Turning Reluctant Clients Into Your Biggest Advocates

There’s one thing that fitness gyms, law firms, or any other service business has in common: customers who come to you not because they want to — but because they have to.

Every business wants clients who are eager to partner with them, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Some customers are directed toward your business and step foot in the door due to an obligation. When this happens, it can be difficult to give these reluctant customers the same amount of excitement and positivity as your ideal clients who want to be there. 

Luckily, Bryan Greene is here to share his tips for dealing with hesitant clients — and his strategies for turning them into your biggest advocates. 

Running a fitness gym, Bryan has seen countless people join because someone told them they need to work out or lose weight. Under these circumstances, it can be difficult to motivate and foster a positive environment. However, Bryan has some tricks up his sleeve.

According to Bryan, always coming to work with a smile, celebrating the small wins, and giving people recognition can go a long way. Everyone that approaches your business just wants to be cared for and have their goals supported, and when you keep this top of mind, you’ll be able to soften the resistance and turn them into an ideal client.  

Listen to this episode of The Judd Shaw Way Podcast with Judd Shaw featuring Bryan Greene, CEO of The LOOK Fitness. Together, they talk about how to support hesitant clients, the importance of listening and recognizing small wins, and tips for delivering wow moments to your customers.

In this episode: 

  • [0:36] Judd Shaw introduces his guest, Bryan Greene
  • [2:29] How do you deal with customers who are reluctant to take part in your service?
  • [4:00] Why you have to be Mickey Mouse and celebrate the small achievements with hesitant clients
  • [6:13] Why it’s important to keep reinforcing positivity and supporting your clients’ direct needs
  • [10:31] How to build trust and wow your clients
  • [13:43] Tips for setting expectations (and dealing with unreasonable expectations)
  • [18:57] How to ensure your employees carry on your message: put them first
  • [22:35] What’s next for Bryan and The LOOK Fitness?
  • [25:22] Bryan shares what makes The LOOK Fitness special


Hi everyone, welcome to the show, I’m Judd Shaw. My special guest today, Bryan Greene of LOOK Fitness in Newport, California. Bryan, welcome to the show, man.

Oh, thanks Judd, thanks for having me.

You know Bryan, I often talk on the podcast about client service, customer service and what I found unique was the fact that there can be two very different industries. One being personal injury in law firm, where I’m serving people involved in auto accidents. And here you are out in California, I’m in my offices in New Jersey and you’re serving clients who are looking to be a part of a gym, work out and maintain their health. So at first blush, it seems like they couldn’t be any more different. But what I found interesting about that was that there are a group of customers that we both have to service, those clients who come to us, not because they want our product but because they have to have that product.

Yes, definitely.

So, in personal injury, so somebody’s involved in an accident, they didn’t want a lawyer, they didn’t want to be involved in an accident but they need one and so they come to me and they have help and they need that help. And then, LOOK Fitness, sometimes doctor’s orders, “Get to the gym, your health falls into a certain situation and you need to get to the gym.” You don’t really want to be working out, you don’t want to take the time to work out, you don’t enjoy working out, but you know you have to. What’s the difference that you found that you have seemed to have found that formula in separating the customers who are coming to the gym on a New Year’s resolution, psyched about it, ready to work out, ready to be pumped and then those customers who are there to say, “I’m not happy about it, but here I am.” How do you deal with them?

Exactly. I actually call it your non-ideal client that becomes your ideal client. They’re not sure why they come to you, they know they’re supposed to because somebody said something and they’re not sure about it so they’re actually even hesitant, they fight you on it a little bit. And then, they finally find what they need from you and more so you find what they need from you and you deliver it. And it might be completely different than what you’re used to of you have to change your niche to support them, especially in personal training, it’s personal. You have to find out what’s personal to them and I’m sure it’s the same with clients who get injured and they have to see you.

