Use Homework Selling To Target Really-Ready-To-Buy Wellness Prospects
You’ve probably spent hundreds—heck, thousands—of hours talking to potential clients who said “Sounds great.”
And then…they never committed.
Or they signed up, and then dropped out after a couple of sessions.
Or they came to a few classes—but kept talking about the same issues over and over, without ever following through on the things THEY need to do to make changes. And before long, they were outta there, never to be seen or heard from again.
“Homework selling” is one way to help cure these ills, and it accomplishes two goals:
1) It highlights your standout strengths
Giving prospects a much deeper appreciation of what’s special about your wellness business is a crucial advantage for a niche provider.
2) It tests the readiness of your prospective client to jump in with both feet
Are they really ready to engage? If not, they’ll drop out before they use up more of your time.
How it changes your approach to selling
Does this sound familiar?
You hear from prospective clients.
They want to find out more about your weight loss program, or your sports conditioning programs, or your healthy lifestyle coaching.
You immediately go into sales mode. You’re trying to set up an appointment, or get them to come in for a free class, or a tour, or a complimentary assessment of some kind.
All the effort’s coming from your end as you chase the prospect.
Yet the truth is that sales works better when both parties have skin in the game—when you’re both moving towards each other.
You do something….then I respond.
You take another step closer…then I take the next step closer.
A real-world example
Instead of prematurely trying to close the sale, make your next step a homework assignment. If your prospect engages, they’ve taken a step closer to becoming your customer. If they don’t, they’re probably not a great fit.
Here’s one example of what this looks like in the real world:
Say your women’s wellness center offers a healthy lifestyles program. When a prospect reaches out to you, in addition to your usual invitation to a tour or self-assessment or whatever, you also offer your readiness assessment (give it an appropriate and appealing name).
- You send the assessment via email or via text with an online link. Depending on your specific program, maybe you ask about their prior lifestyle change attempts, what worked and what didn’t. Or you might ask them to prioritize common life concerns—job anxiety, family issues, health worries, elder care, etc.—or common life goals—more time with family friends, more travel, more time for activities that “refill their cup,” etc.
- You briefly explain that this will help both of you make sure the program is the right fit for their priorities.
- Ask them to complete the checklist by the “end of the day tomorrow” so you can schedule their free assessment, free class, or whatever comes next in your process.
- You can now follow up with folks who don’t complete the checklist by saying something like, “Before we confirm that you’re coming to our free class next week, I want to make sure you’ve been able to complete the checklist. If not, no pressure, we’ll just slot you into the following week when you’re ready.”
Here’s what will happen
- Some people will complete the checklists very quickly. They’re ready to buy, they feel good about your business, and they’re ready to engage and commit their own efforts to their goals.
- Some people will respond to your reminder by getting the assessment completed—at nearly the last minute. They may be ready to buy, but they’re not leaning forward: the odds are fairly good that they’re not really ready to fully engage. Even if they become your customer, they often drift away fairly quickly.
- Some people will respond to your reminder by saying “No, I haven’t been able to yet” or “I’m busy” or “Let’s reschedule.” You’ll follow up a couple of times, the assessment will never be completed, and eventually they’ll fall off your radar. They said all the right things on the initial contact—but again, they’re not really ready to commit their own energies to a solution.
- And some will never respond to your reminder at all. Courteously defer those appointments and let them know that when they’re ready, you’ll be there.
Understand: You’re not canceling appointments or deferring next steps punitively. You’re rescheduling because you want to make good use of their time, to help them be sure that your program is the right fit for them.
Typical homework assignments
We like checklists, assessments, and similar simple self-disclosure tools because they give you more insight into your customer’s state of mind, and they require a small amount of positive action by your prospect, e.g., the effort required to complete the tool.
- Writing down 5 to 10 of their favorite foods or least favorite foods
- Checking off common activities—walking the dog, taking some stairs, parking at the farthest spot, drinking plenty of non-sugary liquids, going to a gym, etc.—that they do in a typical week
- Asking them to make a list of their greatest concerns and hopes about making this change in their lives
- Writing a list of up to five things they’ve tried in the past
- Watching a case study video/reading a written case study of a real client from your business
- Reviewing a brief and objective buying guide that explains the differences between common weight-loss programs and explains how consumers can choose the program that’s the best fit for them
- Reading a myths and misconceptions FAQ
Regardless of the specific method you choose, check in before the next touchpoint and say something like:
“Before we confirm our appointment for next Thursday, I want to make sure you’ve been able to look through the materials I sent. If not, we’ll just reschedule it when you’re ready.”
A word to the wise: there’s a fine line between assigning a smidgen of homework to assess your prospects’ level of commitment, and dumping so much work on them that they’re overwhelmed by too much, too soon.
Remember, your goal isn’t to change their lives for free in the next 72 hours. You’re trying to assess whether they’re actually committed to healthy change and therefore a good fit for your business.
The bottom line
You avoid investing energy in people who aren’t really ready to be successful referenceable clients for your wellness business.
You even get points from your prospects for not being pushy, because you’re respectful of their time and willing to defer until they’re ready.
After all, if they’re not ready, willing or able to invest their own energies in making the best decision, they’re almost certainly equally unready to invest enough effort in their own success.
In fact, they are not your really-ready wellness prospect.