Most clients have big expectations when they plunk down their money for a fitness, weight-management program or comprehensive health coaching program.
Interestingly… they never tell you “what” those expectations are. Instead, they just keep it all in their heads.
In their minds, there is a certain weight (they have a number!) A specific dress size. A visualized lifestyle. And, they probably have a date in mind as to when they should reach the “finish line!”
But, What About You..?
What are your expectations of them..?
- How many days a week do you expect each client to workout
- Do you expect each client to eat properly?
- What level of discipline and accountability do you expect of each client?
And more importantly… do you ever disclose your expectations to your clients.. or are you just like them — keeping it all in your head — assuming they know what to do.
It happens all the time… two people working together who may have two very different ideas about what the outcome should be.
All based on “false assumptions” because a simple conversation never took place.
Cool Hand Luke…
“What we have here is a failure to communicate!”
It is amazing how often this type of miscommunication goes on in all kinds of relationships — between buyers and sellers, between lawyers and clients, between husbands and wives.
The “Magic” of Conversation
Here are a few tips you might consider.
- It is your responsibility (not the client) to get the conversation started.
- Spend at least 5-minutes getting to “know” the client other than medical or physical data, ie: hobbies, interests, family, work, sports, movies, books, etc.
- At a certain point in the conversation (you’ll know when it’s time) you absolutely must look the client in the eye and say something like, “Would you be comfortable if we get right down to the root of things and discuss why you are here and what your expectations are?”
- Even though they are talking, you need to make sure you “lead” and control the conversation so that it doesn’t veer off-course. You need to understand your client’s metrics. Believe me… all clients have numbers in their heads for:
- pounds on-the-scale
- dress sizes,
- length of time it should take,
- even how much they can cheat…!
- Get all of this out in the open. DO NOT COMMENT on any of it or appear judgmental in any way.
Now, It’s Your Turn…
- Be sure to summarize what they just told you (took notes, right?) and acknowledge their expectations and goals. If they are realistic, validate them for it.
- As you identify unreasonable expectations, address them one at a time and “re-frame” it for them. For example, “I want to lose 20 lbs in 20 days” might be re-framed to: “Losing 20 lbs is a fantastic goal, but doing it in 20 days would actually be unhealthy. Let’s talk about the first 2 pounds…”
- At this point, after re-framing some of their expectations to a more realistic outline, you MUST begin let them know what it’s going to take. And that’s where you begin to inform the client of your own expectations. Be crystal clear…
- At the end of the discussion, be sure to summarize both sets of expectations… modify some, change others, but most importantly, your client and you MUST ultimately AGREE to work toward each others expectations.
- If you can’t agree, it’s decision time.
I’ve Walked in Your Shoes
Before starting Private Label Fitness, I owned and operated a weight-management office (MediCorp) in Newport Beach, California.
We did NOT accept all applicants.
Because once we had “the conversation” it sometimes revealed that we could not meet the client’s expectations… or, the client could not meet ours.
But, here’s the exciting thing. We rarely lost a client. In fact, we gained more business through referrals than any other form of marketing.
And, from a survey, we found out the #1 attribute of our company was that we were “honest.”
A Final Push…
Listen… it’s your game. You are the expert.
Your clients come to you for that very reason. So, you need to be clear about the “rules-of-the-game” and allow them to be successful in their goals.
So, have the CONVERSATION with each and every client.
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