage of this new member session because it was free.

So what would you do with that? Ask how the potential client intends to use the club. Will he be using the pool or the tennis courts? Will he be using the steam room and sauna?

What can you do to enhance his visit? Meet him where he is at and be realistic.

To the trainer the client looked overweight and out of shape. She wanted him to say “lose weight” or “get in better cardiovascular shape” or relay info a doctor had suggested for him. She had nothing to grasp onto.

Not every client is going to be cookie-cutter. That’s OK. Learn to adapt. What moves someone out of pre-contemplation? Information about what else is out there, the possibilities, and what specific activities can do for you.

Point out how he could enjoy the pool, fitness classes that would be first on the list for him to try. Learn more about who this person is and what his career is or was and you’ll know a little more about him. Does he enjoy sports? He may be competitive with himself so that you could help him set goals of initially 20 minutes then adding two a week to treadmill time while he enjoyed the cardio theater feature you have.

A good experience goes a long way. Good in the eyes of the client is what is important. Not in your eyes as the trainer. You may know what’s best for him, but he’s got to want to change first.

Ask better questions of a client and you will get better options. Even though he is there because “it’s free” there is more reason behind it. Time is valuable to each of us. We don’t readily give up time unless we think we’ll gain something from it!

What do you most want to learn by the time our session concludes today? Here are a couple options…after some initial assessments I can show you some of the machine weights appropriate for you, introduce you to some cardio equipment and make sure you know what to do when you come in; or we can go over some specific questions you have about the club or fitness. Which of those is most appealing to you?