Personal training is a unique gig. Most outsiders don’t realize that trainers are rarely salaried and instead depend on commissioned sales to survive. Since a passion for physical fitness and sales rarely coincide in the same person this can be a major stumbling block for new trainers. Most trainers have no interest in gimmicks or high pressure sales tactics and develop a bad attitude toward sales of any kind which limits their income potential and career longevity. You don’t have to be a sleazy used car salesman to succeed though! There are several ways to approach sales in a manner that will build your professional reputation and bank account at the same time. Today I want to show you the most effective method for generating immediate income without losing a single shred of your dignity.
Don’t Sell Anything
Personally I can’t sell ice cubes in Hades but I found an easy way around that: Don’t sell anything. That’s right, the key to sales is to not sell. Instead, give people what they want. All you need to do is show them a legitimate service that fits their needs and they will gladly buy it from you. Trying to convince and persuade only turns folks off but if you have what they want they will nearly tear it from your hands. The best way to demonstrate that you possess what they want is through a full-club consult.
Save The Bravado
One of the primary weaknesses of many trainers is that they attempt to market only themselves. They will strut around showing their perfect bodies and produce a resume of successful clients to anyone who will listen. It becomes an ego game; Look how good I am! The trouble is, no one gives a rat’s ass how good you look or what you did for someone else. They want to know what you can do for them! Save the bravado and step back a moment. If you are employed in a traditional club setting, chances are it is pretty impressive. Just twenty years ago most gyms were dungeons but now many are like resorts. From child care to cafes, pools and massage, Pilates and Zumba, most commercial facilities offer an amazing array of amenities. So who do you think has the more to offer, a single trainer or an entire club? This is from where the idea of a full-club consult originates.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Putting yourself in the box of selling just personal training is a major limitation. You are trying to convince every person you contact that they need that specific service and odds are, they don’t. In most franchised gyms personal training comprises less than 5% of total sales. Think about that. Now why ignore 95% of your sales potential? Here is the kicker: most if not all gyms offer commissions to trainers throughout the club, not just for personal training. Yet hardly any pursue this huge income stream. They get greedy and see the big dollar signs for large training contracts versus smaller figures for other amenities, stick their noses in the air, and walk past a pile of money. The way I see it, the science of addition works identically for small numbers as well as large ones – they all make your account larger.
Here is how to make it work. Develop a relationship with your membership sales team. These are the guys that get folks through the door. The fastest way to build rapport is to line their wallet; these guys are commissioned based too. Send a few new members their way, hand out their cards to prospects you meet outside of the club and keep your eyes open for corporate membership opportunities. Once you have rubbed their back they will reciprocate. They do so by scheduling each new member with you for a free thirty minute consultation. The best way to market this is by offering a fitness evaluation during this consultation. People love body fat tests and they take less than a minute to perform. The truth is, by the time a new member walks in the door he or she is dying to get going at something; that’s why they came in! They love the idea of spending some time with a trainer who can show them how to get what they want. Pretty soon you will be conducting so many of these consults that it may become hard to find time. Make time. Treat them as paying clients because they very soon will be.
The format of the full-club consultation is simple. Step one, meet the member(s). Encourage them to bring their spouses and kids, even a friend who isn’t a member. Spend very little time discussing yourself. Remember, they don’t care. Furthermore new members are easily intimidated by someone who they already know is in better shape than they are. Don’t dress like a clown either. Wear sleeves for God’s sake and be showered. And remember, you never want to appear judgmental. This is a major turn-off and a deal breaker. Always be supportive and humorous if you can. Once you have broken the ice you come to the most important step: goals. What made them join the gym? Most simply, what do they want? Listen to them and integrate this need into the rest of the consult. You have just made the shift from sales to service and the rest of the consultation is downhill.
Next conduct the actual fitness evaluation. I typically utilize a 5 minute walking test for heart rate, a sit and reach test, maximum pushups and a body fat check. Then show them where they rank according to their age and gender. Odds are their goal will coincide with at least one of the tests. Now it is time to give them what they want. Do they have back pain due to poor flexibility? Show them your yoga schedule and one on one stretching sessions. Can’t do a pushup? Consider a group strength training class, the rock wall or even working with a trainer. Too fat? Schedule some time with your dietician or nutritionist. These are just the simplest examples. There are many, many more and it is easy to find out exactly which one fits their needs; ask them. I keep a print out of all the clubs services and prices during this consult, including several free options, and let them choose. Zero pressure.
The next step is to accompany them through the club to where the service is performed. If you are lucky it will be going on at that time. This is important because it further erodes barriers and builds confidence. No one wants to feel like the first day of high school when they show up for their new fitness class. After that, ask them if you can show them anything else. You want them to feel comfortable with you and the club so that in the future you are the go-to man for questions.
Finally escort them to the sales counter and introduce them to whomever is taking their money. Reiterate what they are purchasing for clarity, any expectations made of them and any additional fees. Stick around if you can so that you can show them to the door. People love full circle customer service and will remember the extra minutes you spent with them.
In summary, use all the options available to you when marketing your business. Don’t become a stuck in a rut strength training guy. There are a ton of amenities waiting to be used so use them. Never sell anything, just give them what they want. Treat them right and your business will thrive.
The following are examples of services that many clubs offer commissions for. Keep a list like this handy during your consultation so that you make the member aware of everything the club offers.
- Fee based cardio classes
- Fee based dance classes
- Fee based strength training classes
- Small group training
- Heart rate monitors
- Kid’s camp
- Rock wall
- Aqua aerobics
- Some café items
- Martial arts
- Cardiovascular testing
- Metabolic testing
- Tai Chi/meditation classes
- Personal training
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