The word’s largest free collaborative blog for personal trainers. We’re Dedicated to Improving the Perception of the Industry, and Your Success. Join thousands of fans on Facebook, because that many trainers can’t be wrong.

Handling Difficult Clients – The Quiet Assassin

by Jonathan Goodman | Follow on Twitter

The Quiet Assassin gives you no feedback at any point but works their butt off. Here’s how a personal trainer should deal with this client.

shutterstock_71594185
Share This

Becoming a personal trainer marketingHandling Difficult Clients Quiet Assassin – Description

This client kicks butt!  They’ll come into the gym every time and give you 100%.  It won’t matter how their day went.  This is convenient because they’ll never speak about their day.

In fact, the Quiet Assassin will never speak about anything other than the workouts and, even then, conversation is few and far between.  Getting any information about this clients work, family, or social life is like pulling teeth.  With luck, over time the client will become more comfortable and become an Assiduous Monster.

Handling Difficult Clients Quiet Assassin – Challenges

It’s hard to gather any information about the Quiet Assassin.  This makes establishing a relationship difficult.  Every workout is like a bad first date.  You will receive one-word answers to every question that you ask a Quiet Assassin.  They won’t ever ask anything about you.

Since you never know where the Quiet Assassin’s heads at programming in long-term progression is difficult.  They’ll tell you that they’re going on vacation the day before they leave and often have a different idea as to how long they want to train with you.  Getting a grasp on the Quiet Assassin’s goals can also be tough.  You will find that you catch yourself falling into the trap of disorganized sessions.  In addition, any scheduled rest will consist of an awkward silence.  Any questions are followed by a one word answer before the silence returns.

All in all the challenges in dealing with the Quiet Assassin force you to second guess yourself.  You will find retaining this client difficult because of the lack of relationship that you’re able to build.
How to be a personal trainer marketing

Handling Difficult Clients Quiet Assassin – Case Study

Lin was transferred to me when her previous trainer left the club.  She had been training for 2 months and, even though our gym is small, I had never spoken to her.  The previous trainer had left behind Lin’s file and assessment.

Lin was 28 and an engineer.  Besides her exercise history I knew very scattered details about her life.  In 2.5 years I knew that she had two parents and a sister who got married midway through her training.  I only knew about her sister was because she took a week off of training at one point.  She told me 2 days before she left.

I’ve never had a client who worked harder than Lin.  Other trainers commented daily on her work ethic and even asked me what my motivational technique was.  My answer every time was that I had no clue.  She seemed to have a secret intrinsic motivation.  Whatever it was, it worked!
How to be a personal trainer marketing

After training her for a full year 2x/wk we approached the holiday season.  Lin presented me with a card.  I assumed it was going to be a simple “happy holidays”.  To my surprise the card was filled with words!  She poured her heart out in that card.  She thanked me for getting her through a really hard time in her career and personal life.  In the message Lin wrote that she looked forward to the zen-like workout atmosphere and quiet motivation.  Lastly, she thanked me for the professionalism and knowledge.

I spoke a lot during the workouts giving her instruction and background information on the exercises.  I added in as many anecdotes as possible to break the silence.  Lin’s response was always a nod and occasionally a smile.  It turned out that she was listening all along and was relieved that I didn’t push her for stories of her own.

After those holidays Lin’s mood changed.  She still worked her butt off but spoke during breaks and had a two-minute chat after the workout.  The chats, even though they were mostly small talk, created an air of comfort between us.

To this day I don’t know what was going on in Lin’s life.  To my chagrin I recognized that it was none of my business.  My job was to give Lin a great workout.  I provided her with a service and if she wanted it to be silent I had to accept that.  I still did my job and described my short and long-term plans to make sure we were on the same page.  I also spent the time and detailed the importance of her exercises.

She smiled and nodded throughout my explanations and I, at times, felt stupid doing it.  That having been said, she appreciated that I still cared enough to put effort into her workout even though she too was mentally drained from her personal life to respond.

Handling Difficult Clients Quiet Assassin – Solutions

The best advice that I can give in dealing with arguable the most difficult client type is to stay the course.  The Quiet Assassin has issues that they’re dealing with and sees the gym as an oasis.  It’s important for you, as their trainer, to not get offended when they don’t share any information about their personal life with you.

Your job is to give them a great workout and to educate them properly.  The trap that I constantly felt myself falling into was becoming complacent.  You might feel like you’re caught up in a bad relationship.  You’ll be working hard planning the workout and trying to get closer to the client.  The client, on the other hand, won’t seem appreciative and it’s easy for you to get frustrated.  Remember that everybody has their own personal demons.

It’s not your job to be their psychiatrist.  It’s your job to give them a great workout.  By sticking to your guns and always giving them a great workout you’re providing the best service possible for that client.

personal trainer marketing

I promise that if you keep showing the Quiet Assassin respect and resist getting complacent they will pay it back.  Once they battle through whatever their personal issues are that client will jump at the opportunity to open up to you.  They will look at you as the one who helped give them the strength that they needed to make it through the difficult phase in their life.

Do you want More Articles on Handling Difficult Clients?

Handling Difficult Clients: Always Off Track

Handling Difficult Clients: The Challenging Charlie

Handling Difficult Clients: The Content Kathy

Handling Difficult Clients: The Assiduous Monster

Handling Difficult Clients: The Busy Bill

About the Author
Jonathan Goodman

As the creator and head coach of thePTDC, I'd have to say that this thing is pretty awesome. If you're interested in my book, it's called Ignite the Fire. Feel free to come hang out on my Facebook page where I talk explore the perfect balance between fitness, business, and living an awesome and fulfilling life.