Yeah. When I have a client who comes and they’re really excited about having a lawyer fight on their behalf, having someone that they feel like walk them through the process, that’s one of those group of clients. But then, when I found the clients that are struggling to accept that they’re there because they need to be there, I look towards, I understand that my first impression, the friendliness, the vibe that I give off is more important than ever because I don’t have the customer who’s okay with me coming. I’m not coming to your gym, psyched about it, whether you’re happy or not, I’m happy to be there. You need to be happy for this set of customers who are not on their own pleased about it. And I think more than ever, you have to give off that this is going to be good, we’re going to be good.

Yes. I refer it to, I tell all the trainers, “You have to be Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse always has a smile on his face, he doesn’t care what problems you have, he doesn’t care about their own problems and they might be deep layered within and behind a costume but you’re smiling, you’re there. And no matter what, you never lose that smile because they’re going to come in.” I mean, let’s be honest, nobody likes working out. It hurts, it’s painful, you have to do it. It’s more work on top of work that you already do but you know it’s good for you. It’s something that you’re going to feel better after you get it done. You’ve accomplished something, you’re benefiting your health and you’re benefiting your look. But you have to have that smile, you have to have that service provided of just being happiness, a positivity in their life when so much negative is in it already.

What a great point too, that’s where empathy can come in, that’s where active listening to understand their goals and what they’re trying to achieve. But I love what you said about that hyper focus, which is the small rewards, the small achievements. I do that with those clients, that set of clients too, which is I have a pain management doctor, I have to go to this doctor and I have to get an appointment because my neck and my back are injured and I want that to get better. So now, we call them, programmed, we know when their visit is scheduled, we’re part of that and then we call them actively the next day to say, “How are you feeling? Oh, that injection really helped, I got some relief. You see what I’m saying? We’re there for you.” And so, getting those small wins keeps that progress forward, yeah?

Yes, correct. Yeah, it is about the small wins. Losing a pound, losing two pounds, what it might be brings them happiness because they see change. It might not be drastic but it’s change and you assisted with that change.

How important is it, Bryan in customers, again, talking about the ones that want your product and the ones that know that they just need your product? With that latter group, how important is it to have expectations and understand what they’re trying to achieve?

You have to know the path so you can see their path, that’s number one. It’s pretty much you’re trying to make something for them that they don’t realize that they’re going to have, but you’ve seen it, you know it. As much as you tell people, “Trust the process, it might not be coming tomorrow, it might not be today, it might not be in a month, you just have to trust the process.” And you can say it over and over and over again but they might just not understand, they just won’t get it because they haven’t traveled that path. And as long as you keep reinforcing, you keep on supporting their direct needs in that moment, that path has already been walked and they’re already where they wanted to be.

It’s just you got to stay with it, you got to keep reinforcing that positivity, that trust, giving them those little wins of, “Did you get brand new shoes today? Oh, you did, they look great.” Just noticing those little things are a win because they’re being noticed. It’s one of the hardest things about working out or anything in any service business is people need to know that they’re getting something and it’s recognition for most services, just even knowing somebody’s name, “Hey you, how are you doing?” Instead of, “Hey John, how are you doing? He knows my name, they know my name.”

Yeah, I love how you manage the magic moments, which is you know that one of the goals inherently in your clients is to look good, feel good, that’s your industry. And by noticing that they may have gotten new shoes means that they probably feel good about the way they’re looking or maybe they got better shoes because now they want the attention. And by giving that, that in essence is managing that magic moment that you’re delivering that wow moment. Like, “Wow, look how great it …” That small reward, that achievement to keep that progress going, that’s a great idea.

Oh yeah, if I could tell anybody in any service industry to tell, “Just give people recognition and it doesn’t matter.” I mean, I worked at a gas station through high school, just giving recognition of, “Oh my gosh, your car looks really clean today,” it’s a material object and you told them that their car, most people take so much pride in their car and to have it noticed, it’s a piece of them, it’s a part of them. And just like clothes, it’s a part of them, people take time when picking out shoes. It’s very rare you have somebody say, “Oh yeah, I just grabbed them off of Nordstrom Rack. I mean, whatever, they’re my size.” No, it’s the color, it’s the feel, it’s the look around them, every little part and that service, that industry of service and it doesn’t matter if you are serving them food or if you’re serving them surfboards on the beach, just that little bit of notification who they are.

