Guest Post by Cabel McElderry
Just a few short weeks ago I presented at Fitness Business Summit. I’m known these days as the “mechanic” for the way I break things down into a systematic process, usually one that you can apply almost immediately.
Over the last few months, I’ve latched on to an acronym that has become the next evolution of my philosophy on sales and selling personal training. Yet, ironically, it was this segment of my presentation that was my big “takeaway” for that weekend and it was then that I suddenly realized this simple acronym might be the key to our entire industry (and maybe any service business in the 21st century, for that matter).
The acronym is E.A.S., which some of you might recognize as a front running supplement company from the 90’s. But in the fitness business world- you’ll now remember these letters as these words: Emotion, Affirmation, Solution.
Let’s start with emotion.
There’s only one way that you or I will make a quick decision, and that’s if we’re emotional about the subject of the decision.
If my dog eats something he’s not supposed to and as a result is very sick, there’s no time spent thinking about the cost of taking him to the vet, I LOVE my dog and I’m going to do whatever it takes to ensure he’s safe.
If my wife tells me about something she’s EXCITED about that she thinks will make her life better or easier, I’m going to buy it.
If I don’t FEEL good about myself or how I look, I am going to go looking for a solution.
Whether you’re selling, writing, or training your first responsibility is to make statements and ask the questions that lead me to acknowledge how I FEEL about what we’re talking about.
Let me give you an example of each:
Selling: So Mrs. Jones, can I ask you when were you last happy with your body? How would it make you feel if whatever you did this time actually worked?
Writing: Do you ever stand in your closet looking at all of your clothes, growing more and more frustrated, because you just don’t like the way any of them fit any more? So many of my clients have told me they have felt this, have you? If so, you’re not alone, and just like I told them, you don’t deserve to feel that way.
Training: Mrs. Jones, most of my clients find the hardest thing to be the changes they need to make to their nutritional habits. Do you find you get cravings? Do you ever have those feelings of guilt after you eat something you know you shouldn’t have? How do you feel in that moment and what do you do next?
If you look at anyone (including yourself) that has recently underwent a dramatic change in their life you’ll find that before the desire to change occurred there was discontentment, something they were unhappy about, something that bothered them enough that they were compelled to make a decision.
We have a responsibility to acknowledge this if we’re serious about helping others successfully embrace change.
Ok, you’re in touch with what is that you don’t like or uncomfortable with, now what?
Affirmations are a road map for, when someone says no you’ve fallen off the trail and take a step back, in this case back to recapping the emotions; maybe even asking more emotional questions before again asking for affirmations.
Affirmation is essentially validation to your client that you are listening, that you understand what they need to experience to overcome what has them feeling uncomfortable. It’s often questions that involve a one-word answer; yes.
Let me explain.
Selling: Mrs. Jones, if you finally lost all the weight you wanted would this program have been worth it? Mrs. Jones, I understand your goal is to lose three dress sizes in time for your daughter’s wedding- is that right?
Writing: Wouldn’t it be great if you could finally wear those jeans you have tucked away in the back of your closet? Would you be happy if you were able to accomplish this in time for summer?
Training: Mrs. Jones, if I could show you a simple way to avoid those pitfalls so you didn’t have those times of guilt anymore do you think following your plan would be easier? If I can show you how to eat the things you enjoy and reach your goal do you think you could stay on track easier?
In all cases, we want our clients and prospects to be saying yes or nodding their head, even in the case of them reading it when we’re not present; does that make sense?
Of course it does, you just did it.
But that’s the point; the affirmations are a pivotal point of our relationship. It’s where trust is founded because I feel like you’re listening to me, that you’re in tune with my emotions as to what’s made me uncomfortable. I FEEL that you truly want to help.
But what if they shake their head or say no?
Affirmations are a road map for when someone says no you’ve fallen off the trail and take a step back, in this case back to recapping the emotions; maybe even asking more emotional questions before again asking for affirmations.
As the “mechanic” when I’m coaching entrepreneurs and coaches/trainers I often set them goals of seeking a specific number of consecutive affirmations before moving on to the solution.
Once you’ve stirred the emotional pot, and clarified that you truly understand through affirmation you can now present your solution.
Selling: Mrs. Jones, based on what you’ve told me and understanding how it will make you feel to succeed, my suggestion is a 3 times/week program here are your options as far as costs. I’d suggest…
Writing: If you’re still reading likely you have felt as many others have felt, you’ve agreed with the elements I’ve described that I know will help you make the change you want. Here’s what I recommend we do, I’ve put together this 3-week program that’s focused solely on…
Training: Mrs. Jones, I know you love to eat ____________, here’s the measurements I suggest for that, what I’d like to try is have you eating these two meals the same for the next four days, then we’ll check our progress.
At the end of the solution you’re looking for one more affirmation, the commitment, that final yes or no tells you how effective you’ve been and what you need to do next.
I think if it’s a yes you know what to do, but what if it’s a no?
You guessed it, start the process over.
Selling: Begin asking emotional questions again, move to affirmation to ensure you understand their emotions.You guessed it, start the process over.
Writing: On to the next email, starting again with emotion, but slightly different than before, after all those that responded to the first were compelled to do so, how can you dig deeper with your remaining audience?
Training: Ok Mrs. Jones, let’s back up. You said you won’t eat the same breakfast for the next four days, but how do you feel each morning now as you stand in front of your closet? What do you feel it will take to overcome that?
What I’ve learned is that true success and expertise in anything is about finding the simplest means of repeat behaviors that lead to consistent practice, in my life and yours.
I hope this helps!