Chantal: Jeb, it’s not always easy to get below the surface. Quite often people, especially in the fitness industry, they’re not willing to just give up that information. Are there any other techniques that you might be able to share with us to really help to discover or identify an underlying problem that a prospect may have?
Jeb Blount: Great question, so here’s the problem that we face as salespeople is it starts with rapport. Rapport a step on the sales process, then we go to the next step and the next step and the next step. The thing about human beings is that we don’t usually open up about our deepest, darkest problems. Let’s just say that a mom walks into the gym and she’s meeting with a personal trainer. She’s probably not going to tell you right off the bat that the reason she’s there is that her four-year-old daughter when she was going to daycare that morning said, “Mommy, why are you fatter than the other mommies?” I mean people don’t typically share things that cut them and hurt them that deeply to strangers. What we have to understand is the way people operate and this is why connecting is so much more powerful than trying to build rapport.
Real quickly I’ll explain how the brain operates. When people talk about themselves and you can actually see this on 3D MRI. People are given the opportunity to talk about themselves, what immediately happens is blood begins to rush to the pleasure centres of the brain, the emotional areas of the brain. As they continue to talk about themselves, there’s this opportunity to like what we call self-reveal, so they’ll tell you something. If you don’t interject, if you don’t get in the way of that, if you just keep listening, then you ask good follow-up questions and you allow them to talk and you give them your complete attention, they’ll continue to self-reveal because each time they self-reveal and give you more information, the pleasure centres of their brain begin to light up like a Christmas tree.
As this goes on, people give you more and more information, which allows you to get past the surface place that we typically operate in as human beings. We don’t like just tell strangers all of our deepest, darkest secrets, but everybody who is listening to this Podcast has been in a situation, where they’ve been at a party or at a bar or at family reunion or with a group of friends or someplace, where they’ve been talking to someone and they were just listening. The person would like give them some information, they were just in the mood to listen and then, they would listen a little bit more and the person would give them more information and more information and more information.
Pretty soon, there’s this place, where you cross the TMI, the too much information zone, where the person starts pouring out these secrets. You just think to yourself, “I cannot believe they just told me that.” The thing is that they don’t even realise what’s happening. I mean they are literally getting a dopamine, they’re getting a chemical reward in their brain for telling you these things. Salespeople can tap into this, especially in your industry because it is so emotional because people are walking in because there’s a trigger event in their life that is totally emotional that’s disrupted their status quo. They need to get it sated, they need somebody to help them.
If you just give them some time and this is why, if you brought me down to Australia and I was working with a group of gym owners, I would walk through and say, “I want to know every station you take your people in your gym when you’re taking them on that path, on that journey and the questions that you’re asking and how you were using those questions to slowly, but surely move people to the place, where they start to feel comfortable to tell you the real reasons why they’re there, what are their real goals,” because I know that when I can connect with those goals in a purely emotional sale that I can win almost every time. The only times I don’t win is when a person is there and they just do not have the means to afford it.
Chantal: Jeb, it’s funny you mentioned that kind of … I relate that dopamine hit that you talk about that kind of feeling of, “I’m getting excited because there’s something happening,” that you’re revealing about yourself. Back a few shows ago, we had JT from Active Management on the show. He was talking about the same thing in relation to when you get say like a like on a Instagram pic or on social media, on Facebook or something like that and it’s that instant little hit of dopamine and how good it makes you feel, it’s that same kind of I guess chemical reaction that you’re talking about.
Jeb Blount: It is and the thing is that it’s so easy, the social media places are great because like on your app, you get a little number that comes up and now, we’re just like lab rats. We go back to it over and over again. He’s exactly right. The thing about the human side of things and this is a hard thing to explain on a podcast is this, I go back to one principle and that is that the need to feel important or significant is the most insatiable human need. In fact, if you go to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s sort of in the middle, this need for significance, but is the only need in that entire hierarchy that you cannot sate. I cannot make you feel too important, to loved, to accepted. It’s not possible, but the problem is that the sales people that are working there have that same need. I need to feel important too. For sales people, when their prospect is talking, telling them the story about why they’re there, the sales person doesn’t feel important. They want to talk too because when they’re talking and telling their story, they feel important.
