I know the resistance we, as fitnessprofessionals, have toward selling.Not only do I know it first hand, I understand it. We're notwired tosell. We're wired to help people. Offering assistance comesnaturallyfor us. We love the reward at an emotional level when peopleexpressgratitude, but we shy away from anything that feels likesomething asuit-and-tie-huckster-conman-skeevy-slimy salesperson would do.We don't want to push. The "help people" part of your brain ison fire, but itfar overshadows the greed center. There's power in knowing that.
First, realize you may have to reprogram a bit. Trust that thereis a wayto compel and influence, to persuade and guide, without steppinginto theshoes of that stereotypical salesperson you've come to abhor.Accept at leasta bit of responsibility and acknowledge that if you aren'tgetting the responsesyou'd like, there's something you can change.
Second, if you are willing to face that moment when your bloodpressurerises, your skin gets hot, your mouth gets dry and your stomachcontortsand force what will initially feel like an unwarranted command,you'll notonly be shocked by the outcome, you'll realize you've had aninnate powerall along, but nobody ever taught you to release it.
I've spent the last 20 years developing a systemized strategyfor influence,one that is perfected without ever relying upon conventional "selling,"andwhen the system is mastered, the master has learned to use alittle-recognizedbut very real ability. The power to "command."
While I can't share a complete and detailed system in thiscolumn, I canhelp you identify three steps that can turn "I'll think about it"into "I'll do it;"steps that can turn the knee jerk "no" into a roaring "yes."
STEP ONE -- More Than Rapport
We all know the value of building rapport, and once we'reengaged in conversation,we do a fine job of connecting. We can instruct, teach, informandassist, and at that point, we feel as if we're connected. Themistake we makeis moving from "expert" to "friend." As soon as you tell theprospective clientabout your challenge, your girlfriend, your most recent struggleor yourfinancial woes, you've put yourself at the peer level. You'respeaking buddyto buddy, pal to pal, and pals don't charge their pals for help.
You want rapport, but not a peer-to-peer rapport. The rapportshould linkan individual with a need to a welcome solution. The perceptionhas to put thetrainer on a pedestal, not to feed the trainer ego but toreassure the prospectthat this person before him or her is a true expert, an expertwith a power, apower that has value, a power that the prospect feels compelledto connect with.
STEP TWO -- The Solution
I'm not suggesting you ONLY speak about exercise, as there mustbe a friendlyelement to the conversation, but I am suggesting that you askquestions,probe, maintain interest, listen carefully and establish thefact (not the suspicion,but the fact) that you can offer a valid and thrilling solutionto whateverpains plague this individual. Don't think of pain as a torninfraspinitus tendonor a sprained rectus femoris. Think of pain as something in theprospect's lifethat limits ease, something that the soon-to-be-client wants tochange. It canrange from a self-esteem concern to a relationship issue, froman energy needto a lost sense of wellbeing.
Once you've established professional respect, present whateverit is thatyou want this person to do as a solution. Speak the language ofoutcome, thelanguage of benefit. Watch, as you, the expert, present with allconfidencea solution for helping this person find human betterment, howthe person'sexpression shifts, interest and attention shift and "want"becomes palpable.
STEP THREE -- The One-Way Power Flow
Here's the hard part, the part that may make your tongueinflate, preventingyou from getting the words you tentatively hold to emit fromyour mouth.It's the command. Tell the person what to do.
You do this all the time. You tell your friends, "You have tosee TheHangover." It's a command, and an accepted command.
"You've got to try the firecracker shrimp at Bonefish Grill."
Because of our wiring, because we are so swayed toward the "helping"sideprofessionally, we have trouble taking what we do naturally andapplying it inthis vital application.
What if you as a trainer say, "Sign up with me for every Tuesdayand Friday,and at the end of eight weeks we'll assess where you are anddetermine whatthe next step is." Would that client stay the course? Is it aguarantee? Of coursenot. You have to inspire, guide, motivate and empower. But witha strongcommand as the starting point, a command being uttered by an "expert,"theodds of client adherence and longevity rise up quite a few notches.
Examine how coaches speak to their players.
Do a careful assessment of how doctors "order" lab work.
Consider an attorney telling his client, "You have to bring medocuments,papers and old tax returns." The client walks out as if he werehypnotizedto return with his homework complete... and the client pays theattorney!
If you have all the business you want, if clients come down yourchimneyand grow in your garden, ignore me. Disregard this article. If,however, yousometimes feel the want to blame external forces for theinconsiderate, lazy,unmotivated people who disappoint you with far too muchfrequency, considerthat I really have showed you how to unleash a power.
Phil Kaplan is committed to helping fitness professionalsfind ongoing betterment. He's established aFacebook Group, "Every Personal Trainer NeedstoKnow" and invites you to join. Find more infoatwww.philkaplan.com.