Chantal : We’re in week four of our sales intensive series, and it is my pleasure to welcome back our expert guest Casey Conrad. Welcome back Casey.
Casey : Well, thank you. I can’t believe it’s been four weeks, it’s flown by.
Chantal : It has flown by, hasn’t it? Now, last week we told everyone that some people feel a little bit funny when it comes to making follow-up phone calls, and we’re hoping that you might be able to talk to us about how we actually approach those. How do we change our mindset when it comes to the way that we feel about making those calls?
Casey : Well, I’m going to give you just a mind-blowing statistic, and there’s going to people that are going to say, “Casey, you’re two points off,” or something like that. I’m a visual person, right? So, I don’t necessarily remember the absolute accurate percentage, but here’s what I do know. Statistics show, that less … And this is across all of sales, this is not fitness sales. I want to be clear about this, but in general, when human beings make a call or walk into a store, or talk to any sales person across any modality, if you would, only about three to five percent of people buy right there, right on the very first interaction.
Another three or four percent buy the second time, and then, another 10% buy the third time, but what they find, is that the majority of people, the vast majority of people buy somewhere between five and 13 follow-ups. Now, look, the fitness industry sale is a very short sale. What do I mean by that? We’re not talking about a $60,000 car, we’re not talking about buying a house, we’re not talking about specially buying a computer.
Now, yes, some facilities are more expensive than others, some have a contract, some have month to month rate, but as a general rule, when somebody walks into a fitness club, they are usually farther along in the process, especially with today’s internet, okay? So, that’s why we have a reasonably high first visit closing percentage, but the reality is that the industry as a whole is pathetic at following up. Pathetic, because we have this reasonably steady stream of prospects walking through the door. You talk to anybody that’s in outside sales, they have to go out and stir up their prospects and find prospects. And so, they have to follow up, because they don’t have the freebies, the gravy train is what I call it, coming through the front door.
So, the first and foremost thing is, follow-up is critical to high success. You can be successful in the club business and have pretty crappy follow-up. I see it all the time, but if you really want to have a high level of success, you have to get good, and you have to feel good about following up.
Chantal : Okay, so let’s dive straight into some real examples Casey. Takes us through what we could actually say in those follow-up phone calls.
Casey : Great. Well, the first thing that you can say to yourself is, “I’m following up because I scheduled it.” Here’s the rule, never, ever, ever, ever, never, never, ever, did I say never? Yes, never, leave an interaction without a clear, established course of contact, right? Step eight in the sales process, “Establish a clear course of contact.”
So, I don’t care what it is. Every single time you have an interaction with a customer, your goal is to take them to the next exposure or the next contact. If you hang up the pone without getting permission to call them back in a day or two days, a week, a month, a year, whatever it is, now you’re a pain in the ass salesperson. But, if you’re calling because you had a scheduled appointment or following via an email because you had a scheduled appointment, or a text or whatever your method of communication is, then you are a true professional.
So, first and foremost, you better be calling because you have a scheduled time. Now, I say that, you might be mining leads from … Because you’re a new sales person, that’s a different … We’re going to use the same skillset, but that’s a different story all together, okay? So, we’re going to follow-up with the customer, we’ve got a scheduled appointment, and we want to know that every single call … I don’t care if it’s an info call, a buddy referral call, follow-up call, an alumni call, whatever it is. Every call, of course, follows steps.
Step one is your introduction and pre-qualifying. Step two is your qualifying and probing. Step three is your closing for your appointment or next action, and step four is administration, or administrative and wrap up. So, let’s suppose that you came in, and you toured with me four days ago, and you needed to go home and talk to your husband, let’s just say … I laugh at the husband objection, because I never get it because, look, the husband objection really doesn’t exist, because if a woman wants something, she’s going to get it, or he’ll never get it. So, whatever the wife wants, she ultimately will get.
Chantal : So, take that.
Casey : So, if she really wanted it … Am I right?
