Chantal : Welcome along to the FBP Intensive Series, brought to you by ABC Financial. I’m your host Chantal, and this is a four part series. Where one expert guest will present on one key topic each week for four weeks. During each show you’ll receive practical tips and actions to implement in your fitness business. Our focus topic for this series is sales, and our expert guest is Casey Conrad. Casey has been in the health and fitness industry for 27 years. In addition to authoring, Selling Fitness: The Complete Guide to Selling Health Club Memberships, she has created and published over 25 other sales, marketing, and management training products for the industry.
Most recently, Casey has created an entire line of comprehensive training programmes that are delivered online. These include membership sales, personal training sales, and internet marketing. She has spoken in 24 countries, and is a feature presenter at conventions and trade shows worldwide. And she writes monthly for numerous international magazines. I am so excited to welcome our special guest, Casey Conrad. Casey, thank you for being our expert guest for this intensive series.
Casey : It is a pleasure to be back.
Chantal : We are so excited that you said yes to this. And for years, fitness businesses all across the globe have been using your Eight Steps to Fitness Sales. Do you want to start off the series by telling us what are those eight steps.
Casey : Sure. Get a prospect, meet and greet, qualify, tour, product presentation, overcome objections, get referrals, and establish a course of contact. That follows the chronological flow of the interaction with a guest. So number one, you got to have a prospect, which brings us to the whole conversation on another interview about how do you prospect, and are you sitting around waiting for tours. Then of course the meet and greet, which is critical. Critical, critical, critical, first impressions, and we’ll talk more about that I believe on another series, another part of this series.
Then of course qualifying. If you don’t know what someone wants and why they want it, how are you going to go then to the next step, step four, give them a dynamic tour. Once you’ve given them a tour, then you’re going to bring them back and go through your product or price presentation. Then of course, we’d love to think that every sale will immediately say yes, but you’re going to have to overcome some objections. If you are successful at selling them, you move into your referral presentation. And if you’re not successful, you move into step eight, establish a course of contact. That’s it.
Chantal : Casey, in your experience, those steps that you just took us through, are they relevant for selling any fitness service?
Casey : Sure, anything. I’ve had car dealership bring me in to do training with them. I’ve had IBM bring me in to do training with them. Quite frankly, sales is sales. The benefit of selling fitness, and why my book is translated into multiple languages and so many clubs have used it, it’s simply because I was the first to actually make it totally relevant to selling. We used to be sent off to Tom Hopkins, or Brian Tracy seminars, and you know, most people aren’t going to take the time to figure out what’s the verbiage, what are the questions that are specific to fitness.
Number one, [inaudible 00:04:14] selling, but as it relates to your question, of course. I don’t care whether you’re selling personal training, whether you’re selling an ancillary service like massage. It doesn’t matter. These steps are completely relevant, and I know what you’re next question is going to be, “But come on Casey, your book’s selling thin, your book’s selling personal training talks specifically about membership sales, or personal training sales.” Well it’s simple, what you do to adapt them is that you get together in a room of people, preferably seasoned people in that particular product or service that you’re offering inside your facility, and you customise it.
I go into clubs sometimes and I’ll mystery shop sales people. I love to covertly, I go to the spy store, and I buy little spy devices and things like that, that allow me to record people. It sounds cruel, but you know, to force a role play, which we have to do, right, you really never get a natural situation. When you record someone and they don’t know they’re being recorded, not only can you identify areas of weakness, but more importantly you can actually identify gems that come out of somebody’s mouth that they don’t consciously think about, but have a huge impact in the success of a sale.
That’s the best way to adapt anything as far as those eight steps. Get people within that particular, let’s say you’re going to the crest, the daycare, great, get those people together and say, “Okay, what are the questions that would pre-qualify someone coming in talking to us about wanting the crest services for the meet and greet?” They automatically do that anyway, because unless they’re not so intelligent, but that’s part of their DNA, because that’s what they are passionate about doing. Does that make sense?
Chantal : It makes total sense. And at the moment in my head, I have this vision, which is Casey Conrad private eye. I have you dressed in a black hat with dark sunglasses and a recording device in your pocket.
