Opinions expressed in the ACSM Certification blog are the author's and do not necessarily reflect positions of ACSM
The sales process is a skill that can be learned and developed by anyone and is especially useful to be aware of when you are interacting face to face with people. I have always thought about the sales process as thinking about what you are going to do before you do it. I learned the hard way through trial and error in my early years as a personal trainer and medical sales professional and wondered what I was doing wrong until I had some training on the sales process.
The sales framework breaks down a sale into a five step process from establishing a relationship, demonstrating a need, working through concerns, and, eventually, closing a sale:
Approach - establish rapport and break the barriers of pre-occupation
Interview - identify needs, challenges and motives
Demonstrate - show how your products and services fill identified needs
Validate - cause people to trust you and believe your claims
Negotiate - understand and work through problems and concerns
Close - ask for an appropriate commitment to action
Knowing your sales target involves understanding your own behavior style, identifying the style of the potential customer and adopting your style to mirror that of the potential customer. Mirroring essentially is where you mimic verbal and physical behaviors of a potential customer to build rapport. While this seems strange at first, it happens naturally among like-minded people. Imagine seeing your high school friend that you haven't see in years. You will often speak with same cadence and tone, use the same physical gestures, etc. People tend to let their guard down and open up to when using this method:
Talker - Outgoing and friendly, not as interested in details, values personal relationships, makes decisions based on emotions and facts.
Doer - Direct, forceful and results oriented. Requires concise, focused information. Makes quick decisions. Has clear objectives to achieve.
Supporter - Needs time to process information. Likes to establish trusting relationships. Reluctant to change current buying habits. Laid-back and friendly.
Controller - Detail-oriented, deliberate and organized. Relies on facts, evidence and data. Weighs all options before making a decision. Lower manifestation of energy and emotion .
*Which one are you? Try identifying the behavior style of those around you.
Identifying as a Doer, the biggest mistake I have made, and still make from time to time is skipping the approach. Being too direct and forceful makes it harder to mirror and build rapport with the potential customer. A terse communication indicates an awkward negotiation that comes across as forceful, which makes it even harder to close. Recognizing and becoming aware of this mistake as part of my behavior style has taught me to spend more time on the approach, listen more during the interview process, and ultimately make a better sale. Coming across as a real person instead of a sales person, identifying what the potential customer needs, and demonstrating that what you have provides value, using the framework above, will increase your success as a fitness professional.
William Coale is a fitness and health education professional who wears many hats, but still has time to get at least 30 miles of running and a few thousand kettlebell swings into his week.
William collaborates with orthopedic trauma surgeons and podiatrists to determine the best medical device and bracing solutions for their patients and help GPs and cardiologists learn more about diagnostic solutions for improved patient care.
At his private practice, Proprius, William focuses on training and motivating individual clients to achieve their personal goals, perform their best, prevent overuse injuries, execute physical rehabilitation plans, and maintain mobility and