Chantal : You’re right, you’re so right.
Casey : Yes, of course. Every husband is laughing and every single guy is going, “No way, man.” Yes, okay. Well, you’re not married yet, so don’t even go there. So, you had the husband objection, and now I’m calling and following up at the scheduled time, okay? So, when I call, you want to know that you never, ever, ever, ever, ever, want to say to someone, “Did you make a decision?” Or, “Did you talk to your husband?” Right? You want to start off by re-grounding them into where you were.
So, “Chantal, it’s Casey calling from ABC club. How are you this evening? Listen, it’s six o’clock, I’m circling back with you, the last time we spoke we had gone through the club, you love this, this, and this. You wanted the membership so you could lose 12 pounds, be ready for vacation, and the only thing that you had to overcome was convincing your husband that you needed this membership. Now, you still want to lose the weight and get ready for that wedding, right?”
See, so what I’m doing is, I’m re-grounding them and getting them to make a commitment to, “Yes, I want to have what we discussed.” Okay? Now, they could lie through their teeth to me, right? They could, but the bottom line is, I’m putting myself into a position where I’m getting them re-engaged emotionally to what their goal was and the commitments that they gave me. So, I’m then going to use phraseology. I’m not going to say, “Well, what did he say?” I’m going to ask a question, “So, tell me, how did you get him to say yes?” “Tell me about it, tell me about your strategy, how did you get him to say yes?”
“Well, I haven’t got him to say yes.” “Oh, really? Have you spoken to him about it yet?” “No.” So, then I’m going to backtrack, but I’m basically going to ask her to validate for me what her goal was. Her goal was to go home and convince the husband that she needed this membership. So, I’m going to ask her, “Tell me, how did you end up doing it? What was your strategy?” And let’s face it, I know there’s a lot of guys on this call, but there’s a strategy, every guy has a strategy, every woman has a strategy.
He wants a new putter or something else, there’s a strategy behind it. Same thing for us women, if we want something, there’s a strategy we’re going to follow. We know, “Yes, if we do this, this and this …” So, anyway, bottom line is, I don’t want to get to far off the process here. I’m going to ask positive, affirmative questions to get this person to tell me … And if they haven’t done it yet, then I’m going to say, “Okay, so tell me what’s your next strategy point? How are you going to do that?”
So, it’s a mindset, okay? And the key is never, ever, ever, asking, “Did you make a decision?” Because that is a total setup. Still, a lot of times I get interviewed and people will ask me a question like, “Casey, if there’s only one skill that a salesperson could have, what would it be?” People think I’m going to say, “Overcoming objections.” Absolutely not. Overcoming objections is easy. The best skill that you can have as a professional salesperson, not just fitness, but a professional salesperson … Ability to ask the right question.
If you can ask the right questions, you will always, always, always be successful, because the more they tell, the more you sell. And when you ask the right question, they tell. So, that’s the basic … I know it’s like, “Are you kidding me? It’s that easy?” Well, of course, no, not every call is going to go to plan, but the reality is, is that you’re calling them, you’re recapping what their goals were, you’re getting them to commit to the fact that they still want that, and then you’re going to basically ask them an affirmative question.
If it was the money objection, and the person says, “Well, I need to go home and I need to really think about it.” Of course, I would have done a lot of things at the point of sale to set them up with a specific strategy that they’re going to go home and try to accomplish.
But I’m going to circle back and I’m going to do the same thing, “Great, we had this scheduled time, and when we left this is what you wanted. The only thing you needed to sorted out was to be able to find that extra $20 a week in order to have the membership of your choice. Tell me, how did you do it? What did you end up coming up with?” I’m asking them to give me a solution, and this really puts the customer in a challenging position, because if they don’t find a solution it says they failed.