There’s a great book called The Obstacle Is the Way written by Ryan Holiday, he also has The Daily Stoic. And in that book, he writes about the process and you spoke about the process and I love what he talks about where he references Nick Saban, the Legacy University of Alabama football dynasty, college football. And what he talks about is that most people are always thinking about the SEC Championship, the National title from day one. He doesn’t, where is his focus? The play, the drill, the Monday video, the whatever. So, what he talks about is the process is every step that you do right now and do it well that ultimately gets you to the National Championship. But you don’t think about the National Championship, you first think about my block in this drill at this moment, at this time. Parts, breaking it down into pieces.

And I think that’s important with the net group of clients we’re talking about because that goal or whatever they’re trying to achieve can sometimes be overwhelming. And I think it’s incumbent upon us to break that down into parts. In PI, my clients, I talk about, “How long do you think you’re going to expect your case and what are your goals? How much money do you think you’re going to receive in this case?” I need to understand what they’re thinking so that I can start to lay out that process to at least either recognize that I can meet their goal or that I won’t be able to.

Yes. I mean, like to under promise over deliver, the age-old phrase. I mean, I love to do it, it’s one of those things I will always do. I’ll say, “You’re going to lose five pounds in about two weeks.” Do I know they’re going to lose more than that if they just actually follow the plan? Even 60% of the plan of the eating plan I give them, I know they’re going to lose that just in inflammation. But to hit above that, I under promise and over deliver and then that trust begins that, “You were right.” I’m like, “I know I was right but I needed you to know and trust me through that process.”

I love that, built-in working the wow. It’s like you know that you can deliver it as long as they meet and they’re accountable on their end and you do what you say you’re going to do. You can ultimately wow the client, you’ve already built it into your process, you know that that’s going to happen.

Yes. I mean, I’m sure probably all clients that see you, they’re always expecting, “When’s my pay date? When’s my pay date. When am I going to get paid? When am I going to get this healed? When am I going to get this cured?” And there’s probably not an answer, there’s a longer range, so you probably tell them at longer range than actually what’s going to really happen so they can just be like, “Oh my gosh, it came in faster than they told me to, that they told me that it would.”

Yeah, that’s the root of all of customer service, keeping your promise, saying what you’re going to do, deliver it. Let me ask you about having fun. Oftentimes, we don’t even talk about that but ourselves, I think that you know what you do and I’ve met your amazing, gorgeous, talented, smart wife, Leanne and you guys have so much fun doing it, that becomes infectious. How much of a big deal is that when it comes to dealing with this group of clients?

Huge, huge. As I refer back to being Disneyland and Mickey mouse is actually my wife first met me when we went on our first date, she said, “Oh my gosh, I thought you were going to be jokey the entire time, you’re actually serious. Oh, that’s because you know performance Bryan, at work Bryan.” And she goes, “Yeah, I just actually thought I couldn’t take you seriously because you’re always going to have a joke and you’re always going to be happy and you’re going to … and now you’re serious and you have intelligent, calm conversations.” I’m all, “Yeah, because it’s at work. You have to have fun, you have to set a bar for people to enjoy you.”

And because again, you’re in an environment that you have to work. Working out is gross, it’s sweaty, it’s tiring, you feel weak. When you look at the person to the left lifting twice the amount of weight and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, look what they’re doing, they’re like 20 years older than me and they’re doing twice as much.” It’s just so much better to have this Disneyland, Mickey mouse mentality of being positive, being fun and almost if you have to fake to make it of just giving people that experience, enjoy it, have fun, play.

What is that expectation call at LOOK look like? When you’re first meeting the client, what have you found critically important in your formula to help you begin that process?

