From The American Fitness Institute Personal Training Manual:
Satisfying A Need
Personal Training is often purchased to satisfy a need for change. Your job is to find out exactly what those needs are and how you can fulfill them by asking probing questions.
During the session, ask the prospective client probing questions in the areas of business, personal and future. In each area you are asking questions to build a relationship. If they do not like you, they will not buy training from you.
You also ask probing questions to uncover hidden "pain" or "hot buttons" they may have. An example of "pain" or a "hot button" could be the person telling you they are upset they are slowly gaining weight despite exercising everyday.
Whenever you expose "pain" or a "hot button" you must get a commitment point. A commitment point could be gained by asking a yes based question such as, "Is stopping the weight gain important to you?" Of course the answer is yes, they just told you losing weight was important to them before you asked them the yes based question.
The yes is an agreement between the trainer and the prospect that losing weight is important to the prospect, it is now a fact that can not be denied. If the sale stalls you will push that "hot button" to help make the sale (meaning you will remind them of why they should buy).
The reason you ask yes based questions when you find a "hot button" or hear "pain", is so you can use it in your close. Commitment points are reasons a prospect will buy. Closing, just like the name implies, comes at the end of the sale process. Like a reporter, you interview and collect information, then at the close you revisit it to make your point and the sale.
Return Of Investment:
During the session, you will ask all kinds of probing questions, each one should move the sale forward. Ask the prospective client about their likes and hobbies. Get them to admit they spend money on things that are not good for them. We all waste a lot of money on things that have no return or benefit.
A night out with drinking with friends can easily cost the same as training session, but unlike a training session, there is no ROI/return on investment.
Below is an example of how ROI can help during the closing process.
Trainer: You told me that you spend $20 dollars a week on movies, $60 in the bar, and $6 a day on coffee. Instead of throwing that $122 dollars away on things that only move you further from your goal, wouldn't you agree that it makes more sense to spend that money on training so you could tone up and lose that ten pounds you want to get rid of?
Keep ROI in mind when you pitch a prospective client. Understanding the ROI helps a prospect to justify the cost of buying training. Use the information the client gives you to make the sale.
Learn to recognize the difference between "buying questions", which are questions that show an interest in training and questions meant to blow you off. Can I call you when I am ready to train? is a blow off question is, especially if they never ask for your number.
When a prospective client asks you questions that show an interest in training, those questions are "buying signs". When asked a question that is a "buying sign", ask a probing question and get a commitment point instead of just answering yes or no.
Prospect: How long does it take to lose fifteen pounds?
Trainer: How long have you been trying to lose fifteen pounds?
Prospect: 6 months now.
Trainer: If I could show you a way to lose those fifteen pounds in the shortest amount of time possible; is that something you would be interested in?
When a prospect or client ask a "buying sign" question, ask a probing question to see if it is "pain" or a "hot button". Another great probing question is, "Is that important to you?"
When the session is over, you and the prospect should have a good feel for each other. No matter how the session went, you must still ask for the sale. What may seem like an ok, or even bad session to you may have been the prospects best workout ever.
Closing is overcoming all objections using all of the information you gathered and asking for the sale.
The sale begins with the first objection. Often the prospect won't tell you what the real objection is. Sometimes they are true, other times they are the prospect stalling. Before you can overcome an objection to make the sale, you have to know what the true objection is.
Listen to the objection, determine if it is the real objection by asking questions. Qualify it as the objection keeping the sale from progressing. Double qualify it as the objection keeping the sale from progressing, by rephrasing the first qualifying question.
Qualify the objection as the only objection keeping the sale from progressing to set up the close. If there is another objection, first answer the objection so it completely resolves the issue, then address any other objection the prospect may have. If there is no other objection, first answer the objection so it completely resolves the issue, confirm the issue is resolved.
Ask a closing question. If the prospect answers yes, confirm the answer and sale. If the prospect says no, return to your pitch and try to discover what the true objection is.
The most common objections you will need to overcome when selling personal training are variations of the following:
- I don't need it.
- I don't have the time.
- I need to talk to my partner/spouse.
- It costs too much.
When a prospect says "I want to think about it" is not an objection, it is the prospect stalling or avoiding making the actual decision of yes or no.
"I want to think about it", it may actually mean:
- I don't have the money.
- I don't see the value in it.
- I can get it for free somewhere else.
- I don't like or trust you.
- I don't believe you can help me.
- I need to talk to my partner/spouse/parents.
Sometimes the objections are the truth, other times the prospect is just trying to get rid of you. You can determine whether the prospect is interested and if the objection is real or not by asking questions. Once you determine that an objection is real, qualify it as the only one, confirm again that it is the only objection and then overcome it using the commitment points you have been saving for the close.
Personal training is a two part close, the first part is convincing the client to train, the second part is negotiating the amount of personal training sessions they will buy. More often than not, there is a volume discount with training, meaning, the more you buy the less an individual session cost.
One session may cost $100 each when bought separately, where ten sessions bought at once may cost $850. At $85 a session, the client will save $150, and you receive the total cost up front.
Start high with a 100 sessions and work your way to a number the client will be comfortable purchasing. It may sound like a lot, but it happens every day, just because the trainer asked for the sale.
100 sessions at $100 is $10,000. If discounted to $75 a session, the prospect will only be paying $7,500 for the same 100 hours, saving a total of $2,500.
To a "good prospect" - a person who needs, wants and can afford what you are selling right now - it makes good financial sense. Don't be scared to ask for 100 sessions. If the prospect can afford it, they may buy them, if they cannot afford it, they will let you know.
Whenever presenting a discount, always use a calculator in your presentation to show how much they will save. You may also give no discounts; you may insist that your clients train with you a minimum number of days per week or month. It is your business; you make the rules.
A Trainer who works in a health club or gym, will have the benefit of an experienced training manager who will help with the second part of the sale, the negotiating how many sessions a client should buy.
Making The Sale
It is absolutely amazing how many sales are lost because the trainer fails to follow up and ask for the sale at the end of the sales conversation. The best way to close a sale is to set up the closing question with the words "Other than cost, do you have any questions or concerns that I haven't covered so far?"
If the prospect says no, you can then ask for the sale: "Based on what you've told me, I know this would be ideal for you. Is there any reason why you wouldn't start up today?" If they say no, ask how they would like to pay for it. You will be amazed at how many people are on the verge of buying and simply need an invitation.
It is important to leave money for the last objection. If a person asks you cost early, it shows they are interested. Put off answering the question until later, ask a probing question and get a commitment point. You do not want to discuss price until after you have given your session, creating value in your service, and all other objections have been dealt with.
If they say yes, find out what the objection is, and deal with it. Dealing with objections means, isolating it as the only reason that the sale has not moved forward, then overcoming it, to make the sale.