Chantal : Casey, you know what I find really interesting about this, because obviously this is very systemized and process driven, but it’s a really good reminder of why it is so important that we record and keep track of information that we learn from our prospects. So, back in show two, we talked about the conversation that we were having, when A Prospect comes into our facility, we talked about the handling objections in show three, and all of that time, what are you doing? You’re gathering information, you’re gathering data. Because then, what I’m hearing is that you’re actually utilising that information in that phone call that you’re making to follow up.
Casey : And it brings us to a really good point. Our day of information technology, the problem is, is that so much of this honestly gets lost, because someone … Let’s say you’re working off an iPad, how much can you really type quickly on an iPad? You can’t. And let’s say you’re writing things down on a good old fashioned piece of paper, which I love, I love paper. Oh my gosh, I miss paper, “Oh, we don’t have that.” “Oh gosh, give me paper,” Because of my age, right? I’m a boomer.
But what happens is, is then they tell them, “Go ahead and enter that into the computer.” Well, they put crib notes in. So, these really relevant, important pieces of information that you will never remember a month or two months from now, completely get lost, which is why … Even now, if you came into my office right now, then I actively sell. I am actively selling … I don’t want to get into it, but a new marketing programme for clubs. You will find index cards, no shit, you’ll find index cards right here on my desk. A to Z, one through 30, and I still use it.
Yes, do I have a calendar that tells me to call that person? I do, but you know what? It’s my little notes about their dog or about their vacation, or things that … There’s no field for the damn thing in an online note section, or it’s not easy to do. You’ll never remember that. So yes, I know, the kids, the millennials and the younger generation are laughing at the old chick right now, but you know what? Laugh away, it’s a reality. I see it when I go in an audit clubs.
Chantal : Well, you know what, Casey, I think it’s a really great example, and I know that there is still facilities out there that use that exact system, and it’s about what works best for you. If you’ve got a digital product that is really good and gives you the opportunity to enter heaps of information, and you feel as though you’re efficient at doing that, then do it that way. Or do it pen and paper, old school, whatever works for you, but as long as you’re recoding that information as you say, not skipping corners because that can be the secret sauce to actually getting that person across the line.
Casey : And, when that chair turns over and the new salesperson comes in, this is why it’s really important, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-computer. I just find that salespeople don’t enter it. That’s the problem. It’s not that they’re not capturing it. Many don’t go and enter it, because it takes … That’s the kind of stuff that salespeople typically hate, the admin.
But if you come in as a new salesperson, I’m going to hand you an old file or a database of people that are former guests or alumni members, or whatever it is to work through, and the more data you have to be able to pick up the phone and say, “Hi Mrs. Jones, you don’t know me, but I’m calling from ABC club. I see that you were in the club about 18 months ago, and at that time you were interested in … And it looks like you might have worked with John. I’m curious, did he actually bring you through a trial workout or did you just take a tour?”
And you can go right back into the info call format, which is another conversation for another day, but the more information this salesperson has as a new person, the better you’re going to harvest leads as a club that didn’t enroll months ago, or years quite frankly.
Chantal : Casey, in the past three weeks, this is week four now, I feel like we’ve had interview by numbers. Because we had in week one our, “Eight steps to fitness sales,” and in week two we had, “Five steps to connecting through conversation.” Week three we had, “Six steps to handling objections.” Now … Do you like that? Do you think that’s pretty accurate?
Casey : That’s good, and today’s is four, right? Today’s is four. Every call has four steps.
Chantal : Yes? Exactly, so I’m going to call it … Yes, it’s sales by numbers this one, or interviews by numbers. So, do you think … here’s your last challenge to leave us with today, because there are going to be some people, I know, some people out there that want to come straight to the last show, because they think that all of the answers are going to be in the last show, but I’m telling you right now, you’ve got to go back and listen to all three prior to this one.
Casey, can you very quickly just run us through a very quick summery of what we’ve talked about in the last three weeks, or the last four weeks, without giving away too much of each of those individual [crosstalk 00:16:55]. How’s that for a challenge?
