Trainers must have the ability to think critically in order to successfully close a sale based on feelings. When you are hiring trainers, assess each candidate's critical thinking skills. The future of fitness professionals is much more than a certification or exercise science degree. The successful trainer is a leader who can influence change in clients' lives.
Stop Role Playing
No more role-playing PAR-Qs and sales presentations. The mediocre manager will make staff read through their questionnaires in pairs on a weekly basis, often because he or she doesn't know what else to do. The trainer may become so concerned about what question is next that he doesn’t even hear the answer.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Teach your trainers how to ask open-ended questions by having them spend 10 minutes asking nothing but open-ended questions with a partner or small group. Make sure the trainers follow each answer with an affirmation to be sure the answer is understood by all parties.
Talk Less, Listen More
Teach your trainers that they should ask a question and then be quiet. Even when the client pauses, trainers should not feel the need to fill in the silence. Let it be and just listen. Have your trainers do this with partners and tell them not to speak for five minutes after they ask a question. Debrief how both parties felt about the experience. Often, the speaker is relieved to have the uninterrupted time to speak his or her thoughts aloud.
Ask Follow-up Questions
Train your trainers to dig deeper three times before moving on to the next question. For example, if a client says he does not have time to exercise, your trainer's follow-up questions may go like this: "I understand you are busy, so what made this appointment important enough for you to come to?" The trainer should wait for the client's response before responding with something like this: "Great, what other steps can you take today to make more time for exercise?" Again, the trainer should wait for the client's response before saying something like this: "How much time are you willing to dedicate each week to feeling healthier and more energetic?" By the end, your trainer is more likely to have achieved a commitment.