There’s a certain sales technique that is common to certain industries and actually quite effective at closing sales, but I don’t like it.
Usually it goes like this…
You have a big room full of prospects watching a presentation, and the guy or gal up front is offering an extremely technical product or service.
And their presentation is LONG. It’s long and extremely detailed. And the guy or gal doesn’t care at all if the audience is able to follow along. In fact, they actually prefer that the audience doesn’t follow along (you’ll see why).
They get to the end of the presentation, and they ask the audience if they understood. The audience doesn’t want to look stupid, so they nod their heads “yes.”
Then the presenter offers a “summary” where they list out some huge benefits in extremely simple language and top it off with “trust us, the product will do all that.”
And very often, they get the sale.
It’s a naughty trick…but there is a tiny grain of wisdom to it.
I’ll explain what I mean and show you the ethical way to borrow that sneaky presenter’s success.
The Problem with Confusing
I have so many problems with the “confuse then sell” technique that I want to make sure you don’t get the wrong idea and try it out yourself (because really, we’re only going to take one part of it and use a much smarter strategy for the rest of the time.)
The biggest problem I have is that it makes me feel gross.
What that technique does is rob people of the ability to make their own decision regarding the product or service. I’m all for selling, AKA becoming an assistant buyer to my prospects, but that’s way different from trapping them in a sale.
It’s almost like hijacking the other person’s brain…you wouldn’t want someone to do that to you?
Yeah, pretty much nobody wants that.
And on some deep, subconscious level, clients can tell when it’s happening.
Which leads me to the second big problem with “confuse then sell” …
It creates bad faith between you and the client, which can sabotage future sales.
Remember: the greatest source of profit for you is always going to be the clients you already have. They are the ones who will refer you to new clients, renew their training contracts with you, preach about your brand, and buy your merchandise and fitness supplements.
When you sell clients in a gross, manipulative way, you’re only setting off a ticking time bomb that’s going to explode the relationship down the road.
The real sleazy salespeople (who we are NOT) like to believe that people are suckers and they’re only there to be manipulated for money.
I strongly disagree. I believe that people are naturally trusting, and that this is a good thing. It’s the people who abuse that trust who are the real problem, because it’s wrong and it makes the work of marketing and selling so much more difficult for everybody.
And frankly, clients CAN smell bullshit. If you keep messing with their heads, eventually you’re going to trip the alarms in their heads and cause them to start questioning everything you do…and POOF! All the trust is gone, and you can forget about any client referrals or client retention.
Have I made my point about this clear? You and I are not sleazy manipulators. In fact, we are educators and value-givers.
Allow me to explain…
The Truth is Confusing
Your duty as a fitness professional is to first educate your prospects on WHY they need your training and HOW it works, while connecting it all to their own deepest needs and desires.
But here’s the funny irony…
No matter how much you simplify your explanation here, a sizeable chunk of your prospects are still going to be confused.
And it’s not because they’re dumb people. In fact, I’m sure most your prospects are extremely well educated in at least one area.
So when you present the truth to them about eating healthy and what kind of exercise it takes to burn fat, it’s only natural that they might get confused.
Things like HIIT and meal prepping make perfect sense to us because we’ve already been using them, but to prospective clients these concepts can sound counterintuitive and inconvenient.
So if, by the end of your consultation, your prospect has a “deer in the headlights” look, use this as an opportunity to summarize and connect with them on an emotional level.
Say something like this:
Hey, I understand that this stuff can be a little confusing. I know when I first got into fitness, it took me a while to fully understand it all. I’ll tell you what, though: when I started putting it all into action in my personal training, I got serious results. I know the same can happen for you too.
The most important parts you need to know are that you are going to work out with me three times a week and you’re going to follow the meal plan I provide for you. If you ever get tired or busy and try to skip workouts, I’m going to follow up with you to make sure you DO get the results you want.
My top priority is for you to reach the level of physical fitness you desire, so let’s start there. If you ever want to dive back into the nuts and bolts of fitness and nutrition, let me know and I’d be happy to review all of this with you.
See what you’re doing there?
You’re giving a summary of your pitch that simplifies all the main points and ties them DIRECTLY to the major benefits of your training.
And you’re positioning yourself as a supportive friend who is not going to judge them for what they don’t know about fitness and nutrition (this is actually a huge pain point for a lot of people).
Of course, the one thing you should add here is the prospect’s deepest EMOTIONAL needs for getting fit…but those are going to be different each time.
So remember: at the end your consultation, summarize everything in simple language, connect it to their deepest wants and needs, AND EARN YOURSELF A GREAT INCOME by selling clients on the physical fitness that will make their lives better.
Committed to your success,