Are bad personal training clients worth your time?

Are Bad Clients Worth It?

New clients mean more money. That’s a good thing right?

The more clients you have that you can appropriate handle will help build your business.

Or at least that is what you might believe.

There are certain types of clients that you absolutely, under no circumstance, should take on.

We call them bad clients. What is a bad client?

Bad Client: Clients who lack personal responsibility and/or self-control and/or clients that possess certain qualities that make them undesirable for long-term business growth.

Bad clients are just plainly bad for business.

Short term financial gains from taking on a bad client is generally not worth the headache of dealing with a bad client both during your time working with them and afterwards.

Some of these types of clients can damage your business and reputation.

There are some pretty simple questions you can ask the client during the Fitness Assessment to determine whether or not they are bad clients that include:

  • Have you ever had a personal trainer in the past, if so what was your experience?
  • How many times have you tried reaching these goals in the past? What was the reason behind why you failed?
  • What are the biggest factors that prevent you from reaching your goals?

Answers to these questions can reveal a lot about the character of the individual.

Individuals who have answers that do not take personal responsibility are generally not the most diligent in their efforts to reach their goals.

Additionally, any individual who has a laundry list of repeated attempts to reach their goals, especially having used personal trainers in the past might be a bad client.

One negative characteristic or trait in an individual does not necessarily make any individual a bad client but rather a multitude of bad or negative characteristics can make an individual not worth it to take on as a client.

What happens if you take on a bad client?

You see your clients (usually) an hour at a time.

Maybe you have 2 or 3 or even 4 sessions with that particular client each week.

You could be the most fantastic and best personal trainer in the entire world, however you are not a babysitter.

If your client is incapable of following through the other 23 hours of the day and has no personal responsibility there is a major likelihood that they won’t reach their goals.

Why is this an issue?

When you sell personal training, you sell a dream.

You sell a dream that is backed by science and a foolproof strategy to ensure your client gets there, given their complete participation.

When a bad client is sold a dream, and they are short of their dream at the end of their package, they will most always look for someone to blame aside from themselves.

Bad clients don’t reach goals.

When your business model is based on helping people achieve their goals- bad clients aren’t good for business.

Bad clients, or those who lack personal responsibility, can be spiteful and gossip about your business or prevent others from utilizing your services.

While a fantastic client might refer multiple new clients over the course of their time with you, bad clients will not refer clients and may leave your rapport damaged.

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What if you already have bad clients?

If you have a client that you took on, before or after knowing they were a bad client, the general rule of thumb would be to drop them as a client when their sessions are concluded.

One great way to drop a client while protecting their feelings would be to simply inform them of your decision to pursue other business opportunities.

Lying to a client is immoral and never recommended, but by informing them of your decision to pursue other business opportunities you create the ability to pursue other clients and for them to feel as though the reason you no longer wish to train them is not as a result of their own fault.

At the end of the day, as a personal trainer you must make the decision as to whether or not the individual you are training is going to help your business in the long run.

Any inclination or worry about the attitude or actions of a client should immediately spark a question in your head as to whether or not they would be a good fit for you as their trainer.

In the case where you no longer want to work with a client and you know of a trainer who needs business or may be a better fit for the client’s personality type, referring them to a new trainer would be mutually beneficial.

Finding the client a new trainer will build rapport with the trainer for bringing them business, and will maintain positive relations with the “bad” client.

Bringing a trainer business could also be reciprocated in the future as well.

Overall bad clients are a risk to your business and as a business owner you must judge whether the risk is worth the financial gain.

Have you had any experiences with “bad clients?” Leave your comment below.