Show 105: Sales EQ with Jeb Blount. How to be an ultra-high performer in your fitness business.
CHANTAL: Jeb, thank you so much for joining us once again for the show.
JEB: Thank you for having me back. I’m so pleased. I’ve been dying to come back to this show.
CHANTAL: That’s awesome! Now, I was reading that you spend 250 days a year traveling and delivering keynotes, speeches, and workshops and training programs. You must have to be super organised to manage all of that. Are there any apps or systems or rituals that you use to stay on top of things?
JEB: Yeah, you know it is interesting that you say “super organised.” I would say, super “compartmentalized.”
You have to be laser-focused on whatever you are doing because there are so many other distractions, so you have to be able to do that. And I’ve got three apps or three things that I use.
One of them is my calendar. I use the Google calendar and all my people are hooked into it and it drops right into my mobile phone most of the time as you can imagine. My calendar is number one. Whatever it is on my calendar, that’s what I’m working on and focusing on.
Number two is a pen. It is weird but it is analog. It’s a pen.
And then the number three thing that I use is a piece of paper. Every single day, I write down the three most important things that I need to accomplish that day. I believe that you should begin your day with the highest impact activities. If you start your day with your highest impact activities, they’ll get done. I typically write down the top three things or the top two things or sometimes only one thing that I have to accomplish.
And that is how I keep the ball moving forward.
CHANTAL: I love that suggestion and it is so simple, isn’t? We kind of forget with all the technology that we have at our fingertips that sometimes the simplest options are the best.
JEB: Yes, absolutely. There’s always the new artificial intelligence. We are going to make everything in your life easy or a button that you can push. But sometimes you can find that opening up my phone, going through the apps and doing all these things, I end up getting distracted. I mean, sometimes I’ll open it up to go to some crazy app when I’m supposed to keep me organised and 15 minutes later, I’m on Youtube watching a cat video and I have no idea how I got there. But if I had a piece of pen or paper, the piece of paper is sitting right next to the sink in the morning, and I look down at it, and I remember what I thought about in the morning the night before, the probability that I’m going to get those things accomplished is much higher.
CHANTAL: I love that Jeb. You know what, I have just recently, reverted back to the whiteboard- the whiteboard and the marker. And now, my house is full of whiteboards. There is really something satisfying about writing down those tasks and then rubbing them out when they are complete.
JEB: Our entire office is whiteboards, so, our comfort room, the walls are whiteboards and our marketing room, the walls are whiteboards. Everybody has whiteboards on their desks. I like to come in and see all my numbers and everything is happening. I want a visual, and I want it big. I want to see my enterprise clients, and what are we doing to retain them and the last touches. All of that can be in a computer some place but if we are writing it up there, then nobody can miss it and everybody has to see it. So, I’m a big whiteboard fan. I mean it is old-school but it works.
CHANTAL: I entirely agree. Now, I want to say congratulations on the release of your eight book “Sales EQ.”
JEB: Thank you very much. We’re very excited to get this book out. I tell people that this is a book that I would have written for myself. I’m a sales professional and I was out looking for a book and it is a book that I would if I probably read it, it will connect with me. So, I wrote it from that standpoint and so far the reviews and the feedback have been phenomenal. So, I’m pleased with that.
CHANTAL: Do you want to maybe say the same by describing for us or defining for us what is sales EQ?
JEB: Yes, Sales EQ is Sales-Specific Emotional Intelligence. I think most people who are listening have heard of the term emotional intelligence that Daniel Goleman made it popular back in the early 90’s when he released his book “Emotional Intelligence.” Since then more books and articles were written; and trainings have been written on emotional intelligence. But very few people have talked about Sales-Specific Emotional Intelligence.
Why this is important?
If you think about the fitness business and you think about the relationship, someone, perhaps a prospective client comes in and they’re interested in maybe joining your gym or joining a class or what have you, that relationship in some respects is between the salesperson, the person that is working with them and the buyer is a finite relationship. It’s different than any relationship in your life. They come together for a different purpose. They achieve that purpose and they move on. And the problem is both the buyer and the seller are extremely emotional inside the context of that relationship. The buyer doesn’t want to have you taking advantage of him. And in the fitness business a lot of times, people are coming to you, there’s been a big trigger event on their status quo in their life that has created this desire, this need, this compelling reason for them to walk into your door in the first place. So, something happened to their health, they decided to lose weight. They’ve gotten a divorce. There is something there. But they’ve got this big emotional cloud hanging over their head. At the same time, the salesperson doesn’t want to lose the sale. So, the salesperson is trying to work with them and try to get the sale because they’ve got numbers and they’re getting pushed for their numbers. And so in this emotional stew, the person who has the most control of their emotions has the highest probability of getting the outcome that they desire and that is where Sales EQ begins.