What begins to happen is the salesperson begins to cut their prospect off. They begin to interrogate. They begin to get there their prospect to give them bullet points versus a story, but that’s not how people communicate. We communicate in stories because we want to be understood. The prospect begins to pull away because they’re thinking, “Wow, this person doesn’t listen to me and they don’t understand me, they don’t get me.” The salesperson is clueless because when the salesperson is talking, when they’re pitching, they feel great. They feel like they’re on stage and this is one of the reasons like when I have a salesperson and they will say with one of my clients [inaudible 00:06:26] come in, do training or what have you and I asked him how the meeting went. They said, “We had a great conversation.” I know what happened. I know that sales person has spent the entire time talking.
Chantal: From a sales perspective, we really need to go back to your earlier advice of shut up and listen, right? Now, let’s talk a little bit more about sales, can anyone sell?
Jeb Blount: Well, I think we all sell. I think everybody’s selling every day. Here’s what all selling is, all we’re doing essentially is we’re influencing another person to make a choice, to make a decision. Hopefully, we’re influencing them to make a decision on something we want them to do. This issue of personal trainers, who think selling is a bad thing, we have the same issue with doctors feel that way and lawyers feel that way and architects feel that way and a lot of professionals feel that way. If you say, “Sell,” it’s don’t sell. One of the things that when I’m working with professionals like personal trainers and I talk about people [inaudible 00:07:30], I tell them that I probably should have changed the book to How to Sell Without Selling because the problem is that what they see in their head is a pushy sales person, who is pitching. They’re projecting that on their client.
What we just described just in the conversation we just had was not selling, it was a conversation. It was a conversation, whereby I’m spending my time learning about another person. All I’m doing, when I say bridging, all the bridge does is it connect two things. All I’m doing is after I listen to them and I understand what’s important to them, I simply say something like this, I may say, “Chantal, you told me about how important it is that you are able to take 20 pounds off in the next three months because your daughter is getting married and you want to look your best and I can see you there right now with your daughter and you’ve got that dress on and your whole family’s there and all the pictures, you look just gorgeous and beautiful. I want to help you. I’ve got this training regimen that I’ve used with other people in the exact same situation that has worked and it will help you lose the weight and it’ll help you get in shape and it’ll help you have the experience that you’re looking for your daughter’s wedding. At the same time, we’re going to have a great time doing it. Let’s go ahead and get started.”
I mean I didn’t say, “Buy my training stuff.” I didn’t say, “You need to buy here.” I simply used your language to connect the dots between where you want to be, which is looking gorgeous in that dress at your daughter’s wedding and how I’m going to get you there. That was it. If you’re a personal trainer and you’re afraid of sales, let me say this a different way, you run a business and the number one reason why businesses go out of business is because they don’t have enough customers. That’s the number one reason. It’s not just in Australia, it’s in United States, Europe, and it’s everywhere. The main goal every day as a business person, I know that you do personal training because you’re really passionate about helping people be healthy and you’re passionate about the way that you get people that way and this gets you up every single day and I’m passionate about training people. I’m passionate about speaking and I love what I do. I get that and I understand it, but every day, my imperative is to get and keep customers period end of story because the only way that I’m able to do the things that I do, which is I guess you would call me a personal trainer for salespeople, but the only [inaudible 00:10:09] I can do that is if I have customers to do it with.
I wake up every day, understanding what my core mission is and that is to grow my business and build my business. The way that I do that is I connect with people, I learn about them. I understand what’s important to them and I show them how I can help them. I feel very comfortable and very good about doing that.
