The Challenging Charlie knows everything thinks they know everything. They’re skeptical of you and your gym and won’t commit to anything long-term. This client type may be experienced in exercise or may not be. Often the Challenging Charlie has done research prior to starting an exercise program.
It may seem like they’re testing you early on.
Handling Difficult Clients: Challenging Charlie – Challenges
The Challenging Charlie doesn’t leave themselves open to a lot of conversation. Your questions will be met with one word answers. They’ve often done some research before meeting you and therefore want to test you before they commit.
On one hand I love it when clients take on the task of self-educating. The problem is that their research is usually internet based and not always accurate. Setting out a long-term plan is difficult due to lack of information and commitment. They’ll stop you midway and remind you that they haven’t signed up for anything yet.
Handling Difficult Clients: Challenging Charlie – Case Study
Daniel had a trainer for a year and half on and off before he met me. The studio that his previous trainer worked at closed down which left Daniel looking for a new trainer. Initially he was standoffish. He didn’t give detailed answers to any of my questions and refused an assessment. Needless to say that my first thoughts about Daniel was that he was a jerk. After learning more and more about his past Daniel’s situation became clear.
He had been trained badly in the past. His previous trainer seemed to be a good salesperson that never backed up any of his statements. There were constant fantastical promises of results. As time went on Daniel became bored with the workouts (the trainer would spend 45 with him while he ran on a treadmill) and didn’t come close to the promised results that initially sold him. Needless to say, his view of the industry had been tarnished which led him to be apprehensive.
I realized quickly that Daniel wasn’t a jerk, he was jaded. He’d heard all the lines and false promises. There wasn’t much that I could say to convince him that I was different.
I beat it into him My plan of action had to change. Since Daniel refused an official assessment I secretly worked the assessment into the first 3 workouts. After each exercise I would take a minute to tell him what was going on in detail. I started to answer his questions before he had a chance to ask them. As the workouts went on Daniel gained more faith in me. I made sure to show him that I had a reason for the exercises that he was doing.
Handling Difficult Clients: Challenging Charlie – Solutions
Since the Challenging Charlie usually stems from bad experiences it’s important to take your time to educate them on how you’re different.
I like the process of educating them before they ask. Before every workout with this client type I’ll take 5 minutes to explain my plan for the day and why I’m doing it. By closing all the doors to objections before they raise them you prepare yourself for success.
The Challenging Charlie should be a short-term problem with two possible situations emerging.
√ You don’t explain yourself well. They’ll quickly give you the boot as their trainer.
√ You explain yourself well and prepare for their questions or, better yet, answer their questions before they ask them. The Challenging Charlie will shift into a long-term client with a great understanding of exercise in addition to having faith in you.
So the next time you encounter a Challenging Charlie don’t get put off. They’ve had a bad experience and usually have reason to be jaded. If you’re reading this than you’re one of the unique trainers who cares about their practice and reputation. Take care of your client, close doors to objections, explain yourself well, and have a reason for everything you’re doing. Quickly the challenging charlie will turn into a long-term dedicated client.
Do you want More Articles on Handling Difficult Clients?