By Ryan Ketchum, Special AFS Contributor
Using discounts to sell the services you offer in your fitness studio is an antiquated technique to get more clients. Discounting puts you on the path to becoming a commodity. This technique is often used as an incentive to get a potential prospect to buy or to reward someone that refers.
Discounting occurs when you don’t have the sales skills to get a prospect to pay what you are worth and possess a negative mindset around money. Both can be overcome with practice and the right approach to selling your services.
The reason that discounting works, in the short term, is that it allows the client to feel like they have won. They got a better deal, thus justifying their purchase. However, it can be difficult to get that client to pay your full price later. The client with a discounted membership will always see the value that they get from what they are paying not what they should be paying.
By discounting frequently you will also start to doubt the value of your programs. This can be a very slippery path to head down, requiring you to discount all of the time to close a sale. You will use this as a crutch, an act of desperation, to get clients to buy from you.
If you want to stop discounting your programs it starts with how you are setting them up. Many fitness business owners create their autopay memberships and include a discount for signing a long-term agreement of 12 months. This is a mistake!
Instead, your pricing should be built around charging what you are worth in your 12-month agreements and then adding a premium for shorter-term agreements. To the client, it looks like a discount, but mentally for you, it serves as a powerful reminder that you should be getting paid what you are worth.
Bonuses and value adds are great techniques to use for closing sales without discounting. Consider the programs, services, and resources you could provide to a new client that would get them better results, make life easier or speed up the process. An online nutrition coaching program, Jump Start Kit (foam roller, bands, nutrition manual), or extra sessions can be used as bonuses to incentivize a client to sign up.
There will still be a cost associated with the bonuses, but the perception of it being a short-term add-on and getting extra won’t devalue your services. It also still makes the client feel like they’ve won the sales deal and are getting something extra.
Your pricing should be built around charging what you are worth in your 12-month agreements and then adding a premium for shorter-term agreements. To the client, it looks like a discount, but mentally for you, it serves as a powerful reminder that you should be getting paid what you are worth.
Honing in your sales skills will allow you to increase your confidence and stop discounting your services. The first step to hone in your skills is applying a sales process to your consultations and sales appointments. It's like a training template for sales.
A simple process you can apply is:
- Value Build
The Engage phase of this process allows you to bond and build rapport with the prospect. This will create a level of comfort between both parties and establish common ground. This step is small but important because it will allow the prospect to open up and share as you move to the next step.
During Discovery you are asking questions to learn about the prospects pain, challenges, obstacles, and goals. You want to find out as much about how they are feeling as you do about their physical goals. This is the most important step in the entire process.
The Value Build phase is where you are able to walk them through how you will help them get from where they are now to where they want to be. You don’t have to go over every detail, rather focus on the key pieces of your training process that will help them solve their problems and avoid the challenges they have already faced. This should set up your close.
The Close phase is short and sweet. You want to be prescriptive in your suggested solution (the program they will go into) and avoid trying to oversell it. You want to assume that the prospect will join, be confident in your program prescription and be direct. A simple “Mr. Smith based off what we’ve discussed the best program for you, the one that will help you lose the 20lbs the fastest is our 12-month 3 times per week personal training program. It's $499/mo, let’s go ahead and get you set up today” will work.
Confidence in your services and your ability to sell is required to stop discounting your services. There’s a chance that you’ll lose a potential client or two when you first commit to end discounting in your sales process, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Marshall Ray, owner of Faster Fitness, took this advice several years ago. Within a few months, their closing rate doubled while they were also able to increase their first sale by $150 for each new client. It was a huge breakthrough for their business and put them on a trajectory of rapid growth.
Your business is no different and you’ve got what it takes to stop discounting!
Ryan Ketchum is a fitness business and marketing expert. He and the team at Fitness Revolution help studio owners increase sales, maximize profits and create systems to free up time. They use a framework, the Fitness Business Alignment System™, to guarantee results with their clients.
Fitness Revolution focuses on helping aspiring high performers build the fitness business they’ve always wanted, but struggled to build. They are the only complete business coaching system for fitness studios.