A spotlight illuminates a small red heart alone in the dark.

The word Sales has such a dirty connotation. Too many people have a bad association with the word sales or “being sold to”, but this week I have found myself in the position of actually feeling frustrated because I’m NOT being sold to.

It’s been a lazy summer. My pony has been on holidays, I’ve spent lots of time with friends lying on the beach doing not much, and eating far too much cheese, and drinking… well, you know. I will admit, some of it was related to self medicating after a family tragedy. So, long story short, I’m not exactly in the best of shape.

But I want to do something about it. And being in a business group with a HEAP of very high level PT’s has educated me somewhat beyond the idea of just joining a local 24 hour gym and sweating away without a plan.

There’s a flash new private training gym that’s opened near me. They have a super flash website, with videos, carousel picture, testimonials, artistic photos, profiles in black and white, hip graffiti murals on the wall- the whole deal. They also talk about the different programs they offer and different options.

I was intrigued. I’m also not a fitness expert, so I filled out their contact form with my details, expecting a call from one of the trainers to find out how they could help me.

Instead, I got this email:

 

Hey Anita,
Thanks for registering your interest to train at ---- gym.
Do you have any further questions about joining.
If you're ready to go let me know when you would like to get started.
Look forward to hearing from you.

 

I was astonished. And I instantly felt unloved.

There’s a difference between being pushy, and showing an interest. There’s a difference between being manipulative and showing that you really care. There’s a difference between chasing the dollars and having integrity.

The thing is, this trainer undoubtedly thought he was being polite, not pushy and friendly, when in actuality I felt unloved. I felt like he didn’t really care. He doesn’t know me. I’m a name, an email address, a phone number- that’s it. He doesn’t know my history, my goals, my problems, my concerns. And I certainly don’t know what program or solution of theirs would be the right or best choice for me and my current situation.

He’s stating the obvious.

Yes, I have questions. That’s why I filled out the form.

No, I’m not ready to get started, or I would have some down with my credit card- I don’t know what to buy!

I’m not the expert, you are. If I knew what I needed, I would have bought it already.

So what could have given a more satisfying customer experience?

 

*ring ring

“Hello?”

“Hello!  Is that the awesome Anita?”

“Ummm, yes?”

“Hey Anita, I hear that you’re keen to learn more about training yourself to peak health and fitness- right?”

“Sure… But I don’t know where to start.”

“That’s ok, that’s what we’re here for.  So, let me ask you some questions, and we can work out what could be the right fit for you right now. So tell me more about you?”

(some of you might recognize this process…)

I really, really want to buy from these guys. My pain is high, my motivation driven by working towards something, I’m the most compliant client you could imagine- put me with an expert and I will do what I’m told.

Takemymoney

But I also want to be sold to. I want to feel like they care. I want to feel like the genuinely want to help ME, not just any body. ME.

And THAT is what good sales is all about.

Giving that prospect your undivided attention. Showing them that you are more interested in them than anything else on the planet right now. By doing that, you create a desire to learn more in that person, and then, you invite them to take action and buy the solution you have for them.

Right now, I don’t feel like they are interested the slightest in me, I don’t feel like they care about anything other than about putting bodies in their gym and cash in their bank. It’s a poor, short term strategy. And it’s exactly what gives “sales” a bad name.

Don’t be like that gym, don’t treat your prospects and your clients with such disdain. Show some empathy, be interested in them. Ask them questions, listen, let them be heard. Make them feel valued and important.

Think about it- when was the last time you really enjoyed being sold to? When you were left feeling important, and valued, and heard? It’s rare isn’t it? It shouldn’t be.

Want the key to retaining your clients and giving awesome customer service? It starts with your sales process. It starts with not being afraid of “sales”, but loving your clients enough to be there to help them in the first place.

 

 

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Written by Anita Marchesani
I've come to small business the long way round- but enjoyed and learned from every single step. I learned about the power of Media during a BA and while working in Film&TV. I learned about the hard graft while groom for an international eventer in the UK. I learned organisation and staff management from running hundreds of weddings both here and in the UK. I learned from the mistakes of my first business that failed, to create an e-commerce success story, and now I'm here to help you have even greater success in your business. Oh, and I dance to really loud music like a crazy bastard.