“If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer
If you’re a pretender com sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
― Shel Silverstein
Your Personal Training Business involves the skill-set of detecting when your clients lie and how to further re-gain control – making them think twice before making silly excuses…
In June 2008 when waiting 15 minutes for my client, there’s no point resting further. It’s a no show. Especially if it’s a 1 hour session starting 5:30 in the morning. Now as part of my time management discipline, I don’t check my phone until I finish the first half of my day. So 12:30 rolls around and I have a message…
In a croaky voice I hear… “Hi John, it’s Roberta. I can’t make it in today, I woke up feeling sick. I’ll call you later on”
I’m thinking cool… she’ll call me.
Days go by… and nothing.
I call instead. I say… “Too bad you couldn’t make it on Monday. You didn’t sound too healthy on the phone…”
“Oh, yeah, yeah John. I was meaning to call but I only got better today.”
At this time I was learning the business of Personal Training and I didn’t want to ‘upset’ anyone so I went along with it.
3 weeks go by and 5:30 Monday morning – the exact same thing happened. I check my phone at 12:30 and the same croaky voice with the same damn message.
I’m thinking this poor girl. She must get sick a lot. Again, I didn’t want to upset anyone so I let it go.
This kept happening. The same damn croaky voice at the exact same time 3 weeks later. She believed she found something that works. And because she got away with it a few times with me (and probably worked on her boss a ton of times also) she was basically in control – calling the shots.
One thing EVERYbody hates is waking up 4:30am and making sure you get to work on time and then having to sit around looking at 4 walls and daydream for 1 hour until your next client waltzes through the door. Even if you’re billing your clients for no shows, it’s far more entertaining training and seeing them improve. It’s more enjoyable.
So I said ‘stuff it’ – I made a new rule. Same day no shows – regardless of the excuse incurs an extra 50% re-scheduling fee.
Don’t forget, re-scheduling throws your timing and equilibrium out of balance. You must be compensated for it.
Because she was thinking, “If I miss out one session, John will just reschedule me later on in the week. I don’t lose anything.” But, as soon as I added this rule, she suddenly wasn’t getting sick anymore.
There are a few fitness chain managers I deal with regularly around Melbourne. Similarly, like Personal Trainers – they love fresh high quality leads. Trainers need leads to earn income. Managers need them to match monthly quota’s. Both crave leads for the same euphoric reason.
Sometimes when I call them, I don’t get through. So, I leave a message.
You know what’s interesting…?
The more benefits I mention on the voice mail, the quicker they respond. And this correlation has never failed.
Voice message 1
If I say… “Hey bob, just ringing to see how everything’s going. Just checking up on the leads I gave you last week. I would love to know their progress. Call me back when you can. Thanks.”
With that response, they hardly ever call back. After the 3rd or 4th call when I catch ‘em off guard and finally get through… they immediately respond with… “oh, sorry John I was meaning to call you back but just got caught up in (insert current event here)”
Voice message 2
“Hey Bob, I’ve got this great prospect which will work great with your team. Call me when you can. Thanks.”
Within 10 minutes, I get a call back and they start with small talk and use comforting language. Suddenly, they weren’t busy with their ‘current’ event.
And after my leads and manager get along well, I call back 1 week later to check up on things and voice message 1 repeats itself.
Lie Detection #1: There’s no such thing as ‘busy.’ It doesn’t exist. They just don’t believe there’s anything in it for them to call you back. Because from what I’ve just demonstrated, clients always check their messages and usually have their phones with them. They pick and choose with whom to respond.
People are so attached to their phones, it’s crazy. I still don’t understand why or how people work out with them. You even see people answer their phone in between their sets! Sometimes you wonder why people have a hard time getting results.
When I’m working or working out, my phone’s way out of site. Things can wait. And I’ve noticed clients who also put their phones away when working with me get the best results. So I made a rule. ‘Put your phone on silent and in your bag or in my locker when being trained by me.’
Some listened. Others went into instant panic mode and almost started pulling hair out. And on a few occasions, these hair pulling clients were responding to sms and talking crap for more than 15 minutes throughout our session. It was the most expensive phone calls of their life. They didn’t last long.
