…And You Think You Have Difficult Clients!

This story comes directly from the experience of one of our sales training clients.
Names have been withheld to protect the innocent…

A very interesting client walked into our fitness club wearing diamonds, fur, and designer boots. After an uncomfortably long period of time, she removed her oversized sunglasses, turned up her nose, and, with the vernacular of Mrs. Thurston Howell III, proceeded to name-drop everyone she knew while she said:

“I don’t expect to make friends here. I just want to lose the excess weight around my stomach. Unless this is truly a country club, I don’t think I will find the other members appealing. The last time I came here I found them to be very unappealing. I live in the BIG house right across the street. The only reason I am here is that this club is very convenient for me. Oh, and don’t try to sell me anything other than what I want because I know exactly what I want.”

She had no interest in our social activities or any fitness classes. So I just did what she asked, gave her the pricing, and assumed the sale. I invited the Director of Fitness in because he was very comfortable with this Director personality type. She wanted a personal trainer “with kind eyes and a nice smile”­—which was funny as she was lacking those very two things. She pointed at trainers she wanted and our director was very patient with her; repeatedly saying “OK!” I learned a lot by watching him handle her.

This client continued to speak down to me as she asked me why she would pay to be a new member rather than a returning member. I did the math and showed her that the new member enrollment would give her more time and would offer her significant savings on her personal training. She insisted she did not want “a chipper bubbly person to call her” about taking advantage of being a new member when she was a returning one. I tried to give her my assurance that would not happen, but cut myself off and just began to sign her up as a returning member for the higher costs in dues and higher cost in personal training. After all… that was what she wanted.

Then she paused and said “Well… I would like a massage and I suppose the discount for the personal training is rather nice savings, isn’t it?” To this, I replied, “So $600 then…? Done!”

As we were going through the contract, I began to offer her our complementary branded gym bag and she said with disgust “Oh I NEVER carry apparel that advertises companies.” I thought “No, just your Gucci sunglasses, Luis Vuitton bag and wallet, Ugg boots, and your Kate Spade cell phone case…”

But, hey, I earned a new enrollment for the club and jump started her personal training.

When she signed the last signature, she said “Are we done here? I think we’re done here.” Then she stood up and walked out the door before I could even say thank you.

This was my MOST MEMORABLE sales experience!
—One Of Chuck Bauer’s Sales Training Students

In sales and business, difficult clients and challenging closes are common occurrences. Knowing the personality style of your client is the first step in controlling the situation.


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