Washing your hair after you’ve ripped your hands…

Rolling out of bed the morning after “Murph”…

Bruising your collar bone on “Fight Gone Bad” push presses…

None of those things hurt quite like the sting of a potential client rejecting your affiliate. Some people leave you for the cheaper place. Some will leave you for a more famous gym owner. Some will leave because you’re located too far away. Maybe they don’t like that you don’t have any mirrors. Maybe they want a pool. Or a tanning bed. Or a juice bar.

Whatever the reason, remember that not everyone who walks through your doors, whose questions you answer or whose story you listen to will become your client. So it’s a good idea to be aware of the amount of time you invest in people who aren’t your students. If time is money, walk-ins and phone calls have the potential to make or break your paycheck.

Before I was properly trained to take phone calls and handle walk-ins, I was terrified to answer the phone or talk to people on the street. People had a lot of questions and I thought I had to answer EVERY SINGLE ONE. A lot of these interactions ended in nothing because I’d over-share or over-explain stuff only CrossFitters know and care about.

Explaining how you cut your Grace time in half by doing CrossFit consistently doesn’t mean ANYTHING to a person who doesn’t do CrossFit. Yes, I once used that to explain to a stranger how effective CrossFit is. Think how ridiculous I looked demonstrating a clean and jerk without a bar. Yeah, don’t do that.

So what’s the best way to learn to effectively communicate with people? How do you learn to distinguish between people who are actually interested in CrossFit vs. not really that into you?

You talk to strangers outside of the gym. You give out business cards. You get used to rejection. One time, I asked some girls if they worked out (because I was going to give them a CrossFit Modesto business card) and they laughed at me. I’m not sure why they did, but I responded to this by crying about it in a public bathroom stall.

I’ve grown a lot since then and learned not to take things quite as personally. I’ve also learned how to identify who is worth my time and how to guide conversations without affecting the flow (Miss Awesome herself, Jennifer Shoskes, and the BIZ phone script helped a LOT in this area).

Just as your ripped calluses heal, the bruises fade, and your muscles recover, so will the sting of rejection. Because at the end of the day, it might not have anything to do with you. They just might not be that into CrossFit. And that’s okay.

So learn from that time you got tongue-tied or embarrassed yourself (or cried in the bathroom) because it makes you a better communicator and at the end of the day, it makes you a better coach too.