Teaching sales people how to gain control of their emotions in the context of their commercial relationship. So that they can build and create a better outcome for themselves, their company and their client.
CHANTAL: Jeb a number of our listeners would be membership sales managers or consultants are there any specific tips that you could give them around how a membership sales consultant can use Sales EQ?
JEB: Let’s begin with when someone walks through your door. 80-90% of the time, when they walk through your door, they’re coming in or they call you on your telephone, and you’re setting up a meeting with them, so lot’s of them is going to pick up the phone first. However, they’re reaching out to you, the reason they are reaching out to you is something has changed in their life. And sometimes it can be something really big. Sometimes, it is something small but in a lot of cases, it is something that is highly emotional to them.
First of all, you have to have empathy after recognising that there is an emotional reason to be there. The second thing is that it’s a cry for help. And they’re coming in, they’re looking for someone to help them. They’ need a friend. They need someone to put their arms around them and help them make that decision because the decision to make that commitment to change is really really hard. Even though they want to, they are compelled to, they still have to face the fact that once they make that commitment to change, now, they have to change their value system. Basically just tap into that new person that they are hoping to become. So, they’re really, really emotional.
If you as a fitness consultant, if you don’t take the time to listen to them, and understand their emotional reasons for why they are there, you are going to end up losing the sale. What will happen is, your conversation will end with an “I’ll be back.” And we know that people never come back into a fitness centre once they leave.
What you have to do is begin with empathy, begin with listening, begin with asking questions and we call it listening deeply. There are different monikers for this but it is learning how to listen to both your eyes or ears and your intuition – your heart. So, if you’re paying attention to those emotional cues, and then you’re shaping your questions and you’re shaping everything that you do and say around those emotional cues.
The other piece to remember and this is different in your industry than other industry is that the window of dissatisfaction: this place where there’s a disruption in that buyer’s status quo is very, very short. For example, if a mom is getting dressed in the morning and her five-year-old says, “Why are you fatter than all the other mommies?” Well, that happens, right? And then the mommy is immediately embarrassed and takes the kid to school and the next morning, subconsciously decides, I got to do something about this. But they walk through your door, if they walk out of the door, they will snap back to where they were before. They can go back to that status quo.
As a consultant, you have to understand that. And this Chantal is really the core of Sales-centric Emotional Intelligence. In this commercial relationship, in this relationship that is not anything else that have anything in your life, great sales people, great fitness consultants do something called dual process. At one moment, they are empathetic. They are standing in the shoes and in the heart of the person who walked through their door, and at the same time, they are outcome oriented. So, they’re focused on, “I’ve got to get to the outcome.” I’ve got to close this sale. I’ve got to move that, move forward. And so, they never lose sight of things.
It is a very difficult thing to do; to be empathetic and outcome-oriented at the same time. Because for you, the salesperson that creates something like cognitive dissonance which is a painful mental stress, when you try to hold two values systems at the same time. But your ability to do that is what sets you apart from everyone else. It’s the genesis of ultra-high performance. Because unlike people who are totally empathetic, who will let the person walk out the door because they feel bad for them, or the person who is totally self-centric who only cares about themselves and what they want. They basically run past all the emotional reasons why the person is there.
The person who has a dual processor presents to a process is both empathetic and understanding understands the reasons why they are there. And at the same time, has the emotional acuity and control to wrap their arms around that particular buyer; that prospect and help them make the right decision for their life.
CHANTAL: Jeb, I’m going to fast-forward to Chapter 9 of “Sales EQ.” And you talked about self-awareness. And when I was reading that chapter, I was thinking how relevant this is for our membership sales consultants and our personal trainers. Can you maybe tell everyone, a little bit more about that self-awareness? And you also talked about “six keys” to developing self-awareness?
JEB: Yes, absolutely. Well, if we think about self-awareness as a function of understanding who you are, it begins with moving away from delusion. And in sales, you can’t be delusional and successful at the same time. Now, every single person on earth, every single person has a personality and we have a communication style. And our communication style for some people, totally connects. Like you and I are talking about earlier and you were like, “Hey, I like your energy.” So, our communications style because we are both socializer, energizer type people, we totally connect with each other. And in some cases, your personality style doesn’t connect with some people and in fact, it can push people away. Work on your self-awareness and first understand who you are. Then you can do that through a DISC assessment to learn who you are and understand your communications style. So that you can recognize a communication style of other people and you can shift that to them.
