I'm EXCITED! I'm excited because I've just completed the biggest, hardest, bad-assed chunk of my book. EXHALE. I'm excited because I can quite literally feel the earth moving underneath the world of Women's Fitness and Wellness especially in the field of holistic programming for the Pregnant, Post Natal and Peri-Post Menopause woman and I'm excited because.......that's just who I am 🙂 So, because I've been a writing demon for the last few months, I've had the opportunity to really organise my thoughts, processes and protocols and I thought I would share with you, my ACTUAL process when connecting with a new Post Natal client and the journey from Pre-Screening to actually beginning work with the new mom. I hope this helps you out and/or provides a little food for thought.
Before You Meet Face-To-Face
1. Automate your pre-screen questionnaire and send to your potential client when she enquires - GET RID OF PAPER! If you are still pre-screening using paper....STOP! It's bonkers. With so many electronic platforms/form makers now either for sale very reasonably or even for free, you really need to utilise the technology and get your pre-screening automated and electronic. You then simply send the link for the pre-screen that you have created to the client, she completes in her own time and in my experience way more deeply than she would do if sitting in front of you.....she presses SEND and you get the opportunity to go over her answers to the questions you have posed in your own time and actually decide whether this client is right for you, you can help her or whether she needs help from someone else and referral. Check out Google Docs & Survey Monkey for a free service. Ultimately, qualifying whether the client is a right fit for you and you can actually help her with needs means that when she actually books for her first appointment with you....THE DEAL IS DONE. The first appointment IS her first session and is paid for. The first appointment is the beginning of her journey with you NOT an hour of chatting, giving information and help only to have the client walk away and say she will 'think about it and get back to you'! So if this is a scenario for you, you probably need to start 'QUALIFYING' your clients before you see them by a) sending out the electronic pre-screen, following up with a phone call to find out more and do your 'showbiz' and then set up the first appointment which is PAID FOR.There is a HUGE need for your services as a fitness/wellness professional serving the Post Natal woman and if you are awesome at what you do, have a great website that displays your already happy customers, what you do clearly/your programmes and your prices, pre-screen, follow-up with a phone call to totally qualify.........there is NO reason at all why any great professional who is brilliant at what they do should ever be holding appointment with client for free.....just saying 🙂
1. Your first meeting with your new client should be a fabulous event. Allow an hour and visual and hands-on assessments, allow time and space for meaningful conversation. You will need to carry out a Diastasis check and get hands-on with the client so please ensure the space is quiet and private and conducive to the client feeling relaxed and confident to discuss any 'personal' issues without interruption. Heather Plett talks about HOLDING SPACE for someone and describes it as: "What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control." Quite a feat yes? I'm still working on this one 🙂 But even if you're not that deep yet into your personal encounter strategies :-), we still need truly make time for our first session because actually, when we're doing a stellar job.....there's a lot to do!
2. Ensure you screen deeply regarding Diastasis and Pelvic Floor dysfunction/incontinence (urinary + faecal). Ensure you question the client regarding her C-Section recovery if appropriate and remember to ask to view her scar when performing the Diastasis check. Question regarding any pain issues anywhere on the body as well as the pelvic area, as this will give you an idea regarding possible alignment issues that you need to account for and improve upon if your restoration programming is to be built on a strong foundation. If you need to update your continence/pelvic health knowledge, start with this great video interview with the amazing Women's Health Physiotherapist Sue Croft in Brisbane Australia and her books.
3. Create a simply 3-Day Food Diary and sent this via email after you've agreed to start with the client so that by the time you have your face-to-face with the client this can be completed, sent back to you and you will have had time to analyse. Optimal Nutrition is a MAHOOOSIVE part of the Post Natal recovery journey! If you've promised a strategy to heal your clients' Diastasis and birth trauma, optimising her macro and micro nutritients to ENSURE she's 'eating to heal' is ESSENTIAL. Check out this blog here.....
4. At your Face-To-Face Meeting - making time for your new client means that you have the space to ask one of the most important questions you need to ask a Post Natal woman....... "How are you"? Hardly anyone asks the new mom how she is and so asking and truly making space for the answer is just so valuable and your client will truly appreciate and value this 100%. New mom life can be lonely and many moms feel that all the attention is on the new baby and very little is spared for them so it's super important for you to help your new client feel 'heard'.
