On Tuesday, I spent a few hours role playing with one of our interns, Remy, who will be starting with us in a week. She's been shadowing trainers, taking mock clients through workouts and learning all of our systems. She is passionate, smart, kind and caring and is going to make an incredible trainer. Out of her entire internship, the time we spent on Tuesday was probably the most important. She took me through an initial training session with me pretending to be the prospective client with the goal of trying to encourage me to invest in her services. Then we practiced various ways to show me the value of her services and to help me overcome any obstacles I presented. We role played for about 3 hours and I am 100% confident that the time we spent together is going to help her help so many more people!
I was fortunate enough to work for GoodLife Fitness Clubs in Canada for the first 5 years of my career. They are the largest and most successful fitness club chain in Canada. They achieved their level of success because the owner, David Patchell Evans, understands the critical importance of developing the sales skills of his entire team. In fact, when I worked there, every week I would meet with my manager and we would role play various scenarios. I did this for 5 years!! We also met as a team monthly to do more role playing.
Now I know you didn't become a fitness pro because you're passionate about selling but rather your drive is all about helping people. Well, you can't help anyone if you can't convince them to invest in your services, program or club. And if you're having a discussion with someone who is on the fence with getting started with a fitness program, if you don't try to help them through whatever stumbling blocks they are experiencing, you've done them a disservice. You've got to ask questions, you've got to probe deeper to find out what's holding them back from making the commitment to their health and fitness. Most fitness pros freeze when confronted with a potential client's obstacle (ie I need to think about it, I'll talk it over with my hubby, I don't think I can afford it, I don't have the time etc). They don't know what to say and they don't want to appear too aggressive so they use the "I totally understand. Here is my business card. Give me a call once you've decided" approach. And the person goes back into thinking, contemplation mode vs doing and taking action. It's our job to help them take action!
So how do you get good at influencing and motivating someone to take action? You practice and practice and practice - just like I did with Remy. So if you work with a team of fitness professionals, make the commitment to regular role playing. If you're a solo fitness pro, rally a friend or family member to role play with you. It can actually be fun! Trust me - it totally works!
Yours in health, fitness and business,
ps. We have some great resources (books, webinars etc) on how to specifically improve your sales skills in the fitness industry including sample scripts for role playing, what to say, what not to say guidance etc. If you're interested, email our Fitness Education director at firstname.lastname@example.org