The Art of Closing

Selling and weight loss are a lot alike. In the end, they’re both about results.

In both, solutions and goals are very much a part of the process, with relationships and information being important building blocks to getting the desired result.

In many cases with weight loss, people build a relationship with a gym or a trainer to help them get to their goal and end up being a part of a sales cycle.

Thanks to my big move to the suburbs, I’ve had to join a new gym and recently had to go through the sales cycle myself and it hit me how the two have so much in common and how broken the system really is.

But why the change in gyms?

Frankly, I was super happy with Goodlife but unfortunately Hulk is not a RAWR! man lifting weights - photo from sxc.humember and unless I want to walk 30 minutes home or wait for the not as frequent suburban transit system, I had to cancel my membership and sign up at *the other* gym.

The silver lining in all of this was that I am now paying $20 less a month in fees, which is fabulous but the craptastic part of it was the SELL! SELL! SELL! process that the gym puts you through to start.

Oh, how I wanted to stick a fork in my eye!

Of course, I’m my sickly sweet self instead, remaining rainbows and kittens and pretended that I knew nothing about weights as they put me through a fitness assessment so they could tell me that I needed 34 sessions of personal training to get me back into shape my BMI was at a 40.

Um, come again? 40?!

Yes, I have 30lbs to lose to get me squarely into my healthy weight range. 30lbs. I was spot on about how much I weighed without even having weighed myself in months and totally owned it in front of a complete stranger but if you think that I’m going to believe that number you may as well try to sell me swamp land in Florida and some used toilet paper while you’re at it!

Now this is where I can’t help but laugh and realize that I’m staring into the face of a young man who has probably just passed his canfitpro and not much else (especially when I say psoas and he stares at me blankly). He was so focused on talking about “toning” and “tightening” and dismissed my desire to be “healthy,” “happy” and “injury free.” Way to play on people’s insecurities! In fact, he didn’t know what to do with me when he couldn’t play to my vanity and got another trainer to come work with me, one who knew more about running and body mechanics and with whom I felt much more comfortable having a conversation and receiving instruction from.

Sadly, the young trainer continued to rain on the parade, looking like he didn’t want to be there as his coworker tried to save his behind and barely acknowledged me when I left his little office. I had to tap him on the shoulder and thank him for his time before leaving as he was busy gossiping with another coworker. He was not the right fit for me from the beginning. I don’t know whether it’s this gym’s practice to set new trainers up with people who they feel are “new” or “inexperienced” as I do appear for an easy session to get both sides eased in but asking a client a few simple questions before setting up a session like this could have avoided some discomfort and embarrassment.

Although I didn’t particularly enjoy him, I did enjoy the long rambling voice mail he left me this morning following up on the appointment, hoping that I was using the tips I received that day in my workouts (haven’t been back yet!) and hoping that I will indeed sign up for training.

I think not.

To spend a few grand on personal training at this point in my life would be frivolous. Perhaps if I had more of a disposable income it could be something I would consider, but I would interview candidates for such a position and not pick someone at random from a gym where they overcharge and underpay staff, causing a high rate of turnover and an increasing number of undertrained/under qualified staff members. Don’t get me wrong, *the other gym* showed me that they do have great trainers like the one who swooped in and saved the day on Saturday. He had the ability to build a relationship and share information that the other trainer couldn’t do for me and I would give him a chance in a heartbeat, but knowing that the money doesn’t really go to his services saddens me.

When trainers become salespeople and focus on the results of closing rather than the results of clients, the potential for closed doors can happen more than closed deals. There is so much money to be made in the business of healthy living that the human factors get forgotten about. Both the ones who pay and the ones who get paid for the services provided/rendered are the ones who suffer the most. It’s too bad that there can’t be a happy medium.

Even though I had an unfortunate experience with a trainer,
I’m sure there are good things about trainers, right?
Hulk’s BFF is an amazing one.
Have you ever used one? How did it work out for you?

photo source


Laura said...

My big thing with trainers was I hated that you basically have your one session a week and to be honest...they forget about you. I am very lucky to work with someone who I told flat out - you need to remember me and what we do each week and what my goals are...and he does.
It works but finding the right fit can be challenging.

Amy said...

1) woah - what Mr. Mousearoo?
2) I want to kick that trainer in the junk.

marie said...

Good point, Amy. He'd be pissed to know he's being referred to as Mr. Mousearoo. He will now be referred to as the Hulk, which is what I call him.

jen said...

That is my #1 pet peeve -- that people seem to think that if you are over your "ideal" weight, you must be a total beginner who knows nothing about fitness. And, as you said, assumes they know what your goals should be. Good for you for staying strong.

I have 30 I want to lose too. I belong to the YMCA mostly because I did not want the sales pitch.

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