How a Health Coach Should Handle Prospective Client Objections - and Getting the Boot!

{Guest post by Krista Goncalves, RNC from Making Lemonade}

I was a Fitness Trainer for many years, and ran a successful outdoor bootcamp & personal training business.

I was also going through some tough times during that period, and let my personal issues get in the way of my business. I started showing up late and cancelling client appointments all together. Not a good work ethic, which I had always prided myself on.

The consequence of my actions? I had a client call me out on my sh*t and then promptly “fired me”. (It still stings to even write about it!)

It was the single most embarrassing moment in my life as a health professional, and yet offered me the most clarity. It was more than just a light bulb moment too. From that point on, I knew what I had to do to step up my business game.

In this article, I’m going to share with how I kept myself from spiraling out when that client - one of my best, no longer wanted to work with me *sniff, sniff*.

I’ll also share how I tweaked my process when prospective clients totally snubbed me - after putting in time, energy, and sometimes money, cultivating and nurturing those relationships.

What to do when your dream client says “NO” to working with you

You worked really hard to find your people. You may have...

  • offered free discovery calls or in-person sessions

  • engaged with them through your carefully crafted social media posts

  • educated them with your polished website copy

  • WOW’ed them with your gotta-have opt-in resource  - building up your subscriber list in the process

  • personally connected with them at speaking engagements

  • ran a successful marketing campaign

Congrats, you got some quality leads, and now you’re *this* close to closing the deal and landing your dream client. Then it happens…the BIG SNUB.

I know this feeling firsthand, on numerous occasions while working both as a Fitness Trainer and as a Nutritionist. All of the time and energy spent cultivating and nurturing relationships with potential clients, only to be told “no, thank you”.

Here are a few of the reasons someone has offered when they’ve backed out of what I thought was a sure thing…

  1. I can’t afford it

  2. My spouse isn’t on board with it

  3. I have kids

  4. I don’t have time/I can’t get there on time

  5. I travel a lot for work

  6. I don’t “do” diets

  7. I’ve worked with other coaches and didn’t see results

  8. I just got a puppy - really?!

  9. I need to think about it…*followed by radio silence*

Did they lead you on, did you say the wrong thing, did you say the right thing but your rates were too high - what? WHAT went wrong?!

Probably nothing - and here’s the take-home message in getting snubbed:

Consider it a good thing! The connection just simply wasn’t symbiotic enough to seal the deal and move forward into a client-coach relationship.

There’s no question you’ve done the hard work that it takes to “make it” in the wellness business space. Now you must overcome self-doubt and the fear of rejection by truly valuing your own worth.

Your services and programs are highly valued, but if you don’t value your own worth, neither will prospective clients.

If you’re still worried that it was your rates that turned them off, here’s some food for thought, adapted from the Primal Health Coach:

When setting your rates, think of them in terms of the results you offer rather than the time you spend with your clients.

The value you bring to a client-coach relationship simply can’t be measured in hours. It’s measured in the meaningful impact you have on their lives.

If you’re able to help a client achieve their goals and take steps to lifelong health and wellness, you are undoubtedly providing a service that is of infinite value - and you should be paid accordingly!

Don’t take “no” too personally. People are only going to be ready to take the plunge, when they’re ready - and that’s a fact.

Extra pro tip for new client retention: K.I.S.S.

Keep your onboarding process simple, easy to follow, and to the point. In other words, keep it simple stupid :-D

Having experienced the “no, thank you” scenario several times during my 10-year stint as a health & wellness professional, I can honestly say that the top reason I pinpointed why a would-be client backed out of a service agreement was due to overwhelm!

As a new fitness trainer, nutritionist or health coach, we tend to get a little excited at the thought of taking on new clients and go straight into overload mode - wanting to offer the client every morsel of information and education we can possibly drum up. We want them to value our knowledge, skills and services.

BOTTOM LINE:

Don’t overwhelm your clients, especially at the beginning - and keep things simple!

Your favorite client “fired you”... now what?!

So, you got the boot from one of your best clients. Should you panic, throw a fit, and cry?

That was probably your first impulse if this situation has ever happened to you, as it did to me, and you know how absolutely horrible it feels. And what a blow to the ego too!

But the truth is, the earth has not crumbled beneath your feet and you don’t need to go crawl in a hole. You’re going to hold your head high and dig your heels in deeper.

Pro tips for handling being fired by a coaching client:

Start by sending an email wishing the client the best of success, and move on.

Better yet, speak in person if the opportunity arises. This may feel incredibly uncomfortable, but it shows you’re a person of integrity and can handle the truth. Use it as an opportunity for both personal and business growth.

Gaining this critical feedback on where things may have gone sour for the client can be vital to your own growth.

When you screw up (and you will because you’re freakin’ human!) learn from your mistakes quickly, and move on just as quickly.

On the other hand, when your clients screw up (and they seem to be laying the blame on you), ask yourself honestly if that was actually the case and if it was, again - learn from it and simply move on.

Also, the more laser-focused and targeted you are, the more on track your clients will be - knowing exactly what they want, and with your guidance, how to reach those goals.

Defined niche = better results that both you and your clients will see, leading to longer lasting client-coaching relationships.

I learned this the hard way. Not being niched enough lends to becoming a “jill of all trades, mistress of none” and this will end repelling your ideal client, likely without you even realizing it.

“Too many services dilute your unique value proposition.” ~ Lana Maric, Founder & CEO of Introspec Marketing.

BOTTOM LINE:

In the end, almost all client objections and excuses come down to their emotions…

  • Fear that they will fail.

  • Lack of confidence and the mistaken belief that they won’t reach their goals.

  • Not “feeling” the value or seeing the benefit of your services or program.

  • Feeling overwhelmed and pressured. Information- and lifestyle change-overload can lead to emotional overload for your client.

The key is to deflect the objection or excuse before it even comes up!

When you start to recognize these common mindset challenges, keep your client in the game by offering to work through each challenge together.

GUEST AUTHOR BIO

 
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Guest Post

By: Krista Goncalves, RNC from Making Lemonade. Feel free to connect with Krista on her Facebook page: @MakingLemonadeHealth

Krista Goncalves is a Holistic Nutritionist, Wellness Business Clarity Coach & Copywriter who lives in Kelowna BC with her husband and two young kids. When she’s not writing, she’s outdoors hiking, paddleboarding or doing bootcamp in the park or on a beach!

While Krista enjoyed her combined 10 years as a Fitness Trainer/Bootcamp company owner & Women’s Health Expert, she’s now incredibly passionate about helping other Health & Wellness Entrepreneurs to “juice up their online businesses” with her web content writing and coaching resources at Making Lemonade.