A good question that I think I can answer. Marketing is defined as the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. Unfortunately this definition has nothing to do with ensuring delivery and or quality of the products or services. The biggest issue that I have seen in several industries that I’m involved in is that the best provider often cannot market his/her product or service well and some of the worst providers can do an excellent job of marketing their products or services. To compound this issue it is often the case that when a customer has a bad experience with a well marketed brand, he/she refrains from publically sharing the experience in fear of being judged by his/her peers, or worse getting blackballed by other providers for being “that problem client.” After all, who is one person to bad mouth the ever so great (insert brand name here)? It then becomes this game of politics where people are protecting themselves with silence while others continue to get ripped off and the low quality brand continues to thrive and build a reputation for being something it is truly far from. This is far too common in both the health care and fitness industries.
So what’s a guy/gal to do? Since this website is fitness related the providers I will discuss are coaches/trainers. One of the easiest ways to identify a sham coach is to look at the business’ page/social media profile (not the coach’s personal page/social media profile). If it’s filled with videos and photos of the coach, his/her physique, or his/her lifts it’s a good indicator of what he/she is focused on. We also want to remember that the results of one person have little merit on what is possible for the rest of us. A business focused on customers will showcase the customer experience not its owners’ or employees’ experiences. The less you see about the owners/employees the better. With the exception of basic bios, credentials, and background of course.
Now let’s say you still want to give it a go. Then what? The most important thing to do when engaging in any relationship is to manage expectations. Keep this part measurable and objective so that both parties are held accountable. Most importantly keep these realistic. If someone tells you that you’re gonna lose 50 lbs of fat and go from 400 to 500 on your squat in one month you may want to reconsider things. Making a checklist with milestones, timeframes, and both short and long term goals keeps everyone in check. Don’t be intimidated by a brand name or recognition. This person works for you so do it on your terms.
The next one is obvious and it shocks me that people still do this. If someone tells you to do something because I am a (insert profession here) that’s doesn’t tell us a whole lot about his/her rationale. A competent professional can give you a “why” behind what’s being prescribed. If he/she cannot then don’t pay the bill!
Lastly, and perhaps one of the most important, is how your coach responds to something that is not working. It’s inevitable, the human body is an unpredictable organism and sometimes our best efforts don’t pan out. Does this mean we are horrible at our trade? No it sometimes just means the client’s body didn’t respond. A good coach will work with you not against you. He/she will try things that he/she may not even like just to see if he/she can get your body to respond. Good coaches put their own dogma aside and try different things to get a response even if it means deviating from a system that they strongly believe in. In contrast, if you feel like every roadblock is taking you back to some variation of the same strategy then please refer to the definition of insanity and DONT PAY THE BILL!
So where does this leave us? Does a beautiful logo, rock hard abs, a ginormous lifting total, or a 50k Instagram followers tell us anything about what someone can do for us? Hell it doesn’t even tell us what he/she can do something for his/her followers. It just tells us that the business is well marketed and that many people like something about it. That something is not always what it seems….