5. Visual assessment (first impressions), static posture/alignment, mobile posture/alignment. Sometimes I take a photo on my camera of the client facing me, right and left side and back view for later reference but mostly I just ask her to move into these positions and make notes. For the mobile analysis, I just ask the clients to walk the length of the room a few times and again I make notes of any lack of symmetry and obvious imbalances, foot position as she walks etc., I'm a massage and remedial therapist so I would also physically palpate some key PN Soft Tissue Hotspots (see below) to get a better idea of restrictions and congested tissue and I would also ask the client to self-report any bodily restrictions that she currently experiences. Check out these releases....PERFECT for improving Ante/Post Natal alignment issues.......
6. Next up, I test for Diastasis and view C-Section scar (if applicable) esp if client is very early PN. It must be healed, don't assume that it is even if someone is a few months Post Natal, I've learned this the hard way! Also, ensure that you question the client regarding any loss of sense of connection, numbness, pain and possible restriction around the scar. You'll then need to 'grade' your clients' Diastasis and total core function to enable you to decide which core restore exercises are best for her at her present level of recovery and of course....these generally don't involve planks and wood chops :-). If you think you really need help with this....join me on this course. You'll have it nailed in no time!
7. Check for the synergy between the breath, TVA, Pelvic Floor and low back muscles/fascia and for an optimal breathing strategy. I the client doesn't display either, your first job is to teach/coach it because it is the FOUNDATION of great programming and getting the results that the client has paid for!
8. See how the client moves - in this part of the assessment, I'd simply ask the client to perform the basic movement patters of squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, flexion, extension, rotation, balance through the 3 planes of motion (sagittal, frontal and transverse).....nothing crazy but I just want to see her moving....try not to heaving coach this area of the session because you are looking at her current and innate abilities.....again make notes on her current abilities to assist you in creating your bespoke programming.
9. Have on hand your referral network contact details simply because this first deeper session with your client may bring up some issues that are out of your skill set. ALWAYS be happy and willing to refer the client onto another trusted and more suited professional if she has any health issues that you feel she needs to get clear on before or alongside her work with you.
10. Make space for the client to TRULY define what success means for HER and what are her expectations of you. This is huge and will save you a huge headache potentially.....make time to have the client truly describe in her own words why she has sought your help and what success looks like to her. Every fitness/wellness professional offering an emotive service need to be super clear about the clients' definition of success and work clearly towards that goal. Get your map BEFORE you enter the woods! You have been warned 🙂
11. Ok, so now, you're reaching the end of your first session, so it's time for you to describe and agree with your client which one of your packages best suits her needs......refer the client to you product list and which of your offerings would be most suitable for her needs. And because these are listed CLEARLY on your website with your prices, you cut out the selling bit....she now knows you're awesome and all she needs to do is decide what package to purchase.
12. ONLY OFFER A PACKAGE/BLOCK OF SESSIONS/MONTHLY PACKAGE - NO SINGLE SESSION SALES! I repeat NO SINGLE SESSION SALES. Post Natal restoration takes time....the client needs to have 'skin-in-the-game' and in general, if the client is looking for cheap and easy.....you're probably not going to get on as quality help and advice comes from a quality professional who knows and charges their worth and we all know that this 'getting fit' thing 'aint easy! Only having the potential to purchase blocks of sessions or paying monthly ensures that you only work with the committed and those that can afford your services and that's just the plain truth......so if you don't already have you packages or pay monthly subscription in place.....NOW would be a good time to start......with love! XO
13. Payment should occur on this first session. Have an iPad or laptop handy so you can go to your website and the client can pay online. If this isn't possible, ensure it happens asap....the deal isn't done until the deal is done! Immediately sending the client a link to pay after your meeting is a very good idea. Payment seals the deal.
14. Discuss your cancellations policies and the client's REALISTIC ability to train and at what times and encourage her to find a great time and try to stick to it. A new habit LOVES routine. If you can also automate your clients booking in, this will mean WAY less time glued to your phone....I'm using this for my programme starting in a few weeks time....
Ideally, your holistic programme creation needs to include soft-tissue RELEASES that improve alignment, client education, concentrated work for core re-connection and improving synergy, functional and integrated movement that gets moms strong for their ADLs', stillness, advice on optimal nutrition for Post Natal recovery and guidance on lifestyle changes to positively support her recovery.
Phew! Do you see why we need an hour now? And do you see why you need to be charging for this fantastic service? I hope so!
If you want to really take your work, practice and results for your Post Natal programming to the next level, I think you'll love the Advanced Post Natal On-Line Global Certification that Burrell Education offers. We're enrolling shortly for the new intake of students and I think the content will have a transformational effect on your work as it has for over 100 candidates since it launched in September 2014. Take a look, I think you'll find the content compelling......