Is Your Sales and Marketing Missing… the Marketing?

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Is something wrong with click-through on your fitness or wellness business’s sales content?  Your sales and marketing… may be missing the marketing.

Your fact sheet on postural rebalancing and whole-person health, your “broccoli lover” diet cheat-sheet, your tips for hot yoga students, or your 10 tips for a better strength workout all do the job they were intended to do: they communicate your knowledge and expertise, and they make it clear that you’re the go-to resource for chiro, nutrition, yoga, or conditioning. So why aren’t people knocking on your door?

If they ever thought about why people go to chiropractors, nutritionists, yoga studios, or strength trainers, your prospects would certainly know where to go.

But it’s possible they don’t know they need you.

That’s why you can’t get by with just sales literature. Way before people walk in the door, you need to plant the Seed of Need.

Now we’re NOT talking about missionary sales here. You’re never going to convince “this one weird trick” Susan that sticking to a healthy diet is as simple as eating from smaller plates and trying different ways of cooking veggies. And you’re not going to convince Bob, who doesn’t trust chiropractors and is absolutely certain he doesn’t need an adjustment, that he needs to come in for a posture assessment.

No, really. You’re not. Forget those people.

But you CAN suggest to folks who have concerns — and are willing to learn more about addressing them — that you can help fill in the blanks. You can educate them. You can offer free tips and trusted advice on a limited basis.

Notice I didn’t say anything about chiro, nutrition, yoga, or strength training. Those are services, and these people — remember — don’t know they need them. So here’s how to change their minds.

1. Get to the heart of the problem.

Let’s say John, who’s in his late forties and about 40 pounds overweight, has suddenly got the jones to exercise. Maybe he’s had the epiphany, when walking up the stairs at work, that he’s turning into his dad. Maybe he doesn’t feel young and macho any more. Maybe he’s tired a lot of the time. Maybe he’s concerned about gastric reflux and chest pain. And maybe last time he tried to exercise, he went at it all Braveheart-style (picture the bloodcurdling yell of enthusiasm), only to fail.

Picture John in your head. Now find him. He’s probably out there somewhere on social media. And if you can’t find him there, leave a message for him in your ads, flyers, handouts and so on.

Dear John,

Did your last workout kick your butt? There’s an easier way, it won’t embarrass you, and it probably won’t kill you if you do it right.

Call me at (555)-123-4567 or send me an email at ….


My wellness business. xoxo

OK, not EXACTLY like that. But not far off it either. Your wellness business has seen a lot of folks like John, ones who’ve had John’s problem, and you have a darn good answer. So THAT’s what your marketing material should say. And it really should be that specific.

2. Find out what they’ve tried and why it didn’t work.

As owner of Geode Bodyworks Weight Loss and Image Center for women, you know your customer. Sue’s moved from one diet to another. She hates the gym because she feels she’s being judged. She’s tried walking around the block regularly, for 30 minutes a day, only to not see any real results. She’s a busy mom and cooks dinner for her family, all of whom have different needs: growing, active kids and a husband who “just wants comfort food” when he gets home. She’s tried eating healthy but doesn’t want to be the only one. She likes yoga, because it’s “me time.”

Even if the core of your program is a healthy diet, keep in mind that Sue may not be receptive to it because of her past history of unsuccessful dieting. She IS probably receptive to the motion of “me time” and feeling like her health is front and center, maybe even a secret project with a little bit of mystery to it.

Your marketing content needs to acknowledge where customers are, not where you want them to be.

3. Acknowledge what prospects already know to be true.

Dieting is hard. Building strength and stamina is hard. Taking care of yourself is hard. Training for an Ironman is hard. That’s why they haven’t done it yet. Don’t lie to them and tell them it’s easy, they can lose all their excess weight in 4 easy sessions, or that your supplements can cure diabetes. To say otherwise calls your credibility into question.

Most of us are smart enough to know this, but as people who’ve finished an Ironman, lost 70 pounds, or improved our health despite serious illness or injury, we tend to forget the journey that took us there. It’s easy to get carried away with the message, get religion about it, or simply skip over the hard stuff.

Make sure you have literature that starts from potential customers’ concerns, brings questions out into the open, and establishes confidence that you can address them.

Remember, trustworthiness is a good deal regardless of the price, and it makes it easier to get past objections during your sales process.

4. Establish your credentials in addressing specific problems.

We’re not talking about your list of degrees and certifications, even if your profession is so specific it should be obvious what your business does. OK, so you’re a swim coach who works with a diabetes clinic. Have you dealt with customers who are concerned about high blood sugars after being away from their insulin for two hours? Going low during 50-meter sprint training? Afraid that in all your trimness you’ve got no idea what it’s like to be a heavy guy overexerting himself in the water?

In the real world, your degrees may get you in the door but it’s your empathy, understanding, and experience that draw people. For the people who don’t know you, your marketing needs to communicate that first, in very specific language that relates to the specific set of issues on the mind of your customer.

5. Build on the desire to know.

Your prospective customers are very keenly aware of what they don’t know about the types of products and services your fitness or wellness business offers. Contrary to what you might think, they’re overwhelmed a lot of the time. But they do want to know what your program includes, who teaches the classes, or what happens if they need to temporarily cancel. They want to know how spin class will help them go farther with less effort on their next half century bike ride. They want to know how real marathoners fuel.

They value that education. It actually creates a sense of obligation to your business.

They just don’t want to know all at once.

Educate your prospects bit by bit, building trust and reciprocity as you go.

Long before selling, your fitness or wellness business should get used to the idea that your marketing literature is leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to the front door. Keep dropping those breadcrumbs! (For more on that concept, check out our recent Websavvy article).

6. Don’t miss a chance to communicate.

Keep in mind that marketing isn’t always about flyers and emails. In fact, it’s seldom JUST about any one piece of content or even one specific medium of communication, like your website.

Marketing can include establishing your identity on social media as a “she gets me” kind of resource. It’s building enough trust through conversations with a medical practice that you become the number one choice for physical rehab referrals. It’s holding informational webinars about diet, exercise, and diabetes. And of course, it’s your web copy, email newsletter, flyers, AND every other form of communication you have with prospective customers BEFORE they ask about price, availability, and program features.

If it’s about generating need, it’s marketing. If it’s about generating business from that need, then it’s sales.

By making sure that every communication helps make your wellness business more visible and reachable, and establishes that you’re willing to listen and offer insight from a position of expertise, understanding, empathy, and trust, you’re well on the way to a successful marketing effort that brings customers to your door in search of answers.

And if you do it right, you’ll discover that sales is actually just the act of getting out of their way.