The next thing that I think that is important, especially in your industry is that some people in your industry have become fitness consultants because they themselves had this emotional breakthrough that took them to a place, where they decided to change their lives, to make a change that made them physically look better, feel better, and probably extended their lifestyle. Some people are in your industry because they are just fitness nut jobs, they just love fitness. So, they do fitness all the time. And they’re so obsessed and so enthusiastic and passionate about it and it’s all they really want to talk about. So, if you are the person who has that background, where you’ve been there. It is probably easier for you to step on that prospect’s shoes and really understand where they are coming from. But if you are the person that is super passionate about fitness and you love it and live it, you eat it, and breathe it, what happens is that you have the tendency to pontificate. So, you begin talking to your prospect about all the things that are important to you rather than the things that are important to them. And trust me on this, your prospects are not buying fitness, they’re not buying memberships for your reasons. They’re buying them for their reasons. So, you have to be aware of that, so that you can modulate that. There is nothing wrong with being passionate. There is nothing wrong with your desire and your compelling reason to bring people along and show them what is important to you. But you have to first listen to them and understand that. And then bridge your passion to their reason being there in their language. And it all begins with being aware.
Now, a couple of things, we’ve talked about some the things that you could do. And one of the things are Psychometric assessments. You can actually go and get an assessment and understand your communications style. You can also, get a coach. And it is no different than, you know when someone comes into your centre, your gym, and your facility and then they hire a coach to help them exercise. You get someone who is a personal trainer and that’s a coach. The personal trainer can see the things that you can’t see. So, as a fitness consultant or business owner, sometimes it helps to have a coach on your team. You can see the things that you can’t see.
In the U.S., we provide a great deal of coaching for salespeople who come to us and say, “I just want to get better.” You can also, if you are a fitness consultant, go to your manager, go to the person who owns your facility, go to someone that you work with or even a peer and say, “Can you tell me what I can do better? Can you help me see what I can do better?” The key is to listen to them and pay attention.
The other thing that you can do is just go ask for feedback. This can really be tough because asking for feedback can be painful. Because if you ask for feedback, and people give you feedback that you don’t want to hear, it might hurt your feelings. But if you have that courage, you can build that courage, you can sit down with people and say, “Can you give me some specific feedback about this.” And that to me is important. You can’t just say, give me feedback. You have to tell people exactly what you want, because they won’t know where to begin. So, you can get feedback.
Another place that I think is powerful is writing down your goals. So, sitting down and asking the question, “What do I want, when do I want it and how bad do I want it?” And when you begin writing down your goals, and you put them in what you call “goal sheet” and you put them in some format that works for you. When you start asking this question, you get real up close and personal with what you want. And a lot of times we’re assuming we’re about to write something down and it feels really uncomfortable. That tells you where your fear is and that tells you what you may be hiding from. So, I find that to be extremely helpful.
Another place that you could go but this could be expensive. But if you go on and like Google 360 feedback or 360 degree review, there are companies that will do this for you. But they will do is independently, someone will interview all the people around you and ask them their opinions about you. They do this in a very scientific and systematic way and then they’ll give you feedback that you wouldn’t get normally anywhere else. And trust me on this, when you go through it, it will put you in a fetal position because it is painful. But it will change your life. And I had this done for myself a few years back and it literally changed my life. It literally changed what was happening with me and the way I as communicating with other people because I was so blinded by the things that I was doing that was damaging.
And then I think finally, you know, self-reflection and the nice thing about being in the fitness industry is you have the opportunity to do that. I mean, one of the places where, for example, I can sit quietly and just reflect is when I’m on my stationary bike. I got a spin bike and sometimes when I am working out, I get so focused that I’m working out that my brain stops thinking about everything else that is out there and it focuses on me and my problems and my issues and it really helps or yoga is great place to do it or meditation, where you just sit and think. There’s some specialists out there that would say, everybody should do this 15-20 minutes a day, sit in silence, which today it is so hard because within arm’s reach of almost every human being on Earth is a mobile phone that’s got really cool cat videos on it. So, you can dive into that and forget everything else.
