As fitness professionals, many of us find it is exciting when a member asks us for fitness related advice... but are you making the proper recommendations?
Do you really understand what she/he is asking?
Do you have enough information to respond in a way that will be motivating?
Or do you have the tendency to just launch into a long response, hoping that some of it sticks?
As a long-time sales guy, I've tried to learn the importance of asking the right questions, before offering a solution. Actually it's often a series of questions, before I'll consider responding. Last fall I talked about a total fail I had early in my career, when I tried to empress a potential customer with all my product knowledge, in this post.
Now that I finally have a device (my new iPad) to download ebooks, I'm putting it to good use. My latest read is The Psychology Behind Fitness Motivation: A Revolutionary New Program to Lose Weight and Stay Fit for Life by Health Psychologist Dr. Kim Chronister. In the book Dr. Kim describes the concept of a Motivational Interview - which sounds exactly like what I suggest you use, whenever you've been asked for help or advice from a member.
Motivational Interviewing for Exercise Motivation
An optimal technique that is supported by the research for exercise motivation is motivational interviewing (MI). When you are seeking the motivation to gain results (for a better body, sharper mind, etc. from regular exercise) motivational interviewing falls into the “what you need” category to get you “what you want”…results.
MI has been shown to be enhanced when MI is combined with other effective treatment methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (which was discussed in the previous chapter). The technique of motivational interviewing can be used to improve a person”™s motivation to change and it can be effective in facilitating behavioral change.
In a clinical setting, motivational interviewing is used by a therapist or other mental health or medical professional to help promote positive change in a client”™s behavior. MI exercises are designed to help people recognize the need for changes in their behavior. As a first exercise, let”™s say a motivational interviewer (i.e. psychologists, nurses, social workers, medical practitioners, physiotherapists, and dietitians) is meeting with a client trying to lose weight to alleviate chronic health problems. The motivational interviewer would emphasize the importance of the change, current information about why the client should make the alteration in his/her lifestyle, including many benefits. The motivational interviewer would then provide the steps and action plan to make these lifestyle changes. At the end of this chapter, you will be given tools based on the technique of motivational interviewing to help you in your personal fitness goals.
Listen to our discussion below or subscribe to our free Podcast in iTunes here.
Near the end of the interview, Dr. Kim and I discuss her thoughts about a question I had; should Instructors take an active role in sales and marketing, especially Instructors who teach at a small studio?
What do you think? Should (or would) you be willing to sell/market/promote your studio's services to your participants? I'm not referring to you simply reading a few announcements before the start of class here. I mean communicating with members with the purpose of building rapport, suggesting upgrades, encouraging purchases, recruiting new participants... you know, selling what your studio has to offer.
Would you do that if you were rewarded financially?
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