You have made it to the top of the success pyramid, and hopefully you’ve noticed an improvement in your results along the way. Our goal of this, the final article of the series, will be to help your clients get what they want while getting them to commit, which will lead to you getting what you want – professional fulfillment and personal growth! We will do this by adding the rules of successful salesmanship to the techniques that I’ve shared with you in previous articles.
To begin his article, I would like to start with a brief review of the previous four articles. This will allow us to build the Success Triangle (Figure 1) from the bottom up, keeping it fresh in our minds as we discuss the concepts of the final article in the series.
Success Series Part I Review
In Success Series Part 1: Create and Develop Your Own Unique Identity, we discussed the importance of identifying a specific area in which you develop your expertise. In that article, I listed several areas of a Unique Identity (UID) you could develop. Before I continue, I would like to take a moment to highlight the five areas of U.I.D that I feel are the biggest potential markets today:
- Health Coaching: Good health coaching will also includes nutritional advice. Today, the overall health of the general population is so poor, I predict that in the next few years, resistance training as it is practiced today will be too demanding for a great percentage of the population. This will require that trainers and therapists alike master basic nutrition and lifestyle management. I perceive the demand to be so great in this area, that I have developed a new multi-level training program titled “Optimal Health and Fitness Through Practical Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching.”
- Exercise Specific to Diseased Populations: With the rise of heart disease, obesity, adult onset diabetes, cancer, stroke, inflammatory diseases and other common ailments, there is a necessity for personal trainers to become experts at exercise appropriate for people suffering a specific disease. Specializing in the application of exercise to diseased human beings will require specific study, thus making it a prime opportunity to develop a unique identity.
- Exercise for Back Pain: The number of people with low back pain does not appear to be going down. With the progressive onset of the computer age, we will most likely see an increased incidence of low back pain, potentially rising above the current standard of 85% of the population expected to experience low back pain at some time in their life.
- Training and Females: There is a tremendous amount of knowledge to be gained in training females. Additionally, females are much more proactive about taking care of their bodies than males are. Considering that females tend to manage the money in any given household, and that they are more proactive with regard to taking care of their bodies, they make a great market for the exercise or health care professional.
- Exercise for Stress Reduction and Improved Well-being: A number of factors, including the declining health of the general public, the onset of the information age, and the recent effects of the terrorist attacks, has created a growing market for stress reduction exercise as a specialty. Exercise such as Yoga, Tai-Chi, Qi-Gong and breathing exercises fall neatly into this category. The day of the buff bodybuilder types are on their way out and the days of developing a well-balanced physique, and an understanding of the link between stress and nutrition are on their way in.
In addition to recommending that you choose a U.I.D., in Part I of the Success Series, I recommended the following action points for developing your specific knowledge:
- Search for articles and books related to your unique identity and study them.
- Find related seminars, workshops, correspondence courses or certification courses and attend them. I also highlighted the importance of choosing a mentor that had demonstrated expertise both as a practitioner and as a teacher.
Once you have identified your U.I.D., I suggested that you constantly live it! Some of the tips I gave were as follows:
- Practice what you preach.
- Always carry business cards, remembering not to market too many unique identities on your business cards.
- Write articles as a valuable form of self-marketing.
- Develop awareness within your own community by giving lectures locally. As you become more proficient and capable as a speaker, you can apply to speak at conferences and expand your recognition as a leader in your field both nationally and internationally.
- Constantly educate yourself. Many great opportunities are available to you via self-education in your car and through video correspondence courses.
- Network! There are innumerable benefits of networking. We discussed the Law of Reciprocity and the importance of sharing your work with other professionals. I also recommend the “Guerilla Marketing” books and audiotapes by Jay Conrad Levenson.
- Whenever possible, DO IT! Clients will gain greater respect for you attempt to if you see the world from their eyes.
Success Series Part II Review
In Success Series Part II: Do Your Homework and Know Your Customer!, I highlighted the importance of assessment. I indicated that every exercise and health care professional should "STOP GUESSING AND START ASSESSING", suggesting they master the basics of a Universal and Holistic approach to assessment, education and exercise. I also suggested that exercise and health care professionals master skills that are specific to each client’s unique challenge or condition.
