We’ve all had them. We dread seeing them. They are the clients who absorb your enthusiasm and lead you to question your abilities. They keep you up late at night, in frustration, and wake you with anguish in the pit of your stomach. They are your problem clients. It doesn’t seem to matter what you do, problem clients can make a 60-minute session feel like a 3-hour root canal. Each week, the struggle simply to survive the session increases, and you wonder whether it’s time to throw in the towel. Have heart; all is not lost.
In the world of marketing, many devices and activities fall under the broad category of “promotions,” and not all are created equal. Samples, coupons, cash refund offers (rebates), price packs, loss leaders, patronage awards, free trials, POP (point of purchase) promotions and demonstrations are all promotional activities.
In the last decade, the social media revolution has transformed the online landscape by changing the way fitness professionals communicate and engage with colleagues and clients. The functionality of popular social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has opened the doors to new business-marketing strategies in the digital age.
Client: Ralph Wittenberg, MD
Personal Trainer: Lance Breger, MS, MINT Fitness
Location: Washington, DC
Accepting the Challenge.When he first came to see IDEA member Lance Breger, MS, a year ago, 73-year-old psychiatrist Ralph Wittenberg, MD, was in poor condition, suffering from heart disease, cancer and muscle wasting; pain from a botched hip surgery; the effects of an overdose of medication given to treat heart failure; and other ailments.
The more deconditioned people are, the more important it is to get the first few weeks of exercise right. The underlying psychology of obese clients’ beliefs about exercise is as important as the physiology of obesity. Typically, weight loss is the main goal—bordering on an obsession. My exercise programs for this type of client proceed from two main objectives: (1) to use what they already have in order to (2) change their expectations of what they will experience with exercise.
Although my business still requires diligence, attentiveness and hard work, it is much easier now than it was then because I know so much more. I know what I want, and I am at ease and comfortable with my hours, my skills and my clients.
Regardless of the economy, the weather, the decade or your age, having “the business edge” is about having a business that is organized, dependable and current and that stands out from the run-of-the-mill wellness business.
This column provides trainers with practical ways to approach common business obstacles using a coaching strategy called gap analysis. A gap analysis helps people identify where they are currently with regard to a situation, where they ultimately would like to see themselves, and the steps they must take in order to bridge the gap. Here’s how a gap analysis can help you improve your ability to establish and maintain professional boundaries with your clients.
Clients often ask fitness professionals questions about nutrition, since the topic is closely related to exercise. While it may be appropriate to educate clients about foods and diets, sometimes it is best to defer to a dietitian (Muth 2009). But when a nutrition expert is not on-hand or clients cannot afford one, they may turn to the Web for answers.