Establishing contact with a client is the first stage of the meeting. Often the success of the entire presentation depends not so much on the meeting itself or on the presence or absence of certain simulators or an aqua zone, but on completely different factors that also have a great influence on the client’s decision. Our task is to understand what these factors are and how much they influence the decision-making process.
As I said in a previous article, the stage of establishing contact with a client is important for the simple reason that you will not have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s a fact. Right now, the client sees you for the first time and in his mind either a positive or negative attitude towards the interlocutor is formed. Literally by appearance, a person within a few seconds evaluates how much the image of the person standing in front of him coincides with the image that he built in his head.
In turn, the administrator, to the best of his professionalism, must literally in the first minutes of his acquaintance correctly determine the type of person, character and temperament of an interlocutor in order to correctly pick the keys to him. Both the course of the entire presentation and the success of the deal itself often depend on whether he manages to correctly analyze the person. As experience shows, very often a customer makes a purchase only for the reason that during the establishment of contact the seller (in our case, the administrator) turned out to be “his own person”.
1st step to establish contact with a client
First of all, let’s deal with some aspects of speech that play an important role both in the process of establishing contact with a client and in the process of making decisions. Everything that will be listed below is a kind of unwritten rules of competent communication in the process of conducting a presentation. By observing these rules, you significantly increase your credibility in the eyes of the interlocutor, which in turn increases the likelihood of closing a deal. Try to clear your speech from parasitic words. Forget the word “no,” it creates a negative impression. Don’t say “you have to”, “you must” or “you owe”, because the client owes nothing to anyone. Also, don’t say “we can’t”, it harms your reputation.
TIP. Very often, the word “if” affects the positive or negative outcome of a meeting. You need to be very careful with it. The word “if” itself implies that, in addition to one specific choice, there are other options. Learn to correctly use the word “if.” Don’t say “If you like our gym”, say “As soon as you are sure that you like our gym”. The meaning is the same, but the presentation and perception of your words is changing significantly.
2nd step to establish contact with a client
In order to understand whether you managed to correctly establish contact with a client, you need to pay attention to the presence of feedback during the conversation. If he doesn’t look in your direction, is distracted by the phone, ignores or hardly answers your questions, consider that the contact has not been established. At the same time, if a person listens carefully to you, conducts an active dialogue and shows interest in you and in what you say, contact can be considered established. And if the second case doesn’t raise questions for us, then the first is worth saying that if the start of the conversation was bad, this doesn’t mean that the whole meeting has failed. During the presentation, you will have the opportunity to return the conversation in a positive direction thanks to the skills that I talked about in the article “The portrait of the administrator of a fitness club”.
TIP. The emphasis on the preparatory stage for the meeting is also important for the reason that if you are not ready for it, most often you will not be capable to establish contact properly. Wherever you are (within the club) and no matter what you do, you need to meet the client in a high spirits. Even if you are distracted or just tired, you don’t need to show your indignation and negativity, otherwise you can forget about establishing contact with a client.
3rd step to establish contact with a client
This is one of the main elements for a successful presentation. You must think in advance how the meeting will take place, plan the course of events, calculate the options for conducting the conversation, evaluate what issues will need to be discussed, what the client can ask and so on. It should be a kind of express presentation, when you quickly scroll through it in your head and, depending on the initial data received during a telephone conversation, adjust it to a specific client and specific conditions. It’s desirable that such a “scenario” had several options, or at least two. This is necessary in order to engage the client in the presentation process.
TIP. If the moment of the meeting and greeting went wrong and the contact couldn’t be established right away, keep in mind that the offer of options is one of those secret moves that can save the situation, even if the client has already managed to “withdraw into himself”. This way will be the easiest to draw him out. This form of involvement has proven itself in working with absolutely all types of personality, character and temperament of a person.