Basic needs and foundation health principles were discussed, placing emphasis on the need for optimal hydration, diet, management of certain stresses and the importance of proper breathing. I also talked about reptilian reflexes, suggesting that when you identify an overtly active reptilian reflex, this will greatly benefit you when it comes to selecting acute exercise variables. I concluded Part Two of the Success Series by outlining different systems to be assessed and their methods of assessment; each must be modified to each individual client.
Success Series Part III Review
In Success Series Part III: Be in A Peak State!, we discussed the importance for exercise and health care professionals to master living and utilizing the foundation principles. In Part III, I talked about drinking adequate amounts of water for optimal mental and physical performance. I explained L. Ron Hubbard's Tone Scale and the influence any given person can have on the overall energy of a room. In support of the Tone Scale, I referenced current research indicating that the heart not only communicates with the brain, but the heart’s electromagnetic field is 5000 times greater in strength than that of the brain, and it’s field can be detected several feet away using sensitive instruments. I used this information to highlight the importance of being in a peak state around your clients.
Additionally, I discussed the importance of being careful with your communications and included the value of getting adequate rest and sunlight. I used the term "River person" to describe a person that is very happy in what they do and does not see their work as a burden, but a joy.
It is important to remember that from a marketing perspective being in a peak state is of the utmost importance. In Figure 1, the fourth level of the Success Triangle is “Becoming their are best influence!” In that section of the success triangle you have Monkey See 55% + Monkey Do 38% + Kinesthetic 7% = 100% Total Influence. This information has two purposes. Firstly, it shows that the majority of people learn by watching. Secondly, it shows you that not everyone has the same learning style. It is important to remember to always ask your client which way they learn best, by seeing, hearing or doing. In other words, are they visual, auditory or kinesthetic.
Success Series Part IV Review
In Success Series Part IV: Discover What They Want and Teach Them to Know When They Have It, we discussed the Two Ears, One Mouth concept. I highlighted the fact that if you just listen to your clients, most often they will tell you exactly what is bothering them. I went on to tell you that if you ask ten mountain climbing experts how to get to the top of a mountain, you will probably get ten different answers. Using this as a metaphor, there are many was of getting a given task completed and, in this case, how you go about it is largely determined by your client’s goals and needs.
“Understanding the Vanity Objective” was an important message in that I mentioned how even babies prefer beautiful people when given a choice, indicating that our attraction to beauty in ourselves and others may be hard-wired! I talked about selling vanity and how to use the knowledge that “we do everything in life to either gain pleasure or avoid pain” and that “our actions are driven by love, or it’s opposite, fear” to sell the concept of becoming healthy in order to achieve long-term beauty! Additionally, I stressed the importance of sticking to whole-food diets and using the “Flexibility - Stability – Strength – Power” formula, so that all your clients can become beautiful, both inside and out.
I closed Part IV of the series by highlighting the importance of reevaluations. I mentioned that reevaluations are an excellent time to adjust goals. For example, based on your findings during a reevaluation, are the goals too lofty or are they achieving their goals ahead of schedule? Remember, it is at the goal setting stage of an initial appointment or the reevaluation that many doctors, therapists and exercise professionals drop the ball! It is VITAL to determine clear, concise goals from the beginning and then to readjust as you go, always setting new goals after each previous goal is completed. Failure to do so often leads to a lack of client compliance and lets face it, many clients are like ships that need a rudder, if you don’t put one on, they could easily float off to another gym, trainer or worse, back to a sedentary lifestyle. Don’t miss this chance to keep them on the road to health and vitality!
This brings us to Part V of the series. Hopefully by now you are doing great evaluations, you have a Unique Identity, you are deep into your studies, and you are getting adequate rest and sunshine to be in a peak state. However you may not be where you want to be. Maybe you can’t seem to fill your schedule with as many clients as you’d like or perhaps you’re losing clients and don’t know why! Today, I will share some useful and effective tips for combating both of these situations, which will help you to be well on your way to achieving your dreams!
