How to be different, and still land deals
You can talk about workouts, meal plans, rests between sets, reps or weights but after all the hassle of getting to know a client’s possibilities and needs, do you often notice that they’re gone a short while after? „He wasn’t interested. “, or „She didn’t call me back, so whatever. “. To turn interested people into paying clients, a small effort is required.
There’s more behind all those disappearing prospects. The deal is broken after about 72 hours without contact between you as the possible personal coach and the person as the prospect. Commonly, people reach out to more than one trainer and ask for the first meeting, then decide. If you don’t follow up, the other P.T. most probably will.
In most cases, prospects have trouble breaking that psychological barrier of contacting you first after you met and talked the initial assessment through, although they know they need you and your service by then. You don’t need to be like a bad infomercial, repeating yourself and exclaiming all the benefits of paying $200/week for an awesome new personal trainer with guaranteed results or your money back. There’s a smarter and simpler way of planning your conversation with every person you meet.
There are even steps to take, everybody likes guides. Especially the ones that help close 9/10 personal training consultations.
The all-time nightmare of a personal trainer – Sales
When you, as a personal trainer, hear the word “Sales” you probably think of that Shake-Weight Commercial or a sleazy salesman with a magical duster at your door. It’s not all about awkward conversations and being the ultimate influence on others to persuade them to work with you.
Sales = good.
Imagine this scenario. You just met John who booked a consultation. John has been thinking of hiring a personal trainer. Not you, but “A” personal trainer. You’ve met, and you have John right there in front of you. That’s huge. Amongst all other personal trainers (John did his research, trust us), John chose to talk to you.
Believe it or not, John is in pain. We’ll get to this, but for a better perspective, it would be so much easier if John didn’t do anything at all. For some reason, John took action and he’s right there in front of you thinking of pros and cons against the investment of his money in you to take away those pains. Everything you say (and everything you don’t say), helps John think of you as the answer or just a meeting with “some guy”. Below are the 5 steps to take when you want to turn interested people into paying clients.
1. Cut the pleasantries
Of course, don’t just sit down and start with asking about their schedule and when they can do their first workout. Take a couple of minutes and ask about their day until you met, general small talk is a great ice-breaker.
The first thing to ask after chit-chatting is this: “Why have you decided to do something about your problem now?
That question immediately helps you figure out what the problem is. In a wider picture, it’s the same as asking: “Why are you here, now, sitting in front of me?” – it’s helping you and the client to understand the urgency of the problem.
Firing that question right off the bat might seem a bit obtrusive, but bear in mind that the client took many steps to be there with you and isn’t there to talk about the weather. In addition, it lets your client know that you mean business.
Follow with asking: „Why did you choose me to help you with your problem? “. The golden question. You get your client to tell you that you’re the expert. Clients know enough about you from referrals and from browsing the Internet to assume you’re the right person for the job.
2. Next up – your detective skills
After you know that John wants his high-school-worn-out-but-massively-awesome pair of jeans to fit like it did 10 years ago, it’s time to dig deeper. The true pain someone is feeling is covered up in layers of pink glasses and quick solutions like jeans and dresses that don’t fit anymore. This is where you turn interested people into paying clients:
„Because I want my freshman body back.“
„Why do you want that physique back?“
John might say:
“That’d make me feel younger and healthier.”
“Why is that important to you?”
John might reply with:
“Well, all the males in our family tend to get really big stomachs after their 45th birthday, I’m almost 30 now and don’t want that to happen to me.”
And before you know it, *boom*! You found it. You might not believe it right now, but it’s such an awesome feeling of accomplishment once you get to the root cause that you have to experience that yourself.
John is literally suffering at the thought of walking the same footsteps of his family members, and in fear that the big bad genes may get to him.
Your partner in conversation may have never said this out loud before. People don’t talk about their feelings a lot. If you feel you’re heading into the uncomfortable zone here and you’re making the client nervous, you can back it up and come back to it later when you’ve established a better connection.
Framing represents an example of cognitive bias.
Saying “A school bus of happy and cheering kids is on its way to Disney World to have the time of their lives.”, and “A school bus full of children attended only by one sketchy teacher and a bus driver with an accident history is headed on a 120mi ride to Disney World where it’s rumored that strange things happen.” isn’t exactly going to produce the same reaction between parents when it comes to signing a permit for their kids to go to Disney World. Another example for loss and gain. People tend to avoid risk when a positive frame is presented but seek risks when a negative frame is presented. Gain and loss are defined in the scenario as descriptions of outcomes (e.g. weight lost or gained, disease gained or avoided, etc.).
Presenting gains from working with you requires presenting a positive frame. Here’s what to say: “If you could look 1 year into the future from now, what do we have to achieve for you to be happy?”
This allows John to paint a picture in his own mind of exactly what he wants to happen. If John has that image in mind when you tell him the price for your service, the loss of that picture would make John happier to take a “risk” with you as the personal trainer of choice.
4. Action plan
John now know why he contacted you and what he wants to accomplish, and you need an action plan.
Don’t just start narrating your TO-DO list, the checklist to results or something else you got generally prepared.
Ask John: “What do you think you need to do in order to make this happen?”
Listen up, this is what you’re going to tell him your service will help with.
5. Turn interested people into paying clients (A.K.A Closing deals)
It’s time to educate. You finally get to talk a bit. John just told you what he thinks because he might just think it’s one million squats a day will get his glutes and hams all nice and shaped for cruising down the walkway in flip-flops but you know that isn’t true.
Know that John has Googled “how to get grade A glutes”. Your job is to check if John is the right fit to your fitness program and if he is, to get him on it. Closing the sale and helping John includes writing a prescription based on his needs. Sure, your prescription might differ from what you might actually provide on your program but John couldn’t care less about your list of features. John is here to see if you meet his needs.
Try something like:
“OK, my coaching program will teach you how to eat the right foods at the right time without starving yourself. You’ll learn how to train properly and in the most efficient way to meet your goals. You’ll also be held personally accountable to me.”, or
“From this moment, it’s my personal goal and obligation to teach you how to eat right, train properly and in the most efficient way to reach your goals.”
Remember, by the time someone gets to you, they are in pain! They’ve come to you because they believe you can help them take away that pain and if you really believe that you can help them, selling them your services is the best thing you can do for them.
Try things out, find your style. Turn interested people into paying clients with ease and confidence!
In countries where you pay for health services, especially the States, you pay someone to remove your pain. People have no problem whatsoever with selling. Just a thought.