The most important sales article you will ever read!
You will notice in the last two articles, I have carefully referenced my work and offered reasons for each point. This article is about sales and the Personal Trainer, so if you send me an email, I will send you a list of the best resources I have ever found on sales (and I am always looking). These resources have helped me hone my sales skills and train trainers to sell at a good price and in large quantities. However, all of the resources only offer opinion and, like most of the sales seminars I have attended, they are all based on personal accounts, anecdotes and theories based on clever observations. So I have some similar stories where I have applied a lot of the skills I've learned from these authors and presenters.
This document cannot give you all the answers, but it can start getting you to think like a Personal Training Executive who views sales as a negotiation that will drive your business forward.
The following is an insight that will drive your sales through the roof.
Word of Mouth
Retention is everything; getting somebody to take on regular exercise and stick to it needs to be your main goal. After this, your next goal needs to be getting that client to exercise in the very best way he/she can. Then your final goal should be to get clients to see the importance of having a Personal Trainer to ensure they perform the best exercises with the best technique. If these are your goals, then selling will just happen, and you will hardly have to think about it.
With these goals at the forefront of your business, your service will be excellent. Your current clients are vital to make the scale tilt in your favor. Word of mouth is the best marketing and sales tool you will ever have, so your clients need to be experiencing the perfect Personal Training Session every session, and leave with a talking point, so that they can market you to their friends and work colleagues. This will add weight to your side of the decision sales scale, ready for your first meeting.
Planning your session needs to go beyond just a list of exercises if Personal Training is your business. The best sessions are based on the clients' feeling as they work out of the door and the aesthetics of the session (The Floor Show) and the follow up (Client Talking Point) as well as the goals of the client, the appropriateness of the exercise selection, load, progression, reps, sets, load, tempo, etc, etc.
You may meet potential clients that do not choose to sign up with you as a training client, if you truly believe in your initial goal of getting somebody to take on regular exercise and stick to it, then you have a commitment to them. So get a list of clients who said no and take an interest in them. Send them articles related to their goals and make a window each month to contact them to see how well they are getting on. This show of care will give them a reason to talk to their friends about you, one of which may be looking for a PT who is not just about the pushy sale. Also if this potential client does ever change their mind and decide to take on a Personal Trainer then you would be their choice.
One of the best examples of this pure focus on goal is a friend that I mentioned in the previous article. Malc runs MGPT and has worked alongside me in a club for three years. In year one, I introduced him to an early morning member who at first did not take to him. Seeing this as a challenge, he approached her and spoke to her about her program. Every week, he took time out to help her and find out a little more about her goals, interests and motivations. After two years, Malc finally got her to sign up to a regular PT session with him. It is this persistence and drive to helping people stay motivated that has moved his popularity and brand up to that of exclusive in his respective area in the UK.
Your second goal is getting the potential client to exercise in the very best way they can. This links in to the first goal in a big way; it requires you to have contact with the potential client regularly, even if he does not decide to purchase your service straight away. More importantly, it means a lot of work for you. To be worth the money, you need to be true to your goals. To be true to this goal, you must have the up-to-date knowledge to know that the exercise program or recommendations you give clients are the best. It is for this reason that you need to keep qualifying in certifications, attending tours, taking online education, reading articles and applying your knowledge. The fact that you are reading this, though, suggests that I am preaching to the converted.
A Personal Trainer I worked with in London was superb at this; Karen (who now lives in Australia) joined my club in the position of Master Trainer because of this obvious drive to know more. During the time we worked together, she progressed her qualifications regularly and was forever contributing to the gym meetings with information and opinions based on the courses the team had taken or the clients they had. Despite being on a very small basic wage, and being reliant on PT income, she was always ready to help members and utilize her skills to improve their fitness. It is then no shock that for most months, she was one of the best selling trainers in the club in terms of numbers and price. Incidentally, she was in our top level of charges at £65 per hour two years ago in a club that struggled to get £35 a session just a year earlier and now struggles to get £35 an hour.
If your final goal is to get the clients to see the importance of having a Personal Trainer to ensure they perform the best exercises with the best technique, then you will be way into the sales process without any mention of trial closes or needs analysis usually mentioned when discussing sales techniques. Selling yourself is often a tough task; you are doing something that is often seen as arrogant and often feels like self-promotion. Selling the concept, though, is a lot easier. If you find it difficult to sell the concept of the importance of a Personal Trainer, then you may want to consider your position in the industry. I passionately believe that everyone needs a Personal Trainer, regardless of who they are. If you can sell the client the fact that they need a Personal Trainer, then they will probably want you just by default.
At my last club, the Fitness Manager James was also a Personal Trainer. His skill was selling the concept of Personal Training to members in a club without a large Personal Training Focus. This group of members often were skeptical at the start but would eventually buy into the idea of Personal Training. James would then pass these clients to the most relevant trainers, but these clients would insist on James himself. It was the passion and belief of James in Personal Training as a vital aspect of achieving fitness results that often led clients to want him to show that same passion towards their programs.
What Are You Worth?
