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August 20, 2019

033 | Refer Out + Stay In Your Own Lane

Why you should be referring out and staying in your own lane | The FitsPRO Podcast with Annie Miller

Fact: You need to refer out and stay in your own lane

So today’s podcast is really about something I was terrified to do for years in this industry.

I was functioning out of a scarcity mindset in regards to this and it was doing a disservice to my clients and really, to myself because I wasn’t happy and it didn’t feel good.

It was a lose-lose for everyone involved.

I also want to share some experiences that have happened since my mindset shift around this subject. Because it really is a win-win now, for the potential client, myself and other professionals.

What I am talking about is staying in your own lane and referring clients or potential client out when they aren’t a good a fit for you or they are out of your wheelhouse.

Now, we can’t really start this conversation without defining what is in fact INSIDE your wheelhouse right?

And I am talking in a sense of what you LIKE TO DO + what your expertise is. Not just what your professional scope of practice is.

We don’t want personal trainers pretending they are doctors or a weekend certification warrior playing the part of a registered dietitian. Just as we don’t want a registered dietitian who lifts at the local LA fitness playing strength coach for their clients. I certainly hope we are all on the same page there. 

On that same note, we just don’t want to work with people who aren’t our ideal client. That’s a lose-lose. They will be unsatisfied and you’ll resent the client because you won’t enjoy working with them. We don’t want that.

Soooo, you need to define a few boundaries that you stay within. What is in your lane, and what is outside of your lane?

Define your lane

For me, I don’t diagnose, or make those claims. I certainly work with clients who have injuries or get injuries but I am not the person who diagnoses that, and when I feel something is outside of my scope, I say “go to the mayo clinic,” or “we’re going to stick with x exercises until you can see a doc.”

I also don’t do nutrition coaching – I stopped doing that years ago because of two things – I didn’t feel educated enough in that area to adequately and confidently be telling someone what they should put in their body or if intermittent fasting is going to be best for them, or counting macros, or high carb or low carb. Yes, I had a basic understanding of nutrition and I could get people to lose fat in 20 days. That did not qualify me to be a nutrition coach, not in my professional opinion.

The second reason is that I genuinely do not enjoy learning about or teaching on nutrition. It just doesn’t light me up. I tried to force it for years and I just don’t care haha. It’s not for me.

I eat intuitively, focus on protein, carbs and water intake, I stop eating a cookie after every dinner if I see that I am getting into a sugary filled evening routine, and that’s about it. I eat to feel good in the gym and I like beer, right? That’s where it ends for me. That doesn’t mean my clients don’t want nutrition guidance, that just means I am not the person to provide it.

And that my friend, is where the mindset shift comes in.

Owning your expertise, defining your lane, and referring out for anything that is not within your wheelhouse.

You know what happens when you commit to this mindset?

You literally create a higher level of trust with that client or potential client.

Because when you refer out, that shows them in the most direct way possible that you have THEIR best interest in mind.

how I refer out

I said no to three people last round of FitsPRO Foundations because my program was honestly not a good fit for them. But I referred one to Rachel Turner, another biz coach I know because I think that would be the best fit for her.

She joined her Brave Biz School, Rachel and I have a great a relationship, the client is happy and we are both happy. It’s a win-win-win. And now that follower of mine sticks around and probs speaks highly of me because I showed her a new valuable human, right?

A few months ago I just started openly referring my 1:1 and BBA clients to Working Against Gravity for nutrition. I have never worked with WAG but I have talked with Adee and I love their philosophy around nutrition. If I did nutrition, I’d do it like WAG. So I just started tagging them in these referral posts. And bam, Adee DM’d me and got me a referral code for sending over my clients. WIN-WIN-WIN fam.

It feels good for me to say no so I can stay in my lane. Rather than feeling like an imposter or like I am doing a disservice to the client. It’s a win for the client, and it’s a win for the other professional or company because they are receiving THIER ideal client as well.

The mind-shift here really comes from a fear of losing money or clients. Which is the most ironic because you’re going to lose time, money and clients by playing roles that you’re unprepared to play.

Can you imagine what a royal shit-show an actual play would be if one person was trying to play all the parts? Yeah BRO, that’s you when you don’t refer out for issues or needs outside of you lane, expertise or wheelhouse. No one is coming back to that show and they will likely talk shit about it to their friends.

BUT, they go to a play where all the parts are clearly defined and played by people who were meant to play those parts…and that human comes back the next time the play is in town + they tell all their friends that they have to go see this play.

Don’t serve out of desperation

The same rings true when you shift from a scarcity to abundance mindset in referring your humans to the correct direction.

Don’t serve out of desperation friend. It doesn’t serve anyone. I know it can be hard when you are just starting out because you need money and probably think “I can make this work.” But it’s just so not worth it on so many levels dude. Don’t do it.

Identify your ideal client, identify your area of expertise, define your lane – what are your boundaries of operation? And ideally create relationships with other professionals who you can confidently refer to, like I do with Active Life Rx and Working Against Gravity.

That’s it fam.

The power of referring clients and staying in your own lane. It matters and it’s something I think trainers need to do a better job of. I know I certainly did.

If you find value here, on The FitsPRO Podcast, then pretty please head over to itunes, subscribe, rate and review the show. It means the world to me when you spread my message to more humans.

Want more podcasts? Click here to skim the archives.

P.S. Save this value packed episode for later over on pinterest!

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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