Is sales a dirty word to you? Do you picture a snaky used-car salesman? Or do you think of the ability to sell as a skill you were either born with or not? Hopefully you’re an enlightened fitness entrepreneur and you think of sales as a system you can teach to your staff.
This article focuses on the importance of including a formal sales system in your operations manual—the backbone of your operation. Your ability to sell determines your ability to keep your business alive. Read on to discover the 5 steps needed for successful sales.
1. Be Prepared
First impressions mean a lot. Do you want to appear too busy for prospects, or do you want to make them feel important? At Journey Fitness, we greet each prospect by writing “Welcome [insert customer’s name] to Journey Fitness” on a highly visible board at the front desk. It’s the first thing people see when walking in for that introductory appointment. We also take the time (at least 10 minutes prior) to prepare folders with customers’ names written on them. These two things alone convey that these people are important to us and that we value their time. Lastly, we always offer fresh coffee and/or a bottle of cold water. Basically, we treat prospective clients the same way we would welcome houseguests.
2. Get Prospects to Say Yes Immediately
The minute potential clients walk in the door, find ways to get them to say yes. We greet each prospective client with a warm smile, a handshake and closed-ended, affirmative questions: “You must be [insert customer’s name]?” “You must be my [insert time] appointment?” “And you found the place okay?” These questions confirm that we’re with the right person, but more importantly they get prospects to say yes three times. The more yes answers you get in the beginning, the more likely you are to get a yes in the end!
3. Build Rapport
This is where you start the tour, right? Wrong! You don’t want to be a salesperson; you want to be the assistant buyer—that trusted friend people take shopping with them. However, you can’t be the assistant buyer until you build rapport. So relax. Prospects are there because they want to be. After the warm welcome, it’s time to build VALUE, an acronym we use to remember how to build rapport. VALUE stands for Victory Achieved by Listening, Understanding and Empathizing.
Listening is so important, especially in these days of easy digital distraction. Don’t look at the clock, answer the phone or do anything to lose focus on the person in front of you. Understanding is also key. Remember, everyone struggles, even if not with the same issues. When prospects mention their struggles, use the Feel/Felt/Found method: “I know how you feel. When other members started, they felt the same way. This is what they found . . .”
Empathizing may be the most important piece here. You must put yourself in your clients’ shoes. If you are able to do this well and authentically, then most of your prospects will become members. This step is about creating relationships, so ask rapport-building questions like these: “Are you from around here?” “What do you do for fun?” “Do you work locally?” “So, what are you looking for in a gym?”
The last question is the sales hot button that guides the tour. If prospects have trouble answering, assist them by sharing that, in your experience, there are four reasons why people join a gym: to look better, to move better, to feel better or to perform better. Ask which one fits. The goal is to find some common ground by the time you start the tour. Maybe you like the same foods, enjoy similar activities or have an acquaintance in common. More importantly, you want to get a better idea of what the prospect is looking for in a fitness studio. You have now changed your status from salesperson to assistant buyer.
4. Give a Tour
Now is the time to introduce your facility and services. You’ll want to address two client needs during the tour. The first is to find a solution. If a prospect’s main stated desire is “I want toned triceps,” then you need to show how you will make that happen. Second, even if prospects believe you have the solution, they still have to believe that they’ll be able to do the program you give them.
For more information on giving a tour, plus additional tips for closing the deal, please see “Sales Systems That Work” [/fitness-library/sales-systems-that-work] in the online IDEA Library (October 2017 IDEA Fit Business Success). If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.