You have worked hard to hire service providers with the built-in ability to sell. Now it is time to train them because without training, each encounter between a service provider and a prospect is a shot in the dark. A formal training curriculum can help those hapless encounters become deliberate, focused conversations that turn into a sale.
You must create sales training for your service providers that is different from your membership sales training. Membership sales people generally have only one short opportunity to sell their prospect on the club. Service providers such as personal trainers, spa personnel and program leaders generally have more time to make a sale. In fact, they may have multiple opportunities over days, weeks, even months to sell a prospect on their services.
Although the service sales training curriculum should differ somewhat from the membership sales training curriculum, it can be helpful to collaborate with the membership sales director to design and deliver your program. This will create a more consistent sales culture in the club and make it easier for the sales team to match members with the most appropriate service providers.
Consider these five elements when crafting your sales training program:
Begin with a firm commitment to the member. Service providers must remember that their first mission is to do right by the member. If the member’s welfare is foremost in mind, then the sale will be an honest one. It has to be about more than putting money in one’s own pocket; the service provider must recommend the appropriate service, even if it is not his or her own.
Get to know the member’s wants and needs. Before recommending anything, service providers must become familiar with the members. This may take time for people new to sales. Providers need to ask open-ended questions from a mindset of genuine curiosity. They must be truly interested in understanding what their prospects really want. Wants are emotional, and, as such, drive buying decisions. Discussions about how prospects want to feel, want to look or want to be can give providers valuable data about what services prospects may purchase.
Establish rapport. It is not enough to be a good interviewer. Great service providers know that they have to spend time getting to know their prospects. Knowing how many kids they have, where they like to go on vacation, and what they love and hate most about working out can lead to a valid sales recommendation. But unless members know and trust the service provider, they are not likely to purchase a service, even if the provider did a thorough interview. They are much more likely to buy from someone they see as a “friend”—or someone who at least “gets them.”
Move to action. This tends to be the hardest part for service providers. Fear of rejection is normal, but it can be paralyzing. A great way to get service providers in the habit of moving prospects to action is to start with a small sale: “Joe, would you have a few minutes for me to show you some of the exercises that we discussed?” In this way, the service provider can “test drive” the prospect’s interest before asking for money. If the complimentary demonstration goes well, the next step is to sell a session.
Follow up. This step is critical for service providers since prospects won’t necessarily buy on first asking. To ensure follow-up will not be treated as a sales pitch or cold call, one can create the expectation of follow-up: “Mary, I’m going to give you a call in two weeks to see how your workouts are going.” This tells the prospect that the provider cares about her welfare, and it gives that provider another opportunity to make a sale.
Great service providers who are proficient at sales are hard to come by. Hiring the right “sales DNA” is critical, but the job does not end there. Training is important, as it gives providers a structured way to acquire their clientele. Enlist the help of your sales director and reinforce these important points often. With regular attention, your service providers will also be successful salespeople.
Amanda Harris is vice president of fitness and wellness at ACAC Fitness Centers in Charlottesville, VA. She also is a management development specialist with more than 15 years of industry experience, including 13 years as a personal trainer.