Do you meet your fitness clients where they are?
Servicing Your Fitness Clients. A guest post by Paul Reddick
I’ve been nose to nose battling with a stubborn coaching client of mine recently on the most effective way to market his diet program. (I’m using Diet as the example here but this goes for marketing to your general fitness client as well)
I’m about to throw in the towel.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the program is sound and will help people get healthy and lose weight. The problem is that the diet is just a tad more complicated than the federal budget. It takes discipline, some major adjustments, and access special food not easily found at your local supermarket.
His intentions are good. He wants help people and he has a program he believes in and he know works. But truth be told… good intentions are good for nothing. This diet catapults people right into the major leagues of nutrition. Not a place many regular people will ever sniff at.
As an expert, It’s your job to take people by the hand and help people navigate through the levels of any program… fitness or diet.
That starts with meeting your clients where they are! Most of his clients are light years away from where he is expecting them to be. He is trying to transform people from a nutritional grade of an “F and D’s” to “A’s. and B’s” over night. That ain’t the way it works.
I’m trying to persuade him to break up his diet into steps or phases that people can easily digest (no pun). With foremost phase being the entry phase. How they can make some tiny shifts that will get them some results but won’t disrupt their lives. But, he is adamant about what someone must eat to be healthy and will not back down.
A good teacher meets his student where they are and brings them where they need to be. Each student has a current reality. He’s failing to understand the objections his clients ALREADY HAVE in their mind about ANY diet… let alone a tough diet to follow.
Here’s what you need to know about your fitness clients…
- What programs have they tried and failed? And Why?
- What is the daily schedule of your typical client? Do they have the time to cook, shop, measure…?
- What are their current eating habits?
- What’s tied to the food they currently eat? Social, work environment, time with family?
- What do they currently believe about health / weight loss?
- What do they currently believe about nutrition and health?
- Who are the credible sources they subscribe to that conflict with your opinion?
When people are evaluating the program these are obstacles in your way. Let’s take a deeper look at each of these questions…
- Does it look like programs they’ve tried? How do you show them it’s different?
- Is the diet time consuming or require you to cook, have access to blender or special foods? How can simplify it for them?
- If their current eating habits are a “D” do you have a progression that will bring them to a “C” first. Most “D’s” can’t see themselves as “A’s” and never will. But if you turn them into a “C” they can probably see “B” and so on.
- Do they go out to eat with their families on Friday nights? Do they go for Coffee with their friends? Do they see the program as not only taking away their food but some social involvement as well. That will give them a reason not to do it.
- Do they only want to lose a few pounds? Do they believe they can? Do they just want to drop a jean size?
- Do they believe(from experience) eating right is painful or frustrating?
- Are they going to watch Dr. Oz and he will contradict you? Have other diet guru’s going to give them more flexibility? Do you fly in the face of other more credible people?
These are all buying objections. People use them as outs.
At the end of the day his diet is too rigid for the average person to dive into. Most people will either fail or not even try. Then his knowledge goes nowhere helps no one… “good intentions”
The mistake is not in the diet. It’s in the teach. He’s not meeting his fitness clients where they are… he’s demanding they go somewhere they’ve never been and have never seen. That scares the daylights out of people. But, given them steps to follow that gradually leads them into better habits will get more people put more people in the seats and start down the right path. Then, he can truly put his knowledge to work and help a lot of people.