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Issue Date: April 2010 Web Features, Posted On: 4/14/2010


How to Close Every Sale
By Kaiser Serajuddin
kaiser@super-trainer.com

Sales in its traditional sense, is a weird subject for personal trainers.

If you're familiar with my articles in PFP, you know that most of my advice is designed to help you sell yourself. If you get good at creating a positive success image and delivering a consistently "wow" product (in this case, your training sessions), you'll eventually find it unnecessary to ever have to "sell"; those qualities alone will create for you a base of permanent clients, along with a steady stream of new clients coming in via referrals and inquiries.

Voila! You have a thriving training practice!

In spite of this, you still need to understand some of the dynamics of selling to keep this process working fluidly. Especially when you're starting up a new practice and acquiring clients, or looking to fill up some empty spots in your schedule, having a sound mastery of selling and especially the sales conversation will give you outstanding results and allow you to get booked solid very quickly.

Although sales is a dynamic process, it does have its own rules and patterns. Some of the biggest companies in the world have spent millions of dollars testing what works and what doesn't. They've determined that there's a certain way that you need to develop a sale, and there are other things that you can do to kill it. I've applied much of this information to personal training, and what I'll show you now is the opening to a sales process that's been field-tested by me to death and has resulted in a near-perfect sales conversion record over the years.

The First Meeting
This is your first interaction with your prospect; this interaction could occur over the phone, or even through email. If it does happen to be through email, it's best to try to get your prospect on the phone as fast as possible.

This interaction can take on many forms, but it usually begins with a question or statement on the part of the client. Here are a few possibilities of what they might ask you:

"I want a personal trainer."

"What are your prices?"

"How do I get started?"

"I'm looking to [fill in a particular result], can you help me with that?"

A rule in sales is whoever's asking the questions has control. When your conversation with the client begins, it usually starts with them asking all the questions. So they have control. What you need to do is regain control right away.

The Question
Rather than answer any of their questions, you need to respond with a question of your own -- and there's one foolproof question you can ask to immediately get things back on track:

What are you looking to accomplish?

There it is; that's it. That's the $100,000 question, meaning it's your key to a six-figure training practice. Kind of innocuous, huh? Although subtle and natural, this question immediately shifts directions and sets the tone for the rest of the interaction.

It gets them talking about their favorite subject: themselves. It gets them focused on their results, which they're looking to hire you to achieve in the first place. And it makes them paint the picture of what they're dissatisfied with right now, helping to create the gap of where they are now to where they want to be.

Once this question has been answered thoroughly by the prospect, you're well on your way to making the sale. Allow them to speak for a few seconds; as we've talked about, this in itself moves them closer to the sale. It actually gets them to sell themselves.

It also gets the training process under way. Once they've expressed this goal to you, and you've begun addressing it, in the client's mind, the training relationship has already begun. Sure, there are a few things to work out, like time, place, and money, but they are now much less likely to begin training with or continue seeking another personal trainer.

What we've just covered is only the beginning, and of course, there's more to it than just that. Besides a strong opening, every sales conversation also needs a strong closing. In the case of a cars or electronics, the close is to make the full purchase. But for personal training, a commodity for which you are charging top dollar and seeking a long-term training arrangement, it's important for you to move as slowly as possible without losing momentum. This is what's known as "relationship selling,"� and it is how all top professionals sell today.

There are other pitfalls along the way that can take place that will potentially kill the sale, and I hope to get to those either in another article in the future. But for a lot of you that find you're getting inquiries and then find the sale losing momentum, it's because you haven't identified and addressed the needs and goals of the client early enough. If everything you say is based on them, you'll find yourself never losing a sale again!

Kaiser Serajuddin is the writer of the popular personal training blog, Super-Trainer.com. He guides personal trainers through the challenging period of starting their personal training businesses and helps them on the road to six figures. For more information, you can download his special report, The Six-Figure Formula, at www.super-trainer.com.


Topic: Jump Start Web Column

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