Salesin its traditional sense, is a weird subject for personal trainers.
Ifyou're familiar with my articles in PFP, you know that most of my advice isdesigned to help you sell yourself. If you get good at creating a positivesuccess image and delivering a consistently "wow" product (in this case, your trainingsessions), you'll eventually find it unnecessary to ever have to"sell"; those qualities alone will create for you a base of permanentclients, along with a steady stream of new clients coming in via referrals andinquiries.
Voila!You have a thriving training practice!
Inspite of this, you still need to understand some of the dynamics of selling tokeep this process working fluidly. Especially when you're starting up a newpractice and acquiring clients, or looking to fill up some empty spots in yourschedule, having a sound mastery of selling and especially the salesconversation will give you outstanding results and allow you to get bookedsolid very quickly.
Althoughsales is a dynamic process, it does have its own rules and patterns. Some ofthe biggest companies in the world have spent millions of dollars testing whatworks and what doesn't. They've determined that there's a certain way that youneed to develop a sale, and there are other things that you can do to kill it.I've applied much of this information to personal training, and what I'll showyou now is the opening to a sales process that's been field-tested by me todeath and has resulted in a near-perfect sales conversion record over theyears.
The First Meeting
Thisis your first interaction with your prospect; this interaction could occur overthe phone, or even through email. If it does happen to be through email, it'sbest to try to get your prospect on the phone as fast as possible.
Thisinteraction can take on many forms, but it usually begins with a question orstatement on the part of the client. Here are a few possibilities of what theymight ask you:
"Iwant a personal trainer."
"Whatare your prices?"
"Howdo I get started?"
"I'mlooking to [fill in a particular result], can you help me with that?"
Arule in sales is whoever's asking the questions has control. When yourconversation with the client begins, it usually starts with them asking all thequestions. So they have control. What you need to do is regain control rightaway.
Ratherthan answer any of their questions, you need to respond with a question of yourown -- and there's one foolproof question you can ask to immediately get thingsback on track:
What are you looking to accomplish?
Thereit is; that's it. That's the $100,000 question, meaning it's your key to asix-figure training practice. Kind of innocuous, huh? Although subtle andnatural, this question immediately shifts directions and sets the tone for therest of the interaction.
Itgets them talking about their favorite subject: themselves. It gets themfocused on their results, which they're looking to hire you to achieve in thefirst place. And it makes them paint the picture of what they're dissatisfiedwith right now, helping to create the gap of where they are now to where theywant to be.
Oncethis question has been answered thoroughly by the prospect, you're well on yourway to making the sale. Allow them to speak for a few seconds; as we've talkedabout, this in itself moves them closer to the sale. It actually gets them tosell themselves.
Italso gets the training process under way. Once they've expressed this goal toyou, and you've begun addressing it, in the client's mind, the trainingrelationship has already begun. Sure, there are a few things to work out, liketime, place, and money, but they are now much less likely to begin trainingwith or continue seeking another personal trainer.
What we've just covered is only the beginning, and of course, there's more to it than just that. Besides a strong opening, every sales conversation also needs a strong closing. In the case of a cars or electronics, the close is to make the full purchase. But for personal training, a commodity for which you are charging top dollar and seeking a long-term training arrangement, it's important for you to move as slowly as possible without losing momentum. This is what's known as "relationship selling," and it is how all top professionals sell today.
There are other pitfalls along the way that can take place that will potentially kill the sale, and I hope to get to those either in another article in the future. But for a lot of you that find you're getting inquiries and then find the sale losing momentum, it's because you haven't identified and addressed the needs and goals of the client early enough. If everything you say is based on them, you'll find yourself never losing a sale again!
Kaiser Serajuddin is the writer of the popular personal training blog, Super-Trainer.com. He guides personal trainers through the challenging period of starting their personal training businesses and helps them on the road to six figures. For more information, you can download his special report, The Six-Figure Formula, at www.super-trainer.com.