How To Use Fitbit With Clients: Health Tracking In Your Health Coaching Business

Most of the coaches and professionals we’ve met through our journey with Nudge were introduced to the idea of using health tracking apps with clients because of Fitbit.

So it only makes sense that we should dedicate a full post to exactly how you can use Fitbits with your clients to make your health coaching business (or fitness business, wellness business, etc.) better.

First, a little background...

Fitbit is THE market-leading health tracking platform, a publicly traded company, and probably one of only a few real "800-lb gorillas" in the fitness tracker space.

 
Fitbit leads the way in terms of current market share by units shipped

Fitbit leads the way in terms of current market share by units shipped

 

After years of equipping consumers with a way to track steps, they’ve expanded their platform capabilities giving us all a peak into other interesting areas of our lifestyle, like calorie counting, heart rate tracking, and more.

Most consumers still have A LOT of questions surrounding how to use the data that’s being captured by these devices, and this has created an incredible opportunity for you and your business.

Here are a few data points to consider...

 
Your clients want to use health tracking tools.

Your clients want to use health tracking tools.

 

As you can see, the time is now to be using health tracking tools within your business.

Professionals like you are turning to fitness trackers, and more often than not, to Fitbit specifically, as a way to...

  • better manage their growing client list
  • better track compliance in-between sessions
  • better understand who needs attention between visits
  • better tether clients to the business or location

There are countless other reasons, but one of the most obvious is to avoid the pitfalls of counting on client recall. Most people can hardly remember what they ate for breakfast this morning... how is someone suppose to accurately recall their consumption habits over any real period of time?

Luckily, we’ve had the chance to work with countless professionals and learn some of the most effective ways to incorporate these tools.

We are going to walk through the process, step-by-step, touching on how to introduce the concept of health tracking to clients, how to get them started, what data to use, and how to use this information for more contextualized touchpoints with your clients.

Buckle up :)

 

A Quick Word of Warning

Before we get much further it’s important to remember this...

Just because Fitbit tracks everything from steps to sleep to nutrition, DOES NOT mean you should throw a Fitbit at a client and expect them to track everything.

They WILL burn out within 24 hours, and no one wins when that happens.

There is a strategic process that should be used - and we will cover it here - that gradually gets a client accustomed to wearing a tracking device, and/or manually tracking their health habits.

 

Introducing the Idea of Using a Fitbit

With that said, here is a battle-tested process we’ve seen from one of the professionals on our system that works VERY well. Coach Steve has used it with about 100 clients and it’s proven time and time again to work effectively.

Some people think that clients will be put-off by the idea of being tracked. This is NOT the case.

If I’m paying someone to help me achieve my health goals then you better believe that I want that person to be utilizing all the tools, tips, and tricks to help me be successful. I find that this is how most folks feel as well.

There are plenty of different models from Fitbit alone that you can chose to use with your clients, so it's worth reviewing what you think would be best for a certain client.

For instance, if a client is an avid runner then they may enjoy Fitbit's BLAZE device ($200). Conversely, if a client doesn't want to spend a dime then you could simply have them use the Free Fitbit step tracking app.

Fitbit's products are categorized allowing you to better understand and match a device to your client's needs.

Fitbit's products are categorized allowing you to better understand and match a device to your client's needs.

With that said, here’s how you can introduce the idea of health tracking with a client. Feel free to use any of this in conversations you have with your clients.

[ NOTE: this transcript was ACTUALLY written by Coach Steve, who also happens to sell Fitbits to his clients. This is a great way to streamline the process and ensure clients are able to get up and running while you are face-to-face… not to mention, it’s a great way to open a new revenue stream for your business. ]

 

Part 1:  Introducing the Concept of Tracking to Your Client

Health Coach
Mrs. Smith, do you have a device that monitors your activity like a Fitbit or Jawbone or some type of wearable device?

Mrs. Smith
No, but I have seen them.

Health Coach
Good, at least you have seen them.  What I would like you to consider is 'helping me help you'.  You see, for you to get the best results from my guidance, it is really important that I don't just give you generic advice that is based on general guidelines.

