Everyone in the Faction loves the art of coaching, but how many of you are genuinely excited about the selling component of the client process? I’m talking about the part that needs to take place before even having the chance to deliver any coaching. More specifically, I’m talking about asking for someone else to hand you their hard-earned money.
I’ve been pitching CSP’s services for just a shade under eleven years now, and the anxiety I have when selling never totally disappears. It can, however, be dramatically mitigated with the right preparation. With this in mind, I want to share two selling tips that I think will improve your lead conversion numbers dramatically in the coming weeks and months.
Tip #1 – Outline Your Game-plan
This is not about scripting your sales pitch.
Much like you lean on the findings of an initial assessment to prepare appropriate individualized programming for a client, the selling process requires flexibility and reactionary moves. Memorizing a sales pitch might work for people selling commodity products, but I know for certain that none of you are interested in delivering a service of that nature.
When I say I want you to outline your plan, I mean that I want you to put some thought into the way you intend to guide the conversation so that you put yourself in a position to close effectively before someone gets too hung up on cost. Here’s a look at my loose game-plan going into any call or in-person conversation:
- “Thank you so much for the opportunity to outline our services for you.”
- Questions. So many questions.
- What inspired you to connect with us?
- Where are you from?
- What sports do you play, if any?
- Do you have a noteworthy injury history we’d need to be aware of?
- How about prior exposure to supervised strength training?
- Any concerns or hesitations relating to getting into a weight room?
- “It sounds like we can definitely help you out. How about I outline our services and you can fire away with any questions you may have?”
- Outline an appropriate blend of services, as opposed to vomiting every option we have all over a very specific type of client.
- Only specifically close a sale for the initial assessment.
There are a few important takeaways I want to highlight in this approach:
First, people love to talk about themselves and/or their kids. Don’t take that away from them by diving into what you want to force on them before they’ve had a chance to feel important.
Second, unless you offer a single training option with a single price point, there is no need to explain every option under the sun to someone who has already given you all the information you need to nudge them in the right direction.
Lastly, you don’t win any medals for convincing someone to buy a huge session package before you’ve even screened them to identify an appropriate approach and training volume. Convincing someone to purchase a 4x/week training package over the phone isn’t useful if they show up with a pre-pubescent 13-year-old athlete who doesn’t need to be in a weight room more than twice weekly. Your primary objective should be to set an athlete up for success, and part of that process requires prioritizing training needs over revenue generation.
More isn’t always better. Sometimes more is just more.
Tip #2 – Never sell exclusively via email
Email is wonderful because of the instant accessibility it provides, but it can seriously limit your ability to convert leads. Tools such as Google Canned Responses (mentioned in a previous Fit-Biz Thursday video) can be especially enticing because of the time they save, but they all but eliminate your ability to counter arguments or concerns presented by a potential customer.
You can plan on skipping selling steps 2-5 in the outline shared above if your email responses include comprehensive pricing information. If you give people the opportunity to skip straight to the pricing section of an email before fully processing a description of your training model, how are you ever going to have the opportunity to articulate the nuance of your offerings?
When I receive an email asking for pricing information, I share a quick and easy response:
“There are a number of directions we could go depending upon your background, injury history and training experience. With this in mind, it would probably be best that we hop on a quick call to discuss your options. Please let me know if you have 5-10 minutes available in the coming days and I would be happy to reach out.”
If you take this approach you’re likely to find yourself sending far less “just checking in to see if you received my email” messages in the near future. You’ll also be in a better position to convert the inquiries you’ve worked so hard to accumulate.
Some final quick-hitters:
First, selling in-person is always desirable if you can sync the visit up with an opportunity to see your training model in action. This is especially important if you deliver a semi-private model, as this training format can be difficult to conceptualize if you’ve only been exposed to personal training in the past.
Secondly, I’d encourage you to go into every sales pitch prepared to explain how your services are different from your largest competitor. This doesn’t mean you should prepare to bash another local gym. Instead, it means that you should establish an approach to highlighting your strengths in relation to others’ weaknesses without speaking disparagingly.
I know exactly how to describe my business in relation to Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning in a way that emphasizes our commitment to 100% individualized programming and smaller client-to-coach ratios without speaking negatively about their model. These are, after all, the differentiators that justify my higher price point. If my answer was just “trust me, we’re better,” I wouldn’t deserve anyone’s business. Further, I wouldn’t even feel comfortable claiming we’re better, so much as we’re just different.
Happy selling, everyone.