One thing is certain, when a prospect calls the club, it is a serious lead. They have searched the Web, gathered information, often have spoken to other club members and now they are calling us for specifics. With this in mind, it is our turn to create excitement. By emphasizing two specific ideas, we can create and capture that excitement when they call. 1) While the prospect is on the phone, create excitement and an emotional bond by painting a specific picture of your club as it pertains to his or her needs. 2) Capture the excitement of the new fitness plan and secure an appointment for them to come and visit the club. Here are some simple guidelines to follow to ensure that you get the most out of every Telephone Inquiry (TI) that we receive:
A) Most health clubs use a script of questions for their sales team to follow as they speak to their prospect by phone. ALWAYS use the script no matter what! If used correctly, the script will lead the prospect right into the appointment. Sound sincere and know the questions so you can be able to have a genuine conversation. By using a script and asking a series of questions not specifically related to the membership prices, you begin to draw the prospect’s attention away from money. You learn the specifics of the prospect’s wants and what they need. By doing this you begin to get the prospect so emotionally excited about working out that they want to come see your club ASAP!
B) When using the TI script and conversing with the prospect, you want to be the one who has control of the conversation. Establish control of the conversation by answering your prospect’s initial question with a question. It’s called the “Porcupine Technique.” For example, when the prospect asks “how much are your membership prices?”, you answer with “what is it specifically that you are trying to accomplish here at the club?” By establishing control of the conversation early, you dictate the pace and flow because the prospect is now answering to you.
C) Never refer to an appointment as an appointment to the prospect. It can scare people so that they skip the appointment, or they come into your club with their guard raised. Instead, refer to it as a customer service visit. Invite them to get a free workout. We want them to experience our club atmosphere and energy level and take in all of the benefits that we have to offer. As you invite them to enter our club, it’s imperative that we use “Alternate Questioning” to get them through the doors. In other words, we can’t give them a chance to say yes or no. Instead, give them an alternate of choice of what day and time works best for them. For example, “I’d like to invite you to the club for a free workout to make sure you love the club, and at that time I can answer any questions relating to our fitness plans. What works best for you, today or later in the week?” Then confirm the exact day and time.
D) You have control of the conversation. You have talked about the prospects fitness goals and created excitement regarding working out again, and you have used alternative questions to book the appointment. Finally, the last step is to end the conversation with confirmation. Ask questions like: “Do you know where we are located?” “Will you be bringing a friend to try us out as well?” “Can I get your number in case I need to contact you beforehand?” These simple questions will legitimize the appointment.
Taking a TI is like playing a game. Whoever is in control of the conversation wins the game. Our goal is to get the person emotionally excited about coming in and achieving their goals without giving out prices. Our energy and excitement on the phones makes a HUGE difference. The prospect can tell whether we have conviction about our product, so the rapport we build with them is critical. Just remember, always use the script, and always use alternative questions when asking for the appointment and watch your appointments rise exponentially!
Sean Ratliff is the Vice President of the Triad Fitness Group, accomplished in creating and implementing sales training and management development systems. Sean can be contacted at 919.208.7246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.