Ego – mine’s bigger than yours!
Yes, that’s what I said. My ego is bigger than yours.
Do I have your attention?
How about I go into more detail and then give you five key ways to make the right first impression?
Making the right first impression is key for any fitness professional. But is your ego getting in the way? We’re all guilty of getting a little too big-for-our-boots sometimes but, as implied above by Dan Duran, this isn’t going to buy you any new friends … or clients.
On this guest blog, PTA Global’s Dan Duran joins FitPro to give his opinion on how to get over your ego and make the client your main focus.
This is also an introduction to the five steps used in the PTA Global education system, and how you can use these to develop your working style. Dan will be expanding on these areas in the upcoming issues of Fitpro magazine – want to sign up to get your hands on the next issue and more words of wisdom? Head here.
Back to Dan…
When I entered the world of personal training, I was fresh off a long career in law enforcement, which included running and teaching physical training at police academies. We did things the military way, which was:
‘Do what I tell you, because I know more than you do.’
This approach worked in the law enforcement environment, but it does not work in the private sector.
Naturally, when I began training in a gym, my initial consultation with a member or prospect revolved around me telling them how much experience I had, what changes I’d made in my own lifestyle, or what changes I’d made in someone else’s. What I neglected to realise at the time was that I couldn’t change anyone, and that the person in front of me only really cared about one person’s success – their own!
I was a selfish, self-centred, overconfident trainer who was leaving a bad impression. Having been fortunate enough to work with countless trainers all over the world, I see this as a very common obstacle, especially early in a PT’s career, and is quite often a reflexive action due to a lack of confidence.
But, how do we overcome the ego issue and focus on a client-centred experience? I suggest using the five steps taught by Bobby Cappuccio in the PTA Global education system, which certainly changed the way I viewed this interaction and helped me make a great first impression, every time.
‘Smile with your heart, not just your mouth.’ As human beings, we have an innate ability to read body language. Since 93% of communication is in how we say it, not what we say, it is critical that when we first approach a new member our intention must be one of service and happiness. They should ‘read’ that you want to be there, want to serve, and have a genuine intention to be friendly.
New trainers often lack confidence and, as mentioned earlier, will often use less than desirable traits to mask it. Conversely, overconfidence is often perceived as arrogance. The proper dose of confidence is associated with competence, and vice versa, so believe in what you do and how you do it. Know that you have a skillset and value that the person in front of you will benefit from. Focus on them, not you, and know you are competent.
Enthusiasm is literally the transfer of emotion – and it’s infectious. It makes you approachable because it projects that you are warm and, therefore, safe. You don’t have to be a motivational speaker to be excited about your work. Before any interaction, remind yourself of what you ’get to do’, not ‘have to do’. Be present in the moment and you will be on your way!
4. Willingness to listen
The five levels of listening are:
- Not listening
- Pretending to listen
- Selective listening
- Attentive listening
- Empathetic listening
We want to be listening empathetically, which means seeing the world through their eyes, not merely agreeing with them, but having a deep and full understanding of them. Again, this is accomplished by focusing solely on them, not you.
If you are going to call yourself a fitness professional, then look like one! Consider an airline pilot; they are always in uniform and looking sharp. They project a sense of confidence, which is imperative since you are quite literally putting your life in their hands. Do you want your members and clients to feel they can rely on you? I thought so …
To summarise: if you consider these five steps to making a great first impression, the key is to be consistent. You can’t have a little of one and a lot of another. Be consistent in all five areas and leave the correct impression.
Dan Duran is the Director of Education & Global Business Development for PTA Global.
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