Use the following steps to work out how much you are worth an hour. It is vital that you get your price right in order to make sure you do not end up having to sell too many sessions to make your income. If you do sell too many clients, this will probably leave you with a problem delivering a quality product. When you work through these questions, remember to be truthful to yourself. How much do you need to earn to live a life that will make you happy? As you realize from the first article, getting "you" right is vital to help you lead your clients to a sale and then through their programs successfully. When you look at how many days you are willing to work in a year, take into account days off per week, holidays, national holiday and potential sick days. Finally, when you decide how many clients you want on a given day, remember this may not be your entire working day worth of hours, as you will still have to plan programs, call clients and work on marketing and further education.
- Step 1– How much do you want to earn in a year? A
- Step 2– How many days do you want to work in a year? B
- Step 3– How many clients do you intend to have in a day on average? C
Put your results into the PTE (Personal Training Executive) price calculating formula:
- Part 1 - A / (CxB) = Profit per session
- Part 2 - Profit Per Session X 1.5 = Profit with loss rectifier
The 50% extra will help you tie in an extra amount of income to make up for any losses that may occur because of unforeseen circumstances (ill clients, etc.). It is important to remember to add on to the price the rent or percentage your club takes, if that is relevant.
Knowing Why You’re Worth It
Do you know why you are worth what you charge? Can you list 20 things from the top of your head and deliver them with conviction without having to stutter, think or show any kind of difficulty? What you need to do is to learn the 20 reasons and practice delivering them. Here are 10 examples:
10 Good Reasons – John Hardy’s View
- Without the correct observation of technique, you may never perform an exercise well enough to get the required effect.
- A good Personal Trainer will progress you at the correct pace for you as an individual.
- A Personal Trainer can adjust each exercise each time you come in, depending on your individual circumstance for that session.
- Application of a Personal Trainers knowledge will mean that the client will never struggle to find an exercise, as he will always have an alternative to the exercise he cannot do.
- A potential injury that is waiting to happen might be missed or ignored without the eye of a Personal Trainer watching every exercise.
- A Personal Trainer will prevent over training and under training, allowing the client to relax and train without thought.
- A Personal Trainer will make the session feel enjoyable and help the time fly by.
- A Personal Trainer will identify steps and starting points for your exercise that will get you to your destination fast and with minimal steps, then keep you there as long as needed.
- A Personal Trainer can bring you the latest exercise techniques and equipment, integrating it into your program without you having to sift through the hype, lies and fads in magazines and papers.
- HEALTH, INJURY PREVENTION, PERFORMANCE, IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE, REDUCED RISK OF MAJOR ILLNESS, SELF ESTEEM and all the other small benefits of good exercise!!!
These reasons are generic and do not even begin to mention the purely individual and specific talents that you obviously have and are currently using to promote your brand. (If you have any others that you wish to share, I would love to hear them. And who knows? I might give you a mention in a further article.)
Pull It Apart
If it was as easy as just learning some lines, believing in them and then using them, we would all be millionaires, and the fitness industry would be booming at Personal Trainer level. Unfortunately, we need more; we need to look at our 20 reasons and then break them down and question them. Start by asking of each statement, why? Then do it again.
For example: Without the correct observation of technique, you may never perform an exercise well enough to get the required effect. Why is that important? Because incorrect form can set up a faulty motor pattern which is difficult to correct. Why is that important? This may then lead to a muscular imbalance and eventually an injury?
The next step is to then ask, so? And then ask it again. For example: This may then lead to a muscular imbalance and eventually an injury. So what? Muscular imbalance can impair performance in the short term that would be detrimental to your exercise goal. So what? If you do not reach your fitness goal, then this can lead to a loss of long term motivation, which will then leave you more prone to all of the long term illnesses and injuries associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
By pulling apart your reasons, you will be able to cement your knowledge and confidence in your service and then sell what you do with a conviction that will inspire a purchase. It may also highlight gaps in your knowledge that you need to address.
Getting In Front of People
This is by no means a definitive list, but hopefully there are a few ideas to get the ball rolling and improve your chances of meeting enough potential clients to fill your time and start a waiting list.
I have split the list into two - one club based and one home training based.
John Hardy’s Club Based Marketing Ideas
- Offer Group Training to a limited group size.
- Offer Group Training to your clients only as a subsidiary.
- Train a member of bar staff for free – they normally get to spend time with potential clients in a non-sales or threatening way and, if they are promoting you by talking about what you did with them, then you have a hit.
- Train a member of reception staff; it is here where people will ask about services and make bookings, so have a presence with the reception team.
- Train a member of the sales team. When someone has committed to buying a club membership, they are more likely to make another purchase at the same time. Make sure you have influenced the sales team to sell for you.
- Promote yourself as an expert and talk on a subject to the club membership that will confirm your status.
- Contact the low user members and offer them a Personal Training Experience; see if you can be the difference between them being a non-user to becoming a full member that achieves their goals.
- Get yourself a trainer and get in front of the membership when you are being trained. (Remember, if you are selling the concept of Personal Training for everyone, you need to back it up by having a trainer yourself).
- Fill your time; train people throughout the day. If you have a space with no clients, then approach people in the club and offer to stretch them, show them a new exercise or just stand and speak to them. It all helps promote your personal brand.
