As fitness professionals, we pride ourselves on our vast knowledge of the human body, how it functions, and how to elicit the desired training adaptations. We learn all of these things in school or in our various certification courses that we’ve taken. We stack the accolades and build our training resume to show our clients how educated we are, but there is often one aspect of our profession that is overlooked: Sales.
When I was in my final year of the Human Performance Program at my university, I had a professor who brought the art of sales to my attention. He expressed to the class that we all possessed a great deal of technical knowledge; we knew the human body inside and out. He continued by saying that we all needed to work on our ability to sell our services. Being the greatest trainer, exercise physiologist, or physical therapist on earth does not matter if you cannot get people interested in your services.
Am I a Salesperson?
This blog ties in with The Milo Project podcast #2, “Am I a Salesperson?” The answer is: Yes – you are! Whether you like it or not, the skills of sales and persuasion are needed by everyone regardless of their industry.
When my wife and I are debating going out for dinner on a Friday night, she sells me on the idea of eating out when I’m tired and want to hang around the house. When you’ve had a long day and you don’t want to work out, you sell yourself on the idea that you had better get to the gym and burn some calories.
We are constantly selling ourselves and others on our ideas. We use our influence to help others and ourselves make the decisions we feel are best. Therefore, everyone is a salesperson to an extent. The question is, are you a good salesperson or a bad one?
The Three Pillars of Sales
These Three Pillars of Sales are not universally written anywhere other than this blog. These are three concepts that have helped my personal business grow and develop over time. There are many sales trainers who will teach you sales ‘tactics’ or ‘strategies.’ Beware of implementing these too early in your sales career. While I do think there are advanced techniques that work in certain situations, I encourage you to learn the timeless principles of sales first, before placing an emphasis on being tactical.
The following ‘Pillars’ of sales are meant to enhance your understanding of sales and how you should approach selling others on your products/services.
Pillar 1: Believe in What you Sell
Some sales trainers will tell you that they can sell “ice to an Eskimo, salt to a slug” etc. This is not something to necessarily be proud of. One of our core values at Milo is to BELIEVE. You should believe in your mission and believe in your methods. If you sold something with ill intent, you would be ashamed. However, as trainers, fitness professionals, and coaches, we have the luxury of selling the exact opposite!
We genuinely desire to improve people’s health, wellness, and strength. We offer our services because we believe we can make someone’s life better. The benefits of exercise are not only physical, but psychological as well. You should absolutely believe in what you are doing and the services you provide your clients. Do you believe your services are valuable? Do you deliver on your promises and give your absolute best? Do you honestly believe that your intentions are good and you want to help your clients achieve their goals and beyond?
Believing in what you sell requires some introspection. Personally, I have always believed in my services, but it wasn’t until I declared it out-loud that I found tremendous power in selling. Believe in what you do, believe in the value you provide, and believe in yourself.
Pillar 2: Selling is Helping
Piggybacking off of the belief pillar, I had to change my mindset in the sales process. Sales is simply analyzing a problem, being able to provide a solution, and influencing someone to choose your solution. In short, you are HELPING others.
If you replace the word ‘sell’ with the word ‘help’ you may find a sense of relief. Some people associate sales with a sleazy activity or tactical persuasion. We must abolish this stereotype. Salespeople have some of the highest emotional intelligence of any profession. If you truly desire to help others, sales can be a great vehicle.
As a fitness coach, you speak with prospective clients all the time. Let’s say you speak with someone who is not yet sold on your services. You ask them if they currently exercise – they say no. You ask them why they decided to shop for a fitness coach. They mention that they have worked with trainers in the past who have pushed them to lift heavy weights even though that was never their goal. They simply want to be able to rely on someone for fitness advice and to help them with their endurance. You ask them more about this and they begin to tell you that they are going to run a half marathon. It has always been a dream of theirs to complete a half marathon and they want a trainer who will listen to them and cater to their goals with an individualized workout plan.
Inside, you are about to burst because this is EXACTLY the kind of client you can help. You will excel as their trainer and know you can help a motivated individual reach their potential. The conversation continues and now the prospective client certainly seems interested in your services. They ask you what your prices are – you hesitate. You go back to thinking about selling rather than helping.
When we are focused on helping others, we are confident because we know our intentions are good. This is the mindset we want to apply to all of our sales conversations. If you desire to work with more people, focus on how you can help them, and what service they require in order to reach their potential.
Pillar 3: Selling is your Responsibility
Pillars 1 and 2 have got you in the right mindset – you believe wholeheartedly in what you do and you’re focused on helping others to the best of your ability. Here are my thoughts on Pillar 3: Once you understand how important your services are and how they can help others, you must make it your duty to do so.
When you view helping others as your responsibility, you will feel empowered in your sales conversations. You will see yourself and your services as the solution to someone’s problem or fulfilling their needs. This shift in mindset is simple, but puts you in the driver’s seat when prospecting, selling, and negotiating. If you know that you are making a fair contribution and providing value in every business relationship, you should feel as though it is your duty to build your business.
Is it Really That Easy?
I wouldn’t necessarily call selling ‘easy.’ However, I do believe that your attitude and the energy you give off are hugely influential whether or not you close your next client. If you view sales as a difficult process, you will find it difficult. If you understand that sales is a natural process and exchange where a solution is provided, you will likely be more successful.
While we discuss the application of the Three Pillars of Sales to the health/fitness industry, these concepts transcend industry. It wasn’t until I fully embraced these pillars that I began to see growth in my personal business. Shifting your mindset and focusing on the positivity that comes from selling are characteristics that your clients will notice.