One of my first lessons in salesmanship came from a consultant named Frank Foster. I was running a pro shop and ski school in the mountains. We had 130 coaches, a bunch of chalets and a thousand pairs of rental skis. But we didn’t have customers. Not enough, anyway.
My job was to approach ski clubs and businesses and sell week-long getaway packages. I wasn’t very good at it. So they brought in Frank.
Frank told me:
“The people who say ‘yes’ are great. Obviously.”
“The people who say ‘no’ are ALSO great, because you can move straight to someone else. You get closer to a ‘yes’ client when any client says ‘no.’ You don’t waste time.”
“The ones you DON’T want are the ‘maybe’ clients. They cost you time. And they turn you into a salesman.”
Frank Foster WAS a salesman, but he knew we didn’t want to be.
Think about the last client who wasn’t sure about your service. Did you try to “sell” them? Did you try to “overcome their objections”? Did you make a special deal, or an extra promise?
How did that make you feel?
Is that why you signed up to own a gym – to be a salesman, like Frank?
Before a client comes to the door, they should know your prices. They should know that you’re an expert. And they should be presented with a solution to their unique problems. We teach all of that in the Incubation Phase of our mentoring program.
We don’t chase “maybes”. In fact, we remove them.
Our clients might know very little about CrossFit when they start, and that’s fine. But we teach a LOT for free online (we publish new content daily.) We give them a full hour of our attention to listen and make a recommendation. But we’re confident in the knowledge that our service isn’t for everyone. Some can’t afford our gym, and that’s fine. Some aren’t ready to start yet; that’s also fine. But if we have to talk them into it, they’re not ready. They’re still at “maybe”.
Rather than bring in 10 “maybes” and let them try a free class, prequalify 4 “probablys” and interview them. Rather than pour 300 “maybes” into a marketing funnel and hope a few “yeses” tumble out at the end, talk straight to those most likely to be interested.
Whatever you do, don’t chase a “maybe”. If you haven’t convinced them at the first meeting, work to have better meetings. Then move quickly to the “yeses”.