I always tell every single one of the trainers is, “Just look what problem they have and solve it. Ask them, listen to them.” I call it giving a swear word, care. Number one, just care. And it’s a missing thing in the service industry. People are so focused on themselves, making the business work that they forget that the service industry is actually caring. If that was the one thing I tell them like, “Just care, listen, ask them what brought them here, what problems do they have.” Because to get through a private training door, that was 90% of the battle. I own a place called the LOOK Fitness, where if they look up to see who I trained in the past, it’s cheerleaders and models and actresses and people are going, “The place is called the LOOK. Great.”

It’s nervous, it’s intimidating to come into. When they come in the first thing like, “How are you? What brought you here? What are your problems? What are you suffering from? How can I help you? How can I assist you in every way possible? Tell me, tell me more, tell me more, tell me more, tell me more.” You develop a connection of caring and if you connect with somebody, they’re going to be committed to you just because you cared, tell them the truth.

Yeah, you’re invested in them, right?


So, I have a client who I asked, they have a fender bender, minor accident, not a lot of damage to it. And they tell me that they’re very frustrated because that threw off their day and now they want to sue and they want to make a billion dollars with B. And my first reaction is, “I’d love to get you a billion dollars, I’d get a good contingent fee on that.” But the fact is, that case is not worth a billion dollars. So, how do you deal with the clients when they come and they say, “I want to lose 100 pounds in the next 10 days because I have this event.” And now, you know you’re dealing with a client with unreasonable expectations.

Believe it or not, it happens all the time. People come in with they want tomorrow today and-

Great point.

As best as you say, “I can’t do that,” you ask them other things that they might want and say, “Hey, I can’t give you that today and I can’t give that tomorrow, but I promise you, it will get there.” And say, “Let’s just start off with the little things, let’s start off with what do you want from this?” Go deeper, go more than just the social aspect of society says, “I need to be a 100 pounds deeper and you’re actually going to find out people actually want to change their physiques because of what society, what the Kardashians are doing. “Oh, I once saw Kate Hudson in real life and she was so skinny. Well, is that going to be really … is she really happy? Are you going to be happy at that size?”


So, you try to hit other points at that will make them happy and everybody has them, everybody wants something more and you could probably answer and give them a solution without targeting their problem of something else was the reason why they caused that.

Love that, another way to manage what I call magic moments or wow moments, which is I have the same, a billion dollars. “Okay well, I hope to get you a billion dollars but I don’t want to set you up for something I can’t deliver. I don’t think your case, unless things happen and change is worth a billion dollars but let me explain why and what if I were able to do this for you, would that be helpful?” And then they go, “You know what? Yeah, in my mind then I would get justice,” or, “That wrong would be made right.”

Or, “Yeah, I would feel good about that, I’m not really looking for much, I just want to make sure that my car damage is taken care of or my insurance is not going to go up or maybe I lost something in the car accident when my car got towed. What are the other ways that we can help you? Care, show that we care and help you and connect with you so that while we can serve you and provide good customer service, we don’t set ourselves up for delivering something we just can’t ever do.”

Yes, set up for success not for failure.

Yeah. And so, I think that’s really great. I love, I do that too where I encourage my team, “Have the expectation call when you’re speaking to a new client. Ask them, what are you trying to achieve out of this? What would you like to see? What is your goal? What are you trying to hope for from our service?” That also defines that process. I love what you said about that. Not every one of them, imagine anybody goes in the gym, they are all very different. They look different, they feel different, they act differently, they work out differently and there’s no one box thing. And so, understanding that, then you can follow the process for that person to help them achieve whatever you’re trying to do for them.


Bryan, when your trainers are basically delivering the Bryan Greene way, you’re training them and your hope is that if somebody comes to look and they work with a trainer, they’re getting it the way you would be delivering that very same service. Yes?


What is it that you do with your trainers that you find it’s most important to carry on that message?

