How do you keep a professional relationship between you and your client? Is it dangerous to become friends with them, especially when it’s time for them to pay you?
I will admit that I’m one of the luckiest Pilates instructors I know. I have made a living working with, shaping, and guiding bodies that just happen to be amazing people and yes- some of my best friends. Maybe it’s because my first studio was in my home, where I’d serve up coffee in the am and appertifs at night, but my clients like to hang out after their sessions and I don’t mind because well- we like each other. I have made life-long friends that I see inside the studio and out with no bad-juju kinda breakups to date. Sounds too good to be true? Well honey, whether you are dreaming of having such customers or maybe are already buddy buddy with your regulars, read on to keep the good keeping on. Here’s how:
A relationship, including the one with the body in front of you, must have limits. When you bring a new client into your practice and life, make sure they know the rules of the road before the proverbial shit hits the fan. In a professional business transaction there is always a contract, both verbal AND written. Your policies need to be in writing. Talk them over with your client, have them sign off on them, don’t be afraid to remind them nicely, and then…here’s the kicker – STICK TO THEM! They will respect you for it if they’re the real deal, which leads me to my next point…
Know Your Match
In the ugly land of scarcity the motto is, every man for themselves. There may not be enough so grab what you can and hold on tight!!! In a broader more expansive universe (that exists when you stop being afraid of losing every client), there are more than enough prospects to go around. Imagine there are abundant resources, you get to PICK your clients! Crazy concept, I know, but it is true. It’s what I’ve been doing for years now. If I meet a client that gives me a hard time, orders me around, tries to not pay me, or shows up late they get a slap on the wrist. If they continue the unwanted behavior, I simply show them the door. This no-nonsense approach to my business has kept away the blood-suckers and brought me peeps that make my day. YOU TOO can have this. Start to imagine your ideal client and manifest them!!! What you focus on persists so focus on what you want not what you don’t.
Let’s face it, not every client is going to get the other half of your best friend necklace, and they don’t have to. Feigning affection for every client makes you inauthentic and people can smell it a mile away. You don’t have to kiss ass to obtain or maintain clients- you just have to be you. The right clients will like you for who you are and NOT for how much you love them. They will respect the great teaching you’re doing and all that they are learning, not necessarily all the compliments or back rubs.
So to recap- having bestie clients is cool IF you are tough enough to not lose yourself. Stay true to who you are as a person and whatever rules you’ve set in place. Remember you’ll only have yourself to blame if your new favorite client skips out on her sesh last minute or writes you a bad check. Pick your clients carefully, and your friends even more wisely.
Maybe you have more questions about how to deal with clients and make your business rock? Sign-up for a FREE 30 min consult with me and get a plan to have the business of your dreams! Don’t delay…it today!
If you like this article, there’s more where that came from! Sign up for my Teacher’s newsletter and get more Pilates goodness, as well as business & lifestyle tips every month! It’s free!