TURN ON FRIENDSHIP QUICKLY AND GET COMMITMENT EASILY!
Our goal today is to put the cap on the Success Triangle (Figure 1). As you can see, to effectively help people achieve their goals and get them to commit, we must first build the following infrastructure into a working methodology:
- Create a Unique Identity and constantly live it!
- Do your homework: Know your customer!
- Turn yourself on! Be in a peak state!
- Discover their wants and teach them to know when they get it!
If you're at all like me, mnemonics make things easier to remember. When I attended Tony Robbins sales seminar I needed to create an easy way to remember the rules of salesmanship, therefore I created the following mnemonic Turn On Friendship Quickly and Get Commitment Easily! To help you understand the rules of salesmanship, will break this mnemonic down into its component parts:
“Turn On” = Turn Them On
The first thing we must do with any client, is turn them on. As you are well aware, many people do not get excited about exercise. This is particularly true in the rehabilitation environment. Therefore, the first and most important thing you can do is “turn them on” or get them excited about their program.
To get someone excited about their new program, you must first be excited yourself. As I have mentioned previously, your mental state will be infectious – you are either exciting them, maintaining their mood, or depressing them. Remember, the very reason most of you are in this business is because you like it, you believe in it, you feel its benefits within yourself and you know intuitively that what you're doing is good for humanity. Therefore, don't be afraid to sell it!
If someone says, "I hate exercise," you can say, "No, you actually love exercise you just don't know it yet."
If someone says, "I hate to sweat," you can say, "You're not sweating, you're just filtering water," or "You're not sweating, you're just purifying your body.”
Many people have developed the impression that they hate exercise because it makes them sore. However, once they are educated about the benefits of exercise their ignorance is eased and a new impression can emerge in the presence of your infectious enthusiasm. Initially, some people persistently dislike exercise, yet can be persuaded by understanding that exercise is their best medicine. You'll find that many people are more willing to participate in exercise when they realize how much time they're spending to look good on the outside and that exercise provides a means of looking good on the outside and inside for the same amount of time invested.
“Friendship” = Become Their Friend
As you work with a new client, it is always important to find a common bond from which you can develop a friendship. You can become anybody's friend. No matter who you are or where you are from you should be able to find a common bond with someone, which can become the seed of a new friendship.
For example, I recall working with an elderly lady who had a neck problem. Anyone who knows me may find it unlikely that I would have anything in common with a 65-year-old woman. Yet while she was in the waiting room, I noticed that she was working on her knitting. As I began working with her I asked her where she got her yarn. This started a dialogue about how yarn is made. She was fascinated that I knew so much about production of wool, yarn and knitting. After the treatment session was over, she was excited to see me again so that she can learn more about how wool and yarn were produced. (Incidentally, the reason I knew so much about production of yarn wool is because I grew up on a sheep farm.)
We've now discussed the important laws of salesmanship. First off, yet gotten you're client excited about exercise and/or rehabilitation. Secondly, you have now become their friend. As you can imagine, anyone is much more likely to show up for their appointment with a doctor, therapists or trainer if they are excited about what they're going to do and they feel like they're going to be visiting a friend.
As a warning however, you must be careful about how deep you allow a working friendship to develop. Unfortunately, many people will learn to take advantage of your friendship to avoid their responsibilities and will try to make their problem your responsibility. Therefore, your working friendship must be kept on a professional level. Many of you will find that it takes tough love to reinforce a working friendship. We must remember that as doctors, therapists and trainers, it is our responsibility to coach people towards a healthy lifestyle. Accepting responsibility for their problems is analogous to living their life for them - they don't learn anything.
“Q”uickly = Qualify them
Now that you have them excited about exercise and have become their friend, you must qualify them. Failing to qualify a client is the major mistake of many doctors, therapists, and trainers.
There are a number of areas that every client must be qualified in. They include:
- Financial Ability. Can they afford your therapy? How many visits can they afford? Once you have determined how many visits they can afford, you can then compare that to their state of health and their current complaint(s). You'll also have to consider whether or not they need a multidisciplinary approach -- as this will disperse the funds laterally.
