The issues she was facing were something that most trainers face at some point or another so I asked her if I could post her question to me here on my blog and share it with you becuase I think a lot of my readers could benefit from the answer I gave her.
Sandra was cool with me posting her question here, so let the lesson begin!
Here’s Sandra’s message to me…
My response – in typical bullet form as I do with my coaching clients….
* First off, why are you selling “packages” of personal training sessions any? If you’re selling packages or single sessions these days then you’re probably running a business that’s unreliable in growth and unpredictable in profits.
I wrote this post on how to sell EFT personal training programs – you should read it.
Selling programs on EFT or auto debit means selling bigger, long term programs that…
1. Make you more money
2. Give your clients better, lasting results (Because we both know that Mrs. Jones needs more than ten or twenty sessions to get and keep the weight off)
3. Makes your income more reliable becuase you can always count on a certain number of EFT dollars to come in each month automatically
4. Gives your business “legs”. In other words, should you ever decide to sell your personal training business – you actually can becuase you’ll have predictable income scheduled to come in month after month. And to a potential buyer, THAT IS GOLD.
* Next, your sales agreement should cover your ass for every scenario. You should have something in place; if your client is going to move away, if they get injured by you, if they get sick or injured on their own, of they wish to cancel, if they go on an extended vacation or trip.
It’s not unheard of to put a client’s account on a “freeze” for a period of time if they go away for an extended period of time or simple get sick or injured. Or to let them out of their agreement of they move more than a predetermined miles away. Or to have a cancellation clause should they want to cancel or exit their program before the 6 or 12 months are up.
If you have my personal trainer business course, go back to it and find the “$500K sales agreement”, get it blessed by an attorney in your state, and use it. It covers every situation, helps you sell a ton of personal training, and gives you peace of mind.
* Speaking of cancellations… this is the rule I lived by when I had my personal training centers and it served me well: “Our policy is to go by what the sales agreement says, but our procedure is to do what makes the customer happy”.
In other words if a client went out to dinner, rolled her ankle, and then sent me a “bad news” email saying she can’t train with me becuase she twisted her ankle. Then I’d remind her of the options she has as per the sales agreement (freeze your account for up to 60 days, cancel you by charging you a $350 cancellation fee, or she can transfer the remainder of the program to someone else).
HOWEVER if the client pressed to simply be let out – then that’s what I would do. In all the years I ran my locations and the thousands of people we trained, we NEVER had a client go out and complain about us to the community.
More often than not the client would take the account freeze or realize that they are better off continuing on with the program, rather than paying a cancellation fee (which is why that fee was there in the first place – to give me the opportunity to recommit them to their goals and get them back into the program).
* Finally, like I said to Sandra, why are you even worried about paying the client her money back. She hasn’t even asked for that.
She simply sent you an email, giving you a “heads up” as to what happened.
Nine times out of ten if you engage your client, let them know how important it is to keep workout other body parts, and show genuine concern and care for them then you’ll still have that person as a client.
And at the end of the day, if you have to, you are better off issuing a refund and creating good will with that person. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather issue a full and speedy refund and use that energy to go out and find more clients than to go back and forth with a pissed off client who is hell bent on not training with me any more.
For the record, Sandra did the right thing and everything worked out just fine 🙂
I’d love to know what YOU think. Feel free to leave a comment below.