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Session #002 - Four Tips for an Effective Consultation


Show notes:

Alright! Hi there! And welcome to session number two of the epic personal trainer podcast. I'm your host Marc, and today I wanted to talk to you a little bit about client consultations from the lovely Invictus athletic club in Bangalore.

So. To start off with, there are a lot of different ways of performing a consultation.

No particular way is the right way. There's just, you know, trying to find a way that works best for you. So I know some trainers that use like just a Google form questionnaire that they send out a link to the mostly online trainers that do that. Some trainers that are in-person, they'll sit down with a similar form, but maybe fill it out together with their client. I even know, trainers that basically just sit down and talk and record the conversation and then go back to that recording to pull out all the information they need to, you know, write a good program and deal with that client.

Now, despite all these different ways of doing things, there are four things I believe you're going to need to try and achieve in every kind of consultation. Personally, I like to do this before somebody signs up. So it's kind of part of the sales process because it can really help, with, with converting somebody from an enquiry into a new client.

So, first up on this list, number one. Is that you're going to want to try and build a high level of rapport with the potential client. So, why do you want to build a rapport? Well, first off your consultation is going to give you more time to connect with that client, which gives them extra time to try and make a buying decision. Right.

So the old 'know, like, and trust' part of sales, that's never going to go away. You see. If somebody sees you for the first time, they're rarely going to invest large amounts of money. On you or your training. Okay. Especially not after just like a five minute call or tour around the gym and that's because they don't know you yet.

They don't know if they like you yet and they don't know if they can trust you yet. So they may know you're an expert because you know, you're the person at the gym. And you're the one that is taking them around and talking to them. But they're going to be skeptical. Okay. Because they've not seen it for themselves yet.

Alright, so performing a good consultation is going to give you more time to develop that 'know like, and trust'.

They'll get to know whether they like you. They're going to get to know. That they're not just going to be able to get on with you throughout the process, but enjoy being with you in all those hours throughout the process.

And they'll get time to see your expertise. Which is going to allow them to build the extra levels of trust and confidence with you. Because you're creating that reputation and becoming more credible in their eyes. All that can really help with you getting a new client, which is why I like to do it. Towards the beginning before they even sign up.

Now, there is a downside to doing a consultation. Early on like this. Okay. And. That is because during a consultation, you may need to talk about some fairly personal things. So, you know, if that report isn't there, when you try and bring up these points, then they might be a little bit less open with the details that they're going to give you. All right. Some of those, which, you know, might be important, especially when it comes to things like medical conditions that they might have.

So. Should they mention it to you? It's great. If they don't don't worry too much. It's just that trust factor isn't there yet. So there are some pros and cons to doing it this way and deciding which way you do it is going to be up to you and your workflow. And how you have things set up.

All right. So number one is to build that rapport. Good rapport means you're gonna try and make that sale a little bit easier, but also you're going to have them open to discussing. All the things that they need to tell you so that you can do a better job. Okay.

Right. So number two is fact finding. Now fact finding is the one thing that most trainers will do if they perform some kind of consultation.

So the online trainers that just send that Google form, most of it is just sort of question and answer to fact find.

Fact finding is the one that most people do and they cover the topics mainly like medical conditions, injuries and what their goal is. So it's essentially you, the trainer asking questions, getting people to open up and talk about themselves, so you can get to know them better.

Now you're going to be able to gather a ton of information is going to allow you to make better decisions. And more specific decisions about their chaining and nutrition. So that's what is going to allow you to train that person better. You're going to be able to create a much more effective plan and a much better roadmap for them when you have that information at hand.

So you can really customise everything to the individual. And at the end of the day, you know, that is what personal training is. We need to make it as personal as possible and we can't make it personal without that information. So, the more information we get, then the better decisions we can make and the better we can do our jobs and hopefully the better the results the client will get.

Now, in fact, finding cover a range of things like medical conditions, that we said earlier.

But one of the most important areas to talk about when it comes to fact finding, which a lot of trainers struggle with, is getting to the bottom of the 'why' behind their goal.

The why the 'w', 'h', 'y', why are they really here? So for example, somebody might come to you with a goal of fat loss. You know, like most gym members. Okay. Most trainers in the world deal with fat loss, clients, transformation clients. Now fat loss is what we would call a person's external goal. This is quite often a visual thing and something we can measure. So whether it's fat loss, muscle building, or even, you know, some people come saying, I want more stamina, or I want to be fitter. There's always ways we can measure this depending on what fitness means to them. So you're going to have to ask them about that.