Many of you will be challenged by clients wanting deals or discounts. You'll find in most instances, the people challenging you regarding price A) often see it as a personal challenge to get your prices down – it’s a game to them, B) have their priorities mixed up, or C) have a distorted value system. For example, I have had people argue with me about the price of my initial evaluation, yet they came to my office in a $100,000 car, wearing $20,000 worth of jewelry, had on $500 shoes and wearing a $2,000 suit. I simply asked these people, why do you drive a Porsche and not a Volkswagen? I then tell them that they have come to the Rolls Royce of holistic health practitioners and in order to get Rolls-Royce service you have to pay Rolls Royce prices. I inform them that there are Volkswagen therapists all over town and I would be happy to give them that number of somebody in their price bracket if that's what they really want. When a person comes to you that can truly not afford your services, simply suggest a trainer you feel would best suit them that’s within their price range.
Quite frequently, the same people that tell you they cannot afford your services will find the finances once they realize there are making an investment in themselves. It is you, the doctor, therapist or trainer that must help them see your services as an investment in themselves -- not a commodity purchase. Many people coming to you perceive your service as a commodity, like they're buying another pair of shoes or in part for their car. Frequently, you'll have to enlighten them to the fact that your services are directly related to their quality of life and their ability to enjoy the commodities that they purchase elsewhere. "There is no better investment than an investment in your self!"
- Time Commitment. Many health and exercise professionals fall flat on their face by giving exercise programs that require far more time than the client can commit. If the client tells you they have an hour, write a program that takes 50 minutes. If the client tells you they have a half an hour, write a program that takes 20 minutes. If they tell you they have 15 minutes, write a program that takes 10.
You must always consider travel time as well. Many health and exercise professionals write programs that don’t take into account the time it takes their client to get to and from their gym at the time of day that fits their schedule. Always discuss their total time commitment, including travel time, for best compliance!
Most frequently, if clients feel they can do more, they will tell you but clients can also become easily frustrated when given more than they can do. If you have already gotten them excited and become their friend, failing to qualify their time commitment will work against you because they will feel like they have let their friend down. On several occasions in my career I have made this mistake. Years after I had seen a client, I ran into them in a shopping mall and asked, “How are you, I haven’t seen you in so long – what happened?” By this point, after the bond between us has worn off, they were often able to be truthful and told me, “You know, my program just took so long I couldn’t do it all and I felt terrible about it. I just couldn’t handle the stress of coming back and dealing with it at the time …” – it’s that easy to lose a client!
- Equipment Availability. It is easy for us exercise and health-care types to assume that everyone wants to go to gym, yet the truth is that many people are scared to death at the thought of it. Right up front, we must determine what they have available to them, and how they would prefer to perform their program. In fact, some people do not even like coming to a rehabilitation center - they would prefer to hire therapist to come to their home. The same is true in the training arena today. By the same token, there are those that enjoy the gym environment and are stimulated by being around other people. The key point is, you must make this differentiation -- you must qualify them or run the risk of losing them as a client.
- Primary Need. While it would be nice to believe that everyone needs us, the truth is that our services may not be a primary importance for some clients. Once you have evaluated a new client, by phone consultation or objective assessment, there will be cases in which referral to another health-care or exercise professionals is simply more appropriate based on your client’s needs. Failure to make this qualification can lead to an unhappy client down the line. A major part of qualifying any new client is always determining whether or not you and your services are a primary need at that time.
“Get Commitment” = Getting Them to Commit!
Once you have your client excited, you’ve become their friend and you have qualified them, you must get them to commit. The secret to getting somebody to commit is by making it easy for them.
