You may not have heard of Elmer Wheeler, since he was in his prime in the depression-era 1930s. But his “Tested Selling Institute” was famous at the time for coming up with marketing slogans that magically increased sales for major companies by hundreds of percentage points. Today, Elmer Wheeler’s sales advice is just as relevant as ever, with his most famous slogan, “Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle,” applying to any sales and marketing venture.
The “sizzle” Wheeler was talking about is the emotional aspect of sales. People commonly make buying decisions based on how they feel at the time of the sale. For example, when you slide behind the wheel of a new car on the showroom floor and you experience the intoxicating smell, sleek design, rich colors and smooth textures, you experience positive emotions before you even turn the key in the ignition. That is the “sizzle.” Safety, fuel efficiency, horsepower and road performance pale in importance, yet they make up the “steak.”
Watch Your Language
You can talk all day to a potential client about heart disease, diabetes, weight loss and other important health issues, but you will be talking about the “steak” of fitness. Instead, focus on language that emphasizes emotion: “Think how great you’ll feel, Mary, when you rock a bikini on your beach vacation next summer; Imagine how awesome you’ll feel, Tom, when you can play golf again without back pain.” In other words, sell the sizzle, and once sold, be sure to deliver the steak!
A good “feeling” strategy to use with potential clients is to give them free a taste of sizzle. You can easily do this by demonstrating a moderately challenging exercise like a plank or a squat, and then having the prospect perform the movement. Be sure to correct their body alignment and coach their technique, just as you would in a regular training session. Encourage them to feel the active muscles as they move slowly through their range of motion. Ask them how they feel during and after the exercise, then ask them to imagine how great they’ll feel when the movement becomes effortless. Once they taste the sizzle, they’ll be ready to buy the steak!
A positive mindset is key to business success, and feeding your brain with continuing education will help keep you focused and motivated. W.I.T.S. offers many courses geared to Business, Sales and Marketing, all specifically designed for fitness entrepreneurs. Sink your teeth into a new certification like Fitness Management, Older Adult Fitness, Youth Fitness, or Lifestyle Fitness Coaching. Beef up your Social Media skills with our Social Media Marketing series. Or dive into our Online Business Management Success Series to learn savvy skills for business success.
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