Everything you know, every change in your life, every good thing in your life and all of the opportunities that you’re going to have as a sales professional to become and ultra-high performer begin with self-awareness and understanding who you are, how you communicate, what’s important to you, where you have weaknesses, where you have strengths and then being able to manage those and in control of those, so that you can be aware of your emotions and you can influence the emotions of other people.
CHANTAL: Jeb, just hearing you say the words 360 put a kind of a shiver down my spine. I went through a 360 review back in my corporate days when I was in sales. And it was one of the most confronting, life-changing experiences that I’ve ever been through whilst, as you described it, at the time, I was so shocked, I guess and unaware of some of the ways that I was behaving or being around colleagues or being around clients. It actually, what started off as an incredibly difficult experience, ended up to be a life-changing experience eight and led me to do fitness business.
JEB: Absolutely, and on the 360 reviews, I love the shivers. It changed everything in my life. It was that important.
CHANTAL: What is a broad overview of the qualities of an ultra-high performer?
JEB: Absolutely. I’ll give you the top five. And I’ve spent most of my career, studying ultra-high sales performance. And it began with my ultra-high sales performance. I’ve won every trophy, every award my company ever gave out and I still lead the platform with the chairman of the board of a 15 billion dollar company, year after year after year. I went to the president’s club every year that I was in sales, and I just operated at the upper echelons of that sales organisation. I’m usually number one, out of thousands of representatives all the time. And I didn’t know why. I mean, I had some idea but I didn’t really understand why. And this is the problem with a lot of ultra-high performers. You go ask them, “Why you’re an ultra-high performer?” They don’t really know why either. So, I began by breaking it down and trying to understand what do people do differently and why they do it differently and became a student of this whole concept. And basically, if you think about it, it is shocking because these are things that everybody can control.
It begins with their phenomenal prospectors. They are constantly finding ways to get new prospects to their product line. I’d say, at least 60-70% of fitness consultants sit and wait for people to come to them. But you’re ultra-high performers, if you noticed, have a line of people waiting for them. And the reason for the line of people waiting for them is they’re working everybody. They’re getting referrals. They’re talking to their friends and they’re picking up the phoned and they’ll cold call if they have to do that but they constantly always fanatical about putting prospects into their database.
The second thing that they are focused on is time. They are extremely disciplined with the time. They understand that every day they’re are faced with three choices. They can do things that are trivial like watching cat videos. They can do things that are important. Usually, a lot of things are important to do every single day. And you have to do the important things or you won’t survive and you can do things that are impactful. And they, above all other people, they start their day with impactful things. And you’ve watched this. You’ve watched ultra-high performers in your world and you watch what they do. They’re systematic and robotic about getting the most important things in their day done first. That’s what they do every single day.
They’re also obsessed with one probability. And everything in themselves is a probability. You only have so much time, 24 hours a day, that’s it. No more. So, ultra-high performers are masters at focusing that limited amount of time at the highest probability opportunities. They are able to do that because they are able to do that because they are phenomenal prospectors. They are able to leverage their confidence to do that because they don’t have to hold on to low probability things. And everything that they do, when they’re dealing with prospects is about bending probability in their favour. For example, ultra-high performers understand that when someone walks through their door that some trigger event has happened in their lives and that trigger of that is going to create a situation, where they are going to either make a choice or they’re going to move on. And if they don’t take advantage of that, while that person is in that place where their status quo has been disrupted, that person is going to move on. They ask questions and build relationships. They do everything that they possibly can to put when probability in their favour and for every question they ask, every place that they go, Everything that they say. Everything is about that.
The fourth thing that they do in my opinion is that they have high drive, which is also a component of Sales EQ, and that is that they are competitive. High drive is basically a composite of their competitiveness, optimism, and need for achievement. If you look at your ultra-high performers, they love to achieve. But they win for the sake of winning. You’d rarely find ultra-high performers and they’re winning because they want more money. They win because they see that they have to win, which is a really great trait because if you think about it, a lot of people in your industry, they’re competitive people. They have a need for achievement. They set goals for themselves. And they’re typically are optimistic. So, the composite of those dreams drives the high drive. Some of that drive is innate. Some of it is just talent. That’s what they were born with. But a lot of it is what they foster and build and grow through working on their attitude.
You asked me, one of the habits that I have is I listen to podcasts on my car. Because I recognise that if I’m in my car, and I’m listening to podcasts that are good for me. I’m likely going to perform better when I get out of my car than if I’m listening to talk radio or the news which is usually not good to me and I get out of my car. So, ultra-high performers get that.
