If I Had Wanted To Be In Sales . . .
Yes, it’s true, if we wanted to be in sales, we probably wouldn’t be working in the physical fitness business, would we? I know that it’s a common sentiment in this business. People become fitness trainers for lots of reasons. However, I’ve yet to hear anyone convincingly state that they did it because they wanted to consistently up sell to the "platinum package deal" or make sure clients walk out with sacks full of merchandise.
I get that. But this is a business and some selling is involved. Especially in a small gym where the staff has to be flexible in the roles they play and costs are always chasing the owner. A little bit of friendly selling and encouraging of purchases, with a positive, sale-closing attitude can be the difference between bankruptcy and survival for any small business.
Nothing Happens Until Something Is Sold
I hate it when I want to buy something and I feel like staff in a store is ignoring me. Sharp staff members are always attuned to the customer, even when they are trying to be nonchalant about it. Less confident and less competent sales staff tends to avoid that feeling of being rejected, causing them to miss their cue to close a sale.
All too often, younger trainers have great enthusiasm but perhaps not so much worldly experience. They may never have sold anything in their lives before setting foot in your fitness center. They feel terrible asking customers for money. That is a poor position to start from, when you dependent on sales of memberships, training sessions, classes and merchandise. At its worst, this fear leads to actively undermining sales opportunities. If you don’t address this sort of thing and correct it then your business is doomed.
On average, many members are financially comfortable enough that they don’t really make decisions based on cost. We’re not talking about buying a new SUV or a house here. People are often waiting to have a little guidance on what to do. Trainers need to be aware of this and be confident enough in their knowledge to assert their influence.
Moving The Comfort Zone From Both Ends
Make sure your managers are comfortable selling first. Once you are certain of the leadership, delegate some the training process to them. Hopefully, they have knowledge and experience they can build on and pass on to the staff. If you are very lucky you may have some experienced trainers who can be teamed up with the less experienced, to mentor growth in abilities.
Getting attention, develop interest build desire call for action. It sounds so complicated and manipulative, but it’s not and you don’t have to push that hard. Getting the customer’s attention can be as simple as starting a conversation, asking a question or just being receptive when they are ready to approach you. Don’t be pushy, but don’t be shy either.
Teaching the basics of sales comes down to teaching staff to look for signs of interest and asking for the sale. Closing skills are the key to selling. It’s like you’re leading the customer through the decision process. The experience of asking for money is often uncomfortable for trainers.
The trick, I think, is to re-frame it in your trainers’ minds that purchases are genuinely good for the customers, who need to be led a little. Building desire is often just a process of emphasizing the benefits in which the customer is already interested. If the customer is comfortable with you, maybe even likes you, they want to follow your recommendations.
There may not be a selling mindset in your staff but there should at least be a willingness to learn and respond to training. They are trainers after all, right? If you can develop in your trainers a sense that they can match client needs with the available resources, they support the business, preserve their jobs and actually give the members something that they want. Re-framing selling as an act of giving helps everyone, including the trainers and the business that employs them. After all, unlike a lot of what is on the market, what you are selling them will only improve their health and fitness levels.
Over to you…
When hiring personal trainers, do you look for sales experience?
Do you offer sales training at your fitness business?
Or do you delegate sales to only certain staff members while letting trainers just focus on training?