You're Fired

This is a very controversial subject. I’m sure there will be plenty of people out there who disagree with me, but I’m OK with that. To some, this idea seems like business suicide, but to me it just plain makes sense.

You’re fired—two words that every trainer or coach should learn and not be afraid to use with their clients. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should use those exact words, as there are many far more user-friendly ways to say it, but the basic idea is summed up pretty easily there: firing your clients.

The Client

I’m sure every trainer had at least one client who routinely showed up late or canceled sessions with little to no notice, always gave a sub-par effort, or didn’t seem to want to learn or work hard. If you haven’t, I want to see what kind of population you're working with. By this point, you may have picked up on where I’m going with this. If you have a client, or clients, who just aren’t working, it’s time to send them a pink slip.

Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t an excuse to throw around with any client who has a bad day. In fact, it couldn’t be further from that. Everyone has an off-day, and if you have a client who comes in, has a bad day, and still gives you a solid effort, that's the type of client you want. I’m talking about the clients who always seem to have an excuse. I’m talking about the clients who fight you tooth and nail the whole time you train them. I’m talking about the clients who seem to feel that their time is more valuable than yours. Even still, those kinds of people should be given your best efforts to get them results. As a trainer, it is your responsibility to exhaust every option to motivate and drive your clients. This is especially true with these people. However, once you have tried everything and they're still giving you excuses and not putting in the work or still eating nothing but junk, it may be time to have the talk.

The Solution

From a business point of view, the idea of willingly turning away a client seems insane to some people. Not to me. The way I see it training with me is a privilege, not a right. Simply having the money to pay for a session doesn't secure you the chance to train with me. I’m not saying that I’m the best trainer in the world, but I’ve put tremendous amounts of time, effort, and money into being the trainer I am and I don’t see the point in wasting my time with someone who is lazy when there is someone else out there motivated to work and dedicated to getting better who I could be working with. There are lots of trainers out there who are happy to play the part of the babysitter for these types of clients. Me? I’d rather work with someone who wants results.

This may be a tactic you want to consider employing with your clientele. If you regularly deal with people who believe the job of a trainer is to babysit, talk and count reps, it might be time to draw a line in the sand. Put your clients and athletes to the test. If they are lazy and always quit no matter what you try or just generally don’t seem interested in making the changes they need in order to reach their goals, give them a final chance to prove that they want to work with you. If they’re still coming up short, it’s time to kick them to the curb and make room for the people who actually value your time.