A prerequisite to being a gym owner is having actual people to coach. To do this, you inevitably need to charge them money for your time and service so you can make a living and so your business can be profitable. These are the non-negotiables of owning a gym.
What this means is: YOU ARE A SALESPERSON.
It’s time to stop resisting this fact and start being the best salesperson you can be — not just for yourself — but for your clients and your business.
Before you cringe and start feeling slimy at the very idea of being in sales, STOP: Sales does NOT need to create an image in your head of that untrustworthy, yet oddly charming, salesperson who convinced you to buy night cream that promised to eliminate the wrinkles around your eyes for a cool $300 that time in the airport.
If you follow these 6 Steps, you will learn to see the sales process in a more wholesome way, which will allow you and your business to be successful financially, and will let you help a lot of people regain their health and improve their fitness along the way.
Step 1: Acceptance
To help you accept your role as a salesperson, here’s a novel thought: Everyone you know is in sales!
Whether you’re self-employed and growing a business like yourself, interviewing for a new job or out on a first date, you are in sales.
We’re all in sales, and once you accept this idea, it will be easier to embrace your role as a salesperson in the fitness industry. Accepting this will allow you to shape yourself into the type of salesperson you want to be.
Step 2: Value What You’re Selling
Sales is a slimy prospect when people are tricked into buying something they either don’t need or have been tricked to believe the value of the product or service is greater than it is.
As a fitness professional, you are essentially selling health and wellness. A person’s health and quality of life is the most valuable thing they can possess and every single person on this planet has a need for it.
You are not in the business of trying to get someone to go home with a larger television than they came in for. You are not trying to pressure someone into a timeshare. You’re trying to help people enjoy their lives longer through fitness and health.
Something everyone needs, will benefit from, and has value for.
Step 3: Change The Way You See Sales
Say this out loud: “Sales is just helping someone with a problem make a decision in finding a solution.”
Now say it again and let that statement resonate.
Sales is simply a conversation between two people trying to discover whether you have a solution to the person’s problem. That’s all it is. In the event you’re not the best solution to their problem, be honest. Refer them to a local provider who is a better fit.
You’ll be surprised how thankful people are when you actually are looking out for their interests over yours. You’ll likely get referrals from them, even if you don’t land them as a client because you will have earned their trust.
Step 4: Find The Pain aka "Find The Why"
This is probably the most important step in identifying if you’re a great fit for this person while also establishing value in your service. Dive deep to find their pain.
This should be done in person and in private. If done right, this step might surface some emotional pain or sensitive topics, so you should be ready for that. The bottom line is everyone will be seeking your services because of a deep rooted pain that goes well beyond “I want to look better in the mirror” or “I’d like to get in better shape”.
The whole idea of the conversation is that it should be honest, real, raw, vulnerable and authentic. This can be challenging to do with a stranger, but the key is to ask the awkward, uncomfortable, HARD questions that pop up in your head that you’re usually too afraid to ask.
I like to call this the “who cares” stage because the fastest way to get to the true underlying pain is asking “Who cares?” after everything they tell you. Since this can be seen as insensitive to many, say “Who cares” in your head and instead ask “Why?”.
For example, if someone tells you she wants to lose weight, ask her why. Continue to ask why as you chip away through the superficial reasons until you get to the true why.
In general, asking the hard questions will allow you to reveal the prospect’s REAL reason for showing up in the first place—not the superficial reason, but the real reason. Sometimes this is referred to as “finding their pain.” When they share their pain with you and they see you—and trust you—as someone who can help them overcome that pain, they will be willing to drop way more money on training with you than they, or you, ever imagined. In other words, if they get real with you and cry, they will buy..
Sample Why Script
Here’s an example conversation asking the why:
Potential Client: “I’d like to join the gym because I need to lose some weight”
You: “We’d love to have you as a client, and we’re in the business of helping people lose weight. Why do you want to lose weight?”
Potential Client: “Oh I was just hoping to get down to like 125 pounds. Ideally, in the next 3 months.”
You: “Based on the weigh-in we just did I think that’s a reasonable goal and timeframe. May I ask why are you trying to get to 125 pounds?”
… here the conversation can loop over and over while they give you all the “reasons” they feel they need to lose weight. The key here is to let the person lead the conversation with a statement, you acknowledge it and follow up with asking for the why.
If you’re persistent, gentle, and have earned trust, your final destination will be a true “why”.
Potential Client (tearing up) “Ever since high school, when I had a massive crush on a boy who told his friends I was too chubby for him, I’ve had some body image issues I haven’t gotten over… and in 6 months we have our reunion and I’d like to show him…”
At this point several key things have happened that turn this conversation away from sales and into a decision based on value and need.
- The potential client has identified a true problem and need for your services. There is little value in “I want to lose weight” but there’s tremendous value in overcoming body image issues.
- You are able to determine if your services match her problem.
- You and her have established a line of trust.
Now…establishing this level of trust and openness comes with responsibility. You must be ethical in how you treat the situation and the information you might get. You also must be honest on if you can best address her problem – refer her elsewhere if you cannot.
If you can get this deep into the why, and you can maturely and ethically handle the why, and you are a good fit for her problems, you better believe THAT person will sign up to train with you!
Step 5: Be Clear: Yes or No
At the end of a sales consultation there should be only 3 possible outcomes.
Yes, No, and Definite Future.
There’s nothing worse than finishing an introductory session with a prospect and having them say, “I’ll think about it and get back to you in the next couple days.”
Anyone seriously looking for a solution to an immediate and clear problem should similarly be looking for a yes/no decision. If they are not at a place in the decision making cycle where they’re looking for an immediate answer they will either be wasting your time or you will find yourself doing slimy salesman things to get them to join when they are not ready. Both are outcomes you want to avoid.
Establish your expectation of receiving a yes or no answer at the start of the intro session. Actually verbalize to the prospect that the purpose of the day is to get a yes or no answer from him/her. If there’s someone else who will factor in to the decision making process, such as a spouse or a visit to the doctor, suspend the session until the spouse can join the prospect or until the doctor gives the prospect clearance to train with you.
The prospect will only respect your time more once he/she is presented with this concept. And on your end, you won’t go home that night with no clue where you stand with that prospect, unclear whether you should push him to join or let him reach out to you.
If you do need to suspend the session, be clear and schedule a definite date and time for your follow-up appointment, where the prospect will be able to commit to giving you a definitive yes or no answer at the end of the conversation. Anything else is completely useless and will put you in a position where you’re chasing the prospect down like the slimy salesperson you don’t want to be.
Step 6: Accept Not Everyone Is Right for You
Not every person who comes through your doors is the right client for you. Don’t become discouraged or disillusioned if someone chooses not to train with you.
Remember that you also get to decide whether or not you want to train the prospect. If you don’t like the way the introductory session is going, you have the right to tell the person he/she isn’t a good fit for your facility. Sales is a two-way street to discover whether you’re a good fit for each other, not a one-way street where you’re trying to get the person to pay for something they don’t need or want.
Follow these 6 steps, and you’ll become anything but the slimy salesperson we all hate interacting with: You’ll become a trustworthy friend, who is truly making a difference in your clients’ lives. And as a side effect, you’ll be able to grow a successful business in, yes, sales.
Are you ready for the next step?
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