But it's always going to be something measurable and it's always going to be kind of a means to an end. It's going to be how they get to their actual goal.

Now this true goal is what we call their internal goal. So using the example of fat loss, we need to ask them why they want to lose weight. Why do they want to drop body fat reduce or, you know, whatever terminology that they're using?

So, this is 'why' is going to be an emotional goal. Okay. It's going to be a goal that is a feeling. And it's really what their true goal is. It's a goal that's going to help them move away from some kind of pain and towards some pleasure.

And it's going to be that emotional feeling, not a physical feeling. So for example, I want to lose fat because I want to be able to play longer with my kids. I feel like I can't keep up with them. And I don't want to let them down or embarrass them.

So within that statement, we've got our external and internal goals. The 'I want to lose fat' is that external goal. That is how we get to the true goal or the internal goal, which is, making my kids happy, essentially not embarrassing them or letting them down. So that's a very powerful emotion. The actual goal is to be able to have more fun with their children, more time with their children, better quality time with their children and even make their children proud of them.

All right. So fat loss is just how they get there.

You may have somebody say they want to look great on their wedding day. They want to lose fat for the photos. Those photos last a lifetime. So they want to be able to make sure that when they look back on that day, that they're feeling good about themselves and that everything was perfect.

So again, it's a very powerful feeling. And for this person, the way that they can achieve that is by losing some body fat. So remember fat loss is just a means to an end. It isn't their main goal. Their main goal is something that is much deeper lying. So I really can't stress how important it is to find out the 'why' behind your client's goals.

Like I said, at the beginning, some people won't open up just yet. Right. So if you don't have that kind of rapport, getting to the bottom of this might be a little difficult. So, if they do hire you as a trainer in the end anyway, is something that you can come back to a little later on, maybe after the first month, once that trust has been developed and that relationship built.

Now. Third on our list for what you want to achieve during effective consultation is that you want to set the scene. So, what do I mean, when I say set the?

First off. We're going to manage some expectations. So if somebody comes to you with some really wild kind of goal, and it's going to be really difficult for you to help them achieve that, sometimes it will be really not advisable or even impossible. So we have to pump the brakes a little bit and explain to them that that goal may not be a realistic.

So we probably need to try and set a new timeframe for the goal. Maybe set a new goal, so those things can be more realistic. In addition to that, we're also going to try and set the scene to gain their commitment to the process.

So you need to be able to explain what that process is and drop little nuggets along the way that will let them know that this is a process and they're going to have to be committed to it. And they're going to have to be regular and consistent.

They're going to have to put the work in because it all boils down to them doing the work. Remember as a trainer or coach you're just the guide, you can't do the work for them. We're here basically to help the processes easy as possible, help them avoid these pitfalls, help them push. Maybe a little bit harder and hold them accountable.

If they follow what you recommend and then they put the work in and they should be able to get to where they want to be.

So next, you've got to set the boundaries around the process. So, this is so they know what is expected of them. Your client needs to know what they need to do. They need to know why they need to do it. And they also need to know what to expect from you as the trainer to help and support them the whole process. And that's a really big thing. They need to know that you're there for them, that you're going to help them through every step and that you're gonna be committed to helping them with their goal.

Now, during a consultation, there are many different ways that you can try and emphasise this point of setting the scene right.

So first off you can ask them questions where your client might rank themselves on a scale of one to 10. So questions, like 'how important is this goal to you'? And when we say goal, we're talking about the internal goal. Okay. We can check how much effort they feel that achieving their goal is going to take and how much effort is going to be needed for them to achieve this goal. So we're managing their expectations and we're setting the scene because when they say that this is going to be maybe a two out of 10 for effort needed to succeed, then you know that that's not going to be enough. And then when you're going to have to have a talk with them and reeducate or reframe. Things for them. Okay. And this is really important that you know, this number comes from them. We're not trying to put words into their mouth. Okay. Because if a client also says this is a 10 for importance for me then they've got to live up to what they're stating.

In an effective consultation we're also gonna need to know about areas like their experience and their knowledge.

So this is something that can affect the starting point of where you're going to be with that client. Whether they're an absolute beginner and know nothing about, lifting techniques or movement or nutrition or training or anything. Or maybe they have trained for a couple of years at a different gym with a different trainer. That's obviously, you know, you're going to deal with somebody slightly different based on that level of experience.