Instead, I need to know what you are actually doing so I don't waste your time and even misguide you.  I know how busy you are!  Mrs. Smith, I really care about what YOU do between our meetings.  I bet you do more activity than you think so I want to see what you normally do.  I also don't want to wait until our next meeting when I can see what's going on remotely.  This way I can give your 'real-time' feedback.  Not feedback that might be too late!

You see, it's really important that I get accurate information and I have an easy way for you to get to me without even knowing it! And you don't have to be a technology expert either....

So, would you consider some type of device that 'helps me help you'? 

Mrs. Smith:
Sure, but which one?

Health Coach
Ok, great. I can help you with that.  So, would you wear a sporty band or watch on your wrist or would you rather just put one in your pocket?

Mrs. Smith:
Which would be the best?

Health Coach
Good Question.  The best one is actually the one you will actually wear or keep with you every day.

Mrs. Smith:
Ok, I like the idea of wearing a band.  One that shows me the information.

Health Coach
Great, that narrows it down. We actually sell them here, but you can also pick one up at most stores. You decide.

Mrs. Smith:
If I could get it here that would be much easier.  Would you help me set it up?

Health Coach
Sure.  Just take out your smartphone and we will sync it up.  It's easy.  Can you go to the App Store or Google Play and download the Fitbit App?

Mrs. Smith
Sure can.

Teeing up the idea of using a tracker is the most awkward part, but once you’ve gotten past that it’s going to save you a lot of heartache if you can help the client get set up while you are with them.

Maybe they get lazy and don’t open the device, or maybe they simply misconfigure the app. If you help them get connected properly on the front-end, then the rest of the experience can be pretty simple on you both.

 

Part 2: Getting Your Client Setup on the Fitbit App

Once they have the app downloaded and are ready to sync I have them continue or I actually assist.  50/50 on this.  Usually it's pretty easy.  I like being involved at this time because I can really emphasize that here is where the device is only synced to you and this information is all about you. 

Health Coach:
Now your device is linking up specifically with your account so that it knows that this information is all about you.  It's awesome and it really 'helps me help you'.

Mrs. Smith
That is great.  What about all this nutrition stuff and other details. What should I do. 

Health Coach
This whole process is powerful Mrs. Smith, but all I need you to do for the next 2 weeks is wear the device and forget about it!  I want to start out getting an idea of your normal activity routine.  Don't add or subtract anything.  Just do your normal activity and let me take a look at the information at about 2 weeks.

I really need to see what you are doing so I can give you real personalized information.  You see Mrs. Smith, if you want true success and behavior change that you can sustain for a lifetime, the best way to achieve this is to work it into your current routine and slowly make changes.  I would love if after a few months of working with me you come back and when I show you your wonderful progress you say 'I don't even feel like I have made huge changes'.  This means it's something that you can sustain and build on!

Mrs. Smith
That sounds perfect.  I want to get healthy and achieve my goals, but they have to be realistic and it has to fit into my life.  I've tried all the New Year's Resolution changes and it never lasts.  I feel like a failure and I keep doing it year after year.

Health Coach
That's normal Mrs. Smith.  We get excited for change and plan for major adjustments but the real world happens.  You know how that goes....

Mrs. Smith
I sure do.  Make it easy and I will do it!

Health Coach
Well, that's great but remember, it's all up to you.  I am your guide, you still have to do it!  It has to come from you.  So I will look at your information and give you guidance, some options that will help.  You have to decide to make the change.  But trust me, I will provide the support necessary and use my experience to match all I will know about you with my guidance. 

Mrs. Smith
That sounds great.  So how do you see my stuff?  Do you log into my account?

- - -

[ NOTE: this coach happens to be using NudgeCOACH to make it easier for him to monitor his client’s information. You certainly don’t have to, but if you aren’t using something like NudgeCOACH then you will need to keep track of everyone’s user names and passwords OR have them bring in all their information between visits. ]

Moving on…

- - -

 

Health Coach
One more quick step.  Go back to the App or Google Play store and download the Nudge App. 