And then finally, they are virtuosos with people. They have high Sales EQ. They understand how human beings work and they have studied human behavior and they understand that humans are both irrational and extremely predictable. If you just understand human behavior frameworks. And unlike averages sales people, ultra-high performers all they’ve done is they studied, understand them and they get it. And they usually learn from someone else. They don’t always know the name of the frameworks that they use. But because they were coachable and because they are always focused on learning and getting more knowledge, they were able to gain that understanding about human beings work overtime. And sometimes, like you and I, we have to go through the hard lesson of a 360 in order to take what we knew. And then move it to the next level, so that we can grow even higher. And you’ll notice that ultra-high performers and I noticed it all the time when I’m working with a client. The very best salespeople are the ones that are sticking around after class, before class, hitting me up on my phone, sending me text messages, connecting with me on Linkedin. It is always the best sales people, who are driving me crazy for more information, who want to learn more. And other people don’t do that. So, they’re focused on learning every single thing that they can about how human beings work.
CHANTAL: Jeb, before we head into the final question today if people want to grab their, and get their hands on “Sales EQ” or “Fanatical Prospecting” or “People Buy You” or any of your books or the podcast, where are the best places for them to go?
JEB: Honestly, the best place to go is Amazon. I think that if you’re anywhere in the world, Amazon is going to get you there. If you are in the U.S. You can go to any Barnes & Nobles store and you can pick it up and it will be in the store. And it is in some stores in the UK and some stores in South Africa and maybe in a couple of stores in Australia. But it will definitely be available on Amazon. If you want an autographed copy of it, go to Salesgravy.com and click on the icon on the top of the bar called Shop. And we’ve got autographed copies with some swag that goes along with them and then if you want to listen to my podcast, obviously go to iTunes or Stitch or to any one of those places, where you can get podcasts.
CHANTAL: That is so sensational. And tribe, I can’t recommend highly enough that you do go out not only read Sales EQ, which is Jeb’s book that we’ve been talking about today but his previous books as well. And there is an overview on all of those on Salesgravy as well. So, make sure that you check this out and I should remind everyone as well. And if you didn’t hear Jeb’s first two interviews with us, go back and take a listen so that’s Shows 51 and 52 and you can find both of those at fitnessbusinesspodcast.com. Now Jeb, to finish off today, I am hoping you can leave us with a little bit of Fitbizpiration and tell us your top three tips for fitness owners to grow and to succeed in business over the next twelve months.
JEB: The first thing that you have to do is you have to get prospects. So, number one is do everything you possibly can to become a great marketer. And then, I’m doing this to my own business, and I think in our world because there are so much distractions for people. You’ve got to mark it in almost like in a 360 view of marketing every single place that you could be, you’ve got do that. But you’ve got to be disciplined and be great at it. So, whether it’s social media whether it’s traditional advertising, whether it is Facebook advertising, whether it is putting someone out in the streets in front of your place with a poster that says, “Come in and see us.” Whatever it takes, you’ve got to be doing a lot of marketing. You’ve got to keep your name in front of people.
Number two is you’ve got to get great at converting people when they walk through those doors. So, all that marketing, all the work that you do, when they walk through that door, you’ve got to pay attention to why the emotional side of selling. Because if people are coming through your door, it is because of the change in their life. And the thing that I love about the fitness business is it is a totally emotional sale. And if you get that and understand that, you’ll have conversion rates that will outstrip anybody in the industry.
And number three, you have to keep the customers you have. I don’t think there’s any business owner that doesn’t understand this. But of all businesses getting and keeping customers. So you have to make sure that you’re building relationships with your people or your customers or the people that were there. And I can tell you straight up that the number one reason why you are losing memberships is through neglect. You’re not paying attention to them. They’re not hearing from you. They’re not getting loved. And you’ve got stay in front of them and keep them engaged and keep them focused. Because after that burning desire wears off, then comes the really hard work of sticking to it. And I think every business owner in the world knows the value of a long-term customer because once they’re there with you for a long time, and once that membership renews for the second time, it becomes really profitable for you. Plus, they’re giving you a lot of referrals.
CHANTAL: Jeb, I feel like we’re the luckiest people ever to get you back on this show once again. I want to thank you so so much for coming back on for talking to us about Sales EQ. For diving into fitness businesses and talking to us about the relevance of Sales EQ with our fitness businesses. So, thank you so much for coming back on the show and joining us once again.
JEB: Thank you. It’s absolutely my pleasure and thanks for listening to me and if any of your audience buys my book in advanced, thank you. I’m grateful.
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