(This is the 3rd article in a series that I will be producing about the ins and outs of selling, and how it applies to selling personal training. In the previous article I discussed why the starting point for effective selling is a mission statement: Mission Critical)
In my previous article I stated that the first step to effective selling was to create a mission statement which serves as your guideline in the marketplace. You need to know who you are and what you stand for. Once this is established you can take the next step, which is figuring out who your prospective client is. You might be of the belief that everyone you encounter is a prospective client, but in order to be effective and efficient at selling your services, you must target a specific type of prospect, one who is a good match for you. The relationship between salesperson and customer is not really different than any personal relationship; there is a fundamental compatibility that needs to exist.
Most people believe they should cast a wide net when it comes to selling, especially early on when they have very few clients. This approach however, is inefficient, as you end up wasting time talking to people who are unlikely to buy from you, or people who will become incompatible customers.
One success secret of high-performing salespeople is that they are masters at identifying who the “right” prospective clients are. They start by identifying the key characteristics of an ideal client and then focus their energy on acquiring those customers. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a dollar is a dollar regardless of where it comes from. In a business like personal training (especially), where all you’re doing is trading your time for money, there is a huge cost to working with the wrong clients.
How are these sales superstars able to do this? By having a rock-solid understanding of what type of customer they are best at serving, and giving little attention to those they are not perfectly suited for. This takes courage, as walking away from business is not intuitive…that is, except for the top-performers. Poor-mediocre performers worry about trying to make the sale, top-performers worry about making the right sales.
So, if you’re a “tough-love” type of trainer, a client who needs to be coddled is not your ideal customer. This is fairly obvious, or so you’d think, but I would guess that few trainers give this any consideration in the sales process.
While selling is about persuading it is much easier to persuade someone who is in line with your worldview, and that’s what the best salespeople know. When you know who you are, what you stand for, what value you bring to the market, and what type of client that resonates with, you have made the actual act of selling far easier.