Well actually, I put them first and I tell them, “If you don’t want to take a client, I don’t want you to take a client because there’s something that throws them off that might.” And I hope initially how I treat them, they will treat people walking through the door that respect, that care that, “I’m putting you first over myself.” And if they do that, I feel that they will start the process of what I do. And we’ve had many clients that have walked through the door and they have insulted my trainers through and through. We had this guy who came up and he told every single one of my trainers that he worked out with that, “You don’t motivate me, you don’t motivate me like Bryan does.” And I told them I said, “Hey, keep on it, just keep smiling, just keep going. There’s something else going on with him, just break through. You will break through.”

And when he finished his first weight loss program, there’s no way this guy’s joining, there’s no way this guy is joining. He joined for the year, paid in full and said, “I love it here and I love everyone here.” All they kept on doing was literally, as they said I could sell, just catch up to a woman in white gloves because I would talk and I would listen, I would talk and I would listen. And I’ve come to find out the trainers started doing the same thing, they would just listen. And here’s a man who just wanted to have a problem with someone or something that they would just listen. They would say, his name was John, they’d be like, “John. Okay, yeah. Oh yeah, let me apply that next time.” Did they actually apply it? No, but they listened to him, the part of that care and that listen, got him to sign up for the year and love everyone. He did not have one single complaint after his six weeks of his program and throughout the years.

He was actually our biggest cheerleader after that, where people would come in renew and like, “Hey, I’m John, how are you doing? Welcome. You’re going to love this class, you’re going to love this trainer,” and that is the one thing I hope to get across to the trainers to if that was one piece of me that they would share to every single person that walks through the door, that would be it. It was just to listen, to care and keep moving forward as best as possible, no matter the hardship of that client. Because everybody’s going to step through a service center’s door and a business that’s going to have a problem, you just have to know that everybody has a problem and you just want to show them the light of who you are and what you can offer because they’re coming for your service.

One of the big things about our law firm that we do and we do really well is recognizing that even though my name is on the door, I make sure that everybody from the person who takes the mail to the lawyer who negotiates and handles the case is all doing it under the same idea of core values, our mission, our customer service process. And we want to do it all the same way because the point of that is, is that anybody can call and anybody can speak to any member on my team and you don’t need to just be talking to Judd Shaw. You could be talking to so and so and you’re going to get the same level of service, the same level of representation. And we do that by intent and by design. And that’s the kind of things you’re talking about is finding the core values and your mission and your vision has to permeate with your entire team. Bryan, what’s next for you, man?

So right now, for the past couple years I’ve been training trainers. How to, well, technically be a trainer, how to operate a business with a trainer, how to get clients, how to be professional. And it’s something that’s always bothered me for the industry is that when you usually become a trainer, you’re not given the path of actually starting your own business because even if you work for a big box gym, they’re just giving you leads, build it up, build it up, build it up and the turnover rate is only two months, they don’t ever get the chance to be a trainer. And I’ve always had a problem with it because there’s so much to it. And right now, it’s so popular for trainers to go rent space from facilities and build their own business.

So, instead of learning the hard way like I did, which I had to train myself, I went through hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring marketing companies and having them burn me is I’m now offering this online across the country, to the world of learning to be a professional trainer, I call it, “Don’t Be A Broke Trainer,” and to build a business and operate it as a business instead of, “Well, I’m a personal trainer.” And some of those stereotypes go with it so I am teaching them how to get clients, how to build it as a business, have the legal aspects of it with contracts, being a professional, what a business is instead of just a personal trainer. And then, my ultimate goal is actually after those personal trainers become personal trainers is to basically do what I did, teach them how to open up their own gyms so they can open it with success.

I love it, it’s like the gym business advisor.


A business partner. They get you as a business partner through video and online and these different sources and learn from all of your knowledge and your experience, hopefully making less of those mistakes, getting things more right from the start and ultimately saving time, money, commitment, things of that nature through your program, I love that. I find Bryan right now, I’m spending more of my time coaching my next set of leaders and my next set of supervisors and managers. And that’s really what you’re doing in the gym industry right now, you really changed it on its face instead of bringing trainers into work for you, you’re looking to create the next set of great trainers out there in the world. I think that’s amazing.

