Gym Instructors Master the Art of Persuasion and Become Sales Professionals

At the end of a particularly hard spin class, sweating like crazy I realised that the instructor had just “persuaded” or “sold” me and my ability to complete the class.  I was planning to just coast along and get a light sweat on.  Yet here I was gasping for air, feeling light headed, needing a lie down and having completed “The hardest class ever” as promised by our instructor.  So how did he do it and how have gym instructors become sales professionals perfecting the art of persuasion rather than army drill sergeants barking orders at participants?

This post will use a format of first describing the quote from the class instructor, and then comparing that to a sales technique or the art of persuasion.

Instructor

“We will be doing 8 tracks today.  The first will be 1 minute at 95% to 100% with 6 minutes recovery at 80%, then 2 minutes on with 5 minutes recovery and so on”.

Sales

Setting an agenda at the start of a sales meeting gives the client an expectation of what will be delivered during the pitch.  It serves as a map, so at anytime if the client gets lost or loses concentration they can quickly understand where they are up to in the pitch.

Instructor

“Who is here to get fitter? Stronger? Lose some weight?

Sales

Sales meetings usually start with questions unless you are in an agency pitch setting.  Why?  So you can understand the needs of your customer and then frame the features and  benefits of your product / service to those needs.  Information is power and can be used as ammunition to help close a sale.

Instructor

“This will be the hardest class you have ever done”

Sales

A confident sales rep should always take a strong position at the start of a meeting/pitch.  “By the end of today’s meeting you will be convinced that advertising on our website will become a critical part of marketing your business”.  Even if the client disagrees, this is a good thing as any objections here, or during the meeting are chances to counter scepticism and further convince them of your point.  Objections show that the client is interested and listening, both good signs.

Instructor

“This class took 5 years to develop by the Australian Institute of Sport  to help train Olympians”. 

Sales

Stating how long your company has been in business or any industry associations helps add credibility to your pitch and helps gain trust with your customer.

Instructor

“This class is scientifically proven to be the best aerobic workout you can get in 40minutes”.

Sales

A feature of the class is that it takes 45 minutes to complete (40 minutes working plus 5 minutes warm up and down), therefore allowing office workers to fit it into a standard lunch break.  However, by telling the class it is scientifically proven to be the best aerobic workout you can get in 40 minutes is turning that feature into a tangible benefit for the class.  Customers buy the benefits of a product, not the features.

Instructor

Instructor: “2 legs down, 3 to go.  Are you with me?”

Class: “Yes

Sales

Gaining positive reinforcement by asking questions during a pitch is essential.  Asking questions like, “Can you see how this would benefit your company?” and getting a positive answer of “Yes” psychologically helps the client sell themself into the solution.  This helps make closing the sale that much easier.

Instructor

“Other classes full of people just like you wanted to give up at this point, but they didn’t, so don’t you give up on me”

Sales

Using testimonials helps leverage social influence and creates a comforting feeling with the client that other people just like them are already using your product or have gone through the same feelings during the buying process.

Instructor

“Those in the front that wanted to get fitter, those in the back who wanted to lose weight, those in the middle who wanted to get stronger, I am with you!”

Sales

When pitching to a group of people, a good sales person will always try to appeal to as many people in the room as possible.  Some clients may be visual and need diagrams or images to help convince them of your message.  Some may be lingual and need to be convinced with technical language.  Some may be kinaesthetic and need to touch a product or see a practical demonstration.

Instructor

“Someone is on your wheel, if you don’t push harder they will pass you”

Sales

An implication question (Part of the popular SPIN sales technique), indicating the negative impacts of not purchasing the product, can put doubt in the customers and helps convince them to buy.

Instructor

“I’m with you, we are in the closing straight, give it everything you have got”

Sales

By reassuring the client that you are in this together, that it’s a partnership and you will be with them at every step is another excellent way to close a sale.

Conclusion

I am not sure where along the line gym instructors went from barking orders to work harder, to actually selling and mastering the art of persuasion.  But I am convinced that effectively selling the benefits of a workout is a far more effective way of getting people to work harder than just barking orders at them.  An excellent book for those interested in finding out more about the art of persuasion isInfluence by Robert Cialdini.

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