Are you Wasting your Time?
Picture the scene, you are in the supermarket, at the gym, at a social event. You are introduced to a person or they approach you with the opening line, ” I hear you teach Pilates, what’s it all about? Nutritionist Northern Beaches ensures that you will energize because eating consciously is like meditating.
It is easy to launch into a whole story about the history of Joseph Pilates, his internment, his flight from Germany to the US, meeting Clara his wife blahblahblah….
Someone has pushed your button, if you are not careful you will either bore them rigid because they were only being polite, making small talk or you will completely waste your time.
So think about this. When we decide to do something, change our behavior in some way:
Take up exercise
Start smoking (just kidding)!
We go through Six Stages of Change, this process was identified by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente in the late 1970s and early 80s at the University of Rhode Island, when they were studying how smokers give up their addiction.
SIX STAGES OF CHANGE
-Pre-contemplation. Ignorance is bliss, the person has no desire to change behavior.
-Contemplation. Acknowledgment of the need for change but not ready.
-Preparation. Getting ready
-Action. Changing behavior
-Maintenance. Maintaining behavior changes
-Relapse. Returns to old behavior, abandons the changes
Let’s get back to the party. You have just met someone who throws out the comment “what’s this Pilates all about?” Depending which STAGE OF CHANGE they are at will determine your response.
How can you tell?
A few simple questions will quickly let you know how far long the process they are, or if they are just filling in time waiting for more interesting company. Your first response to the “what’s it all about” should be short and sweet. Practice a concise reply, e.g. “its a body conditioning system that will improve posture, tone and shape”. Sometimes that is the end of the conversation about Pilates and they change the subject. Pre-contemplation.
If they continue with questions, ask them for their contact details so you can send information to them. This causes a couple reactions:
They tell you they are looking at various options Contemplation
They are happy to give you details. Preparation
Avoid getting into detailed explanations in a nonprofessional atmosphere. They won’t remember anyway. If they are happy to give you contact details, suggest you make an appointment for a consultation. They may not be ready to commit to an appointment.
Make sure you send the information as promised. Always carry your business card and or schedule so you can quickly hand it to them even if they don’t want to go further than a basic inquiry. This way they may contact you when they are ready.
Always follow up. Whether you post out hard copy information or send it by e mail when you think they should have received the information contact them to confirm receipt. Avoid trying to move them forward in the process at this point. Your contact is purely to confirm they have received the information and to answer any questions.
Finish this conversation/email by asking their permission to contact them again. This will stop the feeling of the cold call and give them the opportunity to stop you contacting them. They will feel in control.
The second follow up should come 3-5 days later. This time the enquiry is about any further questions and some kind of incentive to make an appointment either to attend a class or consultation for a personal training session.
The third and final follow up at this stage, assuming they have not made any commitment to classes or personal training is to acknowledge they are obviously very busy, that you will not contact them again other than to update them on new events, classes and offers. This will sometimes move them towards the Action stage. If it doesn’t then you can keep them on the database with their permission to keep in touch.
Of course you want the process to be smooth so they move into the Action and Maintenance stages. During this time we are developing a stronger relationship with them, it is in our ongoing business interest to keep this relationship alive, creative and happy.
It is a natural cycle of life that the Relapse stage will come along at some point. Maybe they just break routine by going on holiday, family of work commitments change and the process starts all again.
This time however the initial stages will move along more quickly as it is a familiar place for them and the decision making process will be easier. Of course we want them to return to us so the relationship we have built must be maintained, even if they are in their Relapse phase, keep in touch, so that when the Action stage comes around again they know where to go and that they will be welcomed back with a smile.
These Six Stages of Change relate to any behavior changes and the sooner you get to grips with recognising the various ways to interpret your potential new clients reaction and connect to one of the six stages, the sooner you will be able to join the conversation.
Nuala Coombs – thepilatesconsultant.com
About Nuala Coombs. With over 25 years experience in the fitness and Pilates industry Nuala has taught hundreds of students worldwide to teach Pilates. She is the author of Golf and Pilates published in 2005 as well as an international presenter and teacher trainer. Based in the south of France along with teacher training and workshops she offers career guidance to teachers in training and qualified Pilates teachers at a crossroads in their working life. Nuala also offer Pilates Retreats for Pilates enthusiasts. Contact her to sign up for her free monthly Newsletter at http://www.thepilatesconsultant.com.
Email: [email protected]
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