When you run your own PT business, converting your hard-earned marketing leads into paying clients is a really important skill to have in your kit-bag. Now there are whole businesses out there that specialise in teaching trainers this process and they are very good at teaching you to convince people to buy. Although there is no-doubt they are effective, sales mind-tricks have never really sat well with me.
What I want to show you today is the list of questions that I developed in my business that every trainer could use to confidently convert their leads without resorting to ninja mind tricks. I feel comfortable using this method (because it shows the client you actually care) and I also know that our conversion rate by using these 4 questions is consistently above 80%. Let’s get cracking…
Let me set the scene:
“It’s January 2010 and you are have just launched three new marketing strategies to get the year off to a good start and make the most of the new year resolution weight loss rush. You have set up promo for the local businesses in your area, you have written an article in the local newspaper and you have contacted your entire database with a New Year promo offer.
As all of your planning and hard worked has now been put into action, you sit with your fingers crossed. Hoping like mad that this marketing mix and your regular lead generators will provide you enough leads to have a strong start to the year….. and then the phone rings and you smile to yourself with excitement.”
Ok, now it’s time to get to work. You planned long and worked hard to generate these leads, so converting each and every one of them is your goal. The first thing you have to do is forget about your business, forget about making money, forget about how many clients you need just to break even. You need to clear your mind of all of that because the phone conversation you are about to have needs to be completely focused on one person – the lead.
Before we even get into the questions, the golden rule of any type of interaction is to develop some rapport with your lead. Now this serves to relax the lead (the majority of people WILL be nervous about calling a trainer for the first time) and also to relax you. Ask them where they are calling from? How there Christmas break was? Did they go anywhere?
Once you have had a little chat (and sometimes if you are both feeling good, feel free to chat for 5 mins), it is time to get into the questions. Now commonly, people will ring up and simply state:
“I am just ringing to find out how much your personal training sessions are?”
This little gem is one of the major reasons why I started to implement the four questions. When I am confronted with this one, I answer with a question:
“Before I get into all of that, can I ask you if you have had a personal trainer before?”
Now I normally don’t like answering people back with a question, but in this circumstance it is important to regain control of the conversation and get the lead to begin to start to talk about themselves a little. So a respectful spin in the direction of the conversation can go a long way.
So to the first of our four questions:
Can I ask if you have had a personal trainer before?
And if they so no, follow up with:
Have you used a gym or boot camp before?
If you still get a no, try the last option:
Have you exercised before?
Now depending on their level of training experience, they will have had a trainer, used a gym or boot camp or at least done some exercise before. So question one is all about establishing a basic exercise history that you can build your conversion on. Once they have answered your initial question, you then ask another question based on their answer…
Why did you leave your last trainer / gym / boot camp?
The funny thing about human nature is that we tend to enjoy bitching and moaning about things. Now me, I can’t stand it. But if you ask most people about a bad experience, they will tell you with great detail. This is your opportunity to find out what your leads views as important it a service (all in their own words).
“I just found that they weren’t very punctual with starting my sessions on time and with assessments”
“That’s terrible, I don’t blame you. How were the results?”
“Ok to start of with but after while I sort of felt like a forgotten client”
So with a simple little investigation, you know that this lead places great importance on session punctuality, assessments and an on-going customer service experience (as all clients should). You can ask any number of questions from their initial answer to find out all sorts of great detail’s about how your lead ticks. All the while, your lead is thinking “this trainer actually cares about me” which is of course true (and rare).
The more open questions you ask; your lead will become more relaxed and confident that you really are the solution to their problem.
What do you want to get out of your training?
Heard that before? I bet they have too. This is where you get to take the conversation to another level. Establish what their goals are and then the next step is to really investigate what this goal means to them. Some further questions you could ask here are:
- Have you achieved this goal in the past?
- What has previously stopped you achieving this goal?
- Why do you want to achieve this goal?
- When was the last time you achieved this goal?
These additional questions will then give your lead further opportunity to discuss with you the REAL reasons why they want to start training. Every client wants to achieve something – the skill is to establish what that something means to them in this first conversation. In doing this, by taking the time to have this discussion with your lead, you will create a relationship where trust and care are the foundations of your business.
This creates loyal, passionate clients who love to tell their friends about your service because you do more than anyone else ever has for them. Just ask and listen. Once you have listened, it is now time to outline your services focusing on the areas that are important to your lead (because you just wrote them all down).
In a perfect world, would you prefer to train in the mornings or in the evening?
This question is based on the assumption that they are going to start training. If you are getting good vibes from the lead you can then attempt to book them into their chosen timeslot. If they need a little more convincing, you can then start to field any questions that they may have.
Make sure that you use the information that they have provided you as your triggers to what they do and don’t like in a service and simply play to your strengths. Sometimes a complimentary session is in order and sometimes people want to think about it overnight. If someone wants to think about it, ask them if it is Ok to give them a call at … pm tomorrow to check in. Try to always make a sale, comp session booking or return call time. That way you always stay in the loop.
Now these four questions have served me well over the years. I know you too can feel comfortable talking to people about their exercise history, what they want to achieve and why it is important to them.
Now I am sure that you are using or have heard a version of these questions before, they are not new to our industry. The real power of these questions lies in the depth of the investigation. The more you dig and discover, the more information you receive and the more your lead feels like you care about their needs (which is true). I believe that this simple fact of digging a little deeper and not just touching the surface with people is the reason that this approach converts so well.
No bullshit, no sales – just treating people with the respect and time that they deserve.
Have you tried an approach like this before? I would love to hear how you convert your leads and what works (or doesnt work) for you?
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