As the salesperson then utters "the line," Jackie has several thoughts. When the number "$75" is uttered, the "expensive" light flashes. That's OK. That's precisely what we want. This will do two things from a psychological standpoint. Firstly, it says, "the trainer is valuable." Secondly, when the "savings" is offered, it makes $20 sound ridiculously affordable.
I call the entire process "planting the seed." If the salesperson were to wait until the point of sale, and then say, "now you can sign up for an Orientation for an extra $20," I can assure you most people would opt not to shell out the extra twenty.
Conversely, if the seed is planted and the Orientation is presented, with an assumptive close ("when you enroll," assuming the person is already going to become a member) as a no-risk opportunity, there isn't any question. People commit to the Orientation.
The orientation should be life-altering for most people.
"Should we use pressure to sell?"
In sales seminars I often ask the question, "Should we use pressure to sell?" That opens up a debate. Some insist there's something inherently wrong with pressuring a prospect, others feel it's a must. I may surprise you when I tell you I agree with the second group. I believe pressure is a must. People are caught up in indecision when it comes to fitness, and if we don't use at least a bit of pressure, many will continue to procrastinate as their health and fitness jointly decline.
There is, however, an extreme, an element of pressure I don't believe has any place in fitness. It's the "join now or else you suffer financially" pressure. It's the old health club "beat-em-up-until-they-whip-out-the-Visa" mentality I'm uncomfortable with. Interestingly, it isn't the pressure I object to as much as the promise.
"Join today and we'll help you knock off that fifteen pounds." I believe that statement is one determining factor, but not the sole factor, as to whether or not a club is ethical
or more accurately, I believe the follow-up actions will determine whether the statement was used ethically. The major flaw in pressure selling is not the pressure, it's the failure to deliver on the promise.
I'm suggesting we go in the complete opposite direction. We promise an incredible value for only $20
we deliver. The orientation should be life-altering for most people. No, it may not be all people need to lead them to their desired outcomes, but it should certainly raise up the likelihood of them seeing results a few notches.
I'm suggesting we make the promises
and that by empowering members with vital education, and compelling them to opt for ongoing coaching with a fitness professional, we deliver. As far as the pressure, it should be stimulated, not imposed.
The right questions help prospective member / clients to compare two alternative futures, the "if-I-do" and the "if-I-don't." An psychological explanation of the two choices creates a self-imposed pressure allowing the salesperson to act, not as an adversary, but as a guide.
The salesperson should feel confident in the company's ability to deliver, and should use subtle pressure to encourage the trainer connection, the Orientation that will become the first step in the "if-I-do" future.
So, the bridge now works both ways.
Trainers, the rapport masters, build rapport, interest people in training and send them to the salespeople to enroll.
Salespeople, the masters of persuasion, persuade people to enroll in membership and to make certain the promise is followed through on, they use the Orientation offering to send each new member across the bridge so they can connect with the rapport masters, the trainers.
To ensure that the bridge from Salesville to Trainer Land stays busy, you can reward (bribe?) the salesperson with $5 for every committed Orientation appointment. If a salesperson signs up 30 new members in a month, that's an extra $150
without the need for any additional work.
The trainer compensation is a little trickier. Remember, we need a business model founded in profitability, but we also want one that allows trainer profit opportunity to continue to escalate. As the club increases in profitability, it's quite alright if trainer payroll increases
:provided both entities show a perpetual increase.
We also need a Personal Training Leader, someone who can really manage a department, not just someone who is a model trainer.
Paying The Personal Training Leader
The right person will find great opportunity in a compensation program that offers a minimal salary, a per-session revenue opportunity, and an override based on team production. Here's how I'd structure the Personal Training leader's pay:
- $250 per week salary (this may vary depending on the market and the part of the country, but the salary should be less than the training leader would be comfortable with. It's simply a token, a head start, an assurance that he or she is in fact appreciated and respected)
- The ability to train at a premium rate up to 10 sessions per week. By a premium I mean a per-session fee (on a series) higher than the other trainers. This creates the perception of greater value and also helps all of those individuals who want to train with the leader find financially induced comfort in working with a member of the team.
- The Training Leader keeps the difference between his or her rate and the regular trainer fee. In other words, if the trainers charge $50 per session and the club nets $25, the leader may charge $75. The club would still net $25 allowing the leader (director) to earn $50 per session. That brings income up to $750 per week ($250 salary plus 10 sessions at $50 per), but the ten sessions put an additional $250 back into the club's cash drawer, in essence covering the salary. The leader therefore pays for his or herself. (note: you might want to make a slight adjustment in the dollars retained to account for the slight increase in payroll taxes)
"It only sounds impossible because we're so caught up in the existing paradigm. When I reveal the strategy, you'll wonder why it seemed so elusive
- The kicker is, 7% of the personal training revenue exceeding a baseline. In other words, if when the leader is appointed the club is doing $10,000 per month in personal training, the leader will get 7% of every personal training dollar over $10,000. If the leader can drive training revenue up to $20,000 per month, there's an extra $700. The baseline may be adjusted quarterly to reflect the average of the past 3 months.
Paying The Troops
As far as compensating trainers I love the 50-50 split. It's nice and clean, it allows you to clearly project both revenues and profit, and it's a win-win. The trainer never feels resentful as for every dollar you make on their behalf they're putting a dollar in their pocket.
With all of the aforementioned pieces in place, you have a model set up to help you profit immensely by empowering, educating, and thrilling members. Now, let's look at the next important element. We want to make training affordable, not only for a select segment of your membership, but for everyone
and we want to do it without compromising fees!
It sounds like an impossible paradox, doesn't it? Make it affordable but retain pricing? It only sounds impossible because we're so caught up in the existing paradigm. When I reveal the strategy, you'll wonder why it seemed so elusive.
Training Affordability Without Compromising Fees
Do you presently have a lengthy menu of personal training options? Most clubs have something that looks like this:
That's more confusing than trying to decide what to order for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (on the cheat day of course). Forget the long menu. Affordability and clarity will coincide if you limit your menu to two options.
- 1 session $75
- 3 sessions $150
- 6 sessions $240
- 12 sessions $400
- Group Training $60 per hour
- Couples Training $50 per hour
- ½ hour session $40
- Fitness Assessment $35
- Re-Assessment $25
The Short Menu
1. The Single Session
2. The Series
The single session will rarely, if ever, be selected if clients understand the distinction. Remember, a "series" simply means you're committing to more than one session on a recurring basis. The single session will have a premium price tag since there's no assurance for future business for the trainer. The menu, with prices, might look like this:
A series can be "every" Monday and Friday, which would amount to $100 per week using the numbers above. If a member is comfortable investing $100 per week, then the twice per week recurring series might be ideal.
- Single Session $75
- Series $50 per session
Suppose, however, that a member finds that to be exorbitant and way out of the comfortable price range. No problem. We simply distance the sessions further apart. It allows you to provide limitless options with direct control over affordability.
"every Tuesday at 7 PM" would be $50 per week
Because the trainers are positioned as educators, because the Orientation provides foundational information, and because the trainers can prescribe routines that can last up to 30 days until the next update, the flexibility of the series makes personal training attractive to every single member.
"every other Tuesday at 7 PM" would be $25 per week
"the first Tuesday of every month at 7 PM" would be only $50 per month, roughly $12 per week
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