It was 5:48 a.m. I was just paying for my coffee when I heard my phone buzz in my pocket.
“Sorry, I have to cancel this a.m.,” said the text.
No reason given. No apology for a last-minute bail. Just a cancellation text exactly 12 minutes before her first appointment. At an ungodly time of the morning, I might add.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 8 years of coaching, it’s that, unfortunately, people can be flakey. I have also leaned that the most flakey of all are those I don’t have a relationship with, and those who don’t have any financial skin in the game (i.e. prospective clients as opposed to already-bought-in clients).
My 5:48 a.m. texter was a woman who had contacted the website. I spoke to her on the phone briefly the day before, but we hadn’t yet met in person. She was supposed to meet me for an intro session at 6 a.m., but, of course, hadn’t yet paid me a cent.
I still don’t know why she bailed, but I don’t imagine she thought twice about it. She didn’t know the person who got out of bed at 5:15 a.m. just to meet her. I’m sure she didn’t feel like she owed me anything, and it’s not like she was going to be billed for cancelling last minute as she hadn’t yet committed to anything. Although I don’t know this for sure, I assume she sent the text and went back to sleep guilt-free. I almost don’t blame her. I, too, wanted another couple hours of sleep.
Let’s look at the other side of this coin:
I have another client who has been with me for two years. If he ever has to cancel a personal training session, he usually lets me know a full week in advance. If he ever did cancel last minute, which he simply does not, I know he would feel guilty for getting me out of bed for nothing and would fully expect to be billed the $75 for the session he missed last minute. (In fact, I had another client like this once, and he brought me a bottle of wine as an apology the next time I saw him). He feels he owes it—not just to me—but to himself to show up and honor his commitment. And if that’s not enough, he’s also paying a lot of money each session, which only increases his commitment level even more.
Of the 40 clients I have, I would go so far to say my most committed and loyal clients are the ones I see the most. These are generally also the ones who are paying the most because they’re the people who continue to do personal training sessions with me (sometimes on top of group classes, and sometimes instead of group classes).
Bottom line is: Don’t be afraid to be the most expensive steakhouse in town.
It will help you offer a better product as a coach, will make your life better financially, and most importantly, it’s one major key in helping your clients embark on and commit to a fitness journey for life.