The following is a guest post by Pat Koch.
Starting off in a commercial setting is a dog-eat-dog world. Long hours scrounging to build a network are usually the norm. Often you’re expected to work for free.
For new trainers in the commercial setting, free consults can be a huge part of building your business, and offering some combination of a complimentary goal setting session or workout can help you grow your network.
But giving away your time is dangerous. For every free consult given that you can’t convert to a client, you waste valuable resources such as time and willpower.
However, by focusing on key areas, you can drastically improve your closing ratio on new prospects. The following tips will help you convert prospects to clients.
1. Gather the right information
The number one mistake a trainer can make is diving right into a workout. You must sit down with your prospect to get to know them.
Yes, medical history, injuries, and fitness level is important, but go deeper than that.
Ask questions like:
“What do you want your body to look like?”
“What’s been stopping you from reaching your goals?”
You must get your prospect to admit something they wouldn’t admit to a friend.
If they expose themselves to you, it’s a clear indicator you’ve gained their trust.
2. Use objection breakers up front
If you collect key information up front you can leverage it during a sales presentation.
As an example, pretend after exchanging pleasantries you ask a prospect if they live in the area.
They say, “Yes I do, we live right around the block.”
I’d respond with, “Oh that’s great! I noticed you mentioned ‘we.’ Do you have a significant other who comes to the gym?”
If the prospect says yes, make sure to talk about how wonderful it is that couples can support each other during their fitness goals.
Usually prospects agree emphatically and give a brief over view of their spouses exercise habits.
Later on when you’re pitching the prospect and they object to your service by saying “let me talk it over with my husband,” you can simply remind them:
“I’d love for you to ask your husband, however, you had mentioned he was supportive. What would some of his problems be with you working with a trainer?”
3. Balance a prospects wants and needs!
The truth of the matter is most people don’t see how foam rolling their piriformis is relevant to their fat loss. Explain the benefits of foam rolling if you want but don’t fixate on it. No one wants a science lesson.
Remember, most commercial gym members are looking for fat loss, so you’d be foolish to fixate on other areas.
Make them work! Have a bit of fun at the end but make to include some battle ropes, Prowler sprints, or push-ups until failure.
A consult workout doesn’t have to be long but it should be stimulating. A couple sets of each of the following would suffice:
A1) Deadlift variation
A2) Push-up Variation
B1) Unilateral variation
B2) Row variation
C1) Plank variation
C2) Goofy/Fun stuff
As you wind down offer to sit down with the client so you can review what was done.
4. Be the Doctor of Fitness
A doctor doesn’t question his diagnoses and neither should a trainer. During a sales presentation, become the “doctor of fitness.”
A direct sales pitch is best. For example, “Based on your goal of losing 15 pounds, I recommend you workout five times a week; three times with weights, and two cardio sessions.
We have two popular options to help you accomplish this goal, the three a week/option for $800 or the twice weekly option for $550 — which works best for you?”
Be patient and let the prospect come to the conclusion for themselves. Perhaps they believe the price is too high?
A smooth transition might sound like, “I understand training can be expensive, but is it something you’d do if you had the money?”
The prospect might respond, “Yes, I’d do it everyday if I could.”
You can respond with, “Well it’s obvious you see the importance of the service, let me tell you about our packages that may agree with your budget. We have a once-a-week option for $315.”
It’s important that you start at the top and move down the ladder slowly. If you present cheaper offers first you may not sell anything.
Presenting high will save you time and grief so get comfortable presenting huge packages. Understand that your prospect may not buy a big package the first time, even if you went through all the steps correctly.
In these cases, it’s okay to sell a relatively small package so you have a second chance to prove your value!
You can always up-sell a client, and you have more time to establish your value.
5. I did everything right
Sometimes you can present everything right and still fail to convert.
In these situations, use a strategy to keep the lead within your network by implementing a 15-day follow up.
Get the prospects information and schedule another session with them about two weeks from the day.
It’s very possible that over the time they’ll have grown to love the workout you gave them, and are wondering what’s next. It’s your perfect second chance to bring them on as a client.
Sales are often the difference between sinking and swimming.
Get fired up about sales — gym goer’s need our help and the only way to reach them is through a good pitch!
Pat Koch is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) through the International Society of Sports Nutrition. After training general population, and interning at Cressey Performance, he currently works as a fitness manager in Boston. He can be found at Grass Fed Lifestyle or on Facebook. His website is http://www.grassfedlifestyle.com/.