The Art of Repelling People: A Surprising Path to Getting Better Clients, More Money and Real Success - Christine Kane

My personal trainer is a tough strong scary guy.

One day he complained that many of his clients were “slackers” and didn’t do the work to get the results they supposedly wanted.  He admitted that some of them didn’t even show up for appointments.

Unfortunately, this situation is all too common for passionate entrepreneurs whose work is based in their life purpose.

I told my trainer that the first step to attracting better clients would require that he master the art of repelling people.


It’s true.  If you find yourself in a situation like my trainer, you’ll need to take some clear actions in order to Uplevel your clients and your success. (And yes, it means that some of your prospects will inevitably go away.)

Action #1: Know your ideal peep inside and out.

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?

Once he was able to articulate those attributes, I told him that he needed to set up his standards so that his ideal person could self-select when they were inquiring about his services.

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, getting serious about their diet and nutrition…

At that moment, my tough strong scary trainer looked terrified.  “Well, they might get mad! What if they don’t hire me?”

Here, I got a little bit in his face. (Hey, he just made me do 10 pull-ups. I felt entitled!)

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 to work only with the people who are truly committed to getting results?”

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 probably the most common fear of every entrepreneur when faced with 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 they’re 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.  Be sure to explain that your policies are set up so that they get great results and to ensure that you have a powerful relationship.

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!)


A few weeks 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! It worked!  She even sort of looked surprised and 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.

And THAT is the true desired result!

  • Roxanne

    That’s a great article. Now I jut have to figure out how to apply that to art jewelry customers.

  • Ally Piper

    Christine, Thanks for this great article. I’ve spent the last year redefining who I want to work with as clients. It is completely scary to say “no” but hugely liberating at the same time. I recently got very clear on the type of projects I want to tackle and an ideal project opportunity landed right in my lap! It is amazing the power of putting it out there and having people step up to play at your level and my your rules. Thanks!

  • Kelly Beischel

    Christine, I teach nursing at a local university. Being a consummate student I try to apply your entrepreneur teachings to my own work. I am laughing right now b/c I hold really high standards in my classes and I know some students chose not to register for my senior seminar section in the spring. I was elated when I saw my class list b/c having taught them before, I know these are the hardest workers in the senior class. I was hoping to goodness the slacker students didn’t register for my section. I am kind but demanding. I expect the best they can give me. Well, you gave me the idea to be authentic about that from the first day. Can you imagine if I repelled all the students away who didn’t really want to be challenged and work hard? I think that would give me the mojo that is missing right now! Can’t wait to hear more tomorrow night! Thanks so much!

  • Anna

    This was perfectly perfect today. I’ve been trying to leave myself open to the possibility of working with EVERYONE…and creating mass confusion for myself and the people I want to refer clients to me. I absolutely KNOW who I want to work with, but am still working on my abundance mentality…and knowing that my perfect peeps are out there and waiting. Thanks for the reality check!

  • Nora Whalen

    Hi Christine!

    I love it! I channeled you last night and said the exact same thing to one of my clients. I felt a little harsh sharing that and you just reassured me. A great lesson which you lead by example.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Christine Kane

      Nora – thanks –

      People want you to be firm with them. That’s why they pay you! Go you!

  • Scott

    Thank you Christine.
    A premier client of mine turned me on to your stuff. As a Personal Fitness Trainer myself I enjoyed this most recent post. Thank you for the encouragement to continue helping others by expecting more of them while assisting them to expect more from their own efforts. Thank you, looking forward to further posts. (and thank you Barb for passing Christine’s blog post on to me)

    • Christine Kane

      nice to meet you Scott!

      And thanks Barb for the introduction! 🙂 (Barb really IS a PREMIER client, isn’t she?!)

  • Lynn Ruby

    It’s so true Christine! Thank you for this reminder. AND, when one doesn’t take this approach, it inevitably backfires anyway – just like it did with your trainer.

    • Christine Kane

      Thanks Lynn – and yes, the coaching/training/consulting model is a relationship (so is everything) so that commitment is such a great thing!

  • Laura

    So wise! So pithy! Thanks for the reminder about getting clear on who our ideal clients are — which I think is a process you have to go through over and over. The weird thing is that no one’s “stuff” (i.e. services) really works with people who aren’t committed; having clear parameters on what kind of clients you serve helps you help them. And yes, it’s scary. Cheers!

  • Vicky

    Great little reminder 🙂 It’s true…the best clients really do appear when you create policies. In my own experience, it was scary to be upfront but it’s amazing to be working on ideal projects because you’ve been honest about what you want to achieve.

    • Christine Kane

      Thanks Vicky –

      and yes, it’s always a little scary at first – but it absolutely makes your life much happier in the long term —

  • Nikki

    I love it! It sounds scary, but makes a whole lot of sense. My partner and I just released our first big program, The 30-Day Core Belief Kit, and now we’re getting ready to offer our personal spirituality coaching services. Christine, I’m so very thankful for you and all that you offer. The recent free training videos were so awesome! The things we’ve learned are helping us as we shape our business. And you speak in a language we can really understand, as creative non-MBA types. 🙂

    I’m so much looking forward to becoming one of your clients, and upleveling even more!

    Thanks and blessings,