By Dan F.
The best trainers can–and should–be measured by the success of their clients. The only thing a trainer should ever sell is results. There are many modalities to achieving them, but in the end, it is results that clients are looking for.
What sets one trainer apart from another is how effectively, efficiently, and safely he or she can achieve these results. A good trainer will spend the time to understand each individual client’s needs and will have a plethora of tools to achieve these needs. No two clients are identical, and therefore, they should not be treated as such. It is up to a trainer to be able to show a client the way, but something that a trainer can never teach is the desire to follow the path laid out for that client. The client-trainer relationship is one of dual responsibility that is often not discussed.
As I have progressed in my career from trainer, to manager, to the dreaded role of “sales person,” I have found that the key to my success is complete honesty. The first thing I do when I meet a client for the first time is to try to figure out the ever-elusive “why?”
Why is this client coming to me to start his or her fitness journey?
Where and why have they struggled?
And, what can I do to help them get to their goal?
Generally, at this point, after very in-depth conversation, I will get the question “how much weight can I lose?” There may also be a request for guaranteed results. This is when I will give complete honesty. I could never–nor would I ever– guarantee results. This might seem counterintuitive for a “sales person” to promise a potential client that I cannot guarantee them the only thing I am selling: Results.
But this is where we are setting the groundwork for the client-trainer relationship into which we are about to enter. I cannot, in good conscience, promise a client results. I may only see a client two to five hours a week, and with 168 hours in a full week, there is a lot of time that I can not control. What I can guarantee a potential client is that I can give them everything I have to offer. I will give them all of my knowledge and all of the tools necessary to reach their goals. What I ask in return is that a client gives me their trust and gives me 100% effort. The combination of my skillset mixed with a client’s determination is what leads to years of success stories. If either one is lacking, the results may vary.
A client may not always know how to give everything they have. I can push them, and inspire them to push themselves, but pushing oneself does not mean one has to be hunched over the garbage can, barely able to walk out the door. It is my job to know when a client can be pushed further and when to pull back, so as to not cross the line of “too far.” A skilled trainer will know exactly how hard to drive the client to ensure he or she is giving everything they have without overdoing it.
The hours outside the gym is where the client’s end of the bargain comes in to play. This is where most clients will struggle. A good trainer will provide tools, guidance and accountability to the client so that he/she can survive these crucial hours, but it is up to the client to follow through. This is where the client-trainer relationship really becomes a partnership. If we give each other everything we can, the sky is the limit.
So, in an initial meeting, I am making a verbal contract that I guarantee I will give a client everything I can and if they do the same in return, the results will come! This building of relationships is what has led to years of success.
Dan’s journey into fitness began as an overweight youth. Being extremely overweight he took steps to change his life starting with proper nutrition and a little bit of exercise. He attended Clemson University receiving a BS in Management. He spent most of his free time in the rec. center getting hooked on exercise. Upon graduating he moved back to CT and decided to learn everything he could about the fitness industry and how to properly train the human body. He attended The National Personal Training Institute receiving a diploma in personal training and nutrition consultation. After NPTI he participated in a 4-month mentorship to learn the intricacies of training athletes. This is where he found his passion! He has spent the last 4 years training athletes, of all ages. He has extensive experience training athletes from middle-school all the way to the pros, in all sports! He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, CSCS, through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is also has an Advanced Certified Personal Trainer (A-CPT) certification, and is currently working on his Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator certification.