We've been selling Personal Training wrong.
Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, only selling it half right.
See, the prospect client has TWO major pain points that MUST be addressed before they will start working with a PT...
Side note: Personal story. My Dad used to smoke these big fat cigars. Drowning the whole house in smoke all of the time. Choking the rest of us out. He'd smoked for about 30 years, since he was 13 years old. He never really seemed interested in quitting. He's an intelligent guy, obviously knows it's bad for him and he's paying (a lot) of money to slowly poison himself, but didn't seem to care.
Anyway, he had a sore throat...for 3 weeks. Reluctantly he took himself to the doctors at this stage and they ran their tests, etc. I'm sure you know where this is going. He was diagnosed with throat cancer. You know what? He quit smoking that day. No nicotine patches, hypnotherapy or magic pills. No lapses, or falling off the wagon when he had a drink. He just quit. He recovered well and is fine now, thankfully.
Now, this story is going to tie in again later, but back to the two pain points for your potential PT clients. What are they?
The First Pain Point
The first is the one that we all know about. Our imaginary client Jane Doe is overweight/lacking energy/low confidence/clothes don't fit/pre-diabetic/etc.
Jane wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror and feels an overwhelming sense of shame. She used to be such an outgoing, confident girl. She loved to dress up and dance the night away. As Jane gets older, her career is thriving and she doesn't have much time for working out. She's always at the office, out partying with friends or on the odd free night, she probably has a date. It's ok, Jane is naturally skinny and she's never watched her diet because she didn't need to.
Of course, year on year, without her noticing, the weight has crept on. Suddenly Jane is 29/34/39 years old, the milestone birthday is approaching and she notices that 25lbs has crept on, under the radar. Suddenly, her clothes don't fit and she doesn't like being naked around her boyfriend anymore – straining her relationship. Burying herself in baggy clothes, avoiding social occasions, pushing her partner away...being overweight is making Jane MISERABLE.
“Great!” You think, I can fix that. It's an easy sell. She's in obvious pain, she knows the cause and she knows that you are the solution. What more could there be to it?
What We've All Been Missing...
Now this is where we traditionally trip up. We see her problem, we present our solution and that's that. What could be simpler?
Sometimes Jane will go for it. The pain is bad enough that she has reached her limit of tolerance and is willing to do whatever it takes... Happy days – new client!
So, what about when Jane doesn't go through with it?
When she buries her head in the sand and doesn't give you a call at all? Or she reaches out, but then never turns up for a consultation? Or has the consultation, armed with a million and one excuses, and dogged determination to NOT work with you? Or she says yes, she wants to work with you, then mysteriously disappears off the face of the earth when it's time to transfer her payment for training in to your bank account.
We've all been there. It sucks. It's frustrating because you lose out on a client you thought you had in the bag, but it pisses you off even more knowing that Jane really needs your help. That you could do so much good for her, but she just won't get out of her own way and let you.
You see, Jane's problem here is that the second pain outweighs the original pain. And we NEVER understand this. As fitness people, we simply don't even consider this pain – it never once entered our mind...
The human condition is a funny one. We quickly learn to deal with pain we are in. Jane knows she is overweight and that it is making her miserable. However, she is used to feeling like that and has mentally accepted it. Resilient creatures that we are. Problem is, new pain – as yet unexperienced - is blown out of all proportion. Becoming this big, hairy, great fear. Even though, in reality, it's much less painful than the original pain.
The second pain that we have all been missing is this...
The pain of taking action.
Doing something about her pain is going to bring with it a whole new set of pains. These new pains are as yet unexperienced, and therefore blown up in to a Cinemax, full HD colour, 3D, surround sound movie engulfing Jane's very being.
The Second Pain
Jane's second pain is...
Jane's second pain is all of the “what if..'s”.
All of the things she builds up in her mind as being MORE TERRIBLE than how crappy she feels now.
In reality, most of them aren't a big deal at all. But some of them are real and do need to be worked through.
As fitness people, we don't get this. We LIKE working out. We eat healthy because it's natural to us, it's not 'a thing' in our mind. How could there be a downside to losing weight...it makes no sense!
That's not the reality for Jane, or for most of your prospects. If they were like you, if they were fitness people, they wouldn't need your help. They could do this alone (they already would have). No, your clients need to be reassured. To overcome all of the boundaries around the SECOND pain. If you can do this, then they will become clients.
What Does This Mean In Practice?
Like I said before, some people will navigate these second set of potential problems alone. The original pain is strong enough that they will do whatever it takes.
Remember my old man? Yeh, when he was diagnosed with throat cancer, that first pain was so intense that none of the second pain – the pain of change – mattered even a bit. How many people do you know that quit smoking in a snap decision and never look back even once. No struggle, withdrawals, etc...
That's the 'easy sell' client. You can't NOT get them as a client. It's everyone else, the endless people who try to quit smoking and it lasts a few days, to weeks, at best. They are suffering from the second pain and that is where they need help.
As it is with your clients. The pain of changing is perceived to be worst than the already existing, and mentally dealt with, original pain.
When you have consultations with these people (and even before, throughout your marketing process) you MUST address the second pain. You have to reassure them that the pain of changing is not going to be worst than the pain they are already in.
That they can still have a glass of wine now and then. A piece of cake at Christmas, and that no matter how tough things get, how much doubt they have – that you are there for them.
There's a set of questions that I use during consultations to bring all of these potential pains to the surface, so that they can be addressed and overcome at this point. This is a must for the person to come onboard as a client and more importantly it is essential for their success. Without this awareness, they will most likely self-sabotage, start and stop, and continue to do what they have always done... Namely going nowhere fast when it comes to their fitness.
If you want to know what these questions are, along with every single other question I would ask a prospect during a consultation to sell high-priced, long-commitment Personal Training, plus the mindset you need for sales and precisely how to structure a sales conversation from start to finish, to ensure success, you can get it all and regular monthly execution plans in the Fitness Marketing Lab for £39.99/month, in the 3-part EP 'How to Sell'.