Importance of an Initial Consultation

Importance of an Initial Consultation

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Something that really grinds my gears is when boutique style fitness/wellness businesses do not take a heightened interest in a new lead that walks in the door. I don’t mean greeting them with a warm smile, learning their name, asking “how are you?”, etc because that’s just a given with any human interaction (or friendly looking dog) that walks through your door. I mean REALLY getting to know this person. Starting off with “Hey -we all have busy lives, what the heck brought you in here today?” and then ending with  “Now that I understand all of the events that brought you here, let’s talk about where you would you like to be in 3 months, 6 months or even a year from now.”

Think about this … depending on the length of your intro offer, anywhere between 7 to 30 days from their first time walking through your door, you’ll be asking this new lead to pay you more than $100 per month for many months, if not years to come! I don’t know about you, but that is an intimidating commitment and I would REALLY have to not just like you, but actually trust you, in order to sign up for something like that.

What’s that famous quote by ZZ? “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”

The most effective approach to REALLY getting to know the new faces that walk into your door is through some sort of consultation. You can call it whatever you like; New Client Consultation, Goal Setting Appointment, Wellness Consult, the list goes on. Now, if you’re asking yourself, what is an initial consultation? Well then you and I got beef, but I'm gonna throw you a bone and break it down for you in this article; if you start implementing this initial consultation on your next fresh lead, I will find a way to forgive you :)

An initial consultation is just a simple conversation that includes a meet & greet along with a few very particular questions. It’s your chance to really get to know your new lead and an opportunity that you might only get once! You want to talk to this lead in a raw state rather than when they begin to think they know what they want after experiencing your business. You want  to learn what brought them in, what their pain (figuratively or literally) is, and why they thought you were the solution to their problem.

Why would you have an initial consultation?

●    Build rapport with your new lead

●    Learn about their goals

●    Understand their injury history

●    Prescribe the right pricing option

Let’s break down the benefits of those points...

●    Building and then earning rapport will ultimately lead to an easier sale

●    Learning about their goals will keep them focused on why they are with you (and let them justify forking over$100+ per month to your business)

●    Understanding their injury history will make sure you put a plan in place to not add to their injury history and hopefully fix that injury. Remember, if they aren’t injured, they can keep coming back!

●    Getting their pricing option right the first time will put their billing plan on autopilot. If they only plan oncoming 2x per week, why push an unlimited membership on them when it will most likely lead them to feeling like they are wasting money and end up canceling?If they are only coming 2x per week, that’s okay as long as they stick to it and never cancel!

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As you can see, the real question (assuming your goal is to convert clients past their intro offer) is why wouldn’t you have an initial consultation?

When we talk to gyms and studios who are consistently converting an average of 75% of their leads, they will tell you that the consultation is the golden key. They spend about 10-20 minutes with each lead and they are committed to the process. If we want new clients to commit to us,we have to commit to getting to know them.

Alright, let’s break down the nitty gritty of an effective new client consultation so you can evaluate your current process or implement a new one. A new client consultation should address 3 areas.

  1. Ask specific questions that will engage someone in conversation; meaning don’t just ask yes or no questions. The specifics of your questions may vary based on your modality but the end goal is to ask questions that relate to your business and can be used to convert leads.
  • What is your current routine?
  • What are you struggling to accomplish?
  • Who do you have to support you on your journey?
  1. Give specific information during the consultation that will set the client up for success.
  • Suggest classes that will benefit their goals
  • Tell them how to pre register for classes
  • Give them details about special new client offers
  1. Ask specific questions that will help you make strategic decisions for your business.
  • How did you hear about us? FB/ IG/ Referral/ Google Search/ Drive By
  • How long after you heard about us did it take for you to come in?

Now, it’s important to keep in mind that the structure of your business does play a role in new client consultations. Do you have a space to sit down and talk to new clients? Do you have staffing to manage new client consultations? If you find yourself with limited space or limited support staff, you do have some options.

  1. You can have clients fill out the form on their own when they arrive for their first class

OR

  1. You can send a digital consultation form prior to their first visit.

Within 24 hours, someone should try to reach out and connect with the client for a quick phone consultation.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a firm believer that a business should be driven by their mission. So, if your business believes in building a community and positively impacting the lives of your clients, I think we can agree that this can only happen if we REALLY take the time to get to know each and every individual that walks through our doors.

Looks like you are finding this valuable, would you also like our latest copy of Navigating the New Normal?
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About the author:

Nick Dennis
Co-founder
fitDEGREE

Nick Dennis. Nick is a co-founder of fitDEGREE and has been involved in the fitness business for quite some time now both from the gym staff and software side of things. He may be an “accidental entrepreneur” but he surely knows how to get the job done!