Casey : Yeah, well I can’t do it anymore because people recognise you, or they recognise my voice. I’ll send somebody else in to do it. It’s interesting because when you play back something for somebody that, first of all, they have to get over being pissed right, because they’re pissed that you mysteriously recorded them. “Oh, isn’t that illegal?” Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re going to deal with all that garbage. But really, again, it’s not a beating stick, it’s a learning stick. If you use it as a tool to help someone improve, then of course that’s where you get the golden nuggets.
Chantal : So Casey, give us an example of when you’ve gone through that mystery shop, and you take that feedback back to the person, what are some of the exercises or the things that you would do for people to improve getting better at those eight steps?
Casey : Well the first thing, and I will answer the question, but it’s important to know that you already have KPIs on this person. Now unless they’re brandy new, but if someone’s brandy new, I’m not going to mystery shop them, that’s cruelty, okay. If I have KPIs, and I’m looking at your KPIs and I can see that you do a lot of tours, but you don’t make a lot of sales at the point of sale, I already know ahead of time, you probably are weak in overcoming objections. But now I’ve got to validate that, and I’ve got to figure out, “Well, what are you doing?” Because if I have given you, in each of these steps, there are strategies, there are skills, and there are tools. Each of the eight steps, every single one of them has a strategy, it has a skill behind it, and it has a specific tool that you’re going to use.
If I’ve done a good job in training somebody, I know they already have the tools. They already know the strategy. Really, what I need to do is figure out, well where did they not get the skill, you know, success? Why are they not integrating the skill? Because I’ve trained them how to do it. What I’m looking for is to zero in on that. Of course, I might find out other things in other parts of their tour that could really put the hair on the back of my neck up. But the reality is, is what I’m looking for is to, okay, I’ve pre-screened, I know their KPIs, that’s really where I want to dive into.
But to answer your question, a lot of times, what will happen is, we teach feature benefits feedback selling, a huge part of the strategy and the skill of giving a dynamic club tour. And all too often, sales people go on, I call it the Gilligan’s tour, do you remember that, maybe I don’t know, that was a population show once here in the United States.
Chantal : Gilligan’s Island?
Casey : Gilligan’s Island, yeah
Chantal : We got it here.
Casey : The three hour tour. They go on this tour where they verbally vomit all this information out, and they never use the feature benefits feedback skill. It’s so common, but until somebody literally hears themself not doing it, it’s almost impossible to get them to admit it, because everybody thinks they do it right. It’s amazing. That’s just one example, but you could take any part and do that.
Chantal : Casey, one of the previous times that we caught up, we spoke about role play, and you mentioned it earlier, when we’re going through the eight steps. I know that it’s an area that quite a few people start doing with their teams, but sometimes they don’t necessarily keep it up consistently. What’s your advice around role play?
Casey : Well look at any cricket team, look at any footie team, look at any professional sports team. When they go out and they start their practise for the day, what do they do? They do the fundamentals. They practise. Michael Jordan, every single practise had to do free throw shots, had to do his layups, had to do his three points, every single time. Role playing is the equivalent of those fundamental skills or practises that professional athletes do.
First and foremost, the minute, the minute a manager stops role playing with their team, they’re so done. Because stuff will fall out of their mouth within a couple of weeks if you don’t keep role playing the basics. It’s just human nature, because let’s face it, when you’ve given your five thousandth tour, you kind of want to make it different. And so that slowly happens, and it’s kind of like a boat that’s going off course. Just one percentage, one degree off course is nothing over say a couple of miles, but now you go across the Atlantic Ocean, and you’re in a completely different part of the European continent.
It’s the same exact thing with your sales team. Role playing the core competencies is an absolutely must. And there’s core competencies in each one of these things. In the meet and greet, it’s the five pre-qualifying questions. In qualifying, it’s knowing how to go through the qualifying questions, meaning past exercise history, present exercise history, future goals. And of course uncovering objections. Under touring, the feature benefit feedback. Each one of these has core competencies that you must continually role play.
And if you don’t, not only will they not get good, but they won’t get better. And every single team has something to learn. I constantly am training, and when I jump into role plays with people, or I have them do a role play, I’m learning things. I go, “That’s good. I like that verbiage. I’m going to steal that now.” And so you can always be learning. I don’t care how good you are, you can always be tweaking your craft of professional sales. Absolutely.
Chantal : Casey, when you do role play with a team, or when you see a manager doing role play, do you recommend that they record those sessions? Because I was just listening to what you were saying then and wondering, is it best to give feedback on the spot, or do you think that it’s worthwhile recording those sessions so that the individual can rewatch it later on, the role play?