If you start to slow, or in the opposite scenario, you know, too quickly. Because if you start to slow, people can lose patients. If they feel that they've already done this, but they already know that, and that they're working well within their capabilities, sessions might seem like a waste of time, effort, and money, and it's not going to be enjoyable for them.

But if you go too hard and then going to be sore for a week, they might be worried about returning a few days later for more 'punishment'. So you need to strike that balance and a good way to strike it is by knowing their starting point.

Now I remember once in the UK I trained this bus driver. I worked in way too hard on legs and he had to take three days off work.

And, I don't think he renewed after the one month. You know, he wasn't happy having to take all that time off because, you know, he felt like he was letting people down at work. Because people had to cover for him and It needlessly took up some of his limited and valuable sick days that he might need it in future for a real illness. So I don't blame him really.

But yeah. So moving on. The fourth thing is going to help you perform an effective consultation, which is we need to light a fire under the client. We need to get them or keep them really excited for the process. We want the client always remember and desire the goal that they've talked about in that earlier part, the internal goal.

So when people start their journey, you've got to remember that quite often they've been thinking about this for some time. And they've been building up to getting started and are now really excited to get started. So from the first contact point that you have with them, when you're going to book them in for a consultation or a trial or anything like that, try and get it booked and completed as soon as possible. Okay. You really don't want that level of motivation, that desire that they have, and that excitement to drop off while they're waiting for you to find a slot that's maybe in another week or two time.

So we want to keep that ball rolling and you can do this by taking a couple of actions. Okay. So one. Which is what we just discussed is to take action. Do not keep people waiting. Keep the momentum going. The other one is to keep showing that you are the expert, that you are credible and that you have a great reputation, and that's going to give them confidence and excitement to work with you.

Talk their language. They want to be able to relate to everything that you're saying and understand it. So this is going to keep them on the same wavelength and keep that excitement within them. A bit of understanding goes a long, long way.

You know, show them the process, let them see that there's a plan. And that it's a plan that works if they follow it up and put in the hard work.

So keep it positive. So for example, if someone says to you only get four hours of sleep a night, We shouldn't be replying with things like, oh, that's really bad. You need to sleep a lot more than that. So, you know, that puts things in a very negative and judgmental, light. It's a judgemental spin on things.

We want to keep people uplifted and motivated for the process. And if everything becomes a little bit negative, even while you're doing a consultation, it can kind of kill that excitement and the vibe that they have to get started as soon as possible.

So light a fire! It can really, really help, especially in those early days when people are really highly motivated and excited and looking forward to the sessions. And. In those early days, you know, it's really important. That's where that habit and the routine is going to have the foundations laid the groundwork laid.

So we want sessions to become that kind of an integral part of their day, their regular routine, and we want that as early as possible so people aren't even thinking about coming for sessions, it's just automatic. They just know that that is a part of their schedule. This is what they do. And they go to the gym and complete your sessions, just like they go to the office every day.

So, you know, your clients will know, this is my slot, this is what I need to do. It's a priority and I'm going to do it because I really enjoy doing it and I'm going to start seeing results. And now it is a priority, a priority for me. Okay.

So that is it. Those are the four areas. Now, if we can get all of that done, whatever kind of method you're using for consultations, it's going to set you up real nicely. Okay. It's going to be something that will give you a signup. A new client. But also when they do, you've laid some really important groundwork that is going to help them be more successful, which will help you with your business.

By help, I mean better retention, get testimonials, get some referrals and much more.

So let's quickly recap the four areas that you want to hit in a consultation. So going back to the start. Number one. Build rapport. Use the time to connect, find common ground and start to build a relationship with your client. Where are you going to position yourself as the expert with a great reputation.

Number two. Fact find. So get to know them, get all the details needed to deliver a great service an effective process, and something that gets them results.

Number three is set the scene. Let people know the plan what they need to do and what is expected of them and of you and set your boundaries.

And number four Light a fire. So keep their excitement and desire levels high for starting the process, so that it can be kept up for as long as possible.

Okay so that's it from me I hope again that this has really helped you look at consultations maybe in a slightly different way. Hopefully you can really see the power of a good consultation and how it can really carry you through with momentum into the coming months of working with a new client more successfully.

So, I am signing off and i'll see you in the next session.


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