With the post Christmas blues and New Years resolutions, January is notoriously the busiest month of the year for fitness professionals. If you are a freelance fitness instructor or a self employed personal trainer, then it’s highly likely that in recent weeks you will have been inundated with requests for further information about your training and consultancy services. A pertinent question to ask here is “what have you done with these leads?”
Most fitness instructors and personal trainers worth their salt will have a structured and systematic way in which they conduct consultations, fitness appraisals and the programming and delivery of training sessions. Few however apply the same level of diligence and rigour to their sales cycle, yes that’s right… ‘sales cycle’, or more specifically how they manage and follow up new business.
Customer attrition is inevitable in any business and it is especially prevalent in the health and fitness profession. There will always be a group of clients who will want to try the services of another instructor, move to a different facility, or who struggle to honour the promises and commitments they have made to themselves. In order to protect your business from the whimsical decisions of your clients and the usual seasonal fluctuations, it is essential that you have a structured system in place for generating and following up new leads.
Many self-employed fitness instructors refuse to embrace the sales aspect of their business, which ultimately results in lost revenue and income. Whether you chose to accept it or not, if you work in the fitness profession then you are also in the business of selling, especially if you work for yourself.
Before you start the process of selling its important to have a clear vision of what it is you are actually selling. In a nutshell, you’re selling you! Your time, your training services, your knowledge, your expertise and above all you are selling a brighter future to your clients. It is essential therefore that you promote yourself in a way that demonstrates an absolute capability to be able to deliver, and of course if you say that you can then of course you must also be able to do so.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, lets get back to the sales cycle…. Once you have taken an initial enquiry about your services, location, price, and your general ability to meet the prospecting client’s needs, what happens next? More specifically, if a meeting or consultation is not arranged, how long do you wait before following up the enquiry? How many times do you ask for an opportunity to provide your service? More to the point, how much do you want the business?
Most people in sales roles worry about asking a customer to ‘buy’ for fear of objection and opposition; in fact 63% of those in sales-related jobs are so frightened of asking for the customer’s business that they simply just don’t ask. Of those that do pluck up the courage, 46% of them ask the customer to buy only once, while 24% ask twice, 14% ask three times and a measly 12% ask the customer four times if they would like to make a purchase. Just to clarify… that’s 96% of people in sales-related roles who give up on chasing the customer’s business after 4 or less closing attempts!
Now here is where the story gets really interesting! Research has consistently shown that over 60% of sales are made when the sales professional, or fitness professional in your case, makes 5 or more closing attempts. In short this means that only 4% of people are making 60% of the sales. With this in mind, how motivated do you now feel now about making those follow up calls?
Finally, it’s important to add here that making the calls is only part of the solution and that unless you can convince your prospects that the service you offer better meets their needs than any of your competitors (whether that be on price, quality, accessibility or otherwise), then no matter how many times you call you them, you are unlikely to get the sale.
Closing a sale is a skill and like any skill development it is something that you should rehearse and refine over time. After all, you wouldn’t expect a client to be able to perform a kettlebell snatch without a little practice would you?