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The Rolando Garcia III Interview

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Q & A with Dragon Door Author, Rolando Garcia, III about his upcoming presentation at the 2016 Dragon Door Health and Strength Conference

Relationship Before Results: The Art of Intrinsic Excellence—and how to teach your clients to find the drive within

Dragon Door: What is the biggest misconception trainers have about what it takes to be successful in this business?

Rolando Garcia III: The biggest misconception is that trainers think the job is about the human body, when it is in fact about the human being. National certifications and many degrees will teach you about exercise physiology, biomechanics, anatomy—essentially, how every human being works—but only from a mechanistic point of view.

But as we all know, every human being is different. So a trainer needs to make sure they understand that they are dealing with different human beings. Yes, human bodies all have a set of knees, a heart, lungs—especially if they're healthy and ready to train. But each human being has different histories, different ways of viewing themselves, different fears they are bringing with them, and different narratives.

How you manage those things as they manifest themselves in conversation, in coaching, and how you manage an objection—with an exercise or even with the pricing if your offering—is what will determine whether you will make it as a personal trainer or not.

Dragon Door: Why do you consider leadership to be such an important skill for a trainer to develop in order to get results for their clients?

Rolando Garcia III: Because the most difficult part of your job as a trainer is how you will manage obstacles and objections from your constituents.

Historically speaking, if you take a look at all the leaders throughout human history, they could have one million or just twelve constituents. At some point, one of them will say, "I don’t think this is a good idea, I don’t think we should do this." For a trainer to help a client to do what they need to do, that trainer must have a leadership skill set. And in order for both the client and trainer to become successful, those must be completed.

We hear these things daily from our clients: "I don’t think I can lift this today" "I don’t understand why we're doing so much cardio" "Why am I eating so many vegetables?" These are the constant conversations with our clients. And you can go ahead and explain the physiological or nutritional reasons why those behaviors are being recommended, but again this will only relate to the human body. A leader can relate to the human being.

Leadership as a true subject of study is actually a very recent development. I highly recommend that trainers who want to be successful in the long term start studying leadership as a skill set required for their profession.

Rolando Garcia Q+A

Dragon Door: In your experience, what do trainers struggle with the most, in regard to the 4 Core Competencies you discuss in Intrinsic Excellence? And how do you address that struggle for them?

Rolando Garcia III: Sales. The bottom line is sales. I can go to a trainer right now and have this conversation: "Could you run a marathon?" "Sure I can train for that..." "Could you deadlift 400lbs?" "Sure I can train for that..." "Could you fast for a week?" "Yeah I can do that!" "Ok, let's go ahead and talk about sales." "No…" And then they will run right out of the room!

This response is fear-based and unreasonable on many levels, and it’s because trainers don’t know anything about sales. As we know, with our own client bases, if you don't educate yourself in what a process entails—and what actually happens—then that fear will overrun your level of investment and commitment.

Sales is such an important part of our jobs, and ultimately it’s what determines our success. So, for trainers and coaches to be afraid of it, and to not even have one book in their library about it is something I believe ultimately hamstrings that trainer or coach.

I can promise you right now that this year, the majority of health, wellness, and fitness professionals will probably spend upwards of ten to fifteen thousand dollars on their understanding of the human body. But these same professionals will not dedicate twenty dollars to a book on sales. And that's where my book, Intrinsic Excellence tries to make it a little friendlier and more accessible to the trainer. Sales is not what you think it is—the definition of sales goes back to what I've been saying—it's about how you manage and interact with human beings.

Dragon Door: Is this also how you reassure trainers that sales is a good thing as well?

Rolando Garcia III: Yes, and it is a good thing because you are selling them on your program. You are selling them on what they are benching that day, and you're selling them on what their heart rate should be. So at the end of the day, sales is all about how you manage the objections of your client. And the more intelligent and invested your client is, the more objections they will have. That is why sales is a very important component of your skill set. I will talk about this in Minneapolis at length in my presentation, Relationships Over Results, and I discuss it extensively in my book, Intrinsic Excellence.

Dragon Door: What do you most look for as an indicator of likely future success, when hiring a new trainer?

Rolando Garcia III: I’ve identified four competencies for the success of the professional trainer and coach in my book, Intrinsic Excellence: Technical Expertise, Sales, Customer Service, and Business Development and Strategy. In my experience as a hiring manager, I tend to hire and have found the greatest success with trainers who came in with everything but technical expertise. In other words, if they had a sales background, I hired them. If they knew customer service, I brought them on immediately. If I saw business development and strategy, I knew exactly how to motivate this individual.

Technical expertise is something that can be digested very quickly, it is everywhere in media and is highly accessible. We see it in magazines, forums, on the internet, and anytime you interact with anyone at the gym. Everyone has some level of technical expertise. But there is no forum for sales as far as fitness professionals are concerned, there’s no forum for customer service, and there’s definitely no forum for strategy at all.

If someone comes to an interview with those skill sets in place, then I know that person will be a winner. In two years as a hiring manager for the fitness facility that I was managing, I hired fifteen top producers—they were making a lot of money and a living in personal training with full benefits. They were able to go on vacation and everything. I managed that location for two years, and those fifteen hires each became top producers in less than two months.

Dragon Door: You work in a high-end "corporate" training facility with some of the most affluent and powerful clients in the world. I imagine some folk must wonder how well your success methods might translate for the "little guy"—be it the lone wolf, so to speak, or the owner of a boutique gym with just a few employees. What would you say to them?

Rolando Garcia III: It is the same thing: sales, sales, sales. And it’s not about the human body, it’s the human being. Whether the person's net worth is 2.6 billion or 26 thousand dollars—even if your pricing is one million dollars or one dollar they are all going to say the same thing, "It's too expensive, I don’t have the time, I can do it on my own." In other words, someone who can handle objections in a smaller arena can manage those same objections on a larger scale. They understand that what’s happening is not a question of someone’s net worth or their disposable income, it's their ability to understand that interaction, that human being, and what they're really saying in that exact moment.

The common misconception in our profession is that if they had more disposable income, they would buy more sessions at a much higher rate. But from my experience, the more disposable income someone has, the more objections they will have. They want to understand how you handle their objection right then. Before they train with you, or listen to any of your recommendations on nutrition, training, on what they are supposed to life, they want to see if you can handle an objection right now, before they even start.

Your answer to "I think this is too expensive, I don’t think I have the time, I think I can do this on my own" will determine whether you are ultimately trustworthy and someone they can trust with their body, fears, and their absolute vulnerability as a human being. They are asking you to help them change their life, and if you handle that with the appropriate care and level of leadership required of your job, then that person will not just give you the money that you are asking for, they will give you their life—because they want you to change their life.

Rolando Garcia III will present Relationship Before Results The Art of Intrinsic Excellence—and how to teach your clients to find the drive within at this year's Health and Strength Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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