Learned a valuable lesson this week, that reminded me of the profound value in follow up, and establishing a professional, polished, and effective on-boarding process (if this sounds unfamiliar, get in touch, I’ll help set this up with you in your business, www.talkwithmelissa.com) I’ve been attending a gym at the business club I belong to, it had a limited amount of equipment but all top of the line. The fee was nominal and included perks like fresh towels, a laundry service, well stocked locker rooms, showers, steam rooms and more.
The hitch is that I wanted something closer to home with more options. I thought I’d found it . . .
I checked out the local YMCA, literally across the park from where I live. Now, here is the hitch, when I say I checked it out, I took a tour. I dismissed the FREE Trial as unnecessary. I noticed a lot more equipment, bigger facilities, didn’t care that it was more ground floor than a spectacular view of the city from the 26th floor at my business club.
And while I was annoyed and frustrated that it took me over two weeks of chasing the membership people to get signed up, which included an initiation fee and a monthly that was slightly higher than what I’d been paying, I thought it would be worth it.
I scheduled an appointment to go in on a Sunday morning and take the time to set up all the machines with my settings, weights and learn the system. I invested an hour with a trainer to do this. She was very professional though I did pay close attention to her comments about the Y, including the remodel that was expected (this had never been mentioned), that members often offered top grade equipment for free, but the Y always turned it down, and that the management didn’t keep the staff in the loop or invite them to provide critical input on changes being made. Uh oh. . .
When I returned on Monday to actually work out, I found that none of the settings she had made had held in the system, I was starting from scratch. The place was also incredibly crowded (if I had my druthers, I’d work out entirely alone.) YIKES, what had I done.
The reasons I work out are to:
a) Stay in shape
b) Release endorphins to battle depression (yes, you did read that correctly)
I was truly disappointed and let the trainer on duty know. I got a phone call later from yet another party saying they’d like to help. At this point, I’ve been handed off to one too many people. I have no idea who has any authority or responsibility and I’m over it. I’m returning to my business club and will never recommend the Y based on this experience.Make Your Fortune in Your Follow Up!
Yes, I should have done the free day, I’d have likely uncovered a lot of this, including old equipment that is in need of upgrades.
When you offer a free taste, sample, session or product trial, make sure that you provide the absolute BEST EXPERIENCE possible. This is your prospect’s (IDEAL CLIENT) way of vetting you and you aren’t likely to get another chance. In this case, the barrier to entry (aka cost) was low so I jumped in. In YOUR CASE, it isn’t. I know you are asking for an investment and you deserve it, but ONLY when you provide a TOP NOTCH EXPERIENCE!
1) Make it easy to buy ~ hanging me up in their membership process created aggravation and frustration at the front end. You may not have a membership opportunity, but you do have an onboarding process if you are selling services, (and if you don’t, get in touch so we can create one, www.talkwithmelissa.com) make it simple, smooth, and part of your relationship building process.
2) Assign one point of contact ~ handing me off continually simply stoked my irritation and feeling that I didn’t matter to them. You may be the point of contact in your business, or you may have a primary team member (VA) who does this for you. Either way, one person, not a string of them (way too reminiscent of the dreaded AT&T or Verizon calls that get routed to 16 different specialists. UGH)
3) Script your staff ~ if your team isn’t on board with what you offer, they are going to unsell you. I was in serious pause after working with the trainer on Sunday. Make sure that you have taken the time to script a welcome procedure and conversation topics. Some of what this trainer shared should have been off limits. It indicated she is looking forward to leaving and not a fan of the facility. If your team aren’t raving fans, get a new team or find a way to turn them around.
4) Follow up personally and graciously ~ the follow up that did occur was late and designed to salvage a bad situation instead of build a relationship. Follow up has to happen consistently, politely, and persistently. Until you get an “all clear,” or “yes, I’m satisfied” from your new client, your follow up isn’t finished. (In fact, it is never finished, but ongoing, but that’s a topic for another post!)
Take the lessons I had to relearn here, and APPLY THEM TO YOUR BUSINESS.
Comment below on your experiences with Free Trials and how you structure your own tastes for your prospects! I want to hear from you 🙂