Incoming calls processing in the fitness club is actually not such an elementary action as it might seem at first glance. As soon as the administrator picks up the phone, he interacts with a potential club customer. At this stage, it’s as easy to interest a client as to lose it. In this article I will tell you what set of actions an administrator needs to perform in order, firstly, not to miss the client and secondly to interest him.
So, first of all, it’s worthwhile to understand what’s the main task for the administrator of the fitness club when working with incoming calls. The first and main task for him is the organization of a meeting with a client. That is, the task for the administrator is to keep dialogue in the course of communication in such way to maximize the interest of the person and encourage him to come to the club.
The administrator must understand that the appointment is given such great importance only for the reason that there is practically no second chance. Regardless of whether the call is incoming or outgoing, pressure on the person and attempts to force him to buy something from you, in 99% of cases will lead to the rejection and termination of the conversation. Your task is to make the process of his parting with money as convenient and comfortable as possible for him.
In order not to miss the potential client and increase the chances of making an appointment, when working with incoming calls, you must follow a certain algorithm of actions, which consists of several stages: preparing for the call, establishing a contact, identifying needs, making the offer, working with objections and making an appointment. Now, let’s consider them in turn.
Preparing for the call
The preparation phase is quite simple and straightforward in its execution. The first thing that is required from the administrator is a thorough knowledge of his field. You should know literally everything: the full list of goods and services provided by the club, the entire coaching staff by their first and last names, what directions they lead, what their level of qualification is, the full schedule of the club, of the gym, group classes, aqua zone, martial arts and so on. Also make sure that you have at hand all the necessary profiles, forms and schedules. At the time when the incoming call will come up, there should be no running around, rushing or hurrying. You should be calm, self confident and well prepared.
When a person calls to the club, he wants to get answers to his questions. He doesn’t care who picked up the phone, a novice or an experienced administrator. And if an experienced club employee already knows all the necessary information and successfully completes the conversation, the newcomer will most likely think for a long time, offer something wrong, say “I don’t know” and dive in the paperwork, trying to find the necessary information. To prevent this from happening, use your free time to fully explore the club in which you work: use its services, talk with trainers, learn the group classes schedule and price catalog. So you will be armed with all the necessary information.
Establishing the contact
So, an incoming call rings, the administrator picks up the phone. At this stage, his task is to set the conversation in a positive tone. This is necessary in order to endear the interlocutor. Be kind, positive and smile. It has been repeatedly proved scientifically and experimentally that a smile is recognized during a conversation even if the interlocutor doesn’t see you, it’s heard in the intonation of speech and the timbre of the voice. Smiling, you create all the prerequisites for the increasing of caller’s mood. Whatever his mood was initially, it becomes better during the conversation, and the interlocutor becomes more open. At the stage of establishing contact, no matter what the caller asks you, he’s reoriented from the questioning to the dialogue.
Hold the phone with your left hand, write down everything you learn from the person with your right hand: his name, surname, age, problems, achievements, questions, answers, wishes and so on. This will help you in further communication with him and you will no longer confuse him with someone else. It’s also very important to find out and write down how he learned about the club. This information can be transferred to the management or marketing department to identify potential channels for advertising or increasing the budget for its promotion. The conversation should develop easily and naturally. Don’t ask questions straightforward, ask them unobtrusively, not focusing on them, but pronouncing them casually.
Identifying the needs
As you remember, the task of the administrator is not to sell a product or service, but to make an appointment. In the process of working with incoming calls, the dialogue must be built precisely on the basis of this goal. Whatever question you are asked by phone, the offer must be completed in such a way to create a person’s need or desire to come to the fitness club and see, talk or try by himself. Most often, the motivation for a person to come to the club is the following:
- The need to assess the location of the fitness club;
- The need to assess the level of pricing in a fitness club;
- The need to evaluate the premises, decoration and design of the fitness club;
- The need to assess the quantity and quality of equipment in a fitness club;
- The need to assess the number, qualification and appearance of the staff;
- The need to evaluate the workload of the fitness club by visitors.