Mrs. Smith
Ok, Nudge App. Here it is.  Just download.

Health Coach
Yep.  And this is how I see your information.  The wearable app automatically sends the information to the Nudge App and then it comes to me. 

Mrs. Smith
So do I have to go to the Nudge App everyday and check it.

Health Coach
No No.  For now it will just run in the background, sending the data to my NudgeCOACH site in a safe and HIPAA-compliant way.  This allows me an easy way to see your information and actually message you right to your phone!

Mrs. Smith
You mean like texting?

Health Coach
Yes, like texting but way better because it is specific to our health coaching relationship and it allows me to look at your information and message you from my same screen.  So I give you real personal guidance.

Mrs. Smith
So I do have to go into the Nudge App every day to see if you messaged me?

Health Coach
No, an alert will pop up saying you have a message from your health coach.  Then you click it and it takes you to the app.  Really simple.  You can even message me from the Nudge App too if you want.  You know, if you have a question specific to our coaching relationship.

Mrs. Smith
Great.  I really need this accountability.

Health Coach:  
Once you are in the Nudge App answer the questions and use my PROMO CODE to link you to me.  It's that simple.  Oh, also sync with the wearable when it asks.  It will run you through it and it's easy.  All this 'helps me help you'.  We just have to take a couple minutes to get it set up and then it's good to go.

Mrs. Smith
Good, because I'm ready to make changes.

Now, this is ALSO the time to ensure that you set expectations for clients on what to track.... like I said, start slowly. People are busy and the last thing you want to do it frustrate a person on day one. 

Keep it simple at first and tell the client that you don't want them to do anything different for the next two weeks.  Here is where you pull back the reigns and show them that you really care about them and what to know as much as you can about them before you give them specific advice.  Here is where they see that it really is going to be personalized.

The one push back you will get is a push back you want.  Some clients will say, "what about my dietary information, isn't that important?  Don't you want that?  I can start logging my food."  Yes you want it, but not now. Most importantly, when the client/patient initiates a behavior change idea or concept it is much more likely to be successful.  It cannot be driven from the outside but rather from within.

Moreover, as stated earlier, it has to be easy, simple, non-disruptive and a Stepped Approach.  Remember, when they leave the meeting it's back to the real world, the busy world that got them to the point where they need you in the first place.  Pull back the reigns and put them at easy.  You are the expert.  You are the trusted guide.  You are the one that is going to logically and systematically help them succeed.

 

Part 3: Expectations for App Usage

Mrs. Smith:
All set.  Now where are the two Apps I just downloaded and set up.

Health Coach:
Probably on your last screen.  Just scroll over.

Mrs. Smith
Ok, I see them.  So you don't want me to do anything else?  What about nutrition or sleep or water or all this other stuff?

Health Coach
Nope.  Nothing else.  Just wear your device and the information will flow over to me automatically.  Later on I might ask for that other information but for now I just want to focus on one area.  IF you can wear the device at night while you sleep that is fine.  This way I would get your sleep info too.  But it's up to you.

Mrs. Smith
I could do that if it helps you.

Health Coach
Yes and it doesn't make you do anything different.  Just wear it to bed.

Mrs. Smith
Do I have to reset it each night or in the morning.

Health Coach
No, it resets on its own.  Just wear it and forget about it!

Mrs. Smith
My kind of device! 

Health Coach
Ok, I will take a look at your info in about 2 weeks and get back to you.  I'll use the Nudge App to message you then.  You'll see it.

Mrs. Smith
This is exciting.  Thanks Coach!

Health Coach
We are in this together.  If you have any questions you can message me from the Nudge App.  Just open it and tap on Coach and dictate or type a message.  I look at these every couple days so I usually get back within 72 hours.

Mrs. Smith
Thanks Coach.

Now that I've set the expectation that I will circle back in 2 weeks, I like to "cheat" and take a quick look at my new client's data at the end of the first or second day and send them a "surprise" message to show that I am actually getting the information, I'm looking at it, and that the connection is real. For example...                                                

Hello Mrs. Smith!  It's coming through and I see your activity.  Wow, you do walk a lot during the day!  Remember, don't change anything in your routine.  I want a baseline.  I'll check back in a couple weeks.

