5 Things Preventing You from Closing More Sales
Every lead you get is valuable! You work hard and even spend money to get a lead, so it’s critical that you do your best to make sure as many as possible become a client. If you want to improve your closing rate and sell more training, make sure you avoid these 5 things.
What Can Prevent You From Closing More Sales?
Selling probably doesn’t come naturally to you. If it does congratulations. You’re one of the very few fitness professionals that doesn’t despise the thought of having to sell a prospective new client your services.
Your passion lies in helping people, but without getting them to buy into what you’re doing that won’t happen. Unless you decide to work for free, which I highly discourage 🙂
There’s good news for you though…
Selling doesn’t have to be sleazy, sneaky or tricky. In fact, the best salespeople in the world are highly ethical. If you have trouble wrapping your head around sales, watch this video from Joe Polish:
The cliff notes version of the video is that ethical selling is getting someone to engage with you to take action on something that’s good for them.
If that doesn’t describe exactly what you do as a fitness pro I don’t know what does! It’s important that you work to eliminate a negative mindset about selling and understand that you’re helping people make a great choice to drastically improve their life.
Even when your mindset has shifted and you’ve honed in some of your sales skills, there are a few things that can prevent you from closing more sales. And a lot of these, while very preventable, are used as excuses by many of the best trainers I know.
No Shows Will Kill Your Sales
If you can’t get the person to show up for your sales appointment, or Success Sessions as I like to call them, you can’t get them to commit to joining your program. Or help them change their life for that matter.
It’s easy to get busy and get frustrated with no shows for your appointments, blaming the prospect. You’ve got clients to worry about, a business to run and life to worry about! Dealing with a person that can’t show up for an appointment isn’t at the top of your list right?
The sale starts during your first interaction with a prospect. You have to work to build value and make the decision to come in to see you as easy as possible.
Remember, most people coming to you are seeking help to do something that the world tells them they should be doing on their own and can’t. They are beat up, have low self esteem, and are scared to make another decision that will most likely fail them (at least in their eyes).
That means from the time someone contacts you to set up an appointment to the time they have to show up it’s easy for them to talk themselves out of going. And rather than suffer the embarrassment of calling you or even emailing to let you know they won’t make it, they just don’t show.
A little proactive nurturing can go a long way to prevent no shows. Here are the steps you should put in place to prevent them:
- Never rely solely on technology to schedule your appointments. If you use an app or scheduling software make sure you or your admin call the person within 24 hours of scheduling to confirm. This builds value by letting them know you care and adds a human touch to it.
- Between the scheduling and the actual appointment make sure to provide lots of value. Send emails with information, send free gifts or downloads, etc. You can even add another personal touch point.
- 24 hours before the appointment confirm via phone call or text message. This is much more personal than email. Text messaging is more likely to get read.
- Make sure that you clearly communicate directions to your facility/gym and set the expectations for the Success Session prior to the meeting. Tell your prospect what to wear, bring and a quick overview of the outcome you want to achieve for the meeting. Remember, don’t talk in trainer speak to them. Talk to them about the outcomes they want to achieve and the benefits to them.
This proactive approach to communicating between the scheduling and the actual appointment will build value and trust with the prospect and show them you actually care about their needs. It also provides ample opportunity for them to express concerns or worries they may have.
I always liked training my admin to handle these calls as the person was more likely to connect and relate to them than the owner of the business or a trainer.
The admin is also your best customer service person and that’s who you want making your prospects feel at ease. Not to mention they will likely be the first person they see when they come in for their appointment so they have common ground already.
“Objections Are Simply Questions You Didn’t Answer”
Even the perfect sales pitch can run into an objection or two. The difference between losing the sale and closing it lies in your ability to overcome the objection without being argumentative.
As you get better and better at asking questions during your sales appointments, you’ll learn that you can draw out any potential objections your prospect may have with well-phrased questions. This allows you to overcome them as you describe how you will help the client accomplish their goals.
The sales system that we teach fitness pros has 4 stages: Engagement, Discovery, Value Building, and The Close. Your chance to overcome objections early is in the Discovery stage.
During this time you ask lots of questions to find out the real reason that your prospect wants to pursue a fitness goal, why they can’t do it themselves, the challenges they have had and expect to have, as well as any underlying issues that may hold them back.
This stage is more important than any assessment or physical evaluation you will do during your sales appointment. This is where you get to know the prospect on a deeper level and understand the psychological and emotional roadblocks they will be facing.
When you uncover the objections and challenges that the prospect has in the Discovery stage it’s your job to show them how you will help them reach their fitness goal and overcome these challenges in the Value Building stage.
Think of it like this…
You want the prospect to paint you a clear picture of how they look, feel and their challenges in their “Before” state and also how they imagine they will look, feel and how their life will be different in their “After” state. The “Before” is where they are now, and their “After” is where they want to be.
During the Value Building stage you basically draw out the path to their success and describe to them the process you’ll go through with them so they have success. This includes using the info you gained in the Discover stage of what is valuable to them and the challenges they think they will have.
The Value Building stage is where you show them that with you they can accomplish anything. You prove it by talking them through the path they will take and how you’ll help them avoid the things that have caused them to fail in the past.
And then you may still get some objections to signing up if you do this perfectly so use the time you have to answer the questions that the objection is really asking to overcome.
- I don’t know if I can afford this = You haven’t shown me enough value. Can you restate how you’ll help me and talk to my specific needs again?
- I don’t have the time to workout (Enter # of Days) per week = What other options do you have that might work for me?