Chantal: I think that is just so key for us to keep in mind because I think you’re right, as personal trainers, we do get caught up in the excitement of the physical aspect of the job and that side of things, but if we keep that in mind that we need to get and keep customers, it kind of reinforces the importance of that connection that relationship building that you’ve talked on and given us such great advice on already today. Jeb, I want to finish off with one last thing, I’m hoping that you can help us out with this one because as you know, in the fitness industry, we’re selling an intangible good effectively. We’re selling either a gym membership or personal training sessions or group training or some other service along those lines. Can you perhaps today leave us with your best [inaudible 00:11:19] and give us your top three tips for selling services.
Jeb Blount: What I would say to a personal trainer or anyone else is, “I don’t think you’re selling gym memberships, you’re selling dreams. I mean you’re selling the future.” It is intangible, but you’re selling an emotion.” That’s why people do that, working out. I just got out of gym. [inaudible 00:11:46] and not have to do that. I just get off a bike and I’m just thinking, “When can this be over?” I mean just there are a million things I’d rather do than that. It’s the dream and my tip to you, my inspiration to you is find out for every customer, every person that you work with, what is their vision for themselves, what did they want? Some people, they want a gorgeous body. Some people, they’re worried about not being able to stay alive. Some people are worried about, .like I’ll give you my core worry, my biggest fear with fitness is I don’t want to be old and not be able to enjoy my life. I mean that’s a really important thing to me.
One of my greatest inspiration too, Gary Player is way older than me. I mean he’s twice my age, but I look at this 80-year-old man, who operates like a 20 year old person. That’s what my vision is if you knew that if you’re a personal trainer or you were a fitness centre owner and you understood what I believed about my life and what was important to me and all you talked about was that, you would own me. I would do anything. If you were a personal trainer and you focused all your time on motion and wellness and making sure that in my mind, you kept telling me, “Hey, this is going to make you look great when you’re 80,” it’s a crazy thing, but that’s what’s important to me.
The thing is these are my tips. You asked me for three, but my biggest tip is I guess number one would be shut up, number two would be listen and for the personal trainers, number three is ask for what you want. You’re never going to get more customers if you’ve done all the right things without asking. Then, my piece of inspiration for you is this, as you look at your business, whether you’re a personal trainer, a gym owner, you just set goals for yourself. You spend a lot of time, working with other people and you give a tonne of yourself to other people and in fact, every time you’re working with a client, believe it or not, it takes a little piece out of you. Nobody’s going to put that back. They’ve got a personal trainer to inspire them. You’ve got to take time to do that for yourself.
You have to set goals for yourself. You have to take time to listen to great podcasts like this to re-inspire yourself. You should be reading on a regular basis. You should be taking time, both mind and I know you focus on your body because you’re in the industry, but also your spirit, you’ve got to take time to build that because at the end of the day, there’s going to be adversity, there’s going to be roadblocks, there’s going to be days like me when your website goes down for two weeks and you don’t know if you’re going to survive. There’s going to be ups, there’s going to be downs and there’s one question that you have to ask when you’re in those dips and that question is how bad do you want it?
If you don’t have the strength of spirit, the strength of mind and the strength of body when you’re in those dips, it’s very, very, very, very difficult to pull yourself up to look up, to keep going, to climb that mountain again and then, reach for the next peak. I think you have to look at the world from both how am I interacting with other people and then, how am I building my own soul, my own heart, my own brand, so that I do a better job at connecting with people and helping them and bring them along and so that I can exercise the things that I’m passionate about.
Chantal: Jeb, I just want to say thank you and I want to say to all of our tribe out there, if you guys are right now, sitting there, feeling as excited and as inspired as I am right now from listening to Jeb, [inaudible 00:15:55] to us over the last 40 minutes, then I want you to jump on, I want you to check out his podcast. You need to go and get this book People Buy You. Please go out and get it. We’re going to be putting all of the links to Jeb’s resources on this week’s show notes. Jeb, thank you.
Jeb Blount: Thank you.
Active Management Members receive monthly tools to make your life as a fitness business owner, manager or team members easier. Become a member today at www.ActiveMgmt.com.a/joinnow
With nearly 1 million downloads, The Fitness Business Podcast is the most practical podcast in the world. Subscribe to the show notes now for all the resources guests share delivered to your inbox.