Incoming calls processing in a fitness club is actually not as simple as it might seem at first glance. As soon as the administrator picks up the phone, he interacts with a potential client of the club. At this stage, getting the customer interested is as easy as losing it. In this article, I will tell you what set of actions an administrator needs to perform in order to firstly not miss the client and secondly to interest him.
Incoming calls processing
So, first of all, let’s figure out what is the primary task for the administrator of a fitness club when working with incoming calls. The first and main task for him is to organize a meeting with a client. That is, the task of the administrator is to conduct a dialogue in the course of communication in such a way as to maximize the interest of a person and encourage him to come to the club.
The administrator should understand that such a great importance is attached to the appointment of a meeting only because there is practically no second chance here. Regardless of whether the call is incoming or outgoing, pressure on a person and attempts to force him to buy something from you, in 99% of cases will lead to a refusal and end of the conversation. Your task is to make the process of parting with money as convenient and comfortable as possible for him. You must make the person want to part with the money himself.
In order not to miss a 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 a call, establishing contact, determining needs, formulating a proposal, working with objections and making an appointment. Now, let’s take a look at these stages more closely.
TIP. This article is a logical continuation of a series of articles about the profession of a fitness club administrator. For more complete coverage of the topic, I also recommend that you familiarize yourself with the previous articles: “Who is an administrator of the fitness club“, “Job description of an administrator“, “The profession of a fitness club administrator“, “How to become a fitness club administrator“, “The secrets of the work of an administrator” and “The portrait of an administrator”.
Preparing for a call
The preparation stage is quite simple and straightforward in its execution. The first thing that is required from the administrator is a thorough knowledge of the topic. You should know everything in the literal sense: a complete list of services and goods provided by the club, the entire coaching staff by first and last name, what classes they lead and what level of qualification each of them has, the full schedule of the club, trainers, gym, group classes, aqua zones, martial arts and so on. Also, make sure you have all the necessary questionnaires, forms, and schedules at hand. At the moment when the incoming call is ringing, there should be no running, rushing, or panicking. You are calm, confident, well prepared, and in high spirits.
When a person calls 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 possesses all the necessary information and successfully completes the conversation, then the newcomer will often think for a long time, suggest the wrong thing or the wrong way, say “I don’t know” and hastily rummage through the papers, trying to find the necessary information. In order to prevent this from happening, use your free time to fully explore the club in which you work: use its services, get acquainted with the trainers, study the class schedule and the price catalog. This way you will be armed with all the information you need.
So, the incoming call rings, the administrator picks up the phone. At this stage, his job is to set the conversation in a positive tone. This is necessary in order to win over the interlocutor. Be kind, positive, and smiling. Scientifically and empirically, it has been repeatedly proven that a smile during a conversation is recognized 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 caller’s mood, whatever it was initially, to become softer during the conversation, and the interlocutor himself becomes more open. At the stage of establishing contact, whatever the caller asks you, happens the reorientation from polling to dialogue.
With your left hand, hold the phone, with your right hand write down everything you learn from the person: his name, surname, age, problems, achievements, questions, answers, wishes, and so on. This will serve you well in further communication with him and you will no longer confuse him with someone else. It is also very important to find out and write down how he learned about the club. This information can be passed on to management or marketing to identify potential advertising channels or increase advertising budgets. The conversation should be easy and casual. Do not ask questions head-on, ask them unobtrusively, not focusing on them, but pronouncing them casually.
As you well remember, the administrator’s job is not to sell a product or service, but to make an appointment. The processing of incoming calls requires the administrator to conduct a dialogue based on these considerations. Whatever question is asked to you over the phone, the proposal must be completed in such a way as to create a need or desire in a person to come to the club and see, chat or try on their own. Most often, the motivation for a person to come to the club is the following motives:
– 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 area, decoration, and design of a fitness club;
– The need to assess the quantity and quality of equipment in a fitness club;
– The need to assess the number, qualifications, and appearance of personnel;
– The need to assess the workload of the fitness club by visitors.
As you know, the visual channel of perception gives a person a more complete picture of perception than the information heard. If the caller refuses to visit the club in every possible way or he doesn’t care about the above motives, don’t press on him, otherwise, he will understand this and hang up. Such people are the exception rather than the rule. For one refusal, there will be 10 agreeing, because experience doesn’t lie, it suggests that it is better to see once than hear a hundred times.
Formulating a proposal
Here, of course, we are talking about an invitation to a meeting. The previous stages can be called diagnostic, when, in the course of incoming calls processing, the administrator receives the information of interest from the caller. The task of the administrator at this stage is not to be intrusive, so to speak – to sell without selling. In order for the invitation to the meeting to go as smoothly 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 of a meeting.
The club’s presentation should be based on previously identified needs. You need to make it clear to the person that the club has all the necessary equipment and conditions to solve his problems, but at the same time you don’t need to give full information, that is, white spots or blank spaces should remain in your presentation, something that you kept silent about for the reason, that it is better to see or feel for yourself.
Simultaneously with the presentation, the invitation should be unobtrusive. At the presentation stage, you put in the client information that needs to be given time to germinate and mature, so that he himself accepts the idea that he should come to the club. Don’t talk incessantly, don’t read the script straightforward, don’t forget about the interlocutor. Ask him questions periodically to feel that he is still with you. If you forget about him, he will fall asleep or lose interest. The presentation should be succinct, but short and at the same time as open as possible in order to properly deliver a hint for an invitation to come and see for yourself.
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, the necessity of which he is not yet completely convinced. In order to increase the chances of successful completion of the deal directly in the club, the processing of the incoming call is reduced to an appointment, rather than trying to sell by phone.
At the moment when the administrator says the phrase “Mike, let’s choose a time when it will be convenient for you to come to the club. Today or tomorrow, for example, will you succeed?” Mike will no longer ask questions about why he should come to the club since you have already given this information to him at the previous stage. He will say either “Possibly today, why not”, or “No, today and tomorrow I’m busy”. In the first case, when he agrees, the administrator asks “At what time?” In the second case, the administrator asks the question “When would it be convenient for you?”, thereby giving Mike the choice.
And here, too, there can be two options. Either he will choose and offer a convenient time for him, or he will come up with an excuse. Since you never know if you are being deceived or not, the best option is not to wait for a call, but to ask for a phone number and call back after a while. Since there is no talk about a meeting anymore, the issuance of a person’s phone number doesn’t commit anyone to anything at the moment. He will give his number, the administrator will write it down and at the end of the month will make the call.
Making an appointment
This is undoubtedly the stage that is the crown of the telephone conversation. But don’t rush to scare a person off with the phrase “I would like to invite you to our club” since on a subconscious level this is perceived as a manifestation of your own will and not the will of the client. Nobody is interested in what you want, any person is always interested in what he wants. Therefore, in the course of processing incoming calls, build your sentences in softer formulations like “Come to our club” or “I invite you to see our club”. Also save your speech from sentences starting with a negative wording “Not”, since to the question “Would you like to see our club?” a logical answer suggests itself – “No I don’t want, thanks”.
So, when the interlocutor has agreed to the visit, you need to write down the date, time and say aloud that you just 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, how to drive there, where to park your car and where to go to the meeting room at the club. It is important to give as much information as possible so that the person can also think about the meeting in advance and prepare for it.
So, in the end, you need to remember two rules. First, the phone exists to make appointments. Second, appointments should be made as soon as possible, at the moment when a person’s interest in an incoming call to a fitness club is maximal. The more time you give him to think, the more chances that his interest will fade over time. In fact, it is these two rules that incoming calls processing comes down to.
Felix Palmer – author of the blog crusfit.com