- Be clear about the expenses up front and the number of sessions expected to do the job or reach their goal. Always be realistic about how long it will take them to reach their goal. If their goal is too lofty, you will have to break it down into several sub-goals, or mini-goals, and get them to commit to those goals. One of the first rules of successful negotiating is not to go for the “whole hog” right up front – negotiate in nibbles and bites! Simply stated, once they have committed to a four week goal, you can then discuss their next four week goal, after which you can then discuss their next four week goal…. showing them how much progress they have been making all the way. If you had tried to sell them 12 weeks right up front, you could have easily lost them as a client. They may have had a fear of spending too much money, a fear that you couldn’t deliver, a fear of making such a big investment with you, or maybe they could not see themselves sticking to an exercise program lasting 12 weeks because they have never been successful before!
- Determine up front if it is best for the client of operate with you on a one-on-one basis, or if the coaching them will be more appropriate, i.e. you teach them a given program, and have them report back for re-evaluation.
- Offer a guarantee! If you truly believe in your services, you'll have no problem offering a guarantee. You can have your client sign a simple one-page contract, or you can choose to operate from a handshake agreement. For your guarantee to be successful, and to ensure you don’t get ripped off, it must be mutually understood that the guarantee only stands if they have followed the plan exactly as agreed upon. If they can look you straight in the eye and tell you that they have followed the plan exactly as you have laid out and it has not worked, then you should offer them a full refund! Offering a money-back guarantee takes away the risk of purchase and increases the chances you will have an opportunity to affect another person with health and fitness! If you have applied the principles of the four previous articles to yourself as a practitioner and to your clients, offering a guarantee shouldn’t be a worry to you at all. If it is, you will probably never reach the top because you are avoiding an issue of insecurity within your self as a doctor, therapist or trainer – in which case you have what I call a success leak! I assure you, offering a guarantee separates the best from the rest.
“Easily” = Make It Easy for Them to Commit and To Complete the Program
By now, you’ve turned them on, become their friend, gotten them to commit, and now you must make easy for them! By make it easy I mean make it easy for them to pay you, make it easy for them to get to their exercise equipment, and make it easy for them to exercise by helping them find a gym or helping them set up their home for exercise.
I remember during Tony Robinson’s seminar, he told the story of how he was at a car dealer looking at a BMW one day. He told us that being a “master of salesmanship” himself, he could see that the car dealer he was working with was really good. Although Tony wasn’t ready to make a purchase just yet, he asked if he could test drive the car to which the salesman threw him the keys and said, “Bring it back in a couple days after you have really gotten the feel of it and I will have the papers all ready for you to sign!” At this point, Tony really knew this guy was good because he was giving him the car outright, not for a drive around the block, but for a couple days! He was trying to get Tony hooked, to have him fall in love with the car and not want to return it! Notice how easy the sales man was making it for Tony. Not only was he making it easy for him to fall in love with the car by giving it to him for a couple of days, he told Tony that when he brought the car back, the paper work would be ready for him to sign! The dreaded paper work would all be completed and ready for a mere signature. That’s making it easy for a customer!
Make things easy for your clients by letting them know that they can easily accomplish their goals within the number of sessions per week that you have agreed upon. You can also help make it easy by assuring them that you’ve successfully helped other people accomplish their goals and you’re excited to help them do the same!
Another way you can make it easy for them is by ensuring that you are the person they should be seeing based on their goals and needs. Many health and exercise professionals make a big mistake by trying to work with people that have limited potential for progress with the therapist’s current level of skill. To be blunt, many people are afraid to refer out for fear that they will be losing money even when they know a doctor, therapist or trainer that would be a much better choice for a particular client.
Finally, making it good, is making it easy! If you have covered all your bases and applied the laws of salesmanship, it will be good, it will be easy and your clients will not only be satisfied, they will send you referrals for many years to come!
Well, that’s it! If you apply everything I have shared with you in this Success Series, it will virtually guarantee success! How do I know? I have watched my students do it over and over again. I have personally trained people who could barely make a living as a trainer in a gym when they started with me, and after a few years of hard work, now make well over $100 an hour for their services. One student was hired for a job that paid over $200,000 a year! I have watched people in the exercise and healthcare industry go from being burned out and barely making a living to loving their work and having time to study and take vacations. I have also watched many people achieve such a high level of proficiency that they have successfully opened up their own gyms and corrective exercise centers!
You can do this and do it well! Hell, if I can do it, anyone can!