- Attend all club events, and take your business cards with you. Do not be afraid to give them out (appropriately) in a social setting where you may be more approachable.
John Hardy’s Home Based Marketing Ideas
- Get in front of a group such as Well Persons clinic at a doctors office and speak about what they should do to improve health.
- Build a web site and get it on your T-shirt, business cards and leaflets. Make sure that you then have content on the web site,or offers that will get people interested in what you do.
- Offer easy payment on your website; this will allow you to take credit card payments.
- Define your competition by Service, Price, Time and Motivation and then perform a SWOT analysis on each one of them to highlight any service/product opportunities.
- Take a client out to a street that you wish to target and then use their street as your training ground. Make sure your client is wearing a T-shirt with your contact information on it so that anyone peaking at you from a window can check out your information in a non-intrusive way on the Internet.
- Approach a local sports shop that sells home training equipment and offer to do demonstrations in return for advertising your home training induction service. Also, ask them if they would give you a commission for getting your clients to purchase from their shop.
- Run an invitation to an exclusive talk and free demonstration/workout and only invite residents of one street.
- Approach local golf or racquet clubs and give a presentation on how your training will improve their members' games and reduce the chances of injury.
- Link with a local Physiotherapist or Sports Therapist and set up a referral scheme that will compliment both of your businesses.
- Approach local businesses that are exclusive (such as a luxury car showroom) and offer their clients a free session or discount on a block of 10 when they make a certain purchase.
Designing a Route to the Sale
(Thank you Annette and Scott for your inspiration for this.)
As I mentioned in my very first article, the route is the most important aspect of sales and retention to consider. In the first article, I mentioned that you needed to have the leadership skills to lead someone through the experience. Now, you need to have a route to lead them through! In sales of tangible goods, the route is the most important part of the trade. You will notice in a supermarket, clothes shop or any other kind of store that the layout of the store is strategically planned to make you buy the optimum amount of goods possible. You will notice that everything is wrapped well and designed to attract a specific target market. You will notice then that you have a route to the check out that takes you past related items, that you have many ways of paying and that the layout, offers, route and packaging change depending on the price range of the shop, the necessity of the product, the time of the year and the location of the store.
When working as a Club Manager, I researched the difference in food presentation and sales. If you have ever worked in food preparation for a chain of restaurants, you probably realized that the visuals and layout of the food is as vital as the quality of the ingredients. A story that Tom Peters tells is about the difference between McDonalds and Burger King when he helped Burger King retake some of the market. Burger King was selling against McDonald's on the fact that it had better food; it took Tom to make them realize that people were choosing McDonald's for the experience (the packaging and the route) rather than the quality or size of the food.
If this is the case in all other industries, then how is it that we as trainers do not also cover the route, packaging and experience quite as well? The route, the experience and the packaging of your company have to be the foundation everything else is built upon. That means planning the route is your first major task. This plan has to be in-depth and measurable, and it must be adaptable for each client! Once this has been achieved, it needs to be reviewed after each sale, missed sale, retained client and lost client. This route will be your best friend, so you need to look after it very well.
John Hardy’s Sample Route
- Client responds to advertising (method advertising that worked is recorded for future reference).
- A "thank you for your inquiry" branded post card is sent out, and a follow up phone call is made.
- Potential client is invited for a free trial session or one-to-one meeting.
- If potential client accepts, then a telephone needs analysis is carried out.
- Confirmation of booking card posted; the card includes what to bring, what to wear, what to expect, where to go or what time you will turn up.
- Pre-session organization is put together: leaflets, terms and conditions, FAQs and other information packaged for the correct first impression.
- It is good policy to phone the day before the session to confirm the session; this is often a sign of a high class hairdresser or beauty saloon.
- During the session, take every opportunity to point out the ease of improving fitness and the awesome benefits should they choose to sign up with you for more sessions.
- Reinforce your individual style in comparison with competition, in order to strengthen your individuality/brand.
- After the session has finished, a review should take place where the client can offer feedback.
A good way of making sure your service is up to scratch is by writing down the best service you could imagine to receive from a Personal Trainer. Then make a list of unrealistic over-the-top extras that you would never expect to see from a Personal Trainer, and add as many of those in as you can.
Match the Client to the Menu
If you put the client through the planned route, you only have to then match them to your price. In order to do this, you will need to call on your menu and then match up the client’s budget to your service.
Information that you need from the client include: How much can they afford per week for a Personal Trainer? Based on that budget, how many times per month can the client afford to see you? Which aspects of your menu do the client's budget and goals match?
Once you have this information, tell the client about the service you can offer for his budget, and show him your marketing on that specific product with testimonials of the results you have had. This is the first time you mention your prices.
Finally, ask for the money! (Traditionally known as "the close!")
If you do everything right and offer enough alternatives to suit the budgets of all of your target markets, then selling is easy and not really selling. It is important to remember that most “experts in sales” have had to sell big quantities and keep selling big quantities. In our industry, you have to sell an initial 30(if you are a busy PT) and then only sell one every time you lose one.
John Hardy’s Visual Sales Seesaw