As the first month of the new year has begun, you might be overwhelmed with all the new people in your fitness facility. And although you have many tasks on your plate, now is a great time to get some of those new members—and some of your longtime members—into personal training as they think about how they want to change their lives for the better this year. Your personal trainers should be front and center when it comes to bringing these people into the fold. However, many personal trainers do not know how to sell.
Here are six steps that you can teach your trainers to help them sell:
1. Role playing is key. Your trainers must role play sales situations with each other because role play is inherently uncomfortable. The psychology behind doing this is that humans are afraid of rejection and looking silly in front of others. When you introduce role playing, it can be harder than an actual sales situation because of the judgment factor the trainer will feel from the co-worker or manager. Another fantastic way to desensitize trainers from the fear of rejection is for the group to role play by all offering one trainer on the hot seat many objections and rejections at once.
2. Have the trainer shadow another successful salesperson. By watching another trainer be successful in sales, you build a belief within the shadowing trainer’s mind that sales can and will be made. Sales is a mental sport. If your belief system is flawed and you already doubt that you can sell because you have never seen a successful sale, the trainers’ confidence and belief will be low, and sales will be lost.
3. Throw away the old-school Wall Street tactics. In this transparent world where customers have so many choices, customers will not fall for manipulation tactics that some clubs may have used in the past. Most trainers resist selling because of the reputation selling has due to these old-school tactics. Trainers often believe that they will have to force someone to buy training or use some high-pressure tactic to get the sale. You must prove this wrong and teach a softer sale that positions the trainer as a consultant.
4. Teach the trainer a consultative sales approach. This approach is important on many levels because it makes the sales process much easier and is more congruent with the trainer and the potential customer. The consultative sales approach actually is the lost art of listening. Most successful salespeople do not talk the entire presentation; they actually listen more than they talk. The listening part of the presentation is the most important because it builds trust between the trainer and the customer and it takes some pressure off of the trainer because the trainer mostly asks questions in this consultative sales approach. Come up with some emotionally based, open-ended questions that you can teach your training staff to use in the presentation. Any questions that really dig deep into why potential customers want to reach their goals will dramatically increase the number of new personal training clients.
5. Conduct self-improvement and value-based meetings once a week. For the most part, sales is more than a collection of tactics and strategies. The strategies are important, but they will not work if the values of the trainer are not congruent with the strategy. For example, if you have a trainer who believes that it is bad to ask people for money, then that trainer will struggle with getting sales because the belief is not congruent with what you are asking them to do at the close of the sale. But if you work with that same trainer and find out that they value changing people’s lives, then you can teach them that by not asking for the money they are preventing the potential client from changing their lives. Also, a crucial part to a good salesperson is their confidence. So the best way to build the confidence of the salesperson is to remind them of their successes continuously and help make them more competent. Competency creates confidence. Under no circumstances should you use fear to try and motivate the salesperson. Sales is already a fear-based activity, and by adding fear-based management styles, it will only cause a disaster and an expensive turnover ratio.
6. Be transparent with your business model and numbers. Many gym owners or managers are afraid of being completely transparent when it comes to how their particular gym business makes money. There is nothing to hide and be ashamed of, and what we have found is that if you open up and teach the trainer how the business makes money, it builds trust. You will find that the trainer will make better decisions for the business because they understand the business.
Greg Marshall is co-founder of Elite Training. He has run the personal training departments in up to eight locations at once, owned his own personal training company and has been in the industry five years. He has more than $1 million in personal training sales and has hired and trained personal trainers and staff. He has an extreme passion for the personal training business industry and is always looking for ways to improve it. To contact Marshall, call 801-513-8056 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read his blog at www.fiture.tumblr.com.