Choose discomfort over resentment. – Brené Brown
Have you ever had a client that left you feeling completely drained at the end of every session with them?
No matter how much energy and positivity you brought into the session you would leave it feeling flat, or worse still, in a group session it would leave all of your other clients feeling flat too.
Here are some that I’ve encountered:
The Repeat Canceller
This client would often cancel right at the start of our session. I would often train them at 2pm, coming in early just for her only to get a message right at 2pm from her saying they wasn’t coming in.
The ‘There is something else going on here’ Client
This client bought a book from a popular celebrity trainer and began working out 8-9 times a week (high intensity). Because a stranger knows better then your trainer of 12 months what’s best for you. That’s sarcasm folks.
The ‘You Don’t Have A Nice Ass’ Gentlemen
A husband and wife came in to train with me. Previously they had had a female trainer who had left the business to get a ‘real job’ (their words). After two sessions the husband stopped coming to the workouts. When I pushed for a reason why I found it he ‘liked something to look at’ while he was working out.
The Bootcamp Killer
This client joined us for one four week bootcamp course. For every single bootcamp exercise I asked them to do they had something negative to say. The session they attended was my last bootcamp of the day and I would end my day feeling a failure. At the end of the 4 weeks not one person from that timeslot signed up for the next round of bootcamp. That was 8 clients I lost.
Some clients just aren’t for you
As I thought back on those clients it now seems a little insane that I kept training them when they were causing me so much grief. At the time I was new to being a trainer and I felt like I needed to say yes to every new client.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t. If you are looking after your clients and reinvesting in being an awesome coach you will naturally increase your clientelle over time to a point where you need to look at hiring an extra trainer. The growth may be seem slower if you are pickier about your clients but long term it will pay off.
Look at the 7 other bootcamp clients I lost because of one crappy client. If I had fired them I may have kept those people for months and years.
Look at the other frustrating clients I had. If I had let them go I could have put more energy into my existing clients and gotten more referrals from them for more awesome clients.
Some clients just aren’t for you and that’s OK. There are plenty of other trainers out there. Start training people you want to train, people who inspire you and keep an eye out for more clients like that.
Here’s how to break up with your client
OK, so what do you do if you have one of these clients?
You might want to consider breaking up with them. That is, asking them to no longer be your client.
You may have already thought about doing this and have played it over and over in your head imagining every terrible scenario that could come from you asking for what you want.
I can say from my experience that it will probably go better than you think.
Here are some things I’ve done:
- Fire a client to take on a new project. Let’s say there is a new class or service you want to start offering but you are feeling pressed for time. Use this to explain that you need to cut back your clientelle to take on this project. It’s nothing personal (even though it is).
- Tell the client you don’t feel like you are helping them. Take the client aside at the end of the session and tell them first you care about them and that you don’t feel like they are getting the most out of your sessions. Wait to hear their response, they may agree and then you can ask them how you can help. This may cause a change in attitude without needing to fire them. If they get defensive just bite the bullet and ask them to no longer train with you.
- Preemptive strike. Listen to your gut (literally). When you have a new client that just feels like something is off with them, listen to that and don’t ask them to sign up.
Practice what you are going to say with your significant other or friend first. It really does help when you sit down with your client.
Break ups suck. But keeping a client that is bringing you down will do far more damage.
Have you had a terrible client? What did you end up doing? Share with us in the comments.
You might also like this article: Letting Go of the Fear of Disappointing Others