Most personal trainers at one time or another have had at least one client who did more talking than working out. They are called "Coffee Clients", because with the amount of work they put into the workout, they might as well be sitting around a table talking with their friends over a cup of coffee. If you have never had one, you certainly have seen them "working" with their personal trainers on the gym floor.
As a personal trainer, if you are looking at the little picture, or the short term, you will think you have it made, an easy hour filled and paid. Failing to realize, that one paid hour is costing you hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars in the big picture.
When you look at the big picture, you will realize that coffee clients can cost you a lot of money, if you have a coffee client or coffee clients, you have to take action before it costs you any more money, or even worst your reputation as a good trainer!
I pose this question to you, how many people see you training your clients on the gym floor during prime time? The answer is a lot! This is not a paranoid thought; this is the reality of your position. People watch personal trainers train, which makes part of your job to set good examples on the gym floor.
In that hour there are many members that come and go, and they are all watching! Some people are looking to get a workout idea or two; others are looking to see whom they want to train with. They are deciding if you are a professional trainer, one who is capable and delivers results.
So back to you, the personal trainer on the gym floor, chatting away with your client, and all the while, there are lots of people watching, deciding. For every one "Coffee Client" you have, there are 20 people who will never train with you.
It doesn't matter if you have 30 other clients you work with that you push to exhaustion, they don't see them, they only see you during that hour, and their perception is their reality.
The Client's Bill of Rights
If you have a client who is more interested in company than results, and you let them coast through the hour, you are not fulfilling your end of the agreement. Personal trainers owe a number of things to their clients, and clients deserve and expect certain things, results are definitely on the list.
I call the list "The Client's Bill of Rights", something we teach to every American Fitness Institute certified personal trainer, and I will expand on that list later on in this article. But for now, let's agree that at the very least, clients deserve and expect results.
Eventually, either on their own or with some prodding from a third party, they are going to get VERY upset, when they realize that after X amount of time and X amount of dollars, they look and feel the same or possibly even worse. When they finally realize this, there are only two people to blame, and they will not be blaming themselves.
Ultimately, we as personal trainers are paid for, and expected to deliver these results. If you do not deliver them, expect that you will eventually get FIRED!!! It may come sooner, most members are consistent with the times and days they workout, so after watching a few of your "Coffee" sessions while they workout, they may just approach your client in the locker room and suggest that your client try their trainer if they want results.
By not pushing your client and getting results you are cheating them out of their money, eventually it will catch up to you. Call it karma, but while you are not delivering results to them, they are chasing away your business!
Remember all of those people who watch you train for that hour for months and months? Those are the same people who are at the gym at the same time, consistently working out, consistently watch you take money and not deliver results.
Not one of them is going to fill that newly opened hour with you, or any other hour with you. That one client that didn't want to work, preferred to talk, has cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars in future earnings.
If you have a "coffee client" you have two options.
- Option 1: Get them moving, You can make them fall into line by upping the aerobic exertion in-between sets with active rest, they will have trouble talking during the exercise or movement.
- Option 2: Give them to a personal trainer you don't like, and let them ruin their business, not yours.
If they do not fall into line, it makes no sense to keep them. It is like stepping over dollars to pick up pennies, and that makes zero cents!
I mentioned that clients have the right to expect certain things from their personal trainers; here is a glimpse at the American Fitness Institute's Clients Bill of Rights.
Client's Bill of Rights:
- An injury free workout.
- A personal trainer who is on time.
- A phone free workout.
- A creative, dynamic workout.
- Sweat, elevated heart rate and to feel it the next day.
- To be the only person on the gym floor, (at least in their personal trainers eyes).
- Results For Their Hard Work.
Respect your client's Bill of rights and they will remain your client for years to come. For a more detailed look at the American Fitness Institute Client's Bill of Rights, visit www.afitrainer.com and click on the article link "Client's Bill of Rights".
Losing a percentage of clients is part of the business of personal training, which is why you must always be prospecting, to replace the clients who drop off and keep your revenue flow steady. A large part of that process easier is to always be "On" when you are on the gym floor, be attentive to your client and professional, and potential clients will prospect you.
The American Fitness institute teaches personal trainers to see the big picture, part of which is the natural process of gaining and losing clients. Clients may stop training with you for many acceptable reasons, including moving away, or changing health clubs. Losing clients because you fail to do your job is an unacceptable reason, and an unprofessional one as well.