Emptying Your (Head) Trash

How self-limiting beliefs prevent us all from achieving our life’s goals—especially when it comes to making those sales.

By IDEA Authors
May 31, 2006

“There just aren’t enough hours in the day to exercise and eat well!” “My injuries prevent me from working out now that I am older.” “I tried exercising once, and it didn’t do any good.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar to you? Personal fitness trainers have heard them all. What these excuses really amount to is “head trash.” We know that these types of self-defeating and negative beliefs often prevent our clients from changing their behavior and achieving their fitness goals.

But our clients are not alone in this. Your own head trash may be keeping you from fulfilling your personal and career goals. The truth is that personal beliefs drive behavior. If we think we can’t accomplish something, chances are we won’t bother taking the steps needed to achieve our goals. For trainers, this is especially true when it comes to being effective at making sales.

Dealing With Your Garbage

Like most people, personal trainers have their own negative baggage that can get in the way of success. We might not need to be prodded to exercise like our clients, but what about other negative beliefs, such as not being able to make more sales, deal with money issues or get new clients? Who hasn’t heard a colleague or even ourselves utter one of these self-defeating statements?

  • “I can never seem to get clients lined up on a schedule that works for me.”
  • “I can’t make enough money working at this club, but I don’t have enough clients who will go to a studio with me.”
  • “My managers aren’t doing enough to refer clients to me, so why am I paying all those sales commissions?”
  • “What do our salespeople really do all day, anyway?”

The truth is that all trainers have to deal with their personal head trash, especially when it comes to increasing earnings and boosting sales. Until we learn how to empty that trash, these negative beliefs will continue to be a major obstacle to our success as trainers.

The 5 Major Negative Beliefs

Let’s face it, trainers are not typically taught how to be effective salespeople. Although personal training is a somewhat unique career, we have exactly the same problems as any other sales career professionals when it comes to putting on that sales “hat” and selling a product (in our case, the product is our services!).

According to the Sandler Sales Institute, there are five major negative behaviors and beliefs that inversely impact the selling process:

  • comparative price shopping
  • the need for approval
  • money issues
  • other self-limiting beliefs
  • emotional involvement

Comparative Price Shopping

This behavior is the most powerful and common weakness found among people who sell a product. If your personal shopping style is to take your time comparison shopping and procrastinating about decisions, chances are you will have trouble with the selling process, since salespeople have a tendency to sell the same way they buy.

The Impact: Salespeople who comparison-shop will have a complete understanding of prospects who do the same. While some empathy is an important part of bonding with your clients, too much empathy can render you unable to close the deal. You may even have trouble persuading prospects to choose your services, since you are well aware that other trainers out there will provide similar services for less. This negative head trash will result in a much longer sales cycle and make you far too receptive to a prospect’s excuses to “comparison-shop and get back to you.” If your own style is to procrastinate, your empathy will backfire on you and allow the prospect to stall the sales process.

The Need for Approval

When trainers seek approval from prospects, the need to be liked is greater than the need to conduct business and finalize the sale.

The Impact: The need to be liked can make you reluctant to say or do things that might result in hard feelings. This can manifest itself in an inability to ask tough qualifying questions or to handle a prospect’s rejection. The result? You end up with a pipeline of prospects who can’t say no but instead say, “I’ll think it over some more and get back to you.” In essence, the need to be liked will have you continuously chasing these prospects because they will never close the deal.

Money Issues

Trainers who have difficulty discussing financial “issues” will likely be uncomfortable talking about a prospect’s actual budget. Many of us are taught by our parents that discussing money is rude and to be avoided. Too often, trainers who have been reared this way also have an unreasonably low concept of how much money constitutes “a lot” when it comes to fitness services.

The Impact: If you are wary of money talk, you will usually bring up the cost of training services too early in the sales cycle. And the price you quote will typically be too high or low because you haven’t spent time finding out exactly what the prospect is comfortable investing in training services. All of this occurs because the topic of money makes you uncomfortable. Additionally, if your own training fees are above what you think is a large sum of money, you won’t be comfortable asking a prospect to pay that amount.

Other Self-Limiting Beliefs

Trainers can sabotage their ability to sell if they are dealing with a collection of self-limiting beliefs. For example, if you think you hate making cold calls, you are probably predestined to be terrible each time you contact a prospect. This negative belief will result in failure.

The Impact: As long as you take your head trash along with you on every sales call, each negative belief will be another obstacle in the selling system. For example, most of us were taught as children not to talk to strangers and not to ask too many questions. This is something that stays with us well into adulthood. Most prospects are strangers to us in the beginning. But the sales system requires that we ask a lot of personal questions to reveal a prospect’s fitness goals and budget. If you are uncomfortable asking these kinds of questions, you will have great difficulties making a sale.

Emotional Involvement

Too often, trainers become emotionally involved when a prospect appears to be interested in procuring their fitness services. Often referred to as “hope-a-hope-a land,” this kind of reaction can

I think I can . . .
I think I can . . .

Change
Your Trash Behavior and Beliefs

Is the garbage in your head resulting in garbage in your ability to sell your training services? Let’s face it: Sales training is not for wimps! To be
the best you can be at closing that sale, try these tactics when negative thoughts and behaviors are about
to sabotage your next sale:

  • Recognize which of the behaviors and beliefs discussed in this article are stalling your success.
  • cause you to lose your footing during the sales call. You may find yourself getting overly excited, worrying, panicking and strategizing on the fly; in other words, you lose your objectivity. This reaction is often the result of lack of preparation.

The Impact: Anytime you get too emotionally involved in a sales call, you lose control of the process. You stop listening to the prospect and start listening to your own thoughts or feelings. You lose your focus along with your ability to be objective. One way to prevent emotional involvement is to be fully prepared for each sales call so you are not emotionally vulnerable. Over time and with practice, your own needs will no longer sabotage your sales calls.

Take Out the Head Trash!

So, how do we know when our head trash is defeating our sales efforts? My sales trainer, Gary Harvey, helped me uncover my own trash using an assessment tool to measure which beliefs and behaviors were holding me back. To help you assess the impact of your own negative trash, see “Change Your Trash Behavior and Beliefs” on this page.

As you begin to learn a selling system, pay attention to the areas that you find most difficult. Most likely, your weaknesses will show in your level of discomfort or your inability to complete certain phases of the selling system. Just as we advise our clients to work on weak areas of the body, it makes sense that we pinpoint and then pump up our own areas of weakness!

If we think we can’t accomplish something, chances are we won’t bother taking the steps needed to achieve our goals.

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