 

How to Ensure Success and A Return on Your Investment

Focus on the Long-Term Play

Long-term success of an individual grows exponentially if you slowly "drip" behavior change strategies. In other words, you want them to leave the first meeting trusting you by knowing that you care about them, that you want them to know that you will only give them personalized guidance, and that your "partnership" will lead to the accomplishment of their goals and long-term optimal health. 

Consider using a marketing-like approach to your content and engagement with clients. You may have several key pieces of content you want to share with them along their tracking journey.

For instance...

  • 3 days after getting on Fitbit - quick message confirming you see their data
  • 1 week later - send Ebook on the benefits of health tracking
  • 1 weeks later - send link to a relevant blog post or video, "Why Your Steps Matter"
  • etc.
 
DRIP Campaigns are designed to engage people with the appropriate content based on their actions, such as email opens, pages viewed, etc. https://zapier.com/learn/ultimate-guide-to-email-marketing-apps/drip-marketing-campaign/

DRIP Campaigns are designed to engage people with the appropriate content based on their actions, such as email opens, pages viewed, etc.

https://zapier.com/learn/ultimate-guide-to-email-marketing-apps/drip-marketing-campaign/

 

Leverage The Data for More Contextualized Touchpoints

During conversation with your client I would go over the information in a way that would help them strengthen their personal motivational environment.  I would always make a positive point no matter what.  It is really important to continue to gain trust and let your client know that you are here to help and not hurt. 

Then, I would give a review of the data as it relates to the goals and objectives the client has set. I would point out the good, the bad and the ugly, and then the good again.  Always starting and ending with the good.

A couple highlights would include:

  • Total daily step count vs level of intensity.
  • Number of days per week which meet minimal requirements or goals.
  • Flow of activity looking at weekdays vs. weekends.
  • Any swings, unusually high or low days and discuss why. This allows for the discussion of positive swings in behaviors and guidance to repeat those opportunities more if necessary.

 

Use A Tool That Makes It Easier to Access and Use Health Tracking Data

We designed NudgeCOACH to make it easy to use health tracking apps with clients so that you could grow your business and provide better service to more clients.

Steve, the coach from the script above, mentioned that before using Nudge Coach he was relying on logging into clients' app accounts to monitor the information.

"Prior to NudgeCOACH I was logging into each client's Fitbit account and looking at the data.  This was a nightmare.  People changed their information, it took way too long to log in, and log out and scan the pages for useful data.

I eventually stopped looking at the Fitbit information between visits and would only look at this information when they were in my office.  This defeated the purpose of giving real, actionable feedback when it was needed most, in-between visits."

 

The Potential Return on Your Investment (time, effort, money, etc.)

Let's get down to brass tacks.

At the end of the day you need to see a return on your investment (ROI).

You should be asking yourself how are using these tools going to lead to more money in my business?

The ROI can take multiple forms, so don't overlook the value of your time. For example...

Various types of returns

Various types of returns

The fact is that there can be countless ways in which you can see returns from mobile health that go beyond simple dollars coming in - happier clients, more competitive offering, etc.  

Coach Steve mentioned the following...

"Fitbit was one of a few key components of our business model that set the tempo for what we do. Clients sincerely value the concept of remote monitoring and cherish the idea that someone cares about them enough to look at what they do between visits.  This became a distinguishing factor for our business that set us apart from others. And it was the right thing to do!

In terms of ROI we are confident that this component has strengthened our ability to recruit new clients and more importantly, keep clients in our business. You see, our worth as a business is determined by the value clients place on what we offer them. We firmly believe that we exemplify our value when we utilize remote monitoring and health coaching, therefore creating a stronger bond between clients and our business. Bottom line, they are more likely to reach in their pockets and pay for our services knowing that we utilize this type of technology for their personal gain."

Any stories of how using tools, like Fitbit, have impacted your business? Share your stories below...