4th step to establish contact with a client
Any meetings always begin with a greeting, simply because this unconditional rule is generally accepted. Since the interlocutor, at least in a sign of good manners, should answer the administrator the same, this already plays into your hands, as it forces him to enter into the communication process with you. The next important step is to introduce yourself. You must tell the person your name. In turn, he will provide you with similar information regarding his person. Since the meeting is preceded by a telephone conversation, it’s assumed that both interlocutors already know how to call each other, but as we have already found out, this is an element of a cultural tradition that should not be neglected.
TIP. The tradition of greeting each other is the first, albeit obvious, but a secret that helps to draw the opponent into the conversation. After the greeting, when you introduce yourself and then shake hands, you thereby demonstrate to the client that you are glad to see him, and he subconsciously understands that he has weight in the eyes of the interlocutor. This is another easy-to-remember rule of behavior that works for any personality type.
5th step to establish contact with a client
After the greeting, the communication flywheel needs to be unwound gradually in order to quickly ignite the client and have time to analyze his gestures, facial expressions and speech in order to properly adapt to him. In business terminology, there is such a thing as “small-talk”. It can also be described as a short or quick conversation. The essence of this concept is to involve the client in the communication process by integrating topics that are not related to the purpose of the meeting. As a rule, these are classic questions about the weather, how a person got to the club, how quickly he found it, and so on.
TIP. A small-talk is another secret move towards establishing contact with a client and involving him in a conversation. At the initial stage of acquaintance, it helps a lot to relieve tension or awkwardness of the situation. When a client comes to the club, he feels certain awkwardness about where he should start the conversation. In this situation, the administrator takes the initiative, and thereby sets the tone for the meeting, allowing the interlocutor to draw out himself and get rid of tension.
6th step to establish contact with a client
After communication has started, the next step in establishing contact with a client is the integration of compliments into your speech. But you need to understand that this tool is very tricky, and it needs to be operated very carefully, since there’s a high probability of overdoing it and making everything worse. Everyone loves compliments and everyone likes them, but often they can see falsity and even manipulation in them, and this is exactly the moment when the administrator loses contact with a client. That’s why a compliment should be given only in an exceptional case, when, firstly, there’s a justified reason for it that’s really worthy of a compliment, and secondly, when it’s appropriate in the context of the conversation.
TIP. A compliment is a kind of medicine that, at a moderate dosage, causes the desired effect, but if overused, leads to poisoning. For this reason, compliments should be practiced and honed at colleagues, friends, acquaintances or relatives. When you eventually learn to seize the moment in order to compliment, you can safely begin to use this secret tool on the clients of your fitness club.
7th step to establish contact with a client
For any person, a new or unfamiliar environment is always fraught with uncertainty. When a client first comes to a fitness club, he experiences a certain discomfort and a feeling of stress. One of the main tasks of the administrator in establishing contact with a client is to make his visit as comfortable as possible. That is, the administrator must act as a kind of guide or nanny, if you want. Meet the client, be near him, tell and show everything that might be interesting to him, lead him literally by the hand, and actually give him the opportunity to watch, to touch and to ask whatever he wants.
TIP. All people are different, someone more independent and someone less. Someone is more susceptible to unfamiliar places and stressful situations, someone less. Anyway, any person always likes when they take care of him. This is another secret on the way to establish contact with a client. Become his guardian for the entire duration of the presentation, and you will see how he is revealed in the process of communicating with you.
The topic of establishing contact, as you may have noticed, is quite extensive and contains a lot of nuances. Nevertheless, it’s this stage that lays the foundation for a positive outcome of both the presentation and the entire meeting. First of all, a good administrator should clear his speech of swearing and garbage words. Then he thinks over the meeting and plans how it should be held. Immediately at the time of establishing contact with a client, a greeting, an introducing and a handshake are used. They are supported by a small talk, a compliment as necessary, and of course the whole meeting from the beginning to its completion takes place in the most comfortable manner for the client. All these factors significantly affect the decision-making process and, as a result, the positive outcome of the entire meeting, therefore, they should not be ignored.
Author – Felix Palmer