- I need to ask my [insert other decision maker] first = Can you make this easy for me to get out of if this person doesn’t support me? Like a guarantee…
- I’m not sure if I’m ready for this = Can you push me a little and support me in this decision? I’m a little scared.
These are just rough examples. It’s obviously very specific to each individual. If you need help getting over the 3 biggest objections you’ll face (time, money and permission) you can read our blog post on the topic.
Don’t Wing It!
If you want to be a successful sales person, and you should, then you can’t wing your sales process. You need a system and a script to follow so that you know how to fine tune it and improve it.
A system gives you structure, a lot like a training program template, and allows you to control the sales meeting with your prospect. You want to guide them through it. If you let them lead they will have the control, which means you’ll get more objections and have more unsuccessful sales appointments.
You’re the expert. They’ve come to you for help, so make sure you are guiding the discussion.
The Fitness Sales System that we teach provides you with a really simple framework for your appointments. It’s a 4 stage process with a simple closing system to take the pressure off you when it comes time to close the deal. It uses basic sales psychology and shows you how to ethically persuade a prospect to become a client.
During the first 3 stages of the sales process (Engagement, Discovery, and Value Building) you don’t need a script. You need a simple framework and some guidance on what to ask to get you started. Having a script in these stages would make the sales appointment seem impersonal and calculated, which is exactly what you want to avoid!
This time should be spent using your passion for helping people and asking lots of questions to get to know your prospect. Show them that you care about them and their results. That doesn’t mean you go rogue and do whatever you want in these stages though! There are specific outcomes you want to accomplish in each, and there are resources that you can use to make it easier to accomplish them.
For example, in the Engagement stage you want to build rapport and find common ground with the prospect. This allows them to get comfortable with you so they are more willing to open up in the Discovery stage. Having a list of icebreaker questions to ask is a great asset for you if you aren’t a natural extrovert that likes to connect with people.
A list of starting questions for the Discover stage can also help you get started on the right path and lead you to more personal and specific questions for the prospect as you get more and more information. The real need for a script comes in The Close stage where you have to transition from being truly interested in helping the prospect reach their goals to asking them to make a decision to work with you.
Most fitness pros clam up, their voice gets shaky and nerves set in when they have to ask for the sale. So, to counter that you can use a simple script that allows you to personalize the offer to the prospect but gives you enough structure to keep you calm.
There are 6 parts to the perfect close, what I call the Surefire Closing System:
- The Transition
- The Core Offer
- Risk Reversal
- The Call to Action (CTA)
Here’s a sample script:
This simple script when used at the end of your sales appointment will drastically increase your closing rate.
Don’t Turn Up the Pressure
It’s rare that a salesperson can turn up the pressure on a buyer and make the buying experience a great one. As a pretty skilled and experienced sales person myself I can say that I’ve only seen a few people do it really well and not look like a complete jackass.
If you follow the steps and advice from this article you won’t have to be high pressure. You’ll be working with the prospect to make the best decision for them. If you build enough value you’ll win them over. And if they don’t buy, you can sleep easy at night knowing you provided them with a ton of value and built a good relationship.
High pressured prospects never return to buy from you when they are ready, but well nurtured and cared for prospects will always return to the place they got the most value when they are ready to buy.
I’ve had people come back 3, 4, even 12 months after our first appointment to sign up because I didn’t pressure them to make a decision. And if you do pressure someone into buying, you will get a lot of refund requests and people with buyer’s remorse. That’s not good for business or your referral marketing. You want prospects to sign up that are begging you to join.
If you find that you need to rely on high pressure sales tactics you may want to go back and brush up on your Discovery stage and Value Building stage skills.
Not Having Swagger Will Hold You Back
There’s a fine line between arrogance and confidence. You need to be confident in your sales skills and your ability to deliver the best possible results to your clients if you want to be great at sales.
It’s rare that I talk to a trainer or fit pro that doesn’t think they are the best in their area at delivering the results they promise. If you really believe that then you are doing your community a disservice by allowing them to possibly train with someone else.
Now, this doesn’t mean every person in your town or city should be training with you. But, everyone that wants the specific result you are best at delivering should. If they aren’t working with you then they are getting sub-par training from your competition. Or worse, trying to do it on their own and ending up frustrated.
Read testimonial letters and emails from clients prior to heading in for the appointment to boost confidence.
When I was working to improve my sales skills I would read testimonial letters and emails from clients praising what we did prior to heading in for the appointment. This boosted my confidence and allowed me to walk into that meeting knowing I was the best choice for this person.
It was still on me to prove it to them, but I believed deep down that it was true. This type of confidence and swagger can overcome a lack of sales skills in many cases.
When you’re confident, you give off a vibe of being an expert. You also gain the trust of your prospect quicker, and you will be more calm and relaxed during your discussion with them. If you’re nervous or lack confidence your prospect will see it and feel it. They will start to question you and won’t look at you as the expert that you are, that you need to be for them.
Confidence is a funny thing too. As you get better at selling you’ll be more confident, but you need to be confident to get better at selling. So, use the trick of reading positive reviews, testimonials or just pumping yourself up before a sales meeting.
It seems silly, but it’s a trick used by some of the best motivators and speakers in the world to prepare for a big presentation. And nearly every successful salesperson I know uses it when they hit a tough streak.
You’re well on your way to being an expert salesperson, even if that’s not your goal. If you truly think you’re the best solution for your clients then you owe it to them to spend time perfecting your sales skills just like you do your training skills.
If you remember these key points you’ll be well on your way to expert sales status:
- The sale starts well before the appointment.
- Don’t shy away from objections, treat them like questions.
- Use a process and script to guide you.
- Focus on adding value not adding pressure.
- BE CONFIDENT!
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