It seems like every so often something old becomes new again. Today's column relates to a recent column I read about objections that prospective members have to joining a health club and how to overcome them.
I don't believe there are prospect objections that a salesperson needs to overcome. I also don't agree with having to convince people to join.
"Convince" in many cases is a replacement word for "coerce." And viewing prospects' concerns as objections is what I call OSS (old style selling). Implied in "overcoming objections" is that the salesperson has to be the victor in a sort of war.
Prospective customers don't come into a fitness facility to engage in a win-lose fight. They are looking for information on which to shape a personal decision. And that decision is a choice about well-being.
I learned many years ago in selling health club memberships that there are really four "must-knows" that I had to determine in the interview with a prospect.
They are encapsulated in the acronym NTUM. And none of them are "objections to be overcome." They are facts to be found out.
N = Need
T = Time
U = Urgency
M = Money
The first thing to establish is why is the prospect sitting across from you, thinking about joining a health club? What is/are her or his perceived need(s)? Finding this out will tell you a lot
Next is a simple question. Will this person commit time—and how much time—to making a shift in his or her well-being through exercise? It is important to know this early in the interview. Without some general intention of making time for exercise, the conversation is over.
The third important fact is what level of urgency the prospect feels about the need. Is it something that must be taken care of soon, or is it a back-burner issue that the prospect perceives as not overly important?
Finally, none of this makes any sense unless the prospect has a commitment to investing money to make this happen. It doesn't matter whether we are discussing a high-priced membership, a program purchase or a budget membership. Without money changing hands, you do not have a sale.
In my years of mentoring club operators about membership sales, I always found it interesting to learn how many sales personnel thought they had dozens or even hundreds of prospective buyers when in fact they had far fewer. Why? Without an established need, you have no prospect. Without a commitment to time, you have no prospect. Without a fairly strong sense of urgency, you have no prospect. Without a decision to spend money, you have no prospect. In each case, all you have is a "suspect."
Concentrate on NTUM. They are the core of the membership interview process. They will save you a lot of frustration. Practice finding out these four essentials, and you are likely to make a lot more sales.
Do you agree? Comment below to share your thoughts.
Michael Scott Scudder is founder and CEO of Fitness Business Council, the independent club business network. He can be contacted at 575-613-1004 or [email protected].