What I’m Selling (and What You’re Buying)

I’ve been in sales most of my adult life. I spent twenty plus years as a technology salesman, selling networking, datacenter, cyber security, and cloud solutions to companies.

I’ve learned to pitch my offerings in the best light possible, to describe how wonderful life would be for the company once they chose our company to sell and install their new datacenter solution. I learned to compete with other companies and to boldly ask for the business after making my presentations. And I suppose I’m still doing that now. But instead of selling to corporations, I’m selling to individuals, to you really.

But there are some big differences. When I sold to corporations, the transaction was purely business. Emotion rarely entered into the equation. The person handing over the money – usually a CIO or CFO – wasn’t giving me their own personal money, rather they were entrusting me with a portion of their allotted IT budget.

But now things are different – much different – both in what I’m selling and what you – the potential client – is buying. Let’s start with what I’m selling. I suppose you could say that I’m selling coaching services – you know things like exercise programming, check-in sessions, nutrition guides, meal plans, basically the nuts and bolts of coaching. And that’s certainly a large part of what I’m selling, but those are table stakes. And I don’t think that’s really what you want to buy. I mean you could find all of those things for free on the internet.  What I’m really trying to sell is the possibility of a lifelong health transformation, of pain free movement, of creating a roadmap and a strategic plan from where you are now to where you want to be. In my mind that’s what you want to buy – the nutrition plans and exercise programming are just tools that we’ll use to get you there.

Going back to my corporate customers, they really didn’t want to buy more servers or routers or software – that’s just more crap for them to manage. What they wanted to buy was a solution that would allow them to deliver their solutions to their customers faster than their competitors so they could gain market share and increase revenue. They didn’t want to buy widgets, they wanted to buy solutions – the widgets were just the tools that help get them where they wanted to go. And I think the same holds true with coach/client selling. You’re probably less interested in my programming methodology, and more interested in how I can help you get into the best shape of your life, to help you feel strong, vital, and confident. And this is an emotional investment. Your hopes and desires, maybe even insecurities and fears, are on the line. Chances are you’ve invested in your health in the past – and maybe you’ve been burned.

So, speaking of investment, let’s move from what I’m selling (and what you’re buying) to what you’re paying. I’ll start with this – my coaching services aren’t inexpensive. My current offer is an individualized one-on-one coaching service, and all these services are specifically designed for you. My plan in the future is to have online courses that will be available on-demand at a reasonable price, but for now I’m asking you to make a not insignificant investment. And I honor the fact that you are entrusting me with your hard earned money.

But here’s the thing that’s often lost. The financial investment is usually insignificant to what I’m really asking you to pay. I’m asking you to permanently shift your mindset and perspective, to alter the way you perceive yourself and the world around you. I’m asking you to make healthy choices that honor your body and spirit – not just for a month or six months or even a year – but for the rest of your life. I’m asking you to reconsider your relationship to food and exercise, to reconsider your relationship to your body, and ultimately to change your behaviors – for the rest of your life. I’m asking you to make difficult choices – for the rest of your life. This is way different than you giving me $250 and I help you lose 20 pounds in two months – and then we each go our own ways. In that transaction I helped you reach a temporary goal, but then what? If you haven’t fundamentally changed in the ways I just described, the chances are good that you’ll gain your weight back. In fact, statistically speaking, you’ll gain that weight back and a little extra to boot.

And I don’t want to be that kind of salesman. There’s no shortage of those kinds of salesmen and saleswomen – and I don’t mean to bad mouth them… I just don’t want to be them. In my corporate sales career, I had customers stay with me for 15 years. And I can promise you it wasn’t because my widgets were better than my competitors or because I was the cheapest – they stuck around because I understood the value proposition of our relationship – they paid me to help them transform, to get where they were to where they wanted to go. And that’s the kind of relationship I want with my clients now.

So, if you’re shopping for a personal trainer or nutrition coach, ask your self what is it that you really want to buy? And ask yourself if you’re willing to pay the price?

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Kevin English

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