“Let me think about it”
“I need to ask my husband/wife”
“Have you got any information I can take away and read?”
“Leave it with me and I’ll get back to you”
“I can’t afford it”
The list goes on…
Objections are a nice way of saying… “Thank you. See ya later… And I hope I never see you again…and I’m not going to answer any of your calls”
That’s were trainers freeze and let prospects win. Trainers not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings say things like… “O.K. think about it and get back to me”
“O.K. ask your husband/wife and give us a call”
“O.K. here is a bunch of information you can take away and read”
“O.K. no problem. Get back to me when you’re ready”
“O.K. when you can afford it, give us a call. Here’s my card.”
Lie Detection #2: Your prospects’ use objections as lies in disguise.
Solution: Deliver the karma that’s owed to them.
What most trainers don’t see, is when clients are giving you objections… THEY ARE LYING TO YOU. DISRESPECTING YOU. TRYING TO FOOL YOU. AND INSULTING YOUR INTELLIGENCE.
I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s bloody hurtful. That’s why I’ve developed covert strategies in avoiding objections all together. But if they do come up, I like to have some fun. For example, when a client says…
“I need to ask my wife”
I say… “Yeah, you can probably do that Bob… but does your wife make all the decisions for you?”
It’s surprising how often guys say thing like… “NO WAY!” I say… “O.K. so let’s get started.”
I had a few smart asses who’ve said “Yes, she does make all the decisions for me”
I say… “So how long have you been with your wife…by the way what’s her name?”
“Her name’s Sarah. I’ve been with her for 4 years”
“So what you’re telling me Bob, for 4 years, Sarah’s been manipulating your mind, trapping you and secretly controlling your life and you didn’t even know it. You’re one rare catch Bob.”
After that statement, you see their face turn red hot tomato. They can’t help it. They sign up due to embarrassment.
In the extreme rare cases when you’re dealing with the experience players who answer “yes” to both questions… you simply say… “well Bob, I think I’m talking to the wrong person. I mean, if Sarah, you wife makes all the decisions and you have no control over your life, then it makes perfect sense to talk to her, doesn’t it?” … You continue… “I’ll call her right now while you’re still here.” (on the PARQ, the guy usually puts the next of KIN emergency contact as his wife/girlfriend – so you’ve got the number handy. If not, ask for her number.) <– in that case, they’ll absolutely WILL NOT give you her number. And they’ll either do 2 things; Walk out on you or sign up. Usually they sign-up 🙂
You can even say… “how about we go ahead with Personal Training, and if your wife says anything, just give me a call and we’ll fix things up.” You’d be surprised how much that works!
And if you’re dealing with a female prospect, just reverse it. It works on women also.
The Lesson: If people wanna be smart asses and lie to you, play the game back by pretending to believe them. It’s surprising how much they respect you after that. It’s truly amazing!
Some ‘sophisticated’ prospects use the ‘beyond my control’ tactic I taught in this post. Basically they use excuses such as “I’m moving house and that’s why I can’t afford it” (and you find out, they’re not really moving – just helping someone move or staying at a friend’s house for a week while they’re away) or “I didn’t get your email because I was oversees” (and your email tracking software shows they’ve been opening your emails)
Don’t get me wrong. Not all reasons and excuses come down to complete lies. But more than 90% are. Some people are legitimate. And it’s those who have your respect make long lasting trustworthy clients and friends.
Understand your environment. Understand your prospects. As a trainer, understand this: Human beings are VERY predictable creatures. Be aware of the ‘hidden’ meaning of how they’re acting and what their responses truly mean. And start using it to your advantage.
Dedicated In Accelerating Your Personal Training Business Every Step Of The Way
P.S. Croaky voices a VERY easy to do – especially over the phone. Because you can’t see how silly they look.
P.P.S. On rare occasions you’ll come across prospects who’ll tell you straight up they don’t want Personal Training and don’t want to take part of any of your offerings. They’re the ones who respect your time and your profession. They know you can spend your time more effectively training other prospects who have a chance of converting. On some occasions, I’ve even come close friends with these people. Honesty pays off big.