Probably one of the most uncomfortable moments in health club sales is when a customer rejects your services. They tell you:
- I can’t afford this right now.
- I need to go home and think about it.
- I need to discuss this with my spouse.
- I’d like to try it on my own. Thank you for your time.
When salespeople hear this, they often are stumped about how to proceed. Even if a salesperson knows how to overcome the objection, they can come off choppy or sound like a used car salesperson. The most challenging part about overcoming objections is getting your prospect's mind off the objection and back onto the reason they want to enroll in your program.
Rejection stings because we take it personally, but we shouldn't. The prospect likes you and might even trust you, but they don’t see enough value in what you are selling to spend money with you. If you are interested in digging more into the psychology of sales, please read “Selling Personal Training” by Casey Conrad and “Creating Lasting Change” by Tony Robbins.
For the sake of this article, let’s pretend that your prospects are interested in your services, but you sound like a broken record when overcoming objections and you don’t transition well when discussing options. Three possible reasons for this are:
You don’t have a process to overcome objections; therefore, you don’t know where to go next. In her book, “Selling Personal Training,” Conrad elaborates more about each step.
You don’t have the right transitions to make the process smooth and sound like a normal conversation
You don’t practice your process long enough for you to become good at it
Let’s talk about transitions. Here are the six steps to overcome the most common objection, which is money:
- Be quiet and listen.
- Align with your prospect.
- Question nicely.
- Get the prospect’s mind off of the objection and back onto benefits/isolate the objection.
- Show alternate options.
- Re-close the sale.
Here is a good script for overcoming objections and using a smooth transition called pros and cons to show rates again:
You: Mrs. Jones, would you agree with me that accountability, support, guidance, knowledge and evaluations every six weeks is the kind of a game plan you need to make sure that your past does not repeat itself again?
Mrs. Jones: Yes, I would agree.
You: Mrs. Jones, obviously you realize that it will take us more than two or three sessions to get you in shape, right?
Mrs. Jones: I understand.
You: Mrs. Jones, with your permission, I would love to show how our training programs work, so you can continue to work with a coach and reap the benefits.
Mrs. Jones: OK, that sounds good.
You: Mrs. Jones, how many months did we say we are going to need to get you in shape?
Mrs. Jones: We said 10 to 14 months, right?
You: You got it. So, I say 12 months. Mrs. Jones, you can work with your coach six times per month, eight times per month, 10 times per month or 12 times per month. Here are the monthly investments for each program. (Show her the rates.) Remember, no matter what program you pick up, you will get accountability, support, guidance and coaching. Plus every six weeks, we will evaluate you to make sure you are moving forward. Based on your goals and your past, I feel that the two or three times per week programs would work best for you. You tell me, though, which one of these three can I get you started on today?
Mrs. Jones: Gosh, I would love to work with a trainer. However, I need to go home and think about it.
(Here is where step one in the overcoming objections process comes in. Wait three to four seconds before you say anything.)
You: Mrs. Jones, I completely understand that you want to go home and think about this. Help me understand when you go home and think about this, will you think about the game plan you and I discussed to help you stick with it or the money you will be investing on a monthly basis? (These comments are step two, which is align with your prospect, and step three, which is question nicely.)
Mrs. Jones: Oh for sure, it’s the money.
You: OK. I definitely understand. Let me ask you this. If money wasn’t an issue, which program would you choose? (Here you are doing step three again.)
Mrs. Jones: I would at least do the once-a-week program.
You: OK, Mrs. Jones, tell me why you would work with a coach if money was no object? (This is step four, getting prospect's mind off their objection and back to the benefit.)
Mrs. Jones: Well if I had a trainer, I would definitely come in more. I would be more motivated and pushed to do better.
You: I agree 100 percent. If you are motivated to come in and you are going through an intense workout, are you more or less likely to lose weight?
Mrs. Jones: More likely.
You: And when you lose weight and feel better about yourself, do you feel like that would set a great example for your kiddos?
Mrs. Jones: Oh yeah, for sure.
You: Mrs. Jones, I’ve got to ask you, on a scale from one to 10, how important is it for you to come in more, stay motivated, get pushed harder, lose weight and, more importantly, set a positive example for your kids?
Mrs. Jones: It’s a 10.
You: Mrs. Jones, tell me what is holding you back then from working with a coach on a regular basis?
Mrs. Jones: Money for sure.
You: OK. Is there anything else other than money that would hold you back from getting started today? (Step four - isolate)
Mrs. Jones: No, there is nothing else.
You: Would you agree with me that it’s better to have some accountability and support vs. none?
Mrs. Jones: Oh yeah, some is better than none.
You: Plus, remember how you and I talked about the eating out and the pop? What exactly did we agree on?
Mrs. Jones: Yeah I remember. I spend way too much on that junk.
You: That’s right. And, if your best friend was doing that, what would you tell your friend?
Mrs. Jones: Yeah, I would tell them to knock it off.
You: Mrs. Jones, this is where the money is going to come from for you to do this. Consider that the $600 per month that you are spending on this type of food that is literally making you feel sick. Keeping this in mind, let me show you more programs that you can get started on, ok? (This is step five, to show alternatives.)
Mrs. Jones: Sure.
You: Mrs. Jones, you can work with your coach two times per month, three times per month or four times per month. You will still receive support, coaching and accountability except it will be done virtually – by phone or emails. Plus, we will still evaluate you every six weeks, just like we talked about. You tell me, out of these three, which one works best for you? (Step six, which is to reclose the sale.)
At this point the prospect may give you another objection or get started on a program. The most difficult part of overcoming objections is step four, getting the prospect's mind off of the objection and back onto benefits. The only way this is going to become second nature is to practice this over and over again. Role play the process over and over again until it becomes integrated into your central nervous system.
Michael Gelfgot is a franchisee partner in Anytime Fitness. He and his business partner John Spence operate 23 Anytime Fitness locations in the United States. His accomplishments include 2007 Club Operators of the Year, 2013 Success Story of the Year and Personal Trainer of the Year, and 2015 Community Outreach Award of the Year. He was the first Personal Trainer of the Year in 2012.