Casey : Sure well, since it’s in my blood that’s easy. So, we started off with a foundation, the skeleton. If you don’t have good bones, then the rest of the stuff on it’s not going to stick. So, we started with the eight steps to successfully selling. Number one, you got to get a prospect. Number two, you got to have that meet and greet, and that’s what we covered. The five pre-qualifying questions. Then you have to qualify and from there, you then can bring someone on a dynamic, interactive tour, because you know what they want and why they want it. Once you’re done with the tour and you know they want the membership, you move to the price presentation. Sure sometimes, step six, you got to overcome objections or when they buy, you immediately go to step seven, which is get referrals. And, if they didn’t buy, you move to step eighth, establish a course of contact.
So, we have that good foundation, and then we moved into, how do you start the conversation with someone? And really, that’s all we got into, was the pre-qualifying. I personally think the pre-qualifying is critical, critical, critical, because first impressions are everything. You want to make sure you’re painting that canvas and you’re really getting a clear picture of this customer before you move into the qualifying. So, we talked about, “Hi, my name is Casey, and you are?” “How can I help you today? How did you hear about us?” Right? You want to know where the marketing is coming from.
If they had been into the club before, and if so, when was it? Did they work with someone? Did they go on a tour? Did they just … Or did they work out? Did someone have an opportunity to go over membership and curiosity, what prevented them from getting started? Uncover that potential roadblock down the road. And then finally, did they have time for a complete tour? And we talked about, not just those five questions, but if you don’t go back and listened to what we talked about as far as communication skills there, and understanding the deeper meaning of connectivity and rapport, then you’re really, really missing something.
Then, if I remember correctly, that was week three, we talked about overcoming objections, and I gave them the six specific steps for overcoming objections. Number one, be [inaudible 00:19:02]. Step two, align with them. Step three, of course, question it nicely. Four, Isolate it. Five, find a solution, and six, re-close.
And then today, we’re talking about follow-up, and I backed it up and said, “Look, I don’t care whether it’s a follow-up call, and info call, an alumni call, doesn’t matter, an outreach call, every single call has four steps. Introduction and pre-qualifying, qualifying and probing, closing for the appointment or the next action, and administrative and wrap up. And we drilled down into a specific example of talking to somebody we had scheduled to follow-up on, and I gave them the strategy of not say, “Did you make a decision?” Right? No, no, no, no, we want to engage them. We want to re-anchor them.
We want to get them emotionally reconnected to what it was they came into the facility for. And then ask them and affirmative question about how they succeeded with overcoming what their roadblock was that they had shared with you. Did I summarise is pretty well?
Chantal : Casey, the last two minutes is exactly why you are the best of the best in fitness sales. Thank you so much, that was a phenomenal summery of the past four weeks. And I just wanted to let everyone know, because you have recently added a new publication, of course, you’re extensive library of professional development resources. Do you want to give everyone a little bit of a heads on the latest book that you’ve just released?
Casey : Sure, this one is really more for the owner/operators, or someone who owns their own personal training, and it’s called, “Club hidden profits,” and it’s really about how to use products and programme marketing with some very specific, cutting edge technologies that we are knocking it out of the park with here. And it’s going to be super exciting, I’m actually going to be running a weekly video blog talk radio, and a Facebook page that’s going to launch in September. So, watch out, I am on fire with this, we are just having incredible, incredible outcomes with it in every sense of the word, and I am so stoked to bring it to the world.
Chantal : Well, we are so grateful for everything that you do for our industry, Casey. You are such an amazing expert, you are so generous with sharing your time and sharing your knowledge, and helping everyone else in the worldwide fitness industry. So, thank you for being our expert guest over the last four weeks for the sales intensive series. We are incredibly privileged to have had you on the show again. So, thank you, and I’ll be putting links to all of your resources in today’s show notes. Casey Conrad, you’re amazing, thank you so much.
Casey : Thank you, it’s been an honour to serve.
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