What makes a fantastic trainer? What is it that allows a select few personal trainers to be, far and away, the absolute best at what we do?
I think we all know it isn’t certifications. Education is crucially important, of course, but even mountains of knowledge won’t translate into fantastic training. You might know just what a client needs, but if they don’t respond to your training, you’ll never see results.
But I think that puts us on to something here. If certs don’t make you a good trainer because they don’t teach you to motivate clients, then we know what makes a good trainer: someone who knows how to motivate.
And that makes perfect sense, right? We basically make a living convincing, coercing, or otherwise influencing people to do things they really, really don’t want to do. People hire us because they either can’t or don’t want to be held accountable for their own exercise needs.
So a good trainer is someone who can get their clients to work hard, even when they don’t want to.
But what does it take to be that kind of person? The kind of person who has the power to motivate, encourage, and push clients, without alienating, annoying, or offending them? That’s a pretty delicate balance of influence and understanding, right?
Because different people all respond to different kinds of encouragement; what gets one guy fired up to give it his all could put a different client in tears.
So we’ve got to have the ability to read our clients. We have to talk with them, ask them the right questions, find out what kind of people they are, decide what we think will motivate them, and then use that knowledge to get them to work hard. All without offending or disappointing them.
That’s a pretty tall order.
But we’re finally getting somewhere here. I think we’ve pinpointed what truly separates the best trainers from the good trainers: it’s the ability to work with people.
In other words, it’s being a people person.
That’s pretty much what it boils down to. You not only need to be great at understanding how people work but you’ve also got be fantastic at interacting with them.
O.K., think about this for a second: Picture your client living her life. Maybe she’s out with friends or at some party, and she’s talking about you and your training— you’re just about to get a referral.
She isn’t going to say a word about all your certifications or your technique or even your training. If she likes you, that’s pretty much all she’ll say: she like’s you and who you are. She’ll say she likes talking with you, she likes the way you interact with her, and she likes how you motivate and encourage her.
Let’s face it— we’re counselors. They come to us with their problems and their issues and their complaints, and we listen. We chat, we give what little input we’re comfortable giving, and somehow through all this we get these people to train.
Our people person skills are put to the ultimate test.
But that’s what we are. This type of interaction is what defines our industry.
And even if you do group training or boot camps, you’re still intimately interacting with your clients, you’re still encouraging and motivating them to the best of your ability. If they don’t like your personality or if you try to encourage them with techniques they don’t like, they won’t stick around.
So that’s it then: the best personal trainers are awesome people persons.
…So what if you aren’t much of a people person?
That’s a scary thought, right? You just read this whole article all about how you can be great at your job, but you aren’t sure you have the right kinds of people skills to make it happen.
Well, don’t freak out quite yet, there’s still hope.
This goes back to a previous blog I’ve just put out that is all about building your own brand. And in that post I talked about how establishing a particular brand can help you attract the kinds of people that will respond positively to your personality and training style.
And that’s my response to anyone who says they aren’t a people person; even if you aren’t the most popular guy or gal, there are still millions of people out there that you would get along with awesomely. You’ve got friends who understand you, right? Even if you don’t know every single person in your town you’ve still got your niche.
So the key to building your brand, then, is to target that niche that works really well with you. That way, you naturally become the people person you need to be because you’re attracting and working with clients who chose you for who you are. You’re attracting that certain kind of person that connects with you and appreciates your style.
But this isn’t all that simple. Your entire marketing campaign, along with your actual training and interactions, all need to model this particular brand. And you’ve got to make sure there are enough prospects around that will be attracted to that brand image in the first place.
But injecting your personality into your business shouldn’t be too hard. And building the right kind of brand can really boost your marketing efforts, making client attraction and retention easier.
But if there’s one thing I want you to walk away knowing today, it’s that being a great people person is being a great trainer. It’s easier if you target the types of people who appreciate your style, but even then, you’ve got to know exactly what kinds of interactions, communications and relationships will motivate your clients and bring them the most results.
So make it happen. We all knew what this industry was when we first got started, which means we all have a passion for helping others. And that’s what being a people person is fundamentally all about.
Committed to your success,