Why I Don't Like Client Testimonials

This is going to divide some people. If you’ve visited my website or social media, you might notice that there are no client testimonials on it, no transformations, no before and after pics. Now, I know that they are a staple of the personal training industry, and I know most PTs love to show off what they’ve achieved, you can’t move for them, and I have nothing against that, I understand the idea behind it. However, I don’t like them. At all. Yes, I could put up my client’s transformations, I have enough, and yes, it’ll probably seem like a great advertisement for my business, for my abilities as a PT, but I don’t believe they’re positive. Positive for my business, someone might see it, and it might well convince them to hire me, but is it really positive for the individuals I work with or those that want to work with me? I have two main issues with this type of promotion; one is that it works as a comparison, and the other is that they’re not really my achievements.

What do I mean by this? Well let’s look at how these “inspiring” transformations can actually be pretty damaging to someone. What I will add is that this isn’t just a problem with advertising, it extends to the likes of Facebook, Instagram, your general social media, these topless people you follow, that person telling their story about how they lost 10 stone and changed their entire life. Thankfully some of us are finally starting to realise how negative these things can actually be. You think it’s inspiring you, and it may very well do at first, but the problem is you don’t really know anything about these people. Those of you who would genuinely be inspired are in the tiny minority. Most of you will, whether it’s subconscious or not, compare yourselves, your lives, your progress, to the carefully selected, often photoshopped snapshots you get of these people. Their best moments. And the very moment that comparison becomes or feels negative to you, the problem starts. Say I post a transformation, my client has lost 5 stone in 6 months. You love it, it “inspires” you to hire me. Now more often than not, that’s because you’re going to expect the same or similar progress, but you have zero idea of the life this client was actually living. You don’t really know their starting point, you don’t know about their diet, you don’t know about their lifestyle or job, you don’t know what they were doing throughout the week, you just know what I was doing with them and you just expect the same for yourself. If I’m being honest, I don’t have a clue either really!! I have to trust what they’ve told me, but I have little proof that they were doing what I said, I’m not monitoring them 24/7. So inevitably as you’re comparing yourself to someone else’s number, when you don’t match up you start to question why. You probably ignore the progress you’ve already made, because it’s not what you expected. You’ve lost a stone, but that’s not 5 stone. So you question what you’re doing, you question what I’m doing, and you likely decide it’s not worth it, it’s too much for too little, or you’re just not capable of achieving your goal. I can’t reel you back in, get you focusing on your current progress, trying to convince you to have sensible timeframes, the damage is done. It’s not an inspiration, it’s a comparison.

Now why do I say they’re not my achievements. Well, they’re not. It might be my advice, it might be my training, it might be my guidance, but you’re the one who still has to walk the path. I can point you in the right direction, I can even hold your hand, but I can’t walk for you. There are 168 hours in a week, so if I’m seeing you one hour a week, that’s about 0.6% of your entire week. 0.6%!! Even if I’m seeing you for two, or there’s an extra hour of online messaging, phone calls, checking up, that’s still about 1.2% of your entire week. You are in control of the vast majority of your week, I’m not setting up CCTV or a headcam to monitor every aspect of your life. Therefore anything you achieve or don’t is really up to you. If I say X, and you don’t X, there’s not much I can do. But I don’t see many PTs posting about their failures, and believe me, we all have a few. If I say X, and you Z, is your achievement really thanks to me? So why should I take credit for the successes? Really that’s largely down to you, that’s down to your hard work, that’s down to your diligence throughout the week, and hopefully it’s down to you listening to me, but you’re still the one applying it to your lifestyle.

I don’t like client transformations, because I don’t believe they’re inspiring at all, and I don’t believe I should be taking that much credit for your achievements. I’m glad to have helped, I’m glad you listened to me, I hope it’s long lasting, I’m proud of you, but it’s not my success, it’s your success. Own it, embrace it, I helped, but you did it.

See you again next week for another entry.

Dan Miller

Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer