I was flat on the ground in a heap of pain. Panting for my life and wanting to crawl away to a hole somewhere.
My trainer said, “That was really great. Really great.”
I told him to shut up. This made him laugh. “Hey, you worked your butt off this session. I wish all my clients were as focused as you. I’m so sick of slackers.”
And because I have this disease where I can’t NOT coach people – I rolled over, grunting the whole way, and asked, “Slackers?”
He told me that lots of his clients didn’t want to work. Some of them didn’t even show up for appointments.
Okay, I decided to set aside the fact that this guy had just made me do 4 rounds of burpees, pull ups and kettlebell swings. Then I told him the secret for getting the best clients and losing the slackers:
You have to learn to repel people.
It’s true. If you find yourself in a situation like my trainer, you’ll need to take clear actions in order to Uplevel your clients and your success. (And yes, it means that the slackers will inevitably go away.)
Action #1: Know your ideal client inside and out.
As I started to breath normally, I asked my trainer what kind of client he really wanted to work with. Like, if his schedule could be filled with this particular kind of person all day long, who would that be?
“Well,” he said. “I want people who, you know, actually do the work to transform. I don’t want people who think I’m a magic pill. And then blame me for their own irresponsibility.”
“Great,” I said. “What else?”
“I don’t want people who cancel last minute just because their day got busy. You have to prioritize your workouts.”
“Excellent,” I said. “Gimme one more.”
He was getting all kinds of energetic at this point.
“I want people who want to work with me on their nutrition as well as their workouts. You can’t exercise your way out of a shitty diet.”
“Perfect.” I said.
Once he nailed down those attributes and a few more, I told him that he needed to set up his standards so that his ideal person could self-select in the moment they were asking about his services.
And they would also de-select themselves. Which is good.
This means that it’s up to my trainer to lead his prospects by sharing his high standards up front:
Requiring longer contracts for long-term results, enforcing cancellation policies so the client is accountable, creating food assessments and getting serious about their diet and nutrition…
That’s when my tough strong scary trainer looked like he had forgotten to put on his big girl panties. He said, “Well, they might get mad! What if they don’t hire me?”
I got in his face. (I felt entitled after the workout he’d just put me through.)
I said, “Well, you don’t want to work with slackers, right? That means that you have to be the one to make that happen. Do you want people to LIKE you – or do you want a business that rocks your world and changes lives?”
This is the ultimate challenge of any entrepreneur who commits to happiness and success. You have to know your ideal client, and be willing to let go of anyone unlike that person.
Action #2: Adopt an abundance mindset.
My trainer’s fear of people “getting mad” is a common fear of entrepreneurs when faced with the choice between their own clarity and the thought of repelling people.
The lack mindset says, “I will forever have to work with anyone and everyone because I’m lucky to even have clients. Things are scarce.”
The abundance mindset says, “I work ONLY with people who are a great match for me because I will be more productive and they will get better results. I know these people are out there.”
As long as you act from the lack mindset, you will be miserable because you’re making decisions based in fear.
Action #3: Take time to create policies.
How do you want your clients to behave?
What are you not willing to tolerate?
Turn it all into a list of policies and share this list when a prospect wants to work with you.
VERY IMPORTANT: Explain that your policies are set up so that clients get great results and to ensure that you have a powerful relationship. This elevates the client because you are modeling your standards from the start.
Teach people how to work with you, and they will follow your lead. If your clients don’t “behave,” the problem is that you haven’t taught them how to work with you. (Same goes for dogs, kids, employees – and well, everything!)
Only a week later, as we finished a session, my trainer said, “Hey by the way, I tried that stuff you told me. This woman came to me saying she wanted to lose 40 pounds but she only wanted one or two sessions. I said no. I told her about my 3-month commitment and what I require in order to take her on as a client. And she signed up! She even sort of looked happy when I said all that. Like, that made her WANT to work with me more.”
He also shared that one man had gotten irate and walked out.
Both outcomes are amazing. They’re the result of honoring yourself and others enough to be clear and let go. The long-term effects of clarity will far outweigh the momentary excitement or disappointment of the prospect’s choice. You’ll create a higher level of success for both your business AND your client.
Having a business is more than just having a business. It’s a training ground for your very soul. This means you must be brave enough to be the model for your clients. That you get to be happy when people walk away. And that your time and energy are way too important to waste on slackers.