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Avoiding Sales Mistakes

By C. Noelle Brownson, with Gary Harvey

Avoiding Sales


Sidestep the seven most common pitfalls in selling personal training services.


If there is one thing we would like trainers to take away from our articles this year, it is this bottom line: Whether you like it or not, if you’re going to be a personal trainer, you need to know how to sell. You could be the best trainer in the world, but who would care, if you didn’t have clients? You need to know how to “close” business. You may not like to sell, but you have to do it. A career as a trainer is so much fun in so many ways, and the sales component is just another part of a diversified work schedule. Through effective sales, you can build your clientele and help prospects understand whether they are a good fit for your services. What causes sales to fail? No matter what product or service someone is selling, there are many common pitfalls. Below we review the seven most common ones and address how you can avoid them.

training with you.
What to Do Instead. Tell the prospect

up-front that “saying no is okay.” If he says, “Maybe” or “I’ll think it over,” call him on it using a nurturing tone. Say, “I have learned that `maybe’ really means no in my business, and I’m okay with that no. Should we just call that a no, and I’ll take you off my list and move on?”

what he means by “too high.” Also ask, “Does that mean we won’t be working together?” High doesn’t always mean someone won’t buy. It is likely a ploy to see if you will cave in to price pressure. Remember that prospects are taught to ask about discounts.

Pitfall #2: Presuming Instead of Asking Questions
The Problem. Too many trainers try to tell

Pitfall #4: Failing to Get the Prospect to Reveal Budget
The Problem. How can a trainer possi-

Pitfall #1: Preferring “Maybe” to “No”
The Problem. How often have you heard

a prospect how they are going to “fix” her or, worse yet, show her all the great machines in the gym that will “fix” her. Many trainers do these actions before they understand what problems, needs, concerns or even fears the prospect has. What to Do Instead. Say to your prospect at the start, “Can I ask you questions to determine first, whether I can or can’t help you; and second, whether there would be a fit here for both of us?”

a prospective client say, “I’ll think it over” or “Maybe” when you are discussing training services? Many trainers accept this answer and even sympathize with the prospect. Why? It is easier to swallow the idea that the person may become a client instead of understanding that it’s time to cross him off the prospect list. Odds are that he was never really interested in

Pitfall #3: Answering Unasked Questions
The Problem. When a prospective client

bly propose a solution without knowing what the prospect is able and willing to pay? The amount of money a prospect is willing to invest in solving his health or fitness problem will allow you to determine whether a solution is feasible and, if so, what approach will match the prospect’s ability to pay. What to Do Instead. Have an honest, straightforward discussion about budget before you present a solution, not after. It is typically after an in-depth presentation that trainers find out that a prospective client has no intention of paying any amount. When do you want to know this? Before or after your presentation? Before, let’s hope.

makes a statement such as,”Your price is too high,” trainers automatically go into a defend-and-justify mode or, worse yet, offer to discount their services. However, is “Your price is too high”a statement or a question? How do you know unless you ask? What to Do Instead. Ask the prospect
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