Close with the X-factor


What makes a guest join your club? Is it the facility? Is it the programs? Is it your location? Is it the professionalism of your staff and the environment they create? While these are important aspects to the success of your club there is another important component. It is the critical factor that creates the close. It's the X-factor.

Following is an excerpt that describes this X-factor from “Surefire Sales Closing Techniques” by Les Dane.

To understand this X-factor, imagine a guest, who upon arriving at the club wraps himself in a “brick overcoat.”

“The coat is made up of all the arguments — conscious and unconscious — the salesperson must overcome to get the sale.

Much as a logger must locate and blast out the key pieces in a logjam so the logs will break loose and continue their trip down the river to the mill, so must the salesperson locate the key bricks in the overcoat of sales resistance.

Once he has located those bricks it is a simple matter to remove them and move in for the Big League close.

There is one basic theme, however…fear. The bricks in the overcoat are bricks of fear, and fears must be dissolved so the prospect can move ahead with the purchase, confident that he is doing the right thing; getting the right product.

Can his fears — the bricks — be identified? Are they sticking out, a different color, size or shape than the rest of the coat? They are indeed. Sometimes, the color is barely a shade different; the shape the tiniest fraction off. But if the salesperson knows what to watch, and listen for, he can spot them every time.”


People are afraid of being conned or afraid that they will regret a purchase. However, the salesperson is often also in a state of fear. The fear that he or she won't be able to close this prospect. So now we have fear talking to fear.

For example, “I'm not sure I want to start yet,” doesn't convey confidence. Whereas, “I am ready to get in shape!” gives you the feeling of confidence. It's all about making positive comments backed by certainty and sincerity that gives prospects the feeling that they are doing the right thing. The emotional tone is present. When fear is talking to fear we get no decisions, but a lot of “I have to think about it.”

The opposite of confidence is doubt. When doubt exists, decisions are not made. It is crucial for salespeople to have confidence in the product and confidence in their ability to communicate that. When prospects experience that confidence their interest comes up and trust has been established. The confidence level is an essential component of closing the sale.

The salesperson has to be confident and look confident to get respect from the customer. This can be done by:

  • training the staff about the club's product;

  • training staff how to communicate with the guests;

  • training the staff how to do an effective tour;

  • training the staff in basic sales skills;

  • having staff dress appropriately; and

  • having the sales team believe in and committed to their own health and well being.

A way for the sales team to build confidence is knowledge regarding your product and service. It is important for them to know what you are selling. What is this product? What does it do? What does it cost? How do I use it? What are the features and benefits? If your sales team knows these basics their confidence will go up and they don't have to worry about what to say to the prospect. It is important to note that people will buy the benefits, not necessarily the features; it's how they feel about the product or service.

We trust people who are competent and confident. When we work with a confident person we are willing to communicate with them. Getting the guest into communication will help us find out how we can service their needs. This lets guests see that your club is the right place for them. Confidence is the key to getting new members.

Klaus Hilgers, founder and president of Epoch Consultants Inc., is an internationally known consultant, speaker, author and trainer. He can be reached at [email protected] or


  1. Write down what your product is. Define the product. What is it that you are selling?
  2. Write down five features of your product that describe facts, data, information or characteristics.
  3. Write down a benefit for each feature that you listed. A benefit meets an explicit need expressed by the client.
  4. Write down what would qualify a person to purchase this product. What are the characteristics of your ideal client?
  5. Make a list of reasons why a prospect should choose your company or product vs. a competitor.

By answering these questions your confidence should go up because you have the basic knowledge you need to communicate effectively about your product or service.

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