Selling a service ethically and then backing up that sale with value are critical to the long-term success of any fitness business. Lately, sales systems have flooded the market, claiming to offer the “secrets” to success—all of which can be summed up as “understanding the process that leads to the action of buying.” By understanding why people buy, you will be able to communicate the value of your personal training service more effectively—and you’ll gain more clients.
Why People Buy
What leads to the action of buying? For that matter, what leads to any conscious action or decision? For a thought to turn into action, it must first be paired with a strong desire to lessen some sort of emotional discomfort and/or add some sort of emotional comfort. People do not make decisions or take action for logical reasons alone. They know, for example, that they need to exercise, eat better or save more money. However, simply knowing what needs to be done will never create enough desire to cause people to take action.
The Thought-to-Action Process
It helps to understand that actions you take are not necessarily free. Anything you do costs some amount of time, money or energy, and any action you take must be worth all the costs.
The following breakdown of the thought-to-action process will help you develop a more comprehensive approach to turning prospects into paying clients:
- Realize there’s a problem.
- Analyze the importance of the problem.
- Determine a solution.
- Justify the costs of the solution.
The end action is determined by how the process is interpreted and how it can be influenced. Most potential clients are at the “Determine a solution” step. They have a health- or fitness-related problem, and they’ve likely concluded that solving it requires action. Your goal is to help them understand that your service is the best solution to their problem. You must also prove that the value or comfort your service adds to their life completely outweighs the costs.
To do this successfully, you must dig a bit deeper into prospects’ problems from the start.
Here’s an example of how to put the four-step process into action:
Step 1: Realize There’s a Problem
This is perhaps the simplest step, because it involves your initial interaction with prospective clients and their explanation for the problems they face.
As an example, let’s say your new prospect, Bob, wants to lose 20 pounds.
Step 2: Analyze the Importance of the Problem
It is always easier to accept a set of circumstances or problems than it is to work toward fixing them. As soon as there’s a desire to fix something, the subconscious mind produces reasons to abort that desire.
The subconscious mind is the part of the brain that’s on autopilot. It gives people instant feedback about what they should or shouldn’t do, based on their habits. In short, this is where the excuses for not acting come from.
So, when you’re speaking with prospects, use questions and conversation to help them realize that now is the time to change. Take your time to learn everything you can about their fitness problems.
Bob: I really need to lose 20 pounds.
You: I’m sure I can help you with that. Why do you want to lose 20 pounds?
Bob: That’s where I was a few years ago, and I was happy.
You: In what ways was life different?
Bob: I felt stronger and had more energy.
You: What finally got you in with me today? Why now?
Bob: I can’t do as much as I used to. My grandkids are getting bigger, and my yard keeps growing.
You: What kind of things are you noticing? What are you doing with your grandkids, or in the yard, that is more difficult now?
Bob: Riding on the mower, pulling weeds, and just having enough energy to throw a football or walk through the mall.
You: How long have you felt this way? What seems to be holding you back?
Bob: I’ve been slowing down for a few years. My back starts killing me after I do anything for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m just getting old.
You: What is the main thing you need from me?
Bob: Some sort of routine so I’ll know what to do to get back in shape.
You: I would love to help you do much more than that. The things you’ve told me about—wanting to have more energy, stopping your back pain, just feeling better—I believe I can help you accomplish all of those if you’re up for it.
The goal throughout the above conversation was to bring up specific questions about how Bob’s life will be affected, both by fixing the problem and by ignoring it. You want to connect him to the discomfort he feels now, and begin to provide him with a vision of how much better life will be once the discomfort is no longer present.
Step 3: Determine a Solution
After you’ve gathered all the necessary information, you can help your prospects build their game plan for success. Start by educating them on why they have failed in the past. (Be aware that skipping this part of the step will lead to objections later on.) The goal here is to present your service as the best solution—possibly the only solution—to your prospects’ problems.
For example, you noticed that Bob thinks pain comes just from old age, and that the main thing he needs to do is walk on the treadmill. In this step, you need to help him understand how improved movement quality and function can alleviate joint pain. You might also explain how overall metabolism works, so he understands that walking, by itself, will not give him the outcome he is looking for.
Begin to present the solution through education. Remember that people learn through auditory, visual and kinesthetic cues. It’s a good idea to use some form of all three, but always focus on what you think your prospects will respond to the best. Drawing diagrams, for example, and explaining and demonstrating exercises all go into presenting the solution.
You: We’ve covered a lot today! Does this all make sense?
Bob: Yes! I cannot believe I’ve been doing it wrong for all these years!
You: The body is complicated, and fitness can sometimes be frustrating. However, that’s why I do what I do. I would love to set you up on a program where we can really go through these movement assessments, figure out the right exercises, and make sure your movement is correct. When you learn how to train properly, your back pain, energy levels and strength will all improve.
Bob: I’m ready!
Step 4: Justify the Costs of the Solution
Justifying the costs of the solution comes down to weighing the value versus the costs.
Imagine taking all the good feelings you associate with the action of buying, and adding them to all of the unpleasant feelings you associate with the action of not buying. The sum of all these feelings equals the value. Take that value, subtract all the costs, and you have your decision.
Now is the time to present the complete value that your service offers, as well as giving the prospect a call to action:
You: Based on what you told me today, it sounds as if you’re going to be working out 3 days per week consistently, and maybe adding a couple of days of just walking. Is that right?
Bob: Yes, I can do that.
You: With all of this information being new, would you agree that working out with me all 3 days each week will be the best option?
Bob: I do, but it really depends on what it costs.
Figure out programs that meet the needs of your prospects and match their budgets. You don’t have to haggle over pricing, overcome objections or offer any sort of discount. At this point, you should have successfully presented the value of your service and the ways you can solve your prospects’ problems.
Authenticity Produces Value
There’s a lot of work involved in these steps. But it all comes from a place of authenticity, and what your prospects will see is that you really care about helping them. Work every day to build the value that you bring to the table, and understand how to continue to serve your clients and solve their problems. The better you become at doing this, the greater your value will be.