This blog is for all the trainers, coaches, and professionals in our field who struggle to find new clients and/or retain the ones you already have. I genuinely hope this helps.
When it comes to training / coaching in any sense, you're going to look at the relationship you have with clients as being the foundation of anything. If that's not something you have, then it's going to be really difficult to convince them to buy into a program, or set whatever standard and expectations you have for them. You have to create a relationship with your clients so they learn to trust you and have clear communication with you.
However, that's not always the case. What looks like resistance is often a lack of understanding / clarity. It's really easy to get frustrated with clients for coming in late or not doing things the way you want them to, but again, it comes back to context. I have learned that sometimes you have to not take everything so personally and try to have an open minded perspective. You should try to understand: What scenario are they currently in? Where are they coming from? How was their day outside of the gym? If you can grasp that, then you're likely to do a better job of meeting them in the middle and setting up more realistic expectations.
The most important thing when you're trying to create client buy-in is to develop strong relationships. If a training session starts at 5:30PM and you don't get there until 5:25PM and then barely say two words to a client, how can you expect them to trust you or your program? They'll just "yes" you to death without really communicating, and then go away and do what they're already doing. Instead of trying to cram everything into a few minutes a week, I was around clients basically all day, every day. Almost too much, actually definitely too much. You need to actually give a shit. This gave me a good insight into how they were receiving my advice / coaching, what they were doing with it, and if it was actually working. You can be the most knowledgeable trainer out there with degrees and certifications but if you aren't willing to see things through the perspective of your client and get to know them then you're going to be a lousy trainer that no one wants to be around.
Respect is a two way street, if you want to get it, then you've got to give it.