My client keeps late canceling! |Rule #10

How are you doing everybody? Jonathan here and in this article I’m going to go over what you should do when you have that one client that just doesn’t seem to stop late canceling. Rule #10 says in the 100 Rules of personal training article says to cut your client some slack if they are late or have to cancel once in a while, but how do you handle a client that consistently late cancels?here

Now for those of you who don’t know, late canceling is where your client breaks their cancellation policy orders. So for example if a client cancels a session two hours before they are supposed to meet with you, it should count against them as a session used. This can be very frustrating because there is a population of client that feels they shouldn’t be charged for a late cancellation. Either that or they are very good guilting you into not charging them. This has a huge impact on your earning potential, so let’s talk about how you’re going to handle this.

Now the number one form of manipulation when it comes to late canceling is the client calling it rescheduling. You have to use tact with this because in a service-based, personal relationship, you’re going to mess up sometimes too. If somebody cancels 18 hours before his or her session and they’re not a repeat offender, you may want to let that go. But if it’s somebody that consistently late cancels and just flakes out on you all the time, you have to understand that they’re not respecting your time.

I’m not sure that clients grasp the fact that you only get paid when you train and time lost is money lost. When clients book a session with you, they’re paying for the time. They’re not paying for the workout. So I’m going to give you a couple things that you want to say up front so that you don’t have to deal with this problem as often. I’m also going to give you some talking points to have with your client after you realize that they’re a repeat offender.

Address this up front, firmly

When you first sign up a client to a contract, you’re usually so excited that you’ve got somebody buying your services that you just want to get the contract signed before the client changes their minds. But this is the crucial moment where you need to set some ground rules. Your client has to know that by scheduling an appointment, they are locking up time that you can’t fill with someone else. So when they cancel without sufficient notice, you can’t refill that spot and now you’re losing money. You have to have some kind of policy in place. You can simply say “if for whatever reason, you can’t make an appointment, you have to let me know within 24 hours. Please do me that courtesy otherwise I will be forced to charge you because I can’t replace that session.”

Give them the consequences, firmly

In the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says that you should always talk about the consequences to people’s actions before they actually happen so they understand. So you can explain to your client that they get one freebie, no questions asked. After that, you must charge them. And this just establishes you as a professional. It gives weight to you words. You can’t make empty threats. If you bend with one client, you’ll bend with them all. (Remember, you can always decide to add comp session down the line to make up for it.) When people respect your time, you’ll find that you run into the late cancellation problem far less frequently.

Handling the repeat offender

Now, let’s say you have established this up front and you just happen to have complete flake as a client and they are now a repeat offender. This is also the person usually ready with excuses on why you shouldn’t charge them. Simply tell them that they’re going to lose their spot. A lot of times, I don’t know why, but this happens with somebody that has a prime time spot like 7pm at night or 5:30am in the morning. If they’re consistently canceling, let’s call this person Mary, sit them down and you can say ‘listen Mary, you’re consistently missing training sessions in a high demand time slot. If you can’t commit yourself to being on time I’m just going to have to give your spot to someone who will actually use it.”

So, if you’re going to be signing up a new client, you want to go over your ground rules first. Give them their consequences if they break and go from there. If you have somebody who’s a repeat offender, just sit them down. Don’t do this via text, sit them down, have a face-to-face conversation and have them understand that you’re willing to let them go. Whether the client complies or moves on, you’re much better avoiding a professional relationship that will only cause you grief.

How do you handle clients who are flaky? Do you care as long as they are paying? Or would you rather get paid to actually train? Have you ever had a flake before as a client? How did you handle it? Weigh in and let me know.

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I hope you found this post helpful there will be many others to follow but if you want to chime in with feedback feel free. Don’t forget to add me on the facebook, and as always, remember to eat healthily, hydrate, drive safe, stress levels low, get rest, don’t slap anybody, love your clients, they will love you back, I will see you all tomorrow, or the next day, and you have a GOOD ONE!