As you know, the visual channel of perception gives a person a more complete picture of whatever he interested in, than the information he hear. If the caller in every possible way refuses to visit the club or the above motives are indifferent to him – don’t push on him, otherwise he will understand this and hang up. But such people are more likely an exception than a rule. Instead of one who refuses there will be 10 who agreed, because the experience is not lying – it’s better to see once than hear a hundred times.
Making the invitation
Here, of course, we are talking about an invitation to a meeting. The previous steps can be called diagnostic, during which the administrator receives the information that he are interested in. The task of the administrator at this stage is not to be intrusive, but to sell without selling. In order for the invitation to the meeting to go as smooth as possible, it must be carried out in two stages: the first is the presentation of the club by phone, the second is a hint for an invitation.
Club presentation should be based on previously identified needs. You have to make it clear to the person that the club has all the necessary equipment and conditions to solve his problems, but you don’t need to give complete information, that is, there should be white spots in your presentation, something that you ignored for the reason that it’s better to see or feel for yourself.
Simultaneously with the presentation, the invitation should be unobtrusive. At the stage of the presentation, you put in the client information that needs to settle in his mind, so that he himself would accept the idea that he should come to the club. Don’t talk incessantly, don’t read the script word for word and don’t forget about the interlocutor. Ask him questions periodically to feel that he’s still with you. If you forget about him, he will fall asleep or lose interest. The presentation should be capacious, but short and at the same time as open as possible, so that understatement retains a hint for an invitation to come and see everything personally.
Working with objections
As experience shows, and as I said at the beginning of the article, objections arise when you try to sell something to a person, that is, force him to make a purchase in the need of which he hasn’t yet fully convinced. In order to increase your chances for a successful completion of the deal directly at the club, the administrator makes an appointment and doesn’t try to sell by phone.
At the moment when the administrator says the phrase “Max, let’s choose the time when it will be comfortable for you to come to the club. Today or tomorrow, for example, will you succeed? ”, Max will not begin to ask questions about why he should come to the club, since you already put this information into his mind at the previous stage. He will say either “It’s possible today, why not”, or “No, today and tomorrow I am busy.” In the first case, when he gives his consent, the administrator asks “At what time?”, they agree on the time and book Max for a visit. In the second case, the administrator asks the question “When would it be comfortable for you?”, thereby giving Max the choice.
And here may be two options. Either he will choose and offer a convenient time for him, or he will come up with fake excuse. Since you never know whether or not you are being deceived, the best option is not to wait for someone to call you, but to ask for a phone number and call back on your own after a while. Since there’s no talk about the meeting anymore, giving the phone number doesn’t oblige anyone to anything. He will give his number, the administrator will record it and at the end of the month will repeat the call.
This is certainly the stage that is the crown of the telephone conversation. But don’t rush to scare away a person with the phrase “I would like to invite you to our club”, since at a subconscious level this is perceived as a manifestation of one’s own importance, not the significance of the client. No one is interested in what you want, any person is always interested in what he wants. Therefore, build sentences with milder formulations in the style of “Come to our club” or “I invite you to see our club”. Also, get rid of those sentences in your speech that starts with the negative wording “No”, because the question “Do you want to see our club?” begs a logical answer – “No, I don’t”.
So, when the interlocutor agreed to the visit, it’s necessary to write down the date, time and say out loud that you wrote it down. In the head of the interlocutor, this will add importance and responsibility to the upcoming event. You can discuss the route, how to get there, where to get, where to park the car and where to go to the meeting place in the club. It’s important to give as much information as possible so that a person can also think ahead of the meeting and prepare for it.
So, in the end, you need to remember two rules. First, the telephone exists to make appointments. Secondly, meetings should be made as soon as possible, at a time when the person’s interest on the incoming call to the fitness club is at its maximum. The more time you give him to think, the more likely it’s that over time his interest will fade away. These two rules are the secret to incoming calls processing.
Author – Felix Palmer