Casey : I think it’s both. Yeah, I think it’s both. Again, you’re not going to always record every single time you’re in a sales meeting. But there comes a time where, like a professional athlete that’s trying to change their swing, or their stroke. Until you see yourself, until you hear yourself, you think one thing, and it could be just something like you don’t realise that you’re fidgeting, or you don’t realise you say, “You know,” a lot. Or like I say, “Absolutely,” and my mother constantly reminds of that every time she listens to me on my radio show. “You said absolutely too many times today.” Got to love mom. Mom keeps your feet planted firmly on reality.
But sometimes it’s important to record. Not only to review that one-on-one most likely with a newer sales person, with a veteran you can do it in a group. But then there’s also the, “Let’s just role play around the table.” And I always, when I’m working with a team, I always have them go around and say, “What’s one thing that she did really well, or he did really well?” And then go around and say, “What’s the one thing, the one thing that you think could be improved the most?” I don’t not allow them to go, “Well, she didn’t do this, and she didn’t do that. And oh my goodness, she said that.” No, no, I just want one thing, and therefore it doesn’t become a stone them to death situation where they hate role playing.
And may I add, if a sales manager or manager can’t role play, they better get their bootie in gear and learn how to do it. Because the reason that people like my sales training, is because I put my butt on the line, and I’ll jump into a role play with anybody, anywhere, anytime. Don’t tell your people, your team to go do something, show them how it’s done.
Chantal : Now there’s some good advice Casey, thank you for that. Now you’re going to be joining us next week, and we’re going to dive a little bit more into that area of the conversation that happens before you actually tour a new prospect. And we’re going to talk through some script suggestions. But before next week’s show, are there any actions that you would suggest that listeners should take over the next week, based on what we’ve discussed today.
Before we hear this week’s homework from Casey, here’s an important message from one of the team at ABC Financial.
Sarah: Hi, this is Sarah Pellegrino from ABC Financial. If you have a club located in the northeast Ontario, Manitoba, or Saskatchewan, I would love to help you with your software and billing solution. You can contact me via email at email@example.com. That’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casey : Yeah, so I love to do this in a group setting, I say to everybody, “Take out a piece of paper, and I want you to write down the steps to successfully selling health club membership.” If a manager’s listening to this, have your team do it. Just have your team do it. If you’re a sales person listening to this, then you know, step up to the plate and ask yourself, “Do you really know the eight steps to successfully selling, right?” And if not, okay, start writing them out and memorising them. But from a manager’s perspective this is very, very enlightening, because you will be shocked, even if you’re using my stuff, you are going to be shocked at the stuff that gets down on that piece of paper.
Awareness, dig down and find out, do I really know or does my team really know the eight steps? And if not, by the time we come back next week, if I walked up to you and said, “Give me the eight steps to successfully selling?” Could you rattle it off at unconscious competence. Where it just went, “Yeah sure, you get a prospect, and then you meet and greet. And then you qualify, and then you tour. Blah-blah-blah.” Could you do that? And if you can’t, well then you haven’t done your homework.
Chantal : You heard it from Casey Conrad herself. There is your exercise, your challenge for the week ahead. So Casey, thank you so much for joining us today for the very first of our Intensive Sales Series. And we will chat to you next week.
Casey : Ciao.
Chantal : The Intensive Series wouldn’t be possible without the support of our podcast partner, ABC Financial. ABC Financial leads the health and fitness industry in software and payment processing solutions. If you want your business to thrive, with the most advance club management software, comprehensive payment processing, and customer service that is second to none, then chose ABC Financial. You can request a demo at www.abcfinancial.com.
Also a reminder that thanks to our foundation partner, Active Management, you can now download a transcription of each show in the Intensive Series. Just go to fitnessbusinesspodcast.com. Click on the tab at the top of the page called Intensive Series, then scroll down and press the button that says, access the transcription of this interview. It is that easy.
A reminder of this week’s action from Casey is to write down the eight steps to fitness sales, and start to memorise them. And here’s a little tip, if you can’t remember them, either rewind the show and listen again, or head to fitnessbusinesspodcast.com and download the transcription. I’m your host Chantal, I want to thank you so much for joining us for episode one of the FBP Intensive Series on Sales.
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