Yeah, that’s my goal.

How does someone get in touch with you, Bryan?

So right now, we’re about to launch next week of dontbeabroketrainer.com, as well as they can hit me up on Instagram, @bryangreenereal on Instagram, as well as Facebook, same one, bryangreenereal.

Bryan, what would you say in a crowded field in gym, what makes LOOK special?

Customer service, delivery, exclusivity. I like to offer a gym that’s home away from home, pretty much that, cheers without the beers. And I think that’s what happens with a lot of gyms is they miss that personal touch. And that’s what I like the LOOK Fitness to be is personal touch. Everybody knows your name, everybody feels comfortable coming into the gym. It’s actually was my number one goal is to have a gym where people felt so comfortable that they had zero intimidation, they just liked going there. I think that’s actually been my number one win is that’s the number one thing that people have referred back is how comfortable, how enjoyable it is to come to LOOK Fitness.

And things that have blown my mind over and over, I even have clients who’ve moved. They’ve gone to the 24 Hour Fitness or the Equinox, they’ve called me and they said, “I can’t do it, I’ll build my home gym, I’ll train with you online. I just can’t do it. I just miss the LOOK Fitness so much.” And it’s brought me so much joy with it because that was my ultimate goal. Even when I first had the concept is I trained pro cheerleaders, businessmen, doctors who are so used to being harassed at the gym, bothered at the gym. I mean, it’s pretty much like you when you say that you’re a lawyer, how many people have questions for you? “Well, I have this situation and I have this case. And you’re like, “Oh, come on.”

And especially with pro cheerleaders. They go into the gym and immediately the guys hit them up. I mean, I’d say, “I don’t know what to do, put on hoodies and headphones,” and they’re like, “It doesn’t matter, I’ve had guys pull the headphones off me and just ask me or tell me that I’m doing this wrong.” So, that was my whole goal is that, I mean, girls in a gym, immediately guys are like, “What is the girl doing in the gym?” They’re there because they’re supposed to be there, they’re lifting weights just like you. And I wanted to create it so where girls can work out, guys can work out, business owners, lawyers, doctors, anyone could go with feeling that comfort, that comfort of working out at home away from home.

That’s amazing. And the answer there is the test of time. As old as time, which is customer service, stand out in a crowd, a crowded industry, no different than personal injury. How do you do it? In the end, do what you’re going to say, deliver your promise, give great customer service and you should in the end have a great cheerleader. You have one for me, I’ve had the pleasure of being at LOOK and I think it’s a great gym and you guys are amazing. And Bryan, thanks so much for coming on today. I really appreciate it.

Thanks for having me and we love having you here.

Thanks guys.

🎙️ Meet Your Host 🎙️

Name: Judd B. Shaw

What he does: Judd founded Judd Shaw Injury Law (JSIL) and serves as the firm’s Brand Chief. He founded the firm on the premise that clients come first. Over the years, the success he attained for his clients helped JSIL grow significantly. Judd’s clients are not just another number to him or his law firm.

Company: Judd Shaw Injury Law

Words of wisdom: “At Judd Shaw Injury Law, it’s all about high-quality representation and excellence in client service. Our clients are counting on us to win and the stakes are high. Our endless pursuit for awesomeness through our core values, the ability to WOW our clients, is in our DNA.”

Connect: LinkedIn | Email

🎙️ Featured Guest 🎙️

Name: Bryan Greene

Short Bio: Bryan is the CEO of The LOOK Fitness located in Newport, California. The LOOK Fitness has a team of experts offering personal training and group classes in boxing, boot camp, pilates, barre, and more. As a personal trainer, Bryan has experience helping professional cheerleaders, fitness models, and business professionals reach their fitness and nutrition goals. 